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August 19, 2013

Breaking Bad Guys: Our Top Five Favorite Literary Antiheroes

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Ain’t life good now that “Breaking Bad” is back? Walter White a.k.a. Heisenberg a.k.a. The One Who Knocks and Co. kicked off the second half of the final season about a week ago, and we’re not ashamed to admit that their return kind of gives our week just the right television-axis it needs to spin smoothly (that’s a universal feeling, right?). We’re still reeling from the highly anticipated (but still no less shocking) confrontation in the season premiere, and cannot wait to see what kind of end awaits our favorite drug kingpin. “Mr. Chips to Scarface” is right, but we still can’t help rooting for Mr. White, despite all the murders and condescending speeches and consistently bad underwear choices. So in honor of our favorite antihero’s return to Sunday nights, we’ve put together a list of the top five literary villains we can’t help but root for. We’d *gladly* let any of these guys send us to Belize.

5. Lestat, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
Okay, I’ll admit this one might have a lot to do with the fact that Tom Cruise played him in the movie. And he was super creepy, too! But come on, he makes a great case for self-acceptance and living life (death?) to the fullest. All Lestat ever wanted was companionship, and for Louis (beautiful, beautiful Brad Pitt Louis) to never leave him, you know? Unless your vampire heart is made of stone, you totally know how that feels.

4. The Creature, FRANKENSTEIN
Mary Shelley probably makes the best case for not judging a book (or a terrifying eight-foot-tall monster with translucent yellow skin, black lips and sharp teeth) by its cover. Frankenstein’s creature only becomes murderous and evil after society rejects him based on his hideous appearance. Which is basically why I’m a menace most Sunday mornings, to be fair.

3. Hannibal Lecter, RED DRAGON
Hannibal Lecter is a gentleman and a scholar --- who also happens to be a cannibal. But he had a pretty traumatic childhood (including being forced to watch Nazis cannibalize his beloved sister), and loses touch with his own humanity as a result of his efforts to avenge his sister’s death, so it’s pretty much a wash.

2. Humbert Humbert, LOLITA
Maybe I’m just a sucker for Humbert’s (Nabokov’s) passionate prose. Sure, he falls in love with a 12-year-old and basically takes her hostage and only lets her do anything in exchange for sexual favors, but it’s hard not to empathize with such sincere and tremendous unrequited love.

1. Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Those Russian good looks? That insane obsession with being an übermensch? His kindness to a sweet, young prostitute? There’s something about Raskolnikov’s almost purely intellectual motives for murder that make him only a few shades off from the romantic European revolutionary. And I hate to be the one to say it, but you were all thinking it anyway: Alyona Ivanovna totally deserved it.