At the end of all things, one dark machine will remain, forever pumping shadows into a dying world’s heart…
Creepy gothic cathedrals.
Ancient dark towers.
Fantastical sky-piecing minarets.
Some of these are among my older (and therefore cruder) works.
Others are more recent.
Quality notwithstanding, painting dark towers is among my favorite things to do, second only to drawing attractive women.
For more, go here.
For previous art assaults, go here.
Let’s count down the top 10 fantasy characters of all time.
Each of the following fantastical characters appears in a popular fantasy book, movie, or video game.
Some are modern. Others are old school. I’ll rank each from 1-10 in terms of their power.
A few rules:
- Each character is a headliner – central to the book, movie, or game in which they appear. In other words, no background characters. Sidekicks are up for consideration (as long as they’re well-described.)
- No one too obscure, meaning we’re not gonna pull up some random side-god from Final Fantasy 700
- Humanoids only. No dragons, Cthulu-esque monsters, or Moby Dicks. Two legs and two arms are required (even if illusory) to play this game
- Lastly, I didn’t include characters appearing primarily in comic books or cartoons…because…well…I simply don’t know enough about ’em. Also, since comic book characters are typically made to be over-powered, it feels like cheating. We’ll avoid them…with one exception.
Feel free to argue the results in the comments section.
Let’s get started…
Top 10 Most Powerful Fantasy Characters
Raistlin Majere (Dragonlance)
Coming in at number ten, we have the proud and dangerous wizard from the Dragonlance novel series. Raistlin starts out as a good guy (mostly) but after his test at the Tower of High Sorcery, he becomes something else. With his eyes, he sees the effect of time on all things (powerful indeed.) Ultimately, his powers grow such that he’s able to do battle with the gods themselves.
Not bad for a woodcutter’s son.
Also considered for this spot – Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
Randall Flagg (Various Stephen King novels)
*He’s understated. He looks like your average Joe (sometimes.) And he wears many, many faces – Marten Broadcloak & Walter o’Dim, to name a few. As a demon, a sorcerer, and an infamous man of malice, the seemingly unstoppable R.F. moves throughout time and dimensions with bad, bad things on his mind.
Did he kill Pres. Kennedy? Will he eventually kill everyone? Who knows?
I wonder who’d win in a fight between R.F. and Raistlin Majere. Hmmmm…
Also considered for this spot – Moiraine Damodred (Wheel of Time series) and/or Yennefer of Vengerberg (The Witcher video game/novel series)
Doom Guy (Doom video game series)
But…he’s just a guy, right?
He’s a demon-slaughtering, Hell-smashing demi-god resurrected for the sole purpose of saving humanity from incineration. In the latest Doom iteration, we learn Doom Guy hails from an ancient order of Martian soldiers responsible for one task and one task alone:
If you’re surprised he’s earned 8th place, don’t be. I’m not sure there’s a wizard alive whose magic could stop a BFG to the face.
Or a chainsaw wielded by Doom Guy with a Berserk power-up.
Also considered for this spot – Kratos (God of War) and Darth Vader (Star Wars)
The Night’s King (Game of Thrones (novels and TV series)
He’s the ultimate necromancer.
He raises armies of wights with a flick of his fingers.
He slays dragons. He walks through fire. He turns babies into White Walkers. He orchestrates the invasion of all Seven Kingdoms.
Do NOT F with the Night King.
Also considered for this spot – Jadis the White Witch (Chronicles of Narnia) and/or Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda)
Perhaps most compelling about good old Ganon is that he keeps coming back.
No matter how many times Link rises up to banish or destroy him, the ‘Dorf finds his way into Hyrule. And by virtue of claiming the Triforce, he has far more power than many of his contemporaries.
He’s sometimes a great beast. He’s often a powerful wizard. Even now and then, he’s a living, breathing cataclysmic presence in the sky.
And he edges out the Night’s King due to having already conquered his kingdom of choice…several times.
Even though he always seems to lose it in the end.
Also considered for this spot – Dracula (Bram Stoker’s novel)
Gandalf the White (Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit)
He once slapped a Balrog of Morgoth off a mountain.
He defeated his own boss and plotted the downfall of Middle Earth’s primary nemesis, Sauron.
And he smokes a mean pipe.
Often cantankerous, sometimes downright mean, Gandalf might seem human, and yet he’s anything but. His powers are largely un-catalogued, but so obviously formidable. Sometimes, true power isn’t just lobbing fireballs and blasting lightning bolts. It’s all in the intellect, of which Gandalf has more than most.
Also considered for this spot – Albus Dumbledore and/or Voldemort (Harry Potter series)
Pennywise (Various Stephen King novels, also the movie, It)
Now we’re getting somewhere.
You might think of Pennywise as just a serial-killing clown. But It’s much, much more. As a Lovecraftian horror from beyond all normal dimensions, It’s come to Earth to consume as much humanity as It can.
It thrives on fear. It can shape-change. It can move about almost at will. By virtue of Its eternal nature and Its bizarre, otherworldly powers, It beats out earthbound characters. It’s possible some of the others might defeat It in one-on-one combat, but It’d probably just self-resurrect in the Macroverse and find some other food source to fill IT’s belly.
Also considered for this spot – Lord Haliax of the Chandrian (The Kingkiller Chronicle)
# 3 & 2
Superman & Wonder Woman (Movie versions)
Yeah. I know what I said. Comic book characters are generally only special because of their bloated superpowers…blah blah blah.
But since these two are mainstream and they’ve been in a few movies, they’re fair game.
Let’s talk Superman first.
His powers (at least in the movies) are absurd. He can seemingly take limitless punishment, as long as the ones dealing out the punishment don’t use Kryptonite. He flies. He lifts impossible weights. He shoots fire from his eyes. He can breathe in outer space. No elements appear to affect him. Maybe some of the aforementioned wizards would know of a way to stop him.
But I don’t. And so he takes spot #2 on the list.
As for Wonder Woman…well…
She’s a master of hand-to-hand combat. And that’s all well and good.
But she’s also decked out in a full array of divine gear. Without it, she’d lose a fight to pretty much anyone else on this list. But with it…she’s damn near unstoppable.
Her sword can cut atomic particles. Her bracelets are completely invincible. Her lasso makes everyone else tell the truth, which is extremely powerful if you think about it.
Other characters, even the magic-wielding ones, would be hard-pressed to stop her. I’m not sure whether she’s #2 and Superman’s #3, or vice versa.
And I’m not sure it matters.
Also considered for this spot – No one in particular
Morgoth (The Silmarillion)
Most powerful of the Ainur, Morgoth (or Melkor, as he was once known) was the tyrant of Middle Earth long before little Sauron came to power.
His powers were many:
Shape-changing. Orc-breeding. Dragon-ruling. World-creating (and destroying.)
Tolkien describes him as having more power than all his brethren (the Valar) combined. If he hadn’t spread his power so wide in his quest for dominion, he might’ve ruled Middle Earth until the end of all days.
Alas…in his arrogance…
Also considered for this spot – Lucifer (Paradise Lost)
Darkness (Legend) – He can permanently end the sun’s reign. He can summon fire, twist the desires of mortals, and command various evil entities to do his bidding. His one problem: he couldn’t defeat Tom Cruise in a one-on-one duel. Also, he fell in love with Mia Sara (as did we all.) Shame on you, Darkness. You almost made the list.
Sauron (Lord of the Rings) – Ah, Sauron. You would’ve made the list if not for your boss (Morgoth) and the fact that you tied up too much of your power in a tiny little ring. Do better next time.
Intentionally left out:
Queen Bavmorda (Willow) – She’s an (almost) all powerful witch. She once turned an entire army into harmless pigs. She commands a mighty army of ruthless, skullmask-wearing warriors. But…and it’s a big but…she loses her final battle to a ‘peck,’ accidentally exiling herself to the nether world while fighting lil’ Willow. Step up your game, Bavmorda.
The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) – You died. To a little girl. With a bucket of water. Don’t they make magic spells to stop that sort of thing from happening? Must’ve sucked never being able to go outside in the rain.
If you like powerful characters, formidable wizards, and impossible-to-kill monsters, try some of these.
Until next time.
I’m wandering in a strange artistic realm.
On a rainy Saturday, with a glass of scotch in hand and Chris Isaak roaring in the background, I decided to consume my largest remaining canvas.
…and paint green clouds, dark terrain, and tall, hollow tombs.
Introducing the Grave Towers:
If you liked this painting, you might also like these.
We’ve recently ended our long-standing Thought for Every Thursday series.
It may one day make its return.
But for now, please enjoy the first installation of Thursday Art Fart…
These are among my favorite types of art to create.
And so I have.
City of Nowhere – 24×48″ is among my more massive of my works. To make it happen, I slathered an entire canvas with red and black paint. After the base layer dried, I carved a stencil into two large poster boards and applied white spray paint to the non-blocked out areas. And then, to top it off, I dotted a few white stars and added some glossy black acrylics to the individual towers.
Boom. It’s huge. And I’ve nowhere to hang it…
The stencils for City of Nothing were so time-consuming to cut, I felt I had to use them at least once more before tossing them. And so the necropolis of Dark Oasis was born. Creating the clouds with spray acrylics was a blast. Detailing the swirls within the towers…also fun. Dark Oasis is smaller at 18×24″.
I’m not sure which one I like more.
Prints are available here.
If you like these, you might also like these.
It’s been a little while.
I’ve been focused less on art and more on invading the universe with my latest novella.
I recently decided to go over the top with another shadowy dark city painting. I love using the black & white color scheme…and I love eerie, otherworldly images.
Thus was born ‘Dead and Dreaming,’ the latest of my acrylic paintings:
* * *
The original canvas for Dead and Dreaming is now available for sale right here.
Prints and other materials are available for sale on my Society6 page.
There are moments in your life that you don’t see coming. You don’t know when they are going to happen. There is nothing you can do to prepare for them. And even in the moment you have no idea what kind of impact the event is going to have on you going forward. One day you were one person and the next you were someone different… and you didn’t even know it.
I’m having one of those moments right now. You see I’m reading The Dark Tower series. And yes, I realize that it shouldn’t have taken me so long to get around to reading it. In my defense I swore to myself years ago when I heard various friends going on and on (and on) about it that I would avoid it until it was completely done. I mean, the last thing I would want is to get really involved in it and then have to wait years at a time to get the next book (cough, cough, Game of Thrones).
I am at the beginning of book 4 – Wizard and Glass.
This series makes me want to break my fingers.
There was a point today, while I was reading at lunch, that had I not been surrounded by other people I would have cheered, yelled something. I kept all of that inside because I didn’t want them to call the white coats to come and take me away.
I have no idea where the series is going (to the Dark Tower, stupid!). Everywhere we turn we get to see more and more of the destroyed world. Is it Earth thousands of years in the future? Is it some parallel world?
Does it really matter? King weaves his way through this place, showing us slightly familiar things and then turning them on their heads. But to say that little bit doesn’t do it justice. The mundane things feel exciting, even when they probably aren’t.
I just got done reading a whole bunch of riddling chapters, and I couldn’t wait to see how our heroes managed to get out of that predicament.
But the biggest way that I know the narrative is working for me? I’m picking up speed as I read. I’m lingering for a little while longer… just 5 more minutes at lunch… I come home and tell my wife the little moments that made me happy.. heck I’m blogging about the damn series this week. To say it is on my mind is an understatement.
I’m even wondering about the rest of King’s works. I know various things tie together in odd ways, sometimes with a character or a place, but I’m turning that corner about wanting to know what those things might be. I even found a blog where the guy broke down what books to read when. And I read it… though, my insanity has some limits that don’t include taking a detour through all of his other books before finishing the second half of the series.
Or maybe I do…
And I’m currently working on a book – The Edge of the World. And I’m reading this epic by Stephen King. And I want to break my fingers.
Not because I don’t think I’m going to be good enough in my writing. But because I have to step up my game. Again.
And that is annoying.
John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.
His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. Each episode is only $0.99. But you can go ahead and purchase the full novel (all 6 episodes) right now for $4.99 with the above link!
He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.