June 29th, 2001
"Oh no!", I hear you cry, "not another editorial by Keyla! I thought he'd given up on it!"
Well, no, I haven't given up! This time I'm going to move away from examining the series as a whole or making predictions. I'm going to focus on a very important character group: 'The villain'. Now, it is probably quite true that you can't have a good book without a good villain. If you didn't, the book would lose focus and become extremely mundane. So, it is very important for a book to have a good villain, and Redwall is no exception. But, I consider some villains to be better than others.
The purpose of this editorial is, basically, to rate the different villains on a variety of aspects.
The rating system is done as a percentage and will work like this: a maximum of 20% will be given on how rare or original the species of each villain is; a maximum of 30% will be given for how original or interesting to read about the strategies which they use are; a maximum of 10% will be given for how original their weapon is; a maximum of 20% will be given on how memorable they are based on their individual features; a maximum of 20% will be given on how much fear or humour (depending on the character's purpose) they create. The number of villains featured will not be based on the idea of one per book.
1. Ungatt Trunn: 80%
Species: 18% Wildcats are very rare and hardly ever used. They could only be beaten in this category by some like a wolf or a reptile.
Strategy: 25% He uses well formed, but, traditional battle plans, but his illusions make up for this.
Weapon: 9% Like species, very original, first time it is used by a main villain.
Individual Features: 17% His blue hordes, a distinct competitiveness with his family, and a fetish for spiders all add up to create an unforgettable villain.
Fear/Humour: 11% To me, he isn't particularly creepy or threatening, but I suppose you can tell he is meant to be. This section really is his weak spot.
2. Badrang the Tyrant: 66%
Species: 11% Stoats are very common, not so much as chiefs, but, as normal vermin.
Strategy: 19% He doesn't really go well against the heroes, but, he is nice and sneaky with Clogg.
Weapon: 8% A sword may appear to be a very average weapon, but you must remember this is Martin's Sword.
Individual Features: 13% Martin's sword, and perhaps his relationship with Clogg, are probably the only reason you might think of him.
Fear/Humour: 15% This is his best section. But, like with most vermin, their gain is worked for on the back of others. Without Martin and Clogg this would not be possible.
3. Captain Tramun Clogg: 59%
Species: 11% Like Badrang!
Strategy: 14% He tries at first to outwit Badrang, but fails, so he is low on this.
Weapon: 4% Cutlass is standard corsair weaponry.
Individual Features: 12% Clogs and his relationship with Badrang are all you get.
Fear/Humour: 18% Like with Badrang, this is his strong suit. Though he is a villain, he provides much of the humour in the book. He is at his best with the 'magic' rabbit 'Tibbar'.
4. Tsarmina, Queen of a Thousand Eyes: 82% (she beats her uncle by a whisker, by a whisker get it?)
Species: 18% See Ungat Trunn.
Strategy: 23% She has a nice variety of normal battle tactics and special ones such as 'The Gloomer'.
Weapon: 7% Using what nature gave her is good, her claws are lethal.
Individual Features: 17% She comes complete with titles and family history. She also has an interesting choice in advisors. Also, her rivalry with the eagle adds a real edge to her character.
Fear/Humour: 17% Her rages are probably some of the most frequent in the entire Redwall series.
5. Vilu Daskar: 56%
Species: 11% See Badrang.
Strategy: 19% We only see him in one third of the book, but, he's quite crafty, catching Luke between the Twin Isles.
Weapon: 5% Scimitar! Slightly better than Clogg's cutlass, but only just!
Individual Features: 12% A posh corsair!! Nice. Anything else? NO!!
Fear/Humour: 9% Not much here, the real emotions in the book are created by Luke and Martin.
6. Swartt Sixclaw: 67%
Species: 10% Even more common than a Stoat.
Strategy: 28% Very Nice! He shows good ability as a general on the battlefield. But, not only that, he manages to kill off others to gain and sustain power.
Weapon: 7% Novel! Actually, it is. It is very rare for a major villain to use a sword.
Individual Features: 18% One of the only Warlords in the Redwall series. Also, and probably most importantly, his relationships. With both Sunflash and his son, Veil.
Fear/Humour: 14% He is very self contained, does not seem to vent his anger on others a great deal, and is certainly not humorous. But, the emotion with him is created with his relationship with his son.
7. Gabool the Wild: 73%
Species: 14% Rats may be common, but, he is the only Searat to be a major villain.
Strategy: 19% We hardly see him in battle, but, he shows brains when laying traps.
Weapon: 8% A jewel hilted sword! Ohh!
Individual Features: 17% The bell! The fight with Mariel (the heroine had almost beaten the villain before the book had started)! The scorpion! The badger! The list goes on!
Fear/Humour: 15% "Mad!" that's the best way to describe him, "Mad!"
8. Urgan Nagru, the Foxwolf: 79%
Species: 16% We don't see many foxes in the Redwall world, though they are slightly more common than a wildcat.
Strategy: 24% In 'The Bellmaker' we see him trick his way into possession of the palace and then fight off challengers with varying success.
Weapon: 7% Claws! As with Tsamina. Using what the wolf gave him.
Individual Features: 16% One of the only villains to ever have a mate, and the only one to have a mate who is also a main villain.
Fear/Humour: 16% Strangly enough, he gave a bit of both.
9. Silvermord: 73%
Species: 16% Like her mate.
Strategy: 21% Shows to be reasonable in battle, but, her forte is with the Foxwolf.
Weapon: 5% Well, she doesn't really see much fighting.
Individual Features: 14% A wierd dress sense and an even weirder relationship with her mate.
Fear/Humour: 17% She's basically what people call a 'ball breaker', some evil girl power.
10. Feragho the Assassin: 68%
Species: 8% Some call it mundane, I prefer to refer to it as standard.
Strategy: 20% He demonstrates the simple universal law that, if you want a job done well, you've got to do it yourself, and when he does he has varying success.
Weapon: 5% I'm just going to give him the average mark as his weapon varies.
Individual Features: 18% Family ties, blasts from the past, would be assassins, and a dramatic death cook up a scorcher.
Fear/Humour: 17% Sadistic, that's what he is!!
11. Cluny the Scourge: 78%
Species: 12% It is easy to think of rats as common, and they were in the first book, but they have gradually become more scarce.
Strategy: 21% His plans may now seem like the obvious siege plans, but what makes it good is how quickly things turn from negotiation to all out war.
Weapon: 9% A barbed tail, I like it. I think if someone reads 'Redwall' and sees in their mind a rat with a barbed tail, it really does show an image of barbarity.
Individual Features: 17% He had the reputation, he had an amazing weapon, he had his favourites, but what he really wanted was Redwall.
Fear/Humour: 19% He has an amazing image, his species is associated with disease, his tail, in effect, secretes poison, he leaves behind him a trail of destruction and suffering, and he keeps that image throughout the book.
12. Asmodeus: 72%
Species: 19% Very, very rare!
Strategy: 18% He does have clever tricks, but they are what you would expect from a snake.
Weapon: 8% Naturalistic, I like that!
Individual Features: 15% Well, the problem is he doesn't get much more individual than his species. Like Vilu Daskar, he is more an implement than a character.
Fear/Humour: 12% His purpose is fear, but more towards the other characters. He is an implement rather than a character and this limits his effect on us.
13. Slagar the Cruel: 84%
Species: 16% See Urgan Nagru!
Strategy: 27% I like the way Slagar has a double strategy. He does the work of Malkariss and the work of his revenge. In addition to this, he does it without a large army at his back.
Weapon: 8% Original and deadly, it makes me shiver to think about it.
Individual Features: 18% He is the only key Redwall villain, so far, to have been alive and a villain in two books. Not only that, but, he is one of the most twisted villains in the entire series, and yet, despite how extreme he is, he manages to serve two masters with near success.
Fear/Humour: 15% By the time of 'Mattimeo' he has gone completely mad with revenge. To support himself he has turned to serve another, a pole cat, but this does not stop him being a formidable villain.
14. Ublaz, Emperor Mad Eyes: 72%
Species: 17% There are very few Pine Martens in the Redwall world, but for some reason they always seem to get high positions.
Strategy: 19% The main problem with his strategy is that he is too confident. He really does see himself as an emperor and sends others on 'errands'. Now, you may wonder what is wrong with that. Well, it leaves him in a vulnerable position. This vulnerability is probably one of the key reasons for his downfall.
Weapon: 8% Ok, so at the end he uses a sabre. But, he is probably the only true hypnotist (Asmodeus does not count) in the entire Redwall series.
Individual Features: 15% Eyes and pride aside, he is like any other villains in the element of greed. But, with him it takes over his life, eating him away.
Fear/Humour: 13% He still does have some 'fear factor', but, the pride element reduces much of this.
15. Damug Warfang: 78%
Species: 16% Rats do seem common, but, remember, this is one of the only Great Rats in the entire series.
Strategy: 20% Hard to judge, really, as we only see his army fight properly at the 'Ridge of a Thousand', but he does show cunning when trying to gain power and respect at the start.
Weapon: 8% It is a clever idea for a weapon. It may be a sword, but, it's a symbol, too.
Individual Features: 17% The great thing is he follows on from the failure of his father and he strives to do better. His sword is his image. But, what I will remember him for is how it was he who led the first proper 'Sensationalistic Army'. If you don't get this phrase, look at the article entitled: 'Should I be worried? Paranoid or not?'
Fear/Humour: 15% He deals out very harsh punishments to rebels in the army, of which there are quite a few. This, quite nicely, beefs up his image before the final battle at the 'Ridge of a Thousand'.
16. High Queen Silth: 73%
Species: 17% A slightly more rare fox.
Strategy: 25% Despite being limited to her castle home she is very devious, she makes full use of the control she has over her brood and army. You may wonder why she was not murdered by her children earlier on, but she knew that one of them would not try and kill her off for fear of the others.
Weapon: 3% As she has no actual weapon I will rate her army.
Individual Features: 17% Not only is she the only main villain without an actual weapon, she also shows a certain superstitious weakness. But, she sits strong in her castle until six of her brood, in search of her desire, leave her alone with her smallest daughter.
Fear/Humour: 11% To be honest, she isn't too scary. In a way, she is humorously gullible, evil as that sounds.
17. (High Queen) Lantur: 83%
Species: 17% Like her mother.
Strategy: 26% She bides her time, waiting for her siblings to 'leave the nest', then she pounces, outwitting her own mother, dealing her the drink of death.
Weapon: 6% Like her mother, she does not really need one, but, of course she has her razor sharp, silver tongue.
Individual Features: 16% It's quite interesting how she actually uses the water rats as allies, rather than the rest of the brood. She wants power, but, she is prepared to sink to a low role and wait in order to get it.
Fear/Humour: 18% Like Silvermord, she is a ballbreaker, but, she is prepared to get her own family to get what she wants.
18. (High King) Mokkan: 85%
Species: 17% It's a family thing.
Strategy: 27% He shows both Lantur's cunning and patience, but at the same time his other siblings war skills.
Weapon: 8% An axe may sound clumsy, but the ones the Marlfoxes used were obviously quite small and light. We know this because of the speed they use them.
Individual Features: 17% Family is important with him. The Marlfox family shows signs of being institutionalised. It is quite obvious that he does not enjoy his mother's company. Remember the phrase 'Never trust a vixen.' He, obviously, had a bad experience as a child.
Fear/Humour: 16% He shows so many sides of evil in one character, the anger, the resentment, the cold blooded killing, and the trickery.
So there you have it, my review of the current 18 main villains! Now, lets do the 'Villain Top 5':
5: At number 5 tonight we have the Uncle of Tsarmina, the brother of Verdauga, and the son of King Mortspear! He was once the ruler of Salamandastron and was the leader of the Blue Hordes!
With 80% Ungatt Trunn is at number 5.
4: In at number 4 we have the ever so scary niece of Ungatt. The one and only Tsarmina!!
82% gives Tsarmina 4th place.
3: The first fox in this countdown of the top 5 is here at number 3, (High Queen) Lantur. With 83% she is high on the trickery scale!! 2: Now we have a problem at number 2- there were two top scores of 84%, so I had to make my own judgement on which I liked the most. So, only by my opinion at number two, we have Slagar the Cruel!!
1: And, swiping number one by a foxes whisker, is (High King) Mokkan! Actually, it's not just Mokkan who is a good villain. The entire Marlfox family make good villains!
Now, you may quite well be thinking, "What was the point of that, then?" Well, I wanted to do that as a way to gauge villains against each other and to look for certain patterns.
The first thing I noticed is that the top three villains were all foxes. This suggests, to me, that it is often good to have a crafty villain.
Another species which did very well was the wildcat. Both of them made it into the top 5!
But, what intrigued me most is how, when I looked at the top 5, how the villains appeared in two main stages of Brian Jacques' Redwall career! Both Tsarmina and Slagar were within the second and third books written, (Slagar may have appeared in the first, but, his character was, in many ways, different). But, Ungatt, Lantur, and Mokkan all appeared in the last three books. This suggests, to me, an undulation in the importance of the villain in a 'Tales of Redwall'.
Well, before I finish, I would just like to make some predictions (groan!!) on some up and coming villains. Firstly...
Well, we now know that the 'Taggerung' himself will not be the actual villain. Instead, it appears he will be a quirky kind of hero (there goes my predicted 'Outcast of Redwall' style ending, oh well). The villain that is now suggested appears to be a member of the tribe that kidnapped Tagg' in the first place, who is trying to take the title of 'Taggerung'. After seeing a scan of the British front cover, I suspect this villain is the fox painted with plant dyes at the bottom of the picture.
For more info on 'The Taggerung' go to http://members.aol.com/m3may/upcoming/taggerung.html
With Triss we know slightly less. At this stage, all I can say is that the main villains are 'albino ferrets' (they'll score well on the 'species' category) who are served by ratguards. There is one other quite possible villain when...
"the creatures of Redwall find their way of life endangered by a nameless horror."
Though I suspect this 'villain' may be dibbun related (that may be something to do with the "once dibbuns" in 'Loamhedge').
For more info on 'Triss' see http://members.aol.com/m3may/upcoming/triss.html
Loamhedge (unofficial title).
Well, this one is, in a way, sketchy, but, at the same time clear. Brian has said that...
"a bumbling vermin crew have come, seeking what they have been told is a magic sword."
I smell a siege coming on!!
Of course, there is the main core of the story, Loamhedge. I'm sure our Redwallers will meet some old foes (e.g. The Painted Ones).
For more news on 'Loamhedge' (unofficial title) read http://members.aol.com/m3may/upcoming/loamhedge.html
Now, just to sum up, I'm going to describe to you why I think villains are important.
Redwall Villains are not only important to the story, but, they also set a kind of anti-role model. If you look at many of the villains, you can start to guess where they went wrong in their lives and this encourages you not to make the same kind of mistakes.
Now, you may ask, "What about Veil?" Well, he was still partially brought up by vermin. Remember, even when he was first found he liked the taste of blood. All his time at Redwall seemed like a suppression to him. Also, it can be argued that his final deed of saving Bryony proved that good had come through.
But, this again is a hard argument and one which probably won't be resolved without Brian Jacques actually giving us the answer. But, isn't that true with anyone who is possibly reformed? You may never know whether they really have.
So, that was my run down of the villains. It has actually taken quite a long time to write because of tests I'm currently taking.
Thanks for reading!!