Ranking of Villain’s Beards in Literature and Pop Culture

Posted by Rose Moore

Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash

Many a hero has inspired a man to grow a beard. There’s just something so darn heroic about a gloriously kept face-mane. The wisest of wizards in pop culture are always sporting waist-length white beards to gently stroke as they ponder the problems of the world, the dashing rogues who save the day have some too-busy-saving-the-world-to-shave stubble, and some even have intricately woven beards, or beards dyed and decorated for that extra flair.

However, for World Beard Day, we’re not looking at the beards of the heroes, but at the (often far more interesting) beards of the villains of pop culture. We’ve come a long way from the boring go-to-goatee that was the ultimate villain look for so long. Check out these incredible beards for every bad guy.



7. Peter Griffin from Family Guy 

The patriarch of Family Guy comes in bottom of the list because he’s not technically a villain…except to poor Meg, of course. However, he’s certainly not a hero, and this bumbling husband and father grows one of the most ridiculous beards in pop culture in "Brian Wallows and Peter’s Swallows." In this episode, his beard becomes so lush that endangered birds nest in it—and he becomes a bit of a villain to them, too, as he grows too attached to let them go.




6. Saruman from The Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings is essentially ‘battle of the beards’ at points, as Gandalf and Saruman duke it out with their long white beards flying. In the films, at least, Saruman’s beard is shorter than Gandalf’s, so perhaps this denotes power, and explains Gandalf’s win… however, Saruman’s beard comes in low on the list because despite his impressive villainy, it’s just a bit plain. There’s nothing special to this one, it’s just a typical wizard-beard. 





5. Daario Naharis from A Song Of Ice And Fire

While the HBO version of this character is initially clean shaven, and then grows a very basic beard in later seasons (when the actor changes), that’s not the version of Daario that we’re interested in. Nope – it’s the book version, where he has a beard split into a ‘trident’, and brightly dyed either blue or purple. It’s common in Tyrosh, where he’s from, but this murderous sellsword definitely has one of the brightest beards in books. The only reason it doesn’t rank higher is that he becomes less of a villain as the series continues – and because it may be flashy, but surely it’s not that great for sneaky assassinations?




4. Mugatu from Zoolander

Mugatu gets points for being both Bond-level villainous, and for having some truly unique hair. Of course, his obsession with style is part of his schtick, but anyone who can maintain a perfectly white beard in a tiny wisp, with those wild orbs of hair on his head, while taking over the world? That’s impressive. However, the hair is actually more impressive than the beard itself, which is why this doesn’t rank higher.





3. Jafar from Aladdin

In many ways, this is just the epitome of that classic villain beard, but that’s actually why he gets a spot – there needs to be one black goatee on the list, and Jafar has the best of the best. It’s not just the perfect wiggle, or the fact that he uses it so perfectly as a villainous accessory while plotting, but the fact that the beard itself is also an element of comic relief. From the moment that Aladdin (sorry, Prince Ali!), messes it up, that beard becomes both the mark of a villain, and a reason to laugh.



2. Seneca Crane from The Hunger Games

The Head Gamemaker may be one of the most evil villains on the list – it takes a special kind of evil to orchestrate televised teen deathmatches for the benefit of an oppressive government. However, he may have a black soul, but he also has an incredible beard. While very trimmed, the edges are shaved and worked into intricate designs that are reminiscent of a Jafar-style beard but bring something new to the table. Mugatu and Jafar only wish they could have a beard this cool.




1. Davy Jones from The Pirates of the Caribbean

Of course, none of these other beards can even start to compare to the most epic bad guy beard of all – that of Davy Jones. Unlike all these boring beards that just look good, Davy Jones has a beard that he can actually play a pipe organ with. These facial tentacles are prehensile, capable of doing his bidding even after they have been cut off, and are absolutely terrifying to boot. There’s no doubt about it – this is the ultimate in villain beards.


Which bad-guy beard did we miss? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know!