The Clever Minds of Female Antagonists

Female antagonists are amongst the most clever and cunning individuals. They are strategic, manipulative, and always know how to play everyone into their own hands. Female antagonists use their intelligence and skill to gain their notorious reputation. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

1- Cersei Lannister

Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister is one of the smartest and most strategic female antagonists in television history. Cersei’s infamous line “When you play the game of thrones, You win or you die. There is no middle ground,” pretty much sums up her character. Everything Cersei did was for the survival of herself and the ones she loved, she became a master of the game. When threatened she found a way to eradicate her enemies without getting her hands dirty. In Cersei’s defense, she commits ruthless crimes so her enemies never get the chance.

The Great Sept of Baelor

Cersei has committed many atrocities, but she displayed her craftiness during the explosion of the Great Sept of Baelor. Cersei blew up the Great Sept of Baelor without lifting a finger. On trial for her crimes, Cersei worked with her allies to kill two birds with one stone. Her enemies, Margaery Tyrell and the Faith of the Seven. Aware of Margaery’s seductive attempts towards her son, King Tommen, and the growing power and humiliation endured by the Faith, Cersei found a way to get rid of her opponents to stay on top. While both parties were present for Cersei’s trial, Cersei worked with her spies to lure in anyone who could be a threat to her into the explosion. With her knowledge of knowing the location of the wildfire, she uses her spies to set candles under the tunnels of the wildfire. Once the fire was set, it created a chain reaction to the other barrels of fire and rose through the ground to explode the Great Sept, killing everyone inside and in its vicinity.

2- Jadis the White Witch

If you are a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia films, you know about Queen Jadis. She is the main antagonist of Chronicles of Narnia and is responsible for the curse of the Long Winter. Due to a prophecy that one day two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve would overthrow her, she banned humans from Narnia. Until one day she crossed paths with Edmund Pevensie.

Manipulating the Son of Adam

Stumbling upon Edmund in the forest and learning of his siblings was the beginning of the prophecy Queen Jadis tried to avoid. Queen Jadis, aware that Edmund knows nothing of his purpose, uses it to her advantage to persuade him to bring his siblings to her home where she can imprison them and stop herself from being overthrown. The Queen showed kindness and bribed naive Edmund with food and false promises of royalty. “But you see, Edmund, I have no children of my own. And you are exactly the sort of boy where I could see, one day, you becoming prince of Narnia - maybe even king.” Edmund is pleased with this offer and promises to return to her and bring his siblings.

3- Azula, Princess of the Fire Nation

Avatar the Last Airbender has had a fair share of villains but none are as memorable as Azula. Although the primary antagonist was Fire Lord Ozai, Azula’s villain era was far more superior. Unlike the other two antagonists, Azula always got her hands dirty and like the other two, she used manipulation to exploit her enemies. She was able to be one of the most skilled firebenders in the show while strategizing her enemies’ downfall. She is both brawns and brains.

Invasion of the Fire Nation

Azula is always one step ahead of her foes. When the protagonist planned to attack the fire nation during its most vulnerable state, Azula already knew the plans months in advance. Although Azula did not have her bending she still proved herself capable. Her goal was to stall the group so they could not fight the Fire Lord. The group caught on to her schemes but in her final attempt to keep them right where she wanted them, she baited them with information on the imprisonment of their friend. Even at a disadvantage, Azula knew how to play the game and she knew exactly what to do to finish her mission. In the words of Azula, “You were never even a player.”

4- The Other Mother

The Beldam or the Other Mother is the main antagonist of Coraline. The purpose of the Beldam is to lure children in to feed on their flesh and take their souls. The Beldam can shapeshift and create life in the Other World. The true form of the Beldam is terrifying but first, she uses a much more welcoming and friendly form to lure her victims. In the case of Coraline, it was a replica of her mother, Mel Jones.

Luring in Coraline

To gain the trust of Coraline, the Beldam takes the form of Mel Jones. She tempts Coraline with affection and comfort, “You know I love you,” that she does not experience from her real mother. She feeds Coraline, plays games with her, and creates a more vibrant world. The Other Mother continues to spoil Coraline in the hopes she will never want to leave. When Coraline refuses to stay in the other world, the Beldam’s true form is revealed. The Beldam is very similar to Queen Jadis using bribery and fake kindness to manipulate her victims and then quickly show their true colors.

5- Agatha Harkness

Agatha Harkness is a powerful witch and a villain in the MCU universe. She is the main antagonist of WandaVision. Agatha is a 300-year-old witch who was betrayed by her coven for practicing black magic during the Salem witch trials. In WandaVision she is obsessed with stealing Wanda Maximoff’s power after she created the Westview Anomaly.

Agatha All Along

Agatha is shown manipulating events in Westview. Wanda’s mind is clouded by grief she is unaware of what she has created in Westview while Agatha has known all along. Agatha introduces herself as ‘Agnes’ Wanda’s nosy neighbor and fits right in with the rest of the delusion Westview residents. Agatha is seen casting spells on neighbors, manipulating a talent show with magic, and appearing at the most convenient times. Similar to Azula, Agatha can physically hold her own but similar to the rest of these female protagonists her mind is her best asset.

All of these iconic female villains meet their demise eventually but they are entertaining to watch. Their manipulation tactics were always exciting and suspenseful. These women’s minds were their greatest weapon.