8 Villainous Characters Who Are Just Misunderstood

They’re the peeps we love to hate in movies and TV. But are they really evil – or just victims of circumstance? Make up your own mind below.

TV: Sandor the Hound, Game of Thrones


He’s a cynical badass killing machine, but what brought him to this point? Abuse, disfigurement by his evil brother and all his childhood hopes and dreams smashed. But despite the Hound’s violent ways, he does try to protect Sansa and Arya, suggesting he’s good at heart (and ripe for redemption). 

MOVIE: Kylo Ren, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Source: [Lucasfilm]

He was formidable in The Force Awakens, but without the scary helmet Kylo’s just a lost, angst-ridden teenager. He’s tortured by his Jedi past (which led him to abandon his family for the Dark Side) and who he wants to be (Darth Vader, duh). He’s a walking identity crisis and we feel for him a bit.

TV: Elizabeth Bligh, A Place To Call Home

Source: [Seven Network]

As the tough-as-nails matriarch of the Bligh family, Elizabeth does a lot of plotting and scheming for the first two seasons – under the guise of protecting her family and Ash Park. But life isn’t so fun when everyone hates you, and Liz recently reformed her ways, leaving viewers to hate Regina instead.

MOVIE: Carl Anhueser, 2012

Source: [Columbia Pictures]

He’s the chief-of-staff-turned-president whose tricky remit is to a) avoid worldwide panic before the massive tsunami hits, b) build a couple of arks and c) save as many lives as possible. But does poor Carl deserve to be bagged and vilified for making the tough decisions? It’s an apocalypse, people. 

TV: Skyler White, Breaking Bad

Source: [AMC]

The wife and mother forced to watch her life implode and her previously nice, normal husband morph into a sociopathic drug lord was painted as the party-pooper from the get-go – and just another obstacle in Walt’s way. Actress Anna Gunn even got death threats while playing the character! But was Skyler just making the best of a diabolically bad situation? We can’t help but think so.

MOVIE: Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ed Rooney
Source: [Paramount Pictures]

Ferris is the ‘good guy’, Ed is the villain…right? Well, let’s unpack this. As the high school principal, it’s actually Ed’s job to keep smarmy little upstarts like Ferris in class where they belong. Sure, he goes a little rogue in his methods (breaking and entering is a line crosser by anyone’s standards), but Ed’s core intentions are good. Sort of.

TV: Jax Teller, Sons of Anarchy

Source: [SutterInk]

SAMCRO biker Jax is a conflicted dude. He’s killed many people, sold a heap of drugs and guns, done time and has little remorse for his bad decisions. But at the heart of it, Jax is just a guy who loves his family and dreams of a less-violent, more legit existence than the one he had no choice to be born into. 

MOVIE: Dr. Otto Octavious, Spiderman 2

Dr Otto
Source: [Columbia Pictures]

Dr. Ock wanted to give the world clean renewable energy, but he was thwarted by a botched experiment that killed his wife and left him fused to a set of new robotic arms. That’s enough to drive anyone cray-cray, and Dr. Octavious wrongly decides to rob banks in order to fund his experiments. If only someone had suggested he get an angel investor, or go on Shark Tank!

TV: Al Swearengen, Deadwood

Al Swearagan
Source: [HBO]

It’s easy to switch off when faced with Al’s colourful vocabulary and savage streak. That said, the charismatic brothel owner is also surprisingly protective of those close to him, is a survivor during a time of rampant lawlessness, and is pretty much the guy the town turns to when there’s a crisis. So while he’s not exactly good, in the grand scheme of things he’s not all bad either…

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