Top 3 Redeemable Villains
1) Thomas and Guy Fawkes from Nadine Brandes's FawkesThe story's main character, Thomas, is Guy Fawkes's son. Both are involved in the infamous Gunpowder Plot to kill King James and destroy parliament. This book is a wonderful fantasy retelling of that. We know what happens to Guy Fawkes, of course, from history. But, in the book, I wanted to know "Will he reconcile with Thomas? Will he give Thomas a mask and show him his face? Will he surrender to White Light?" These were big questions for me. I can't tell you how it ended, but I will say I cried at the end, bittersweet tears. I expected Thomas to be redeemed during the big and enjoyed reading about the process. Both times I read the the book. :)
2) Maleficent in Disney’s movie of the same name.
This is a great fall and redemption story. The kind fairy queen is betrayed, turns cold and vengeful, then returns to a loving, kind queen. It’s always fun too to see the muttering, complaining character doing kind things despite their seemingly selfish convictions.
The human Claire is visited by a villainous fairy king on multiple occasions, all terrifying, and eventually called upon to rescue the now mad king. It's a great story, and Claire herself undergoes quite the change from scared and self-focused to brave and selfless, a change she wished for--before she knew to be careful what you wish for.
Some honorable mentions are Gollum from LOTR. He’s unique, pitiable, untrustworthy, sometimes helpful, and has a cool speech. Frodo’s and Sam’s conflicting attitude toward him challenge me. Would I be shrewd and cold like Sam or hopeful and compassionate like Frodo because I see my own temptations and possible future in him? Loki from the Marvel Universe is another. Like Thor, I want him to behave and be a trustworthy brother and friend.