Brilliant, charismatic, utterly devious…  These are the makings of the Magnificent Bastard.  Always ready with a plan, always manipulating, prepared for emergencies and events that might even surprise Batman, they take ridiculous risks and succeed with panache.  Indeed, the best of these characters are actually terrible people (Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious comes to mind), but having the likes of Black Panther or WildCATs’ Tao on your side can help to balance the scales against the evil folks, leading to today’s nigh-omniscient query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will take Elim Garak every time, until I remember about John Constantine, and then it’s an endless argument in my head (just like they probably wanted), asking: What character is the best, most Machiavellian Magnificent Bastard in all of fiction?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. One I would rank #1 is Victor Von Doom. More often than not, I find myself rooting for him instead of hero hes up against and unlike most of other devious villains, Like Loki, hes seen a fair amount of success. Latveria must the safest place of Marvel Universe, while New York is constantly under attack by every imaginable and unimaginable thing despite having legion of heroes present.

  2. David Xanatos. I’m pretty sure he laid plans in the first episode that didn’t pay off until the end of the season finale. When you think you’ve beaten one scheme he has at least three more in line, that took into account the possible thwarting of scheme one.

  3. Barney Stinson. Between his years of work doing “P.L.E.A.S.E.” just to revenge himself for a long ago slight, and his arcane machinations to propose to Robin, he’s shown he can play the long game.

  4. Kerr Avon, the charming, debonair, conniving and ruthless second in command/leader of that ragtag band of outlaws known as Blake’s7

    • “The craft needs to lose 75kg or it will crash, Vila weighs exactly 75kg” Orac – Blake 7
      I think orac was an even more magnificent bastard, but when two of them are working together [shudder]

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