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Sherlock VS Moriarty

 

Moriarty is one of the most iconic and famous villains in the whole of literature. He is so iconic, that you do not even really need any background knowledge of Sherlock Holmes to know the character Professor James Moriarty. This man is just as smart and devious as Sherlock himself, if not even more so, because of the mean criminal streak that comes with this cunning and dastardly character that Holmes – being the hero – would not process. Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty are possibly two of the greatest enemies of all time, but like with Batman and The Joker, they are the yin and yang of each other, and must co-exist.

This is not where the similarities end either. Moriarty – much like The Joker – is evil and very egotistic, and wants to surpass his particular antithesis, even if it means nearly failing at their well prepared scheme. Both Sherlock and Moriarty have borderline mental conditions; one uses his for good however, and the other for evil. The motivation behind what Moriarty does to Sherlock seems to be a whole lot of bravado and a colossal game of one-up-man-ship. Sherlock displays signs of this also, but virtually always figures out Moriarty’s scheme and topples it to emerge the victorious hero. Sherlock is not without his own issues, however; he can act reckless and on occasion let bravado get the best of him, whereby he does not turn Moriarty over to the police or kill him when he has the chance.

Of course, like with many examples of exemplary literature, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and been integrated into other more main stream media such as the cinema, with the Sherlock films starring Robert Downey Jr or the critical acclaimed BBC 1 drama series written by Stephen Moffat called Sherlock. Both forms of media paint a very different Moriarty to what the books have portrayed him as, but in doing so they have been crafty in creating some equally devilish version of this much loved villain. The movie version does not give a great deal of depth to the character unfortunately, however, he is portrayed fiendish and twisted like he should be. The reason for this lack of depth in my view is that Moriarty in this version has only been in the one film ‘Sherlock Holmes – A game of shadows’, so there has not been a whole lot of time to let us the audience to get a feel for the character. This is completely different on the television side of things where I feel that the character has been made Moffat’s own reinvention of this great character. This portrayal is very twisted and sick and you can tell by watching the character that there are a lot of personality defects and this guy comes off as plain creepy.

In the ‘Final Problem’, it all comes to an end for Sherlock and Moriarty when they both ‘die’ falling off a cliff, which I find is an ironic death because they are such genius’ yet it’s something uncontrolled like mother nature that kills them; such a brutal death for two such clever men must have seemed somewhat anti-climactic when this story was first published.

Voldemort – A sociopathic-narcissist

Voldemort is an iconic villain in the Harry Potter fiction books, released originally as children’s books but have crossed into adult fiction. This has to be part way because of this antagonist, Voldemort, and of how sick and twisted he is. We the readers become aware of this almost immediately when we discover that he is a renowned killer; the most notable murder being that of the protagonist’s (Harry Potter) parents right in front of the boy’s eyes when he was a baby. He also tried to murder Harry Potter as well, but because of Harry’s mother this did not happen. Voldemort’s re-rise to power has been displayed throughout 7 books; the first time we ever actually see him he does not even have his own body, but is leeching life off another, Professor Quirell, and from this first appearance and seemingly humble beginning for the reader, we watch this character evolve into the most evil wizard of all time. The villain has such a huge influence, that he even leads his own cultish army – the ‘Death Eaters’ – who will do his bidding and whatever is asked of them.

The hardest thing to think about with this character is motivation because it is not explicit in the books. Some people might argue that he has no motivation, and is just a character for Harry to fight against. I feel, however, that if you look at the story, you can definitely find motivation. It is obvious to the reader that not only does he want to kill Harry Potter, but other wizards who do not want to follow his dark orders and are not ‘Death Eaters’, along with non-wizards (Muggles) too, denoting no discrimination. Voldemort himself had a terrible childhood, which could explain some of the sociopathic behaviour and the narcissism he seems to suffer from, for example he calls himself ‘Lord Voldemort’ which is self-inferred as he is not actually a lord. I briefly mentioned his cult like followers earlier: the ‘Death Eaters’. One major character, Draco Malfoy, joins the ranks of this cult and takes it upon himself to attempt to kill Dumbledore, the headmaster of ‘Hogwarts’. This shows that Voldemort will take anyone under his wing and his influence will cause someone as young as Draco to be driven to kill one of the most important wizards of all time. Bellatrix Lastrange, one of Voldemort’s longest running ‘Death Eaters’ also caused another major character’s parents’ to suffer an awful fate; so it could be said that Voldemort is like a type of propaganda machine for getting his ‘Death Eaters’ to do all his evil bidding. So Voldemort as a sociopath, narcissist, and a figure with as much power and fearful influence as propaganda is why I feel Voldemort does have motivation and is a truly iconic villain. All of his actions could plausibly be to please his own mental illnesses and possible issues of inner turmoil; you just have to look at the character as a whole in a wider context, not just judge based upon face value.

The Joker

 

 

There will be spoilers in this Blog, just warning you!

 

The Joker – you might scoff as you see that I have included in him a blog about literary villains. But scoff not. I will explain why The Joker has as much right as Heathcliff or Moriarty to be included in this blog. The Graphic novel or comic is still or should be a part of the literary canon, well not all comics, but Batman especially has some amazing comics/graphic novels. The stories are fantastically diverse and the character development is brilliant, I would even argue better than some of the classics. Because of the length of the books themselves they are very easy to read rather than wading through a so called classic that is like 800 hundred pages whereby 20 of them is just about setting one scene; you get straight into the action. Yes, some implied knowledge of the characters is required, but who does not know who Batman or arguably the most famous villain of all time next to Darth Vader: The Joker.

The Joker is the villain I am going to explore because you can never truly know him or the way his mind works just through reading. Yes, he is mental, but is he really mental or is he a genius? I would argue that as mad as he is, he is also clever. This guy is also seriously twisted, going as far in what is probably Batman’s greatest graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’. For example, he paralyses Barbara Gordon by shooting her in the base of the spine before stripping her and taking photos of her naked body on a Polaroid camera. The Joker then captures Commissioner Gordon himself and once again strips him and locks him a cage. Before I carry on, I think the stripping is a way of causing humiliation whilst torture additionally takes place. But to add horror to the already disturbing situation, The Joker gives Gordon the photos of his naked daughter – Barbara. This is the true evil and madness of The Joker, he is so very sick but also a genius; it is the perfect way to completely destroy Gordon’s psyche.

Of course, with any superhero-genre literature the hero saves the day. Although Batman knows he should kill The Joker, he cannot bring himself to do it however. Like in the case of Sherlock and Moriarty, they need their rivalry to exist; they are Ying and Yang of each other. This could be said to be demonstrated in the way that Batman wears all Black and The Joker has bleached white skin caused by an accident that caused him to go mad. His motivation seems to imply that, much like his sociopathic / psychopathic brain, he wants the world around him to be in chaos; by causing destruction it must sooth him to see the world and its inhabitants in a similar state to his own being. All of the Batman villains seem to have a mental illness and through some of the villains this is portrayed very well, especially through The Joker, who seems like he might legitimately have ever mental illness.