The hero would be lost without the villain. The villain is why the hero emerges in the first place. The Dark Knight and the Joker are two sides of the same coin.

The Joker: Oh, you. You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.
Batman: You’ll be in a padded cell forever.
The Joker: Maybe we can share one. You know, they’ll be doubling up, the rate this city’s inhabitants are losing their minds.

Let’s face it, we need villains in fiction and for that matter in non-fiction. Take a look at some the best villains in children’s literature.

Harry Potter

“The most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years” is so feared within the wizarding world that no one dares utter his name, preferring “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. Seeking eternal life and ultimate power at any cost Voldemort makes a fearsome arch enemy for our hero, Harry.

The Jungle Book

A crippled but proud tiger, Shere Khan becomes a villain when he preys on baby Mowgli, who has wandered into the jungle. Shere Khan vows that the cub will one day be his and launches a scheme to overthrow the wolf pack and kill Mowgli.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Pampered London heiress turned fur-loving terror, Cruella de Vil more than lives up to her name as she drowns kittens and kidnapps 97 puppies to make a Dalmatian fur coat. Cruella was ranked the No 1 villain in Disney history following the film company’s 1961 adaptation of Dodie Smith’s novel.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Scrooge-like character with a heart “two sizes too small”. The Grinch becomes intent on ruining Christmas for the good people of Whoville by stealing their presents and decorations.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The leader of the Winkie Country is furious when her sister is killed by Dorothy’s falling house and vows to seek revenge on her by snatching the magical silver slippers protecting Dorothy.

Peter and Wendy (Peter Pan)

Described as the “only man Long John Silver ever feared”, this pirate is obsessed with two things: “good form” and making Peter Pan and his Lost Boys walk the plank. With a menacing hook replacing the hand that Peter Pan cut off and fed to a crocodile, Hook terrorises the people of Neverland.