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Witches have been a staple of folklore and popular culture for centuries. Even to this day, witches are a prominent force in fantasy fiction, including in the release of the movie adaptation of Beautiful Creatures, which is set to be one of Valentines Day's big movie releases. To celebrate, let’s look at ten of the best witches to grace the silver screen.
10. Serafina Pekkala (The Golden Compass)
Fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy were greatly insulted with the adaptation of The Golden Compass that was given to us. But one crump of comfort we have is the casting of Eva Green as the witch Serafina Pekkala, the leader of a tribe of Northern witches. She was powerful, able to move quickly in a misty form and fly using a branch, and great at using a bow and arrow. Green was perfect casting and better than the movie deserved.
9. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (The Wizard of Oz)
Many witches inhabit the world of Oz, and most of them are evil. But flying the flag for good is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, who welcomes Dorothy on her quest in Oz to find the Wizard and make her way back home to Kansas. She, along with many other characters in The Wizard of Oz, is a cultural icons.
8. Mombi (Return to Oz)
The 1985 movie Return to Oz is a pseudo-sequel to the ever popular The Wicked of Oz. While it was not a hit at the time, it is now earning a cult following. Just as The Wizard of Oz has an evil witch, so does The Wicked of Oz. This time, Mombi is the one with the amazing ability to swap heads. She even has a room of them in an effectively creepy scene.
7. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter Series)
The Harry Potter series has made witches popular in modern day. One of those witches being is the deranged and sadistic Bellatrix Lestrange, who was perfectly played by Helena Bonham Carter. After spending years in Azkaban prison, she becomes insane and is released to wreak havoc on the wizarding world. She is also a very powerful witch and a loyal follower to Voldermort to the end. She is The Joker of the Harry Potter series.
6. The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
The Witches is one of Roald Dahl's most popular children's novels, and a movie adaptation was released in 1990. Anjelica Houston was cast as the main villain of the piece, The Grand High Witch, who has a truly dastardly plan: to turn all the children of Britain into mice by using poisoned chocolate bars! Houston certainly made her presence felt, and The Grand High Witch was someone you crossed at your own risk, even if you are on her side.
5. Yubaba (Spirited Away)
From the impressive filmography of Hayao Miyazaki comes the wonderful anime Spirited Away. Set mostly in a dark fantasy with many strange creatures, it follows a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, who tries to change her parents back into their human form. Her nemesis is the giant headed witch Yubaba who forces Chihiro to pay her parents' debt and renames her Sen to remove her memories and identity. In a world filled with memorable and creative characters and creatures, Yubaba was a complex villain.
4. Lamia (Stardust)
From the ever versatile Matthew Vaughn came the entertaining fantasy movie Stardust, which is set in a parallel universe where many characters want to capture a fallen star, Yvaine (Claire Danes). One of them is the witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who needs the heart of a star to keep them young. Lamia shows herself to be a powerful foe who has seemingly unlimited power. The catch is every time she uses her powers she ages and the more she uses them the quicker she ages.
3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series)
Hermione Granger is a complete teacher’s pet and puts the other students of Hogwarts to shame, so much so that she even has a watch that allows her to travel back in time so she can do more classes. But she is a very intelligent character and one of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter Series. Emma Watson consistently improved as an actress during the series and Hermione was often the driving force in finding a solution for the gang. Hermione was the victim of the wizarding world’s version of racism, but she also got to show her spunk by punching Draco Malfoy in the face.
2. The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia Series)
The White Witch is one of the great villains in the fantasy fiction and Tilda Swinton brought her to life in the “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” The White Witch was the director of the lands of Narnia, keeping the world forever in winter (but Christmas never comes). She is able to create Turkish Delight from a single drop of liquid and turn creatures into stone through her staff. She is a skilled military commander and has a sadistic edge, and even though she does not return in the subsequent books, she reappeared in the movie sequels as a symbol of Edmund’s guilt.
1. The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)
The Wicked Witch of the West was a classic witch character, and as such, she has most of the cliches you would expect. She was one of the most memorable cinematic villains of all time and a cultural icon. The green skinned witch does terrible acts across the Land of Oz and is so recognizable that even people who have not seen The Wizard of Oz know who she is. She has appeared in cartoons, parodies, and two prequels about her. The novel Wicked, which was turned into a hit musical, and the upcoming release of Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful are said prequels.