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I’m In Love With…. Villains!

It’s Villains and Anti-Heroes Week here at Le Sweet Rocket! In celebration of the best villains and anti-heroes romance has to offer, here’s a kick-off post featuring some of my very favorite villains!

Sometimes the villain’s the best part of the story. Or at least, in these cases, the hottest part! Here are a few villains I just love…

Orson Welles as the dastardly romantic Charles Rankin in The Stranger!

Dana Andrews menaces Ruth Warrick in Daisy Kenyon!

Richard Armitage (featuring that rarest of creatures, the attractive mullet) as the wretchedly sexy Guy of Gisbourne in BBC’s “Robin Hood”!

Basil Rathbone as, oh, just about any Basil Rathbone character!

Hot villains often make reappearances as reformed heroes/anti-heroes in romance novels. Some romance anti-heroes/reformed villains of note:

Conner Winslow from Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree

Freddie Sullivan from Mary Balogh’s Dancing With Clara

Lord St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’ It Happened One Autumn/Devil in Winter

Almost all of Anne Stuart’s heroes

Almost all of Victoria Holt’s heroes


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I’m In Love With: Richard Armitage as John Thornton in “North and South”

I watched the BBC production of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South the other day. John Thornton, or, rather, Richard Armitage as John Thornton, is my new favorite romantic hero. Look at him — just look at him!

To give my ravings some context, here’s the AllMovie.com entry for North and South:

A privileged middle-class girl raised in [Victorian] rural southern England gets a rude awakening to the world when a family move forces her to contend with the unseemly inhabitants of a northern mill town in director Brian Percival’s adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s timeless love story. Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) is the daughter of a middle-class parson and a girl accustomed to decidedly refined company. When her family is uprooted and forced to move to the northern mill town of Milton, the prim and proper country girl is notably contemptuous of her new working class neighbors – and especially of charismatic mill owner John Thornton (Richard Armitage).

This mini-series is also the very rare occasion when one can say that the movie is better than the book. Elizabeth Gaskell’s books are notoriously overwrought, and North and South is a good example of why Gaskell’s reputation has foundered while Charles Dickens’ has remained on solid ground — Gaskell  is much less readable.

Also, there’s no pictures of Richard Armitage in the book, nor is he speaking John Thornton’s lines, so there’s that to be overcome.