May You Not Live Happily Ever After in These Disney Villain Costumes

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If you think Disney is a company that specializes in cheesy movies, family friendly fairy tales, and everyone living happily ever after, then you’ve never come across these guys. Yes, dismiss Disney all you want as entertainment that reeks with a saccharine sweetness aimed to children. However, mark my words, we have to come to terms that these Disney bad guys are anything but saccharine and barely meet the decency guidelines in what can be considered children’s entertainment. In fact, for a company known to make Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh cartoons, Disney has managed to come up with some really sinister villains who have done their share of damage for the protagonists or their loved ones. And some of them have been seen among the greatest villains of all time. Some of them have even got their own songs. But even at their most evil, a lot of them attract fans since they tend to seem quite interesting, cool, and entertaining. And Disney has taken notice. However, since these are Disney movies, don’t expect them to live happily ever after or at least get what they want in the end. In fact, expect some of them getting killed through falling down from somewhere. Or worse. Though they will be missed to an extent.

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Since Disney villains have their share of fans, it’s not unusual to see some of them dressed as their favorite Disney baddie. Of course, for some villains like Maleficent and Gaston, since Maleficent is an attractive sorceress who has way more lines and screentime than Aurora while Gaston, well, is so full of himself that it’s funny and even has an excellent song about how great he is. Hades and Ursula may be bad but they both have really great personalities. Ratigan and Scar are voiced by the talents of Vincent Price and Jeremy Irons respectively and both have really great songs. Also, Captain Hook and Jafar really know how to dress. Then there are others who have fans that make your scratch your head over like Hans and Frollo since Hans managed to get Anna to fall for him only to stab her in the back while Frollo thinks he’s a virtuous man of God when he’s really a complete self-righteous hypocrite who is abusive toward Quasimodo whose mother he killed and sees him as an abomination, tries to burn an entire city because Esmeralda refuses to sleep with him, goes after Captain Phoebus for disobeying an order that goes against his principles (like burning an innocent miller and his family for hiding gypsies), throws down the Archdeacon for standing in his way, and using his personally twisted theology to justify his actions. Nevertheless, I bring you a treasure trove of people dressed as the bad guys from Disney.

 

  1. In Wonderland, it would be wise not to piss off the Queen of Hearts.
Because the Queen of Hearts tends to say, "Off with their heads!" which whenever someone makes her angry. And she tends to get irritated by the slightest upset.

Because the Queen of Hearts tends to say, “Off with their heads!” which whenever someone makes her angry. And she tends to get irritated by the slightest upset.

2. As the Sultan’s Vizier, Jafar uses his cobra staff to hypnotize his boss.

I'd love to see Jafar going through airport security. Bet he'll use his staff to hypnotize TSA agents.

I’d love to see Jafar going through airport security. Bet he’ll use his staff to hypnotize TSA agents.

3. Yzma always takes great pains to look glamorous.

It's widely said that Yzma has a secret lab. Don't tell anybody I said that.

It’s widely said that Yzma has a secret lab. Don’t tell anybody I said that.

4. Cruella De Vil is an absolute slave to fashion that she’ll risk animal cruelty for a fur coat.

Well, this is a 101 Dalmatians family. Still, I feel for the little puppies in this picture.

Well, this is a 101 Dalmatians family. Still, I feel for the little puppies in this picture.

5. Didn’t know that Yzma and Syndrome were an item.

Well, Syndrome is the villain from The Incredibles who started out as a crazed fan. As for Yzma, well, she's a sorceress from the Emperor's New Groove who turned her boss into an alpaca.

Well, Syndrome is the villain from The Incredibles who started out as a crazed fan. As for Yzma, well, she’s a sorceress from the Emperor’s New Groove who turned her boss into an alpaca.

6. Sometimes wickedness has a tendency to run in the family.

Well, to some extent. Still, you might not want to mess with this bunch if you can avoid them.

Well, to some extent. Still, you might not want to mess with this bunch if you can avoid them.

7. It would be wise to invite this little Maleficent to your party.

Because if you don't, she might put a curse on somebody's baby. Yeah, she doesn't take being rejected very well.

Because if you don’t, she might put a curse on somebody’s baby. Yeah, she doesn’t take being rejected very well.

8. As a sea witch, Ursula always tries to look her best.

And this Ursula seems quite pretty compared to what she looked like in the movie. Still, the sea witch can be captivating in her own way.

And this Ursula seems quite pretty compared to what she looked like in the movie. Still, the sea witch can be captivating in her own way.

9. A little evil queen like her always desires to be the fairest one of all.

Then again, I bet she relies on a magic mirror to boost her ego. But if the mirror doesn't do his job, oooh boy.

Then again, I bet she relies on a magic mirror to boost her ego. But if the mirror doesn’t do his job, oooh boy.

10. As we know, Gaston is quite a guy.

However, you have to wonder why he just get over Belle. Because I'm sure there are plenty of women in his village who'd want him.

However, you have to wonder why he just get over Belle. Because I’m sure there are plenty of women in his village who’d want him.

11. As Gaston’s toady, LeFou always knows how to cheer him up.

By getting a local bar to sing a song about how great he is. Because no one does it like Gaston.

By getting a local bar to sing a song about how great he is. Because no one does it like Gaston.

12. Cruella De Vil can always keep up her appearances.

However, not sure about seeing her with a Dalmatian and in a coat like this. Makes me wonder.

However, not sure about seeing her with a Dalmatian and in a coat like this. Makes me wonder.

13. Someone should tell Captain Hook to avoid crocodile infested waters.

I know I've tried to avoid putting Peter Pan on my Disney posts. But Captain Hook is such an iconic Disney villain that I've made this article an exception.

I know I’ve tried to avoid putting Peter Pan on my Disney posts. But Captain Hook is such an iconic Disney villain that I’ve made this article an exception.

14. Only Maleficent can look this good in green skin and horns.

She can also turn into a dragon if she feels the need. However, she ends up getting disembowled by Prince Philip in the process.

She can also turn into a dragon if she feels the need. However, she ends up getting disemboweled by Prince Philip in the process.

15. Sometimes it’s always the bad girls who look glamorous in Disney.

Well, as far as these costumes are concerned. But I wouldn't call Ursula, Cruella, and the Queen of Hearts as attractive in their movies.

Well, as far as these costumes are concerned. But I wouldn’t refer Ursula, Cruella, and the Queen of Hearts as attractive in their movies.

16. As Mufasa’s brother, Scar always aspired to be king of the Pride lands.

Yet, for some reason Mufasa didn't suspect that Scar would stab him in the back. Well, until it was too late when Scar threw him off a cliff.

Yet, for some reason Mufasa didn’t suspect that Scar would stab him in the back. Well, until it was too late when Scar threw him off a cliff.

17. Seems like Cruella and a henchman caught at least one puppy.

However, one pup isn't going to be enough for her. She has to have 99 of them for a coat her size.

However, one pup isn’t going to be enough for her. She has to have 99 of them for a coat her size.

18. Sorry, Ariel, but Eric is Vanessa’s prince once and for all.

Oh, and "Vanessa" is Ursula by the way. And she's deliberately trying to spoil your chances with Eric so she can usurp your dad.

Oh, and “Vanessa” is Ursula by the way. And she’s deliberately trying to spoil your chances with Eric so she can usurp your dad.

19. With Triton’s crown and trident, Ursula is unstoppable.

As long as Eric's not around to impale her with a sunken ship. Because that's how she meets her end.

As long as Eric’s not around to impale her with a sunken ship. Because that’s how she meets her end.

20. Please don’t take an apple from this evil queen.

Because it's laced with poison that could only be revived through an act of sexual assault. Yeah, magic potions and spells are funny that way.

Because it’s laced with poison that could only be revived through an act of sexual assault. Yeah, magic potions and spells are funny that way.

21. With her staff and her trusty raven Diablo, Maleficent is a formidable Mistress of All Evil.

Sure she may attractive in black and purple. But she's the green skin woman who people like Captain Kirk should avoid.

Sure she may attractive in black and purple. But she’s the green skin woman who people like Captain Kirk should avoid.

22. There is no tot as manly as baby Gaston.

No one poops like Gaston or give big toots like Gaston. No one goes stomping around wearing boots like Gaston. I bet little guy will use antlers in all of his decorating.

No one poops like Gaston or give big toots like Gaston. No one goes stomping around being so cute like Gaston. I bet little guy will use antlers in all of his decorating.

23. Cruella De Vil is always clad in black, white, and red all over.

Like how she's carrying a red handbag with her costume. And she's wearing leopard prints, too. So creative.

Like how she’s carrying a red handbag with her costume. And she’s wearing leopard prints, too. So creative.

24. At Agrabah, Jafar wishes to have Jasmine in his clutches.

Mostly because marrying her gives him a way to legitimate his power. Other than that, he doesn't care what she thinks.

Mostly because marrying her gives him a way to legitimate his power. Other than that, he doesn’t care what she thinks.

25. Apparently, this little Maleficent isn’t pleased.

Let's hope she doesn't have your teenage daughter pass out after touching a glowing spinning wheel. Yes, this is one mean witch you don't want to cross.

Let’s hope she doesn’t have your teenage daughter pass out after touching a glowing spinning wheel. Yes, this is one mean witch you don’t want to cross.

26. “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

"And if it's anyone other than me, I'll kill em.'" Look, Queen, maybe you get rid of that mirror, and be the fairest one of all in your own life. Seriously, do you think you can solve your problems by killing Snow White? No.

“And if it’s anyone other than me, I’ll kill em.'” Look, Queen, maybe you get rid of that mirror, and be the fairest one of all in your own life. Seriously, do you think you can solve your problems by killing Snow White? No.

27. Ursula never underestimates the importance of “body language.”

I know some said that Ariel should've known better than to sign a contract with Ursula. However, Ursula clearly didn't hold her end of the bargain and did everything she could so Ariel wouldn't succeed with Eric. Oh, and she used Ariel's voice to hypnotize Eric, too.

I know some said that Ariel should’ve known better than to sign a contract with Ursula. However, Ursula clearly didn’t hold her end of the bargain and did everything she could so Ariel wouldn’t succeed with Eric. Oh, and she used Ariel’s voice to hypnotize Eric, too.

28. Introducing Maleficent in her armored glory.

I don't think Maleficent needs an outfit like that as Mistress of All Evil. She's pretty badass in her traditional get up already.

I don’t think Maleficent needs an outfit like that as Mistress of All Evil. She’s pretty badass in her traditional get up already.

29. I wouldn’t look right into Jafar’s staff if I were you.

Because that's how he hypnotizes the Sultan. However, before the Genie, his powers can only go so far.

Because that’s how he hypnotizes the Sultan. However, before the Genie, his powers can only go so far.

30. “Do you play croquet?”

And yes, they play with hedgehogs and flamingos in Wonderland. Animal rights people, if you see anything wrong with it, shut up in her presence if you want to live.

And yes, they play with hedgehogs and flamingos in Wonderland. Animal rights people, if you see anything wrong with it, shut up in her presence if you want to live.

31. “And now that I’m grown, I eat 5 dozen eggs so I’m roughly the size of a barge.”

And that if Gaston wasn't killed by the fall in Beauty and the Beast, heart problems would've gotten the better of him. Seriously, that's not healthy.

And that if Gaston wasn’t killed by the fall in Beauty and the Beast, heart problems would’ve gotten the better of him. Seriously, that’s not healthy.

32. Judge Claude Frollo always sees the world engulfed in hellfire and sin.

However, Frollo is a self-righteous hypocrite who never admits that he's in the wrong. And despite being "justly proud" of his "godly virtue," he's willing to burn a city because some gypsy girl won't sleep with him.

However, Frollo is a self-righteous hypocrite who never admits that he’s in the wrong. And despite being “justly proud” of his “godly virtue,” he’s willing to burn a city because some gypsy girl won’t sleep with him.

33. For Mother Gothel, mother always knows best when it comes to Rapunzel.

And she's basically keeping Rapunzel in a tower because her hair has healing powers and could make her look young. But yes, Gothel is really nasty.

And she’s basically keeping Rapunzel in a tower because her hair has healing powers and could make her look young. But yes, Gothel is really nasty.

34. On Villains Vogue is Cruella De Vil.

And she sure knows how to dress. Wonder how many dogs had to die for that fur coat she's wearing.

And she sure knows how to dress. Wonder how many dogs had to die for that fur coat she’s wearing.

35. Stinky Pete the Prospector from Woody’s Round Up has never been removed from the box.

Well, until he got himself out of it, of course. He's quite manipulative and does everything to make sure Woody never returns to Andy. Then again, he has no idea what it's like to be loved as a toy.

Well, until he got himself out of it, of course. He’s quite manipulative and does everything to make sure Woody never returns to Andy. Then again, he has no idea what it’s like to be loved as a toy.

36. Ursula is always willing to lend a hand for some “poor unfortunate souls.”

Well, for a fee anyway. Still, if you don't keep your end, well, you'll just end up in her polyp garden.

Well, for a fee anyway. Still, if you don’t keep your end, well, you’ll just end up in her polyp garden.

37. A queen always looks regal in purple.

However, an evil queen is never satisfied unless she's fairest one of all. And she's willing to resort to putting an ugly disguise and poisoning her stepdaughter to have that.

However, an evil queen is never satisfied unless she’s fairest one of all. And she’s willing to resort to putting an ugly disguise and poisoning her stepdaughter to have that.

38. In Neverland Captain Hook wants Peter Pan dead.

However, if some kid sliced your hand off and fed it to crocodiles, you'd be angry, too. So you can't really blame Captain Hook for going after the guy.

However, if some kid sliced your hand off and fed it to crocodiles, you’d be angry, too. So you can’t really blame Captain Hook for going after the guy.

39. If Cruella De Vil doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.

Well, this woman's Cruella coat is almost spot on. And it has a red lining to go with it.

Well, this woman’s Cruella coat is almost spot on. And it has a red lining to go with it.

40. This little Ursula is a real sea monster.

And despite her demeanor, Ursula is really not to be trusted since she only cares about herself. Still, I think this costume is adorable.

And despite her demeanor, Ursula is really not to be trusted since she only cares about herself. Still, I think this costume is adorable.

41. Guess this little girl can be a bit Cruella so to speak.

And she doesn't look happy either. Though to be fair, Cruella isn't a happy person, at least towards the end.

And she doesn’t look happy either. Though to be fair, Cruella isn’t a happy person, at least towards the end.

42. As god of the Underworld, Hades is lord of the dead.

Yet, in Greek mythology he's not a bad guy. And in the Hercules legend, all he does is tell Herc not to harm Cerberus and bring him back when he's done. And Herc did.

Yet, in Greek mythology he’s not a bad guy. And in the Hercules legend, all he does is tell Herc not to harm Cerberus and bring him back when he’s done. And Herc did.

43. There must be some gathering of Disney villains here someplace.

Yes, you see a lot of your favorite Disney baddies. That guy in the hunting outfit is from Bambi, by the way. He shoots Bambi's mom.

Yes, you see a lot of your favorite Disney baddies. That guy in the hunting outfit is from Bambi, by the way. He shoots Bambi’s mom.

44. Didn’t know Deadpool was a fan of Disney villains.

Yet, here we have a Deadpool Jafar and Maleficent. Wonder what side these two are on.

Yet, here we have a Deadpool Jafar and Maleficent. Wonder what side these two are on.

45. Guess Aurora is now what you call a “sleeping beauty.”

Because Maleficent had to put a curse on her since she wasn't invited to her christening. Now on to capturing Prince Philip.

Because Maleficent had to put a curse on her since she wasn’t invited to her christening. Now on to capturing Prince Philip.

46. Ursula can be quite a looker in her human form.

But she hypnotizes and seduces Eric with Ariel's voice in her shell necklace. Thankfully the sea creatures intervened before she could marry him.

But she hypnotizes and seduces Eric with Ariel’s voice in her shell necklace. Thankfully the sea creatures intervened before she could marry him.

47. Mother Gothel will do almost anything to retain her youthful appearance.

After all, how else can she retain a body like this without Rapunzel's hair? So that's why she kept the girl in a faraway tower.

After all, how else can she retain a body like this without Rapunzel’s hair? So that’s why she kept the girl in a faraway tower.

48. Maleficent may be a bad girl but she’ll never back down.

Besides, she can be quite cool since she almost won part way through. If she had Philip killed and had the Good Fairies turned to stone, she would've been victorious.

Besides, she can be quite cool since she almost won part way through. If she had Philip killed and had the Good Fairies turned to stone, she would’ve been victorious.

49. For a Pre-Columbian priestess, Yzma always decks herself in feathers.

May not be over the top, but it's quite clever. Even if this costume is mostly made from tulle.

May not be over the top, but it’s quite clever. Even if this costume is mostly made from tulle.

50. Which will it be poison apple or heart in a box?

And both will be used on Snow White, her stepdaughter. The Evil Queen can be quite nasty as you see.

And both will be used on Snow White, her stepdaughter. The Evil Queen can be quite nasty as you see.

51. Man, does Stinky Pete have a big pick.

Wonder if it helped him get out of that box. Still, despite his grandfatherly exterior, Stinky Pete isn't a nice guy or he wouldn't be on here.

Wonder if it helped him get out of that box. Still, despite his grandfatherly exterior, Stinky Pete isn’t a nice guy or he wouldn’t be on here.

52. Dr. Facilier is a witch doctor you might want to avoid in New Orleans.

Yes, turn Naveen into a frog and have his servant take the form of the prince. Wonder what can go wrong there.

Yes, turn Naveen into a frog and have his servant take the form of the prince. Wonder what can go wrong there.

53. Guess the Evil Queen is insistent on offering the apple.

Guess this is a couple's costume idea with the guy as the Magic Mirror. Doesn't seem too happy here.

Guess this is a couple’s costume idea with the guy as the Magic Mirror. Doesn’t seem too happy here. But does he ever? No.

54. Lady Tremaine is a social climbing fiend who really hates her stepdaughter.

Of course, her own daughters aren't lookers themselves. Also, I have no idea why she doesn't use Cinderella to further her interests. I mean I'd do the same if I were her.

Of course, her own daughters aren’t lookers themselves. Also, I have no idea why she doesn’t use Cinderella to further her interests. I mean I’d do the same if I were her.

55. It’s always hard to imagine Yzma without her Kronk.

I guess her henchmen position had few takers. Because Kronk is a complete tool. Funny, but a tool.

I guess her henchmen position had few takers. Because Kronk is a complete tool. Funny, but a tool.

56. For Captain Hook, Smee is his right hand man.

As you can see, Disney henchmen mostly tend to be idiots. Smee is no exception but he's not a mean guy though.

As you can see, Disney henchmen mostly tend to be idiots. Smee is no exception but he’s not a mean guy though.

57. Madam Mim is said to be a rather powerful sorceress.

She's from the Sword and the Stone which is about King Arthur. She doesn't have a lot of screentime but she tends to be rather popular.

She’s from the Sword and the Stone which is about King Arthur. She doesn’t have a lot of screentime but she tends to be rather popular.

58. A Queen of Hearts always has to have her robes lined with furs.

And here she is with a flamingo as a croquet mallet. Don't piss her off. Really, if you value your life, just don't.

And here she is with a flamingo as a croquet mallet. Don’t piss her off. Really, if you value your life, just don’t.

59. In some Disney families, it’s good to be bad.

Here we have Jafar, Curella, Maleficent, and Syndrome. And yes, everyone in the clan looks very evil.

Here we have Jafar, Curella, Maleficent, and Syndrome. And yes, everyone in the clan looks very evil.

60. Cruella De Vil always has to look stylish in furs.

Notice how she dresses in black, white and red? But at least in this one she's wearing a big hat.

Notice how she dresses in black, white and red? But at least in this one she’s wearing a big hat.

61. When hungry, avoid women like her.

Because her apples are poison. Also, she's the Evil Queen in disguise by the way.

Because her apples are poison. Also, she’s the Evil Queen in disguise by the way.

62. Apparently, Kronk and Yzma seem to have a good time.

In movie the Emperor's New Groove, this isn't the case. Because Yzma is always mad at Kronk being an idiot, which is good comedy.

In movie the Emperor’s New Groove, this isn’t the case. Because Yzma is always mad at Kronk being an idiot, which is good comedy.

63. Lady Tremaine always tried to get her daughters to marry well.

Unfortunately, her girls don't fare well in the looks department. Though that may not matter much.

Unfortunately, her girls don’t fare well in the looks department. Though that may not matter much.

64. Looks like little Cruella has found at least one of the puppies.

And it seems like this little puppy is crying. Then again, you would, too, if you were near her. Still, this is perfect.

And it seems like this little puppy is crying. Then again, you would, too, if you were near her. Still, this is perfect.

65. So Gothel, Jafar, and Ursula walk into a bar.

And they seem to get along together. Then again, Gothel isn't over dominating the world. But Jafar and Ursula, I'm not sure.

And they seem to get along together. Then again, Gothel isn’t hot with dominating the world. But Jafar and Ursula, I’m not sure.

66. Seems like Snow White is in a lot of trouble here.

Because this one has the Evil Queen and her hag disguise. And she's offering a poison apple, too.

Because this one has the Evil Queen and her hag disguise. And she’s offering a poison apple, too.

67. Jafar might want to watch his back if he’s smart.

Because Aladdin is wielding a sword at him for good reason. Perhaps he should try to aim for his pride.

Because Aladdin is wielding a sword at him for good reason. Perhaps he should try to aim for his pride.

68. Even the notorious Cruella De Vil had to start out small.

Yes, I know Cruella isn't nice, especially to animals. But this costume is so cute.

Yes, I know Cruella isn’t nice, especially to animals. But this costume is so cute.

69. Looks like the Disney villains are having a poker night.

Then again, they might be scheming against each other. Or maybe not. I can't tell.

Then again, they might be scheming against each other. Or maybe not. I can’t tell.

70. Mother Gothel never leaves home without her cape.

However, she always makes sure Rapunzel never leaves the tower. Ever. Because she's really intent on staying young.

However, she always makes sure Rapunzel never leaves the tower. Ever. Because she’s really intent on staying young.

71. Claude Frollo always sees himself as a righteous man.

However, he's not because he abuses Quasimodo and lusts after Esmeralda that he makes life miserable for everybody when she rejects him. He's a real nasty piece of work.

However, he’s not because he abuses Quasimodo and lusts after Esmeralda that he makes life miserable for everybody when she rejects him. He’s a real nasty piece of work.

72. No, Cruella, I don’t think your dog wants a fur coat.

Then again, it's probably part of the outfit. You have to give kudos to creativity to say the least.

Then again, it’s probably part of the outfit. You have to give kudos to creativity to say the least.

73. “Off with their heads!”

Now there's a woman you really don't want on your bad side. Unfortunately for you, it's very easy to get there.

Now there’s a woman you really don’t want on your bad side. Unfortunately for you, it’s very easy to get there.

74. Sometimes Gaston likes to show off now and then.

However, I have strong doubts Belle would be impressed. Because she rejected him multiple times.

However, I have strong doubts Belle would be impressed. Because she rejected him multiple times.

75. Oh, dear, Mother Gothel has a knife.

Guess she found out that Rapunzel left the tower and skipped out. That can't be good.

Guess she found out that Rapunzel left the tower and skipped out. That can’t be good.

76. No I don’t think Elsa would get skimpy for Prince Hans.

Because Hans is the bad guy in Frozen and he's no Han Solo. I mean he tried to take over her kingdom. What don't you understand?

Because Hans is the bad guy in Frozen and he’s no Han Solo. I mean he tried to take over her kingdom. What don’t you understand?

77. Don’t tell me that Cruella already skinned some of the puppies.

Okay, this is kind of sick. Seriously, this is demented. But pretty creative since you don't see costumes like that.

Okay, this is kind of sick. Seriously, this is demented. But pretty creative since you don’t see costumes like that.

78. Didn’t know that was Sid all grown up as a garbage man.

Okay, he's not a villain at this point. But some of the things he did in the first Toy Story really freaked the toys out. I mean really.

Okay, he’s not a villain at this point. But some of the things he did in the first Toy Story really freaked the toys out. I mean really.

79. Introducing Maleficent and the Evil Queen, steampunk style.

Yes, these bad girls are dressed like they're from the 19th century. Doesn't make them less menacing though.

Yes, these bad girls are dressed like they’re from the 19th century. Doesn’t make them less menacing though.

80. Prince Hans is a man from the Southern Isles.

And he wants to rule a kingdom but being the youngest of 12 brothers, he doesn't have a chance. Unless he marries Anna and takes over Arendale. Then again, maybe he should've just given up his power trip and find himself a hobby.

And he wants to rule a kingdom but being the youngest of 12 brothers, he doesn’t have a chance. Unless he marries Anna and takes over Arendale. Then again, maybe he should’ve just given up his power trip and find himself a hobby.

81. Here we have Yzma and Kronk in the secret lab.

Actually it's a "secret lab" that everyone knows about. And let's just say, it doesn't go all well to Yzma's plan.

Actually it’s a “secret lab” that everyone knows about. And let’s just say, it doesn’t go all well to Yzma’s plan.

82. Ursula is always accompanied by her eels Flotsam and Jetsam.

Basically the only two creatures Ursula cares about or mourns for. As for everyone else, well, they're either a pawn or an enemy.

Basically the only two creatures Ursula cares about or mourns for. As for everyone else, well, they’re either a pawn or an enemy.

83. The Queen of Hears would like some tarts after a game of croquet.

Now I like the use of the garden flamingo in this as a mallet. I think think it's ingenious.

Now I like the use of the garden flamingo in this as a mallet. I think think it’s ingenious.

84. Here Vanessa takes a stroll on the beach at night.

I guess that's where she'll get Eric to dump Ariel so she could get back at Triton. Yes, this is Ursula as you see.

I guess that’s where she’ll get Eric to dump Ariel so she could get back at Triton. Yes, this is Ursula as you see.

85. Looks like Hades is enjoying himself after all.

And is that Persephone? Then again, probably not. Still, that's a pretty good costume of Hades.

And is that Persephone? Then again, probably not. Still, that’s a pretty good costume of Hades.

86. Sorry, Vanessa, but you’re not fooling anyone.

I know that's a painting instead of a mirror. But it kind of illustrates the point if you don't get me wrong.

I know that’s a painting instead of a mirror. But it kind of illustrates the point if you don’t get me wrong.

87. “Choose me or the fire.”

Okay, that's kind of a disturbing cosplay. But then again, Frollo is a really disturbing guy who really needs to admit that something's wrong with him.

Okay, that’s kind of a disturbing cosplay. But then again, Frollo is a really disturbing guy who really needs to admit that something’s wrong with him.

88. Oh, dear, Ursula is about to stab Flounder.

And she's going at him with a fork. Disturbing, but appropriate.

And she’s going at him with a fork. Disturbing, but appropriate.

89. Where would Yzma be if she didn’t have her gigantic plume?

Well, the plume was much bigger in the movie. Yet, this one is made from construction paper. Obviously.

Well, the plume was much bigger in the movie. Yet, this one is made from construction paper. Obviously.

90. Who knew that Maleficent could look so pretty in purple?

Sure she may be the Mistress of All Evil. But even you have to admit that this is adorable.

Sure she may be the Mistress of All Evil. But even you have to admit that this is adorable.

91. Apparently, Ursula is not amused.

Then again, a tutu skirt would be perfect for Ursula. Because she is part octopus as we know.

Then again, a tutu skirt would be perfect for Ursula. Because she is part octopus as we know.

92. Relax, Hades is cool, at the moment.

Well, here he is with a skull. Poor Hades. All he wants is to take over Mount Olympus because his job as ruler of the Underworld sucks.

Well, here he is with a skull. Poor Hades. All he wants is to take over Mount Olympus because his job as ruler of the Underworld sucks.

93. Yes, Cruella’s hair isn’t always a consistent color.

But you have to admit, the woman really loves her furs. And her fashion.

But you have to admit, the woman really loves her furs. And her fashion.

94. Maleficent is just out to get some fresh air.

Well, maybe she's trying to look for Aurora. However, I don't think she's up to any good at this point.

Well, maybe she’s trying to look for Aurora. However, I don’t think she’s up to any good at this point.

95. Want to share with Hades?

Okay, that cup is filled with gummi worms for flames. But still, don't touch his awesome blue hair.

Okay, that cup is filled with gummi worms for flames. But still, don’t touch his awesome blue hair.

96. Of course, this little sea witch hasn’t been in a good mood lately.

What's the matter? King Triton won't let you borrow his trident? Oh, there, there.

What’s the matter? King Triton won’t let you borrow his trident? Oh, there, there.

97. As Governor of Jamestown, John Ratcliffe believes that riches are found below.

Unfortunately, he was completely wrong about the gold. So he blamed the Indians and tried to attack them. What a prick. But nice pigtails.

Unfortunately, he was completely wrong about the gold. So he blamed the Indians and tried to attack them. What a prick. But nice pigtails.

98. Somehow, Hades seems to approve for some reason.

Well, he's giving a thumbs up. Still, you have to admit, he's pretty funny in Disney's Hercules if you ask me.

Well, he’s giving a thumbs up. Still, you have to admit, he’s pretty funny in Disney’s Hercules if you ask me.

99. Here we have the Horned King getting chummy with Marvel’s Doctor Doom.

The Horned King is a villain from the Black Cauldron that was made in the 1970s. He wants to use the cauldron to make a zombie army. That's all I know.

The Horned King is a villain from the Black Cauldron that was made in the 1970s. He wants to use the cauldron to make a zombie army. That’s all I know.

100. Yes, Frollo just stand pretty with your hands folded.

Sure Frollo has a cool outfit. But his falling off Notre Dame's roof and into molten metal. Bye, bye, Frollo. You won't be missed.

Sure Frollo has a cool outfit. But his falling off Notre Dame’s roof and into molten metal. Bye, bye, Frollo. You won’t be missed.

More Historical Villans Who May Not Have Been That Bad

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Of course, this is a continuation of my last post on how some historical figures tend to get some bad reputation for being misunderstood or not being fairly represented in mainstream history while some are too overrated for their own good. Some of them may have been bad by our standards like the Spanish Inquisition but by the standards of their time may have been just as terrible as other authorities, if not more humane. Others may have terrible reputations for being on the opposite side or for being a convenient scapegoat like Lucrezia Borgia or they were simply very unlucky rulers who got unceremoniously deposed like Richard III, thus with successors needing to justify their actions. Still, here is a list of historical villains who are probably not as bad as portrayed.

1. The Persians (especially Xerxes I)

You know them as: The bad guys from 300. Not to mention, they are the adversaries of the Greeks in any American class on the history of western civilization.

Why they might not have been that bad: If the Iranian outrage over 300 should tell you anything,  it’s that Persians have been victims of unfair historical depictions for generations and they need not be. Sure they were itching to take over Greece and help start the Persian Wars, but in those days so was everyone. Of course, the Persians just happened to amass one of the largest empires in the ancient world and somehow got their asses kicked by the Greeks and Alexander. Yes, they were warlike, but so was any power entity with an empire. However, what we can say is that they were a rather sophisticated and progressive civilization with one of the oldest religions still in existence (albeit Zoroastrianism, though with much fewer followers as well as the faith of Freddie Mercury) and a empire with a government policy of tolerance toward other cultures and religions. If you read the Old Testament, they are seen as the only group of conquerors who the Jews seemed to get along with. Even Xerxes gets better press in Esther who may start out as a dick but does get better. His dad is a nice guy in Daniel who takes the prophet in after sacking Babylon. Of course, the Persians let the Jewish people return to their homeland, ending the Babylonian captivity. Yet, Xerxes wasn’t as nearly debauched as portrayed on 300 and certainly didn’t look like a reject from Cirque d’ Soleil. Also, he was never in Greece during the whole thing. In Iran, he’s seen as a hero  and is very beloved that he’s known as “the Great.” Sure the Persians should probably have never fought the Greeks but, c’mon, they weren’t a terrible civilization.

2. King Richard II

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You know him as: The cruel, vindictive, and irresponsible king in Shakespeare’s Richard II. Said to have suffered from mental illness and rule as a tyrannical absolute monarch but an incompetent one and a failure.

Why he may not have been that bad: Richard II is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and unlucky monarchs in history who gets his reputation because he was overthrown and possibly by people who didn’t like him. Also, his fall from power began the Wars of the Roses which put England in chaos for much of the 1400s. Though he may have seen as poster boy for medieval tyranny over several centuries after his death, modern historians have now reexamined the English monarch who probably was not as tyrannical or incompetent as previously depicted. And he may not have been mentally ill, though he did ascend the throne at the age of ten and was a rather religious man. Contemporary accounts and forensic science have said he was a smart, tall, and good looking guy and his portrait is one of the most accurate portrayals of a monarch to date. He was said to be a great patron of culture and the arts (he was great supporter of Geoffrey Chaucer). Not to mention, he tried to be a good king in the traditional medieval sense and really tried to do what was best for his country. He tried to avoid war with France so he won’t have to raise taxes on the peasantry (and the fact that a peasant’s revolt and the Hundred Years’ War was going on in his childhood, these policies seem to make perfect sense). However, what did him in was that his policies pissed off the wrong people (i.e. nobles and relatives) who wanted a war with France and though Richard knew they were a threat to his power, he didn’t do the necessary thing to stop them like a tyrant would (i. e. have them executed). Also, disinheriting and exiling his cousin Henry Bolingbroke was probably not a good idea even after his dad John of Gaunt died (who basically helped keep peace between the two). So while Henry was exiled he gathered a following of prominent nobles also fed up with him and together they overthrew Richard who later died in the Tower of London under mysterious circumstances. And he’s suffered a bad reputation ever since. So while Richard II may not have been a crazy megalomaniac he’s depicted as but his story is a good example of a decent leader pissing off the wrong people led to his terrible portrayal in the history books, especially when his successors had to go to great lengths to justify getting rid of him.

3. Ulysses S. Grant

You know him as: “The Butcher” who only won the Civil War for the Union because he had plenty of men to spare and was more willing to send his troops to their deaths, later to become a shitty president over a corrupt administration. Said to have also been a drunk.

Why he may not have been that bad: While Grant did send a lot of his soldiers to their deaths during the Civil War and wasn’t one of our better US presidents, he was a well loved figure while for much of his life since then and even after his death. Even his funeral and his tomb dedication had a great attendance turnout and for a long time was put in the same league with Washington and Lincoln. However, what does his historical reputation in is the rise of the “Lost Cause” school of history consisting of Pro-South historians who try to rationalize why a pure and civilized culture of theirs (in their eyes) succumbed to a great fall. In their minds, since Grant was largely responsible for winning the Civil War for the North, he’s the bad guy. However, while Grant’s relationship with alcohol has been debated, he certainly not a “butcher,” a terrible general, or as shitty of a president as he’s been depicted for a long time. Sure Grant may have graduated in the middle of his class at West Point and had a bad stint as as civilian before the Civil War, he was said to be a fairly good soldier and military officer who was calm under fire and a general who may have been ahead of his time. Sure he was willing to put his men in dangerous situations and knew he could replace the ones he lost, but he was good to his soldiers and they loved him. Not to mention, General Sherman was two years older than him and had spent his entire career in the military was happy to have him as his commanding officer, which is saying something. He won battles but he won them with the kind of tactics and strategy one would see from 20th century generals, which earned him a nickname of “The Butcher” but he was also known as “Unconditional Surrender” Grant for his willingness to accept Confederate surrender without exposing them to humiliation, earning respect from allies and enemies alike. Off the battlefield, he wasn’t a violent man but one who was devoted to his family and had a rather sane mind as well as a good man holding many modern views. As president Grant was elected for two terms and tried to do things like protect African American citizenship, eliminate vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, and defeat the KKK. He also tried to promote America’s image overseas and basically left office with a country more united than he was sworn in at a time when many US presidencies resulted in the opposite. Besides, most of the problems Grant faced as president had more to do with the context of his times and the political culture than anything to do with him personally. And after his presidency, he and his wife traveled the world to promote America’s image abroad and wrote his memoirs which mostly dealt with his time in the Civil War more than anything. Grant may have not have been a great president but he wasn’t the kind of general or man “Lost Cause” historians make him out to be.

4. William Tecumseh Sherman

You know him as: The general who burned down Atlanta and torched Georgia, thanks to Gone with the Wind. And just as an uncaring monster as Grant but more bloodthirsty and crazy.

Why he may not have been that bad: Sure Sherman was one of the most ruthless, vicious, and terrifying Union generals on the battlefield, but he did have a tendency to show mercy once the smoke cleared and was willing to let his defeated enemies go home without further molestation. Of course, he did torch Atlanta and brought the Civil War to Southern civilians but he believed that in order the North to win, then it was the Union’s job to make the war so terrible for the South that the Confederates would be less willing to fight and his strategy ultimately worked. Also, in the beginning of the war, Sherman was one of the few generals who guessed correctly it would last more than 90 days. Historians have said he was one of the most pragmatic Civil War generals ever and avoided many tactical mistakes and didn’t do anything unusually stupid. Not to mention, Sherman was willing to fight for his country despite suffering an earlier incident of PTSD. And like Grant, he was a seen as a father to his men. Now maybe Sherman didn’t fight like a 19th century gentleman, but he had his reasons.

5. Benedict Arnold

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You know him as: If you’re American, his name is synonymous with vile and cowardly traitor who tried selling the fort at West Point to the British.

Why he may not have been that bad: Well, as an American, I’m very much biased about him since I’ve been taught to see the guy in the same league as Judas. So, yes, I do consider him a villain. However, before he betrayed his country, Arnold started out as a capable commander for the colonists’ side during the Revolutionary War and was largely responsible for winning Saratoga since his commanding officer General Horatio Gates mostly kept himself in a tent (this guy was useless). Still, perhaps one of the reasons why he betrayed his country was that he made many powerful enemies among the upper brass and congress that he wouldn’t be eligible for promotion or additional wages for his military service he deserved (though it was due to lack of money that the government could spare). To make things worse, other officers were receiving credit for his accomplishments. Of course, it didn’t help that Arnold married a daughter of a British sympathizer. Still, he only tried to sell out West Point when Washington wouldn’t let him resign in order to evade the dishonorable consequences. Sure Arnold was a traitor, but he should’ve gotten the credit he deserved which he didn’t, which might have led to him trying to sell West Point. In other words, Arnold turned traitor because he got screwed.

6. The Vikings

You know them as: The Norse and Germanic tribesmen from Scandinavia who are brutish and bloodthirsty raiders, plunderers, and killers. Also wore horned helmets.

Why they may not be that bad: While the term “viking” may refer to a Norse pirate, the Vikings were no more savage or prone to violence than any other people at the time and had a very sophisticated culture (as were all the other Germanic tribes). Also, they were explorers, traders, and fine craftsmen in their own right. Not to mention, they bathed frequently and treated their wives better (Viking women had more rights than many of their counterparts). As for the horned helmets, they only wore them for ceremonial occasions since wearing them during raiding and battle would be highly impractical (though they did wear their weapons all the time). However, the Vikings get their bad press since many of their targets tended to be monasteries (for obvious reasons) as well as other areas where at least one person could read or write (which the Vikings didn’t really do that much but they did have a system). And it doesn’t help their case that they considered themselves a race of warriors with a warrior religion and Valhalla. To consider these people as brutish and bloodthirsty killers would be like a compliment to them because such would get them into their Viking heaven. Sure the Vikings were bloodthirsty warriors but they were so much more than that and just as violent as everyone else.

7. The Waffen-SS

You know them as: The black uniformed clad Nazi soldiers in WWII films who are part of the elite, special forces organization of the German military where the soldiers would serve the front lines. Not to mention, they helped orchestrate the Holocaust.

Why they may not have been that bad: Sure they weren’t the Gestapo but even with the snazzy black outfits, the SS wasn’t really as feared elite, special forces organization as many WWII media make it out to be. In short, they were no more a threat to the Allies than non-SS divisions in the German Army. Some SS did distinguish themselves in combat but the only extra training an SS unit would receive that regular army units didn’t as ideological. In fact, it’s said that some SS units had worse combat training and equipment than non-SS units. Besides, they weren’t used as front line combat units until 1943 and before that their role consisted as bodyguards and internal security with their military role barely mentioned and thought of as a little more than thugs (in their own country). Though many of them certainly were Nazis and served in battle as well as were Hitler’s troops that helped exterminate millions of innocent people (they were under the command of Himmler after all and were deservedly banned in Germany after the war in 1945), they weren’t the kind of evil elite special forces organization of combat units you’d see in WWII films that have nothing to do with the Holocaust. Evil, yes, but they were just as defeatable soldiers as anyone else. Not to mention, the SS and the Gestapo weren’t the same thing.

8. Commodous

You know him as: The bad Roman Emperor in Gladiator who kills his dad, has a thing for his sister, kills Russell Crowe’s family and puts him in slavery, and fought in the gladiatorial games before his death in the arena.

Why he may not have been that bad: Sure Commodous did fight in the arena but that’s one of the only accurate things about him from that movie. Of course, he may not have been a great Roman Emperor like his dad Marcus Aurelius but he didn’t have a thing for his sister (actually had her killed for conspiring against him), didn’t kill his dad (who died from natural causes), and didn’t die in the arena (he was strangled while bathing). In fact, Commodous and Marcus Aurelius most likely got along splendidly since they certainly have had to. For one, there was no official line of succession since many Roman Emperors either didn’t have any surviving sons or didn’t live long enough to have any. Before Marcus Aurelius most Emperors would usually choose and adopt their successors outside their biological families. Commodous’s succession was unusual since he was the first Emperor “born to the purple” and broke tradition by succeeding his father. Not to mention, Commodous ruled jointly with his father for four years before the old man’s death. In short, there is overwhelming evidence that Marcus Aurelius chose his son to succeed him. Still, his dad is known as the last of the “Five Good Emperors” for a reason since Commodous was actually considered a bad emperor for believing himself to be Hercules and renaming everything in the Empire including Rome after himself, which wouldn’t go well with Romans. Oh, and he did order one his slaves to be burned for making his bath too cold. Still, he only became the tyrannical dictator in history after several attempts were made on his life and before then basically did whatever he fancied and had a grand old time. Even so, none of this makes him as bad as most rulers in history even in Rome where it wasn’t unusual for Roman Emperors to have people in their lives trying to kill them (even by people charged with protecting them like the Praetorian guard or members of their own family). Still, he was more or less power mad and ignorant of responsibilities than anything though he did bring an end to the Pax Romana, devalued Roman coinage while simultaneously raising taxes which created a wave of poverty unseen since the Old Republic.  Of course, that all may be senatorial bullshit but there’s a reason why he’s not considered a good ruler. Terrible ruler, yes, but not the Commodous depicted in Gladiator.

9. Ivan the Terrible

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You know him as: The crazy Russian Czar who massacred the city of Novorgod and killed his own son in a violent rage. Also had a habit of torturing people in lots of brutal and deadly ways.

Why he may not have been that bad: Well, he’s certainly a villain and certainly wasn’t a pleasant ruler to reckon with but he was no more brutal or worse than most rulers of his time or even by Russian standards (though Russia was still a pretty shitty place). Still, what gives Ivan a bad rap is that he was a deeply religious man who acknowledged his treacherous deeds as a way of doing penance. Besides, he’s mostly remembered for transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state (meaning he probably didn’t kill anyone for being of a different culture or different religion once he’d already conquered them, which is saying something compared to many 16th century rulers in Europe like Cathy de Medici). Not to mention, he was a fairly competent Czar (as well as the first) who transformed Russia from a medieval state to a regional and emerging power (though it wouldn’t be modernized to some extent until years later and mostly took Siberia because nobody wanted it). He was even popular among the common people as well as a patron of the arts and founder of Russia’s first Print Yard. In short, he’s largely responsible for what Russia is today. Plus, he most likely died from natural causes at 54 (an old man by 16th century Russian standards). Brutal, crazy, unpredictable, and cruel, yes, but he wasn’t a ruler out of the ordinary. Also, the Russian war for “terrible” can also translate as “awesome.”

10. J. Bruce Ismay

You know him as: The guy whose company was responsible for building and commissioning the Titanic as well as a bullying prick who pressures Captain Smith to run the ship at full speed into an ice field and cowardly jumping into a lifeboat to save himself while there were still hundreds of women and children aboard the ship.

Why he may not have been that bad: Ismay didn’t really pressure Captain Smith to take the ship full speed (more or less was the Captain’s decision) though he wasn’t totally blameless. Titanic was an ill-equipped ship that didn’t have enough lifeboats for the passengers (and while it was sinking many of them weren’t filled to full capacity), had no searchlight, had a crew who wasn’t trained to handle emergency situations, and didn’t have anyone to keep watch equipped with binoculars. To make things worse, Captain Smith cancelled a lifeboat drill and the ship had received radio warnings of icebergs in the area that were ignored. Nevertheless, when Titanic did hit an iceberg, Ismay was diligent in helping load and lower the lifeboats and only took his seat after making sure there were no women or children there to take it instead. However, we know now that there were hundreds of women and children who went down with the ship who were mostly in steerage and some couldn’t get out anyway. Ismay probably had no idea of this and maybe was in a state of panic. Yet, many rich guys who survived the Titanic also suffered in their reputation for exactly that as well just because they should’ve been willing to go down with the ship instead unless all the women and children were on the lifeboats. However, since Ismay practically owned Titanic, his reputation took a deeper dive. Ismay may have bore some responsibility for the Titanic disaster since it came from his line but he wasn’t really a bullying prick nor a dirty coward as depicted.

11. King Edward I Longshanks

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You know him as: The evil king in Braveheart who wanted to take over Scotland, threw his son’s lover out the window, ruled as a oppressive tyrant, and was a “cruel pagan.”

Why he may not have been that bad: Of course, Edward was a brutal conqueror abroad as well as an anti-Semite but you’d expect these things from almost any medieval king. Still, he didn’t throw his son’s lover out the window, was a pagan, nor ruled like a tyrant. In fact, he was a Christian no more or less devout than your average medieval king and certainly didn’t oppress his English subjects (foreign ones are a whole different matter). Furthermore, he was considered a social radical by medieval European standards since he set up Parliament as a permanent institution, set up a working system of taxation, and helped draft complex legislation which would help revolutionize England forever. Not only that but he initially went to Scotland to mediate a matter which almost caused a civil war. Of course, he did break his word anyway but any medieval king would do the same thing. Thus, sure Edward may have been a land grabber but he was a pretty decent king by medieval standards and no brutal than your average ruler at the time.

12. Genghis Khan

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You know him as: The bloodthirsty Mongol conqueror who founded one of the largest empires of all time stretching from Hungary, India, and China. Known for riding with his barbarian Mongol forces and putting whole cities to waste while making a hell on earth for men, women, and children.

Why he may not have been that bad: Well, Genghis and his Mongol hordes were certainly not a group you’d want to mess with and of course, they would very much like to be known for that so your city could easily surrender. Still, much of what’s written by them were authored by their conquered subjects who kind of exaggerated their bloodlust. However, Genghis Khan wasn’t just a bloodthirsty conqueror. He also managed to unite the Mongol tribes who’ve been fighting against themselves for thousands of years, which at the time was almost unthinkable and all in the span of a couple of decades through skillful political maneuvers like attracting allegiance of other tribes and defeated enemies, giving those he defeated a share in the spoils of war, and basing promotions on merit than politics. Not to mention, his idea of conquering everything in sight was a primarily a team building exercise to keep the tribes from fighting each other with such conquest continuing after his death making the Mongols not only a powerful foe but also very rich and powerful in the process. Sure Genghis Khan and his Mongols weren’t the nicest guys, but at least he had rather unselfish reason to conquer mainland Asia.

13. The Spanish Conquistadors

You know them as: The cruel and barbaric mercenaries who mercilessly toppled two major Indian empires to satisfy their greed, enslaved a race of people, forced them to convert to Christianity, and committed some of the worst human rights abuses in the age of Exploration.

Why they may not have been that bad: Of course, as cruel and merciless as the conquistadors were they weren’t as evil as they’re seen in many depictions. As bad as they treated the Indians, they were more interested in using them as a labor force and assimilating them into their culture (well, as much as they could) than actually killing them. Furthermore, many Spanish Conquistadors took native wives and treated their mixed race kids as members of their families. Not to mention, they weren’t nearly as racist as their English colonial counterparts who discouraged Indian intermarriage and just saw them as an obstacle that kept them from taking their land (it’s not wonder that many Indian children by English settlers joined the Indian tribes). Of course, the conquistadors did wipe out 95% of the American indigenous population but it mostly through germs and in places where no Spaniard had stepped foot. Also, Cortes could not have brought down the Aztec Empire if he didn’t have help from the local Indian tribes who were already fed up with them despite that he probably did betray them in the end (unsurprisingly). Not to mention, the conquistadors conquered civilizations that were cruel conquerors in their own right who also treated their defeated subjects like shit. So many Indians really didn’t have it much worse than before but last least the Mesoamerican Indians didn’t have to worry about being captured in battle in order to have their heart ripped open from their chests. Seriously, both Spanish and Indians had their moments of savagery especially in Meso and South America. Sure the Spanish conquistadors were cruel, ruthless, and greedy, but they weren’t the only guys out for gold and were no more worse conquerors than those of other European nationalities or their indigenous foes. Besides, the English colonists stabbed the Indians in the back in much worse ways.

14. George Armstrong Custer

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You know him as: The flamboyant, cowardly, and idiotic bigot who spent more time looking good for the camera than fighting. Sometimes seen as the lucky idiot at the right place at the right time or someone who gleefully orchestrated Indian massacres and got exactly what he deserved at Little Bighorn.

Why he may not have been that bad: Sure Custer wasn’t the Indians’ friend nor a model soldier who wasn’t above using women and children as human shields. And he was certainly flamboyant but many portrayals of him usually tend to exaggerate his shortcomings (even in movies like They Died with Their Boots On which portrays Custer in a more favorable light). Still, many of them tend to ignore the fact that despite graduating at the bottom of his class at West Point, Custer was a capable soldier and cavalry commander who actually fought bravely in battle and could even be considered a war hero (for his actions in Gettysburg during the Civil War when he held off the Confederate cavalry). And though he attained the brevet rank of general, his promotion was certainly not a mistake. Not to mention, despite his penchant for recklessness that incurred high casualties, Custer did manage to earn the respect and loyalty of his men. What did Custer in at Little Bighorn had more to do with his ego overriding his judgment in attacking a force that vastly outnumbered his (never a good idea). As for his attitude toward the Indians, Custer was no more racist or bigoted against them than anyone else at the time and he certainly didn’t kill Indians out of sadistic glee (he mainly killed Indians because it was part of his job). Sure Custer wasn’t a perfect  soldier and was no friend to the Indians but he wasn’t an incompetent idiot, a sadistic bigot, or a dirty coward either.

15. Queen Anne Boleyn

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You know her as: The scheming and manipulative woman who led Henry VIII astray from his wife Catherine as well as compelled him to break away from the Catholic Church. Also was said to be a major slut, have deformities, and stole Henry away from her sister, Mary. Not to mention, she was Queen Elizabeth I’s mother and got her head chopped off for being a major slut.

Why she may not have been that bad: Sure Anne may have had some ambition to some degree and was a highly intelligent beauty with a strong personality and independent streak as well as been partly the reason for Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church after the Pope wouldn’t annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon (for understandable reasons that he was being held captive by Catherine’s nephew Charles V who certainly didn’t want his aunt cast aside) but she was more of a victim of circumstance than anything else. And she didn’t have a sixth finger or a third breast or else she would have never been presented to court in the first place. Yet, she certainly was in her mid to late twenties when she got involved with Henry VIII as well as in her thirties when she had Queen Elizabeth. Still, how much she had to do with Henry’s defiance of papal power is up for debate but she did have some reformist attitudes (so did Erasmus and Thomas More but they didn’t break away). Yet, Anne Boleyn wasn’t Henry’s only reason for wanting to an annulment from the Pope since he only broke  away from the Catholic Church after he knocked her up but he also wanted to disinherit his daughter Mary, too (a simple divorce wouldn’t have done that). However, many historians agree that there is no evidence that she had sex with anyone other than Henry VIII and most of the charges against her leading to her beheading were mostly trumped up (her real crime being she had miscarried two boys). Her sister Mary on the other hand, had a reputation for being a major slut and already had a husband by the time she and Henry VIII were having their dalliance possibly resulting in two children Henry never acknowledged (though he wasn’t an entirely faithful husband to Catherine either). Besides, Mary had been recalled from the French court for her sexual exploits. Not only was Anne was a virgin until she was over thirty (which is unusual by 16th century standards), she had refused to sleep with Henry for years and had some regard for her chastity. And many historians think that Henry was more or less stalking her though she did go along with his attentions and eventually gave in (but not just because of love, ambition and pressure from her family could’ve been factors. After all, it wouldn’t be right to say no to a king). Nevertheless, Anne would pay her price as well as make plenty of enemies at court but led to her execution was something she just couldn’t control. An interesting woman in her own right, yes, but Anne wasn’t a scheming whore who might have suffered the penalty for doing what might’ve been expected of her. More of a convenient scapegoat than anything else.

16. Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen

You know him as: The guy who killed his wife, chopped up and disposed her body in his basement, and ran off with his mistress on a ship only to be captured through wireless communication and convicted on forensic evidence (a first for the latter two). He was eventually hanged.

Why he may not have been that bad: Well, let’s just say the Crippen case may not be as open and shut case as it once appeared to be 100 years ago and there are plenty of gaping holes. Recent forensic scientists have examined the preserved remains with 21st century technology and have come up with findings that raise significant doubts whether Crippen killed his wife. Through DNA testing, they not only found that the remains found in Crippen’s basement weren’t Cora’s, but also that they belonged to a man. And they did plenty of test to make sure of that one. Then there’s the question of whether the remains found in Crippen’s basement was actually planted by the police as evidence who were under tremendous pressure to nab a suspect for such heinous crime (they didn’t want another Jack the Ripper case). Besides, if Crippen was so keen on getting away with killing his wife, why would he successfully dispose of her limbs and head while burying her torso in his cellar under his dining room? Surely anyone would know that this is a very stupid way to dispose a body, especially in the early 1900s. Then there’s the fact that the case didn’t become public until after the remains were found. Clearly something suspicious was going on in the investigation. Still, it’s growing ever more likely that if Dr. Crippen was responsible for killing anyone, it would’ve been due to his work in homeopathic drugs than anything. So as far as Cora’s murder, there’s a good chance he may be innocent after all.

Historical Villains Who May Not Have Been That Bad

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History is meant to teach us about the past since people are bound to repeat it. However, history has a tendency to be rather subjective since it was written so many years ago so it’s not without bias since people aren’t perfect. Not to mention, history has a tendency to be written by the victors as well as be adapted to certain dramatic media that may not have much account for facts or cares more for entertainment. As a result, some historical villains may end up with undeserved reputations or may seem to be worse than they actually were. So here I have a list of those whose reputation as a villain was based on accounts that were heavily biased or exaggerated. However, this doesn’t include bad guys who deserve their reputation even though they did great things, except in special cases or people considered a hero in one culture but villain in another.

1. King Richard III

You know him as: The villain protagonist in Shakespeare’s Richard III who locks the two princes in the Tower and later kills them just to get the throne of England, drowns his brother in a vat of wine, killed Anne Neville’s father and first husband, and poisoned his wife. He’s also said to be a hunchback and have a limp arm as well as a creepy old man.

Why he may not have been that bad: This is perhaps the most famous case of history being written by the victors since Shakespeare wrote about Richard III during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I whose grandfather defeated the guy at the Battle of Bosworth Field that ended the Wars of the Roses. Not to mention, Richard III was the last ruler of a royal dynasty and it’s almost always the last ruler of a royal dynasty is stuck with the bad historical reputation (Queen Elizabeth I is an exception since she had arranged James VI of Scotland to succeed which made the transition of power rather peaceful, ruled for over 40 years, helped England on its way to becoming a world power, and was called “The Virgin Queen” even after her death). Oh, and there’s the fact he seized power from his own nephews (who were children but still). Still, though Richard III may have been a ruthless ruler but he not much unlike most rulers of his day, especially during the Wars of the Roses. As for taking the throne, yes, he probably did put the Princes in the Tower but we really don’t know what happened to them. However, Richard III just simply had them declared illegitimate on account that their dad was engaged to another woman before he ended up marrying their mom, which was perfectly legal at the time. He also had their sisters and his other brother’s kids declared illegitimate as well and he didn’t do anything with them. Besides, when Richard took the throne, he was already running the country as regent for a child king and England already had two child kings who didn’t turn out that great so many probably would’ve preferred to see an adult on the throne anyway. Not to mention, Henry VII would’ve done the same thing. Still, Richard III probably didn’t betray his older brother Edward, murder any family members, didn’t kill Anne Neville’s father and first husband or forced her to marry him nor poisoned her, and wasn’t as deformed as portrayed even though he had a mild case of scoliosis. And he certainly wasn’t a creepy old man for he died at only 32.

2. Macbeth

You know him as: The villain protagonist in Macbeth whose wife berates him into killing King Duncan after it’s imminent that he will become king of Scotland. Yet, once he does kill Duncan and becomes king him and his wife not only become driven mad with guilt but also he starts a killing spree of his own before he’s killed by a guy who was born via c-section.

Why he may not have been that bad: Believe it or not, Macbeth was a real king of Scotland but he’s nothing like the guy in that Shakespeare play that bears his name. Not to mention, Shakespeare wrote him like to appeal to King James I who was a descendent of King Duncan. And Shakespeare couldn’t depict Duncan as the weak, ineffective, and/or tyrannical ruler he really was which was tantamount to treason in 1606. Also, this was to echo King James I’s belief in the notion of the Divine Right of Kings (despite his succession in England being prearranged). The only thing the play gets right is that  Macbeth killed Duncan, became king of Scotland, and was later killed in battle. However, the real story was that Macbeth killed King Duncan after defeating him in battle who was encroaching on his lands. Though he was eventually killed  in battle himself by the future King Malcolm III, by that time he had ruled Scotland successfully for 17 years as well as known for his charity toward the poor and had even visited Rome during that time. So Macbeth was probably a good king. Not to mention, Malcolm III was even gracious enough to have the guy’s stepson succeed him. Sure Macbeth was an usurper but he wasn’t much of a tyrant. As for Lady Macbeth, we don’t know much about her except she was real, she had at least one child from a previous marriage, and her name was Gruoch (though how much of a role she did have in Macbeth killing Duncan might be debated.)

3. King George III

You know him as: If you’re from the United States, he’s the tyrannical king who raised all those taxes after the French and Indian War that got the colonists rattled up into declaring independence and raging the American Revolution.

Why he may not have been that bad: King George III was actually said to be a decent king who had absolutely nothing to do with those policies that brought on the American Revolution since he was a constitutional monarch who wasn’t really running the country. It was Parliament who saw no problem with instilling taxes without the colonists’ consent and was unwilling to see their American counterparts as equals. George was just a convenient scapegoat who the colonists can blame these policies on since he was head of state as well as the fact that news didn’t travel so fast in those days. I mean the colonists may know that Parliament was running the country but they probably didn’t have any idea who the prime minister was but they certainly knew who was the king. Besides, he very interest in politics. Not to mention, there’s a city in North Carolina named after his wife, Queen Charlotte. In England, George III is remembered as one of the best members of the Hanoverian Dynasty as well as grandfather to Queen Victoria and the king who went nuts near he end of his life (probably senility or dementia).

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4. The Spanish Inquisition and Co.

You know them as: The fanatical religious hit squad that tries and burns people at the stake for heresy, witchcraft, and anything else that challenges the status quo or goes against the Catholic Church. Real frothing at the mouth types and agents of persecution you know.

Why they may not have been that bad: Sure the Inquisition may have been a tool of oppression but they weren’t really living in more enlightened times where it wasn’t unusual for secular governments to persecute people either, especially during the Reformation. I mean until very recent times, there wasn’t really such thing as freedom of speech or religion while torture was considered a standard method of interrogation until the 18th century. Every system of authority tortured people at the time of the Inquisition whether it be a king or a local sheriff. The Spanish Inquisition preferred a psychological method of torture by imprisoning people without letting them know who denounced them and the charges against them until the actual trial. Not to mention, heretics weren’t really much enlightened folks either since there many of them who aren’t much different than radical anarchists. And Protestants also had their own system of persecution of heretics that included other Protestants of different sects and Catholics alike. Still, the Catholic Church may have used the Inquisition to root out heresies in Europe, but they didn’t really execute or harshly torture anyone because clergymen were forbidden to shed blood and usually turned their convicts to the secular authorities to execute them (even though they could still confess and repent before sentence was carried out via auto de fe). As with witchcraft, the Inquisition just saw it as superstitious nonsense and since the 7th century the Catholic Church explicitly forbade belief in witchcraft and persecution of people accused of it and merely investigated witchcraft cases to relieve the witchcraft hysteria. Still, witchcraft was considered a crime under secular law, accused witches were more likely to be executed under the Protestants since the witch craze was more of a Protestant thing, and that the Spanish Inquisition actually ended witch burning in Spain a whole century before the witch-hunts began to wane in the rest of Europe. They also held that allegations of witchcraft be backed by solid evidence and if you were accused as a witch in a case that involved the Inquisition, your chances of surviving the accusation were pretty good. And in some ways, the Inquisition was more progressive for it’s time since it introduced the legal concept of presumption of innocence, had inquisitors provide the accused with legal counsel, considered confession without factual corroboration an unfit grounds for sentence, and was forbidden to accept accusations from ex-convicts or people who could benefit from the sentence. Secular courts at the time observed none of that. Also, most of what we hear about the Inquisition came from Elizabethan Era writings that basically greatly exaggerated them and not all Inquisitions were religiously motivated either. For instance, the Spanish Inquisition was more of a state ministry started by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to convert the Moors and Jews, reform the Church, punish heretics, and correct superstitions. But mostly the Inquisition was more or less after heretics and didn’t have as many killed as many would think. By our standards the Inquisition may only seem like notorious villains in history but by the context of the day, not so much, especially given the events of the day.

5. Cardinal Richelieu

You know him as: One of the villains in the Alexandre Dumas story The Three Musketeers and subsequent adaptations. Said to be pretty devious guy. Has awesome red robes and a cool mustache to boot.

Why he may not have been that bad: Cardinal Richelieu actually ran France while King Louis XIII was still a child and even though he was a devious man, is considered one of the greatest statesman of France who helped make the country a superpower later in the 17th century. There’s even a painting of him that depicts him standing proudly in armor. Dumas probably thought that shiny red robes and awesome mustache would make him a great villain. Not to mention, many of those adaptations were British and American after all and Britain was an enemy of France at the time. Ruthless leader, yes, but what kind of person in power wasn’t in the 17th century?

6. Emperor Nero

You know him as: The Roman Emperor who fiddled when Rome burned and blamed it on the Christians even though he set the city on fire deliberately to make room for a palace extension. The one who killed his mother and first two wives as well as an arrogant and insane megalomaniac who forced people to attend his performances and locked them in the auditorium so they wouldn’t leave. Saw himself as the greatest artist who ever lived. Not to mention, eventually committed suicide.

Why he may not have been that bad: Most of what is written about Nero that survives to this day was by people who personally knew and hated him (an exception would be his friend Senectus who praised him). So there’s a question of historical reliability here and some of the bad things he did might have been exaggerated. Sure he may not have been a pleasant man and he probably was a great lover in he arts yet as an emperor, he probably was not much worse than those who ruled in his day. He might have blamed the Great Fire of Rome on the Christians but he most definitely didn’t set fire to the city and when he heard the news of the fire while in Actium, rushed back to the city to oversee the relief efforts and paying out of his own pockets quite generously. As for his second wife, she might have died due to a difficult pregnancy and it’s said he had a good reason for killing his mother. Was also said to have great affinity from the common people which doesn’t really look good for the aristocratic Roman historians.

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7.  Grigory Rasputin

You know him as: The “Mad Monk” and evil sorcerer and madman who had the Russian Imperial family under his supernatural spell and took advantage of them because it was said to be able to heal the Czar’s hemophiliac son.

Why he may not have been that bad: Rasputin wasn’t an evil sorcerer and though he did enjoy great perks for his close relationship with the Royal family, he certainly didn’t have an affair with the Czar’s wife Alexandra and might have helped Czarevitch Alexei by not giving him aspirin. At worst he was probably a harmless and eccentric religious figure that many of the Russian aristocracy was jealous of him as well as a convenient scapegoat for Nicholas II’s failed policies in Russia. I mean Russia was an absolute monarchy so Nicholas II might have had the aristocrats executed if they blamed him. Rasputin was no saint but he wasn’t a monster and certainly didn’t kill the Imperial family since he was dead before the Russian Revolution ever took place.

8. Catherine de’ Medici

You know her as: The French queen who instigated the Saint Batholomew’s Day Massacre in which tens of French Protestants were killed. Said to be a “Catholic bigot” who washed  her hands in the blood of innocent Protestants. She was an admirer of Machiavelli and used The Prince as a self-help manual to ensure that her husband and sons ruled France. Hundreds of noble and wealthy Frenchmen died by her hand or otherwise. She even arranged to have her son Charles to be sexually abused by courtiers in an unsuccessful attempt to turn him gay so that he died childless and his younger brother Henry (who she adored) would become king (Charles died childless anyway).

Why she may not have been that bad: As one of the cruelest rulers of the early Renaissance, Catherine de’ Medici certainly deserves her bad reputation as a ruthless power behind the throne of France as well as an abusive mother not above using her children as political pawns. Though to be fair, she was running the country during a very unstable time such as the Reformation which put France in almost complete chaos with a significant Protestant population. Not only that but three of her sons succeeded to the French throne at a very young age so it’s pretty understandable why she’d rule through her kids. However, calling a “Catholic bigot” is a bit much for she probably wasn’t as much of one as English contemporaries make her out to be. Sure she was pro-Catholic and certainly no friend to the Huguenots, yet she wasn’t the most anti-Protestant ruler in Europe out there. Yet, she was more of a pragmatist than anything who was willing to at least try to make peace with the Protestants and was only willing to enact hard line policies against them and only out of anger and frustration because she failed to grasp the theological issues that drove the movement. Even so, she was willing to let her daughter marry one who did (who would later become Henry IV of France by the way and issue the Edict of Nantes). As for the St. Batholomew’s Day Massacre, though she probably does bear the brunt of making the whole thing an honest to goodness massacre, it’s very unlikely that she was totally responsible for it (actually most modern historians think the Guises instigated it out of fear of the marriage between Margaret of Valois and Henry of Navarre, but it was only Henri, Duke of Guise who went around placing Huguenots under his own protection and was one of the few Catholic participants to apologize for the whole affair) and was certainly more of a spur of the moment event (might have been kicked off by accident with the killing of Admiral de Coligny). However, if she was partly responsible, it had more to do with preventing a Huguenot insurrection over the death of de Coligny more or less acting on Machiavelli’s advice to kill all enemies in one blow. Still, accounts of the slaughter are pretty much a tangled mess and soon spiraled out of control of Catherine or any other leader. Also, there were even some Catholics like the Guises whose attitude against Protestants Catherine found too extreme. In turn, the Guises thought she was letting the Huguenots have it too easy. Still, though Catherine de’ Medici was the de facto leader of France, her authority was always limited by the effects of the French Civil Wars of Religion. Cruel and ruthless she certainly was but she seemed to have a good reason to be.

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9. Antonio Salieri

You know him as: Contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as his chief rival and discreet murderer who poisoned him while he requested the Requiem Mass, which would be the younger composer’s last. Always had a inferiority complex toward Mozart, though he did have talent. Also said to be a celibate pervert who lusted after students. This perception was popularized by Amadeus.

Why he may not have been that bad: Of course, Salieri wasn’t nearly as talented as Mozart was, he was still a fantastic composer and would later end up mentoring later composers like Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Lizst, and Franz Schubert along with plenty of others. Heck, it could be said that Salieri’s legacy is one of the greatest in European music so he was no mediocre talent by any standards. Besides, he could listen to a music composition in his head while reading the manuscript which is quite a feat of musical ability in itself. Still, Salieri and Mozart weren’t rivals but friends and collaborators though Mozart was said to be pretty annoying that it was even remarked by Franz Joseph Haydn that he made a hundred enemies at a single party. Sure they were competitors on a professional basis but the two greatly respected each other (though they had one major dispute over The Marriage of Figaro) as well as attended each other’s operas. Salieri actively helped to bring about the premieres of several of Mozart’s later works as well as arranged concerts celebrating Mozart’s work after his death. And when Salieri was given the chance to set up a production in Vienna, of anything he wanted, he chose The Magic Flute. He even taught one of Mozart’s sons. Still, Salieri certainly didn’t kill Mozart (it was said to be an epidemic of rhuematic fever), didn’t commission the Requiem Mass (though Mozart never knew who did but we know it was Franz von Walsegg), didn’t try to sabotage his career behind the scenes, didn’t go nuts and try to kill himself, and wasn’t a celibate pervert (he had a wife). Actually, the rivalry between Salieri and Mozart was made up in the 19th century to represent the musical rivalry between Germany (well, Austria’s a separate country, but they speak German there, too) and Italy.

10. King John

You know him as: That selfish royal asshole as well as greedy and ambitious Prince John in the Robin Hood stories who has desires on becoming king and is willing to seize the English throne while his brother Richard the Lionheart was away on Crusade. Known as an incompetent and idiotic king who managed to get the whole country excommunicated, losing territory to the Welsh and the French, and was forced to sign the Magna Carta. Always put himself first and would kill anyone who’d get in his way as well as willing to betray his father and brothers on several occasions to further his goals.

Why he may not have been that bad: Sure King John wasn’t one of  England’s greatest kings but he certainly wasn’t the villain the Robin Hood legends make him out to be. However, the reason why King John is depicted as such is that he could never get away from Richard’s shadow who seemed to be the pinnacle of knightly chivalry and charismatic leader. John, on the other hand, had a nasty habit of making enemies (like the nobility who basically forced him to sign the Magna Carta, but then again, Richard the Lionheart’s constant absence sort of gave the nobles too much free rein so John’s attempts to take control again were met with hostility) and like his older brother also increased taxation to incredible levels to fund wars commanders deemed hopeless. Still, except in matters in military and public relations, John wasn’t a totally incompetent ruler and unlike his brother, actually spent most of his reign running the country. He wasn’t illiterate or stupid by all accounts and  was even known to be seen as a bookish scholar who had written many books on law as well as considered one of the premier legal minds of his age, so much so that his judgement had often been sought prior to his kingship in regards to legal disputes. He’s also recognized as the founder of the modern British navy (which is a pretty big distinction since Britain basically amassed an empire with it). Many of Richard’s disastrous peacetime and his hostage situation basically bankrupt the country so there’s probably a good reason why John would scheme to become king. And though John always put himself first and would kill anyone who’d get in his way even in his own family to further his own goals, this wasn’t an uncommon characteristic of a medieval monarch. In fact, from watching Lion in Winter, you can say his whole family was like that. King John may not have been a nice guy but he wasn’t a complete idiot who just lusted for power.

11. Emperor Caligula

You know him as: That crazy megalomaniac Roman emperor known to make his horse a consul, talking to statues, locking granaries, declaring war on Poseidon (and then “winning,” then commanding his soldiers to collect seashells as war prizes), boning his sisters (or anything else that moves), having a god complex, possibly killing his uncle, and the list goes on and on with many of these deeds making even a Third World dictator blush. And since Caligula means “Bootsie,” kneel before Bootsie, you plebeians! And he hated his nickname, reportedly.

Why he may not have been that bad: Well, there’s no mistake that he probably had megalomaniac tendencies since he and his entire family were killed by his own bodyguards (everyone but Claudius who the guards thought he was too stupid to be a danger. They fell for it. And, yes, they even beat his two-year-old daughter to death, too.) I mean how crazy do you have to be killed by your own bodyguards along with your entire family? Sure he wanted to increase his authority which made him unpopular with the Senate. However, there aren’t that many contemporary sources out there and what sources we do have about him were written about 80 years after his death during another dynasty of Emperors (who always liked to demonize their predecessor). Thus, how much of those stories are true or whether there were exaggerations is up for debate. He probably didn’t make his horse a consul or bone his sisters (though one of them served as his empress but they were both married to other people. His degree of craziness is also questioned though many agreed that he probably was a decent emperor until perhaps 6-8 months into his reign when when he was struck by a serious illness that might have resulted in brain damage and altered his personality. Yet, recent archaeology revealed he may have been a redhead. Crazy megalomaniac, absolutely but we don’t know how much.

12. Captain William Bligh

You know him as: That sadistic captain on Mutiny on the Bounty. A ruthless autocrat on his ship who subjected his men to harsh punishments that caused the deaths of at least two sailors. Soon the crew grew fed up with him and committed mutiny against him after their vacation at Tahiti staged by First Mate Fletcher Christian. However, though he managed to make home despite amazing odds, he manages just to get a slap on the wrist for it.

Why he may not have been that bad: Though Bligh might not have been the greatest captain, he certainly not the worst by 18th century Royal Navy standards. In fact, he was probably no more brutal than your average 18th century Royal Navy captain and in his time, Bligh may have been seen as fairly strict, but fair, and not as strict as he could have been. In some ways, Bligh might have been too lenient for his own good. More modern historians tend to blame the cause of the mutiny not on Bligh’s harsh disciplinary methods but on him giving the crew a nice long vacation in the tropics of Tahiti, causing them to be oversensitive to discipline. It also didn’t help that Bligh wasn’t a likeable captain who inspired loyalty and that some of the crew members began to develop relationships among the Tahitian women, including Fletcher Christian. Not to mention, there were crew members who remained loyal to Bligh after the mutiny who were in the lifeboat with him. Otherwise, he might not have been able to make it back.

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13. Marie Antoinette

You know her as: The French queen who told her impoverished French subjects, “Let them eat cake” prior to the French Revolution which cost her and her husband’s heads. Sometimes seen as an airhead but other times she’s a decadent noblewoman who spends all her time and state money on partying and dresses while callously ignoring the suffering of the people. Some say she was a slut or the real power behind the throne.

Why she may have not been that bad: Marie Antoinette might not have done anything to start the French Revolution at least intentionally. Of course, her husband Louis XVI is demonized as well but he was the one who was actually governing the country at the time and was a weak and indecisive ruler. Also, he spent way more money than she did (mostly on wars like the American Revolution). And though she was spending money on dresses and her time partying, so was everyone else at Versailles so she basically had to. Yet, Marie Antoinette didn’t much care for the Versailles party scene and even had a retreat house where she could relax once in a while. But, still, France’s problems were very much in existence even before Marie Antoinette arrived in France and it’s very unlikely that she didn’t even know anything about the country’s problems because Louis XVI didn’t consult or even inform her on matters of the state so she had no influence whatsoever on his policies. Not to mention, Marie Antoinette was really a kind young woman who was unprepared for becoming queen, and tried to cope with things the best she could. She never said, “Let them eat cake” either. Still, because she was Austrian, she was a frequent target of the pamphleteers which were the tabloids of the day. Though she was certainly extravagant, she was no more extravagant than other royal family members.

14. Niccolo Machiavelli

You know him as: The author of The Prince, a book long time considered as a go-to guide for unruly despots with its endorsements of ruthlessness and amorality, which caused such a scandal. Also, it was the first political treatise and entirely secular work during the Renaissance. Ever since his name has been associated with duplicity, ruthlessness, dishonest, and other unsavory character traits. Best known for saying, “And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.”

Why he may not have been that bad: First, The Prince is really not a book that advocates selling your soul for power or endorses policies of  Third World dictators, but is merely about maintaining for the good of the prince and ultimately the state and “However, it is important above all to avoid being hated.” Thus, Machiavelli wrote The Prince with its original message being about the importance of pragmatism, one of the attributes of modern politics. However, “the ends justify the means” is more of a mistranslation and something Machiavelli  would approve of. It’s more or less “one must think of the final result” or the ultimate effect the words would have on a prince’s political image. Also, he kind of advised to avoid being hated which many people tend to forget. Second, at the time he wrote the book, Italy was in a chaotic state so to keep order, a prince had to pretty much rule with an iron fist and there was plenty of competition for power. In that time a ruler had to be ruthless, nasty, and tyrannical just to get and maintain the job. Third, Machiavelli probably wrote the book in order to ingratiate himself with the Medici family who had just taken over Florence (who promptly ignored his advice since they chose to be universally loved and ended up massively in debt for it). Then there’s Machiavelli himself whose other works (that were discovered in more recent times) mostly were about supporting republican regimes with a major emphasis on freedom (though advocated using similar means to operate and maintain). Also, he was actually more of a very sociable satirist who who also happened to be and observant historian and good rhetor. He was probably more or less the Jon Stewart of his day and friends with Michelangelo.

15. Lucrezia Borgia

You know her as: The scheming, amoral poisoner who abetted her father and brother in their Machiavellian plans to dominate Europe. Her last name was a synonym in Victorian times for sadistic female poisoner. Also said to have committed incest with her father and brother.

Why she may not have been that bad: Technically, this could apply to her family since the Borgias were no more murderous than any other prominent family at the time in Renaissance Italy and mostly got a lot of flack since they were social climbers, were mentioned in
The Prince, and were Spanish. As with Pope Alexander VI, a recent biography states that there’s no evidence that he had any kids since there are no contemporaneous records of him having a wife, mistress, or children it’s unsure how he’s related to Giovanni, Caesare, and Lucrezia. Thus, it might have just have all been gossip since Savonarola criticized him on committing every sin but sexual immorality. However, I’m mostly sticking to Lucrezia since she got most of the blame even though she’s the most innocent of the bunch. She only got the bad rep by her contemporaries because she was a convenient scapegoat. Rather, there’s no evidence that she ever harmed a flea, let alone commit multiple murders. Still, she might have had it much easier if she had been a poisoner. She was more or less used as a pawn for the family to ally with powerful families through marriage, and then canceling the marriages when they weren’t useful anymore. Also, she didn’t commit incest either (for she was certainly not the mother of the mysterious baby that appeared between her two marriages) and she probably never had sex until her second marriage (though there is some speculation). However, she did have a few affairs during her third marriage but that’s just as bad as she got. Not to mention, as the respectable and accomplished Duchess of Ferrera, she managed to rise above her previous reputation and survive the fall of the Borgias following her father’s death.

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16. Cleopatra VII

You know her as: Last ruler of Egypt who was seen as a scheming femme fatale whose sins led to her death and to the destruction of Egypt as an independent nation. Known for seducing Marc Antony and Julius Caesar and killed family members like the two half-brothers she married. Killed herself via asp.

Why she may not have been that bad: Cleopatra may not have been a great beauty but she certainly wasn’t embarrassed about her looks either. She did have a bewitching voice and a strong, forceful personality. Also, she was Macedonian Greek and descendant from one of Alexander the Great’s generals. Still, though she did seduce Marc Antony and Julius Caesar, she probably saw it as a legitimate way to convince them to help restore order in a country quickly approaching lawlessness and poverty while at the same time preventing Rome from invading and enslaving the populace. Of course, she didn’t entirely succeed in the end, but neither did she entirely fail either. Oh, and the killing off family members, that was standard practice in Egyptian royalty. There are also some scholars who believe that the asp story was a cover-up and that Cleopatra was killed on the orders by Octavian. She might have been a schemer, but her aim was to keep Egypt independent and only failed because Rome was the stronger power and that Marc Antony was there who was also Octavian’s rival at the time as well as dumped his sister.

17. Queen Hatshepsut

You know her as: The wicked stepmother who stole the throne from Thutmose III and had herself crowned King of Egypt as well as ruled the country with an iron fist until her death despite her stepson being a competent adult for most of her reign and was in control of the military. Proof? After Hatshepsut’s death, Thutmose walled up all her inscriptions, tore down her statues, and obliterated her name from the histories. Also, Thutmose is said to have murdered her before becoming Egypt’s most  successful and best loved ruler.

Why she may not have been that bad: So how could a woman in ancient Egypt like 1514 BCE stage a successful palace coup while her opponent had complete control of the military? Chances are Queen Hatshepsut probably wouldn’t have lasted that long and Thutmose would’ve certainly have killed her as she done so. Yet, she was even in charge while he was an adult. Also, Hatshepsut’s obliteration from the historical records didn’t begin until twenty years after her death. Historians now think that Hatshepsut and Thutmose III were co-rulers and allies and that Thutmose III or one of his sons only began to wall up her inscriptions because even decades after her death, people saw her as a more legitimate ruler than Thutmose. Perhaps Thutmose III wasn’t ancient Egypt’s most successful and best loved ruler after all. Also, Hatshepsut more likely died of cancer than anything else.

Fictional Villains Who Kind of Had a Point

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In fiction, villains are figures we’re not supposed to sympathize with and are mostly no good since they’re usually the main obstacle in the hero’s goal. Sometimes they’re evil personified but other times they could just be evil overlords serving as dragons to a higher power, very selfish people who don’t give a shit about anyone else, or just an adversary. And of course, villains tend to do bad things to make sure he or she gets his or her way and doesn’t care who gets hurt. Many of times these villains tend to have inherently evil motivations or ones that are at least misguided. However, though some of them might not have done things that might not be good, some of them tend to have motivations that seem rather complex and somewhat justified. They just probably tried to accomplish it the wrong way.

1. The Wicked Witch of the West

From: The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)

Why She’s Evil: The Wicked Witch of the West basically spends the entire time trying to pursue and kill Dorothy because she’s wearing her ruby slippers as well as killed her sister as well as conquer Oz and does whatever she can to get them such as throwing a ball of fire, sending the flying monkeys, enchanting the poppy fields, and threatens the Scarecrow with fire. She’s also a pretty menacing figure who strikes fear into Dorothy and her friends. It’s easy to see why the Wizard and Glinda wanted her dead.

Why She has a Point: Aside from wanting to conquer Oz bit, the Wicked Witch of the West does sort of have a reasonable motivation for the slippers and wanting to kill Dorothy to get them off her. For one, the slippers couldn’t be removed while Dorothy was still alive. Second, the ruby slippers belonged to her sister which she probably was supposed to get but Glinda basically put the slippers on Dorothy’s feet upon the latter’s arrival in Oz via tornado. And the Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t even consulted on the whole thing. The fact that Dorothy ends up accidentally caught up in this as her adversary which compels the Wicked Witch of the West to focus all her energies on is what makes her the villain. Also, the Wizard is pretty much a phony while Glinda was just using Dorothy as a pawn so she can control Oz herself since she made the girl go all the way to Oz when she just could’ve tap the ruby slippers in the beginning which would’ve solved everything. This sort of makes Glinda the bigger villain since she may not have the kind of motivation The Wicked Witch of the West did.

2. Madame Defarge

From: A Tale of Two Cities

Why She’s Evil: She’s a bloodthirsty French revolutionary who is all to happy to inflict violence and anti-royalist sentiment however way she can. Politics aside, she also puts the climate of the French Revolution to her advantage such as her everlasting hatred for the noble Evermonde family and her obsessive desire to see Charles Darnay guillotined. Not to mention, she almost gets her way with that when Darnay and his companions return. I mean almost.

Why She Has a Point: Madame Defarge has every reason to hate the Evermonde family since Dickens goes to great lengths to show that this family is a pretty nasty bunch who even Charles Darnay doesn’t even want to do with (since he basically changed his name and moved to a different country to get away from them). Not to mention, Dr. Manette basically denounced the clan while in prison at the Bastille. The fact that Madame Defarge is a peasant may be enough to justify her hatred for the Evermonde but her hatred for that bunch is even more personal than that as well as dates back to her childhood. The real reason? She witnessed her mother being raped by Darnay’s father and uncle, which was also the incident that put Dr. Manette in prison since he was the guy treating her. Not to mention, the Evermonde twins were never brought to justice and probably died peacefully. Still, the fact that Charles Darnay is the last living Evermonde she knows, Madame Defarge is determined to have him pay dearly for his family’s sins as a scapegoat. On the other hand, while Dr. Manette hates the Evermondes every bit as much as Madame Defarge, he’s willing to see Charles Darnay as the person he is and lets him live in his house and marry his daughter.

3. Heathcliff

From: Wuthering Heights

Why he’s Evil: Heathcliff basically makes life hell for most of the characters involved by buying Wuthering Heights and makes Hindley’s life a living hell as well as takes advantage of his alcoholism. Also, though he may be a self-made man, we never know how he got the money. Not to mention, he marries Isabella Linton out of spite for Cathy for dumping him and Edgar for marrying the only person in his life who doesn’t make him look like a psychopath. And he treats Isabella like shit as well as well as curses everyone in the room when Cathy dies which sort of makes Wuthering Heights haunted ever since. Basically he’s a complete bastard and Cathy and him might have had the same dad.

Why He Has a Point: Heathcliff probably wouldn’t be the asshole he became if Cathy’s old man didn’t die when he did. It’s perhaps plausible that Heathcliff’s love for Cathy as obsessive and destructive it is, is perhaps the only redeeming quality he has. The fact that Cathy’s father died pretty early on pretty much sets Heathcliff off a course to infamy led by Hindley’s bullying, Linton’s class prejudice, and Cathy’s rejection of him. And Heathcliff pretty much has a good reason to treat Hindley the way he did when he returns to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff might not have been a sweet kid but he certainly wouldn’t have turned out as bad as he did if he had a decent adult in his life who might have given him the parental guidance he surely needed. The fact he’s the bad guy is that he’s all doing his deeds in revenge for bad treatment and not being seen as good enough for the world around him.

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4. King Richard III (or Richard, Duke of Glouchester)

From: Richard III

Why He’s Evil: Well, if we’re to credit Shakespeare, he basically knocks off Lady Anne’s father and previous husband as well as tries to marry her which he does over the man’s corpse. Not to mention, he’s a complete bastard who later poisons his wife, drowns his brother in a vat of wine, and knocks off two of his nephews in the Tower of London so he could have the crown for himself. Evil man indeed.

Why He Has a Point: For one, Richard III was a real historical figure who probably not as bad as Shakespeare said he was or no worse than any other medieval king at the time. Not to mention, Shakespeare wrote he play during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I so it probably isn’t nearly 50% accurate given the guy who defeated him was the Queen’s grandfather. Though a great work of literature, it’s also historic propaganda. Also, though Richard III did take the throne from his nephews and put them in the Tower of London, he simply did it by stating the fact that Edward IV was engaged to another woman at the time he married their mom which not only serves as grounds of illegitimacy but also was perfectly legal at the time. Plus, the boys were children (and England had boy-kings before with disastrous results) and he was basically running the country anyway. Many people in his place would’ve done the same thing, especially during the Middle Ages. Oh, and there’s the fact that he also had his other nephews and nieces including five of Edward IV’s daughters (including Elizabeth of York who married Henry VII and was Elizabeth I’s grandmother) and two of George of Clarence’s kids as well. And there are no Tower stories about them either maybe because many of them were women and he didn’t off them but still. Not to mention, he might not have been responsible for killing the Princes in the Tower. However, the main reason why he’s depicted as a villain is that he was the last king of of a royal dynasty (who usually ends up having a bad reputation) and the fact his death brought the end of the Wars of the Roses and the beginning of the Tudors in England. Also, the fact he seized the throne also counts as well. Sure Richard III might have been bad, but he might have just as been a victim of circumstance.

5. Raoul Silvia

From: Skyfall

Why He’s Evil: For one, he basically a James Bond villain who kills a bunch of people as well as destroys MI-6 headquarters via hacking through the computers. Oh, and he has a massive beef with M and sort of gets even James Bond to question whether his own boss has his best interests.

Why He Has a Point: Face it, compared to most James Bond villains, Raoul actually has a good excuse to make M’s life a living hell, even if his actions aren’t entirely justified. I mean he used to be an agent for MI-6 as well as one of the best and M was probably the closest thing he ever had to a mom (since most recruits at MI-6 were orphans). Not to mention, James Bond sort of views M the same way. Still, how would you feel if you were tortured to the point of insanity severe facial deformity and later learned that you were left for dead by your own boss? Sure M was only doing her job but it really hit Raoul pretty hard that someone he cared for like that would ever betray him. In any case, Raoul has every reason to be angry with her, but maybe not to the point of doing what he did.

6. Stanley Kowalksi

From: A Streetcar Named Desire

Why He’s Evil: Basically he’s an abusive jerk who beats his pregnant wife and treats her sister like an unwelcome guest the whole entire time. Oh, and he basically rapes Blanche to the point of insanity on the night of her birthday, right after he takes his wife to the hospital in labor. Also, he sabotages Blanche’s relationship with Mitch as well as is a selfish man and all around hyper aggressive brute.

Why He Has a Point: By no means, do I find much sympathy with this bastard of a man. Yet, you have to have some understanding with him since anyone would probably not like if their wife’s sister suddenly turned up at their doorstep after little communication for years. Oh, and it’s pretty obvious that Stanley doesn’t know her that well in the beginning but he does his research. Also, he’s basically one of the characters of the whole thing who’s quick to point out Blanche’s rather unpleasant qualities such as that she doesn’t care for him being a Pole, after Belle Reve was lost she moonlighted as a prostitute at some seedy motel which she was kicked out of, drove her husband to suicide after she discovered him having an affair with another man, and being fired from her teaching job for having sex with a seventeen-year-old boy. Not to mention, she’s basically staying with Stella because she has nowhere else to go and has been going to great lengths to conceal her checkered past. Sure Stanley was no saint by any means nor had any right to rape her, but Blanche was certainly not one either. Not to mention, raping vulnerable and mentally unstable woman seems more terrible than having questionable consensual sex with a seventeen-year-old, as far as post WWII America was concerned.

7. Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus

From: The Pink Panther series

Why He’s Evil: Basically went nuts and not only tried to kill Inspector Clouseau multiple times but also tried to destroy an entire country out of angry at being lied to about Clouseau’s assassination as well as whereabouts at one point or another. And he tried to pull that off pretty treacherously as a matter of fact.

Why He Has a Point: Because he’s Inspector Clouseau’s boss and later replaces him once he ends up in the madhouse. Not to mention, Clouseau is such an idiot and borderline incompetent that he basically gets through on cases despite his own stupidity and it’s pretty apparent that he’s the one who drives Dreyfus over the edge but not intentionally though. Clouseau can drive just about anyone familiar with him crazy. Still, what makes Dreyfus a villain is that he wants Clouseau dead and is willing to kill him, instead of maybe simply firing him or getting him transferred like most people would.