Often stories are just as good as the obstacles and villains you find in them. In the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, you find a great many fascinating fairy tale villains.
I read all the Brothers Grimm fairy tales (more than 200), these are my 15 favorite Grimm fairy tales villains. My favorites of them all are the Wacko Princess (number 6) and the Evil Queen (number 12). Enjoy!
1. The Big Bad Wolf who ate them all
The Big Bad Wolf is the villain in the famous fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. He has both repulsed and fascinated us for ages. One moment he is chatting amicably with the young woman, suggesting plucking flowers for her grandmother. The next moment he is enjoying eating them both.
Read more about the Big Bad Wolf in the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.
2. The King who wanted to kill his twelve sons
In the fairy tale The Twelve Brothers, the King contemplates killing his twelve sons when their sister is born. Twelve coffins, twelve shrouds, everything is prepared, all to keep the inheritance in the family. When you pause and consider this heinous plan, you shudder. Luckily, they escaped.
Read more about this King and his twelve sons in the fairy tale The Twelve Brothers.
3. The Wicked Stepmother who killed the queen
The Wicked Stepmother finds out that her stepdaughter has become a queen. Immediately, she hatches a plan to kill her stepdaughter and replace her with her own daughter. She succeeds, but the queen’s ghost keeps coming back to comfort her child. In the end, the king manages to bring back his queen.
Read more about the adventures of the queen, her brother, and the wicked stepmother in the fairy tale Little Brother and Little Sister.
4. The Sorceress who took a girl and locked her up
This Sorceress is so evil that she demands a child as payment from simple peasants who eat from her garden. She locks the girl in a tower, where her hair grows longer and longer. When she falls in love with a prince, the sorceress takes his eyes. Only years later the two find a happy ending.
Read more about the sorceress and Rapunzel in the fairy tale Rapunzel.
5. The Witch who catches, cooks, and eats children
This Witch builds a house of bread, cake, and sugar glass in the middle of the forest. To lure and catch children. After catching Hansel and Gretel, she takes them home and locks up Hansel to fatten him up. When she has heated her oven, Gretel manages to push the witch in and save her brother.
Read more about Hansel and Gretel and their dealings with this evil Witch in the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.
6. The Wacko Princess asking for deadly promises
This Wacko Princess asks her lover to bury himself alive with her when she dies. So he ends up in a tomb, where he brings her back to life with three snake leaves. As a thank you, she cheats on him and kills him. Luckily the snake-leaves save him also; she is in for a second death.
Read more about this strange relationship in the fairy tale The Three Snake Leaves.
7. The Jealous Brother who kills his younger brother
There is a boar ravaging the land. When the younger brother kills the boar, his Jealous Elder Brother kills him and proclaims himself the hero. His crime is only discovered when after many years a horn containing a little bone of the younger brother tells the story.
Read more about these two brothers in the fairy tale The Singing Bone.
8. The Devil who preys on a pious girl
The Deceitful Devil offers the miller everything for what is behind his mill. He accepts and finds out that his daughter stood behind the mill. When the devil comes to collect, her father cuts off her hands so she cannot pray. Still, she escapes and, after many trials, finds some happiness.
Read more about this girl and the devil in the fairy tale The Girl Without Hands.
9. The Robber Bridegroom who likes to salt his brides
Deep in the forest lives her Robber Bridegroom. When she visits and discovers what he does to the women that come there (salting and eating them), she escapes and hatches a plan. At the wedding, she retells everything she saw and the robbers are executed.
Read more about this gang of robbers and the old woman that lives with them in the fairy tale The Robber Bridegroom.
10. The Wizard who catches and abducts young women
A Wicked Wizard rings the door bells at houses where young women live. He catches them in the big basket he carries on his back. He takes them to his castle. And then they are never heard of again. Luckily, the youngest of three captured sisters puts an end to this evil Wizard!
Read more about this gang of robbers and the old woman that lives with them in the fairy tale Fitcher’s Bird.
11. The Cook who wants to cook her best friend
The Evil Cook tells Lisa that she wants to cook her best friend: Fundevogel. The boy that was found at the top of a tree by her father, the hunter. She tells Fundevogel and together they flee. The cook turns out to be an old witch but they manage to uses magic to outwit her.
Read more about the magic they use to outwit the cook in the fairy tale Fundevogel.
12. The Queen who needs to be the most beautiful
When the Evil Queen crouches before her mirror, she wants to hear only one thing: “You, my Queen, are the fairest of them all.” However, when her stepdaughter becomes more fair, she orders the hunter to kill her and tries to poison her thrice. This tale does not end well for the Evil Queen.
Read the Grimm’s version of this all-familiar story: Snow White.
13. The Evil Little Man who claims a baby
This Evil Little Guy likes to trick, to deal, to riddle. He helps a girl with spinning flax into gold. However, when he comes to collect the prize, she does not want to part with her baby. Grinning, he gives her one chance: to guess his name, Rumpelstiltskin. Luckily she finds it out in time.
Discover more about the riddle and how she finds out in the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin.
14. The Wagoner who ruthlessly killed a sleeping dog
Before the Evil Wagoner arrives, this tale is all about a beautiful friendship. The dog and the sparrow have found each other and are relaxing on the road. When the wagoner arrives, the sparrow warns him but he does not care and kills the dog. The sparrow’s revenge is as gruesome as she warned him.
Discover more about this beautiful friendship and disastrous ending in the fairy tale The Dog and the Sparrow.
15. The King who wanted to marry his daughter
A king promises his dying wife to marry only somebody as beautiful as herself. The only one who is as beautiful is their daughter. So he asks her to marry him and provides everything she asks to deter him. She runs away and ends up with another king with whom she lives happily ever after.
Discover more about this fairy tale ‘Thousandfurs’ on Wikipedia.
Greatest Grimm fairy tales villains?
Did I miss one of your favorite Grimm fairy tales villains? Let me know!