Top 15 Onscreen Witches

Back in May, I posted my Top 15 Onscreen Vampires, and the response I got was good enough that I decided to continue the “series”, this time ranking witches. I’ve picked characters from all over film and tv, both male and female. For the purposes of this article, I’ve described a witch as “a human who is born with or learns magic”. I’ve included some characters who aren’t necessarily called witches (or wizards) but who have magic, and I’ve left out those characters who, despite having magic, are not now, nor have they ever been, humans, like faeries, elves, angels, demons, etc. I’ve also chosen one single character per “world”, otherwise this list would end up being a mile long.

The witches aren’t in any order except alphabetical, and, as usual, spoiler alert!! And off we go! 🙂

 

Amanda Shelton, Simply Irresistible

Amanda

“I think I’ve loved you since that first day in the market.”
“You mean the day I had my hand up your pants? Men are so easy.”

Played by: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Born in: New York City, date unknown but the movie takes place in modern times.
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: Good
Powers: With the help of a magical crab (yup, you read that right), Amanda becomes an extraordinary chef whose emotions go into her food, causing anything from laughter to tears to even floating on the ceiling.
Weaknesses: None but her own self-confidence (or lack thereof, rather).
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Bathsheba Sherman, The Conjuring

Bathsheeba

“She ran out to that tree by the dock, climbed up, proclaimed her love to Satan, cursed anyone who tried to take her land, and hung herself. Time of death was pronounced at 3:07 in the morning.”

Played by: Joseph Bishara
Born in: Rhode Island, 1812
Scary or sexy: Scary
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Telekinesis and possession of others
Weaknesses: Holy objects, exorcism and love.
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: Exorcised out of Carolyn by Ed.

 

Bavmorda, Willow

Bavmorda

“Why is it with my powers and the strength of my great army you cannot so much as find one… little… child?”

Played by: Jean Marsh
Born in: Nockmaar, date unknown
Scary or sexy: Scary (Jean Marsh is a handsome woman, but her character doesn’t stay attractive for very long).
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: All kinds of dark magic, from curses to transmogrification.
Weaknesses: Arrogance, white magic and lightning
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: Willow tricks her into thinking he’s made little Elora disappear, and when she rushes towards him she knocks over all the components of her spell and is struck by lightning at the same time, sending her to the Netherworld she was planning on sending Elora to.

 

Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings trilogy / The Hobbit trilogy

Gandalf

“Never put it on, for then the agents of the Dark Lord will be drawn to its power. Always remember, Frodo, the Ring is trying to get back to its master. It wants to be found.”

Played by: Ian McKellan
Born in: I’m sure it’s mentioned somewhere when and where Gandalf was born, but in the interest of saving time, let’s just say he was born in Middle Earth, and leave it at that :-p
Scary or sexy: Neither, actually, but Sir Ian does cut a proud figure.
Good or evil: Good
Powers: Ability to conjure and control fire, control over water, spells and blessings, causing explosive blasts, conjure lightning, foresight abilities, some telepathic power, and the ability to communicate with animals.
Weaknesses: Trust in the wrong people, the Ring
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Hermione Granger (and pretty much everyone else in the series), Harry Potter octology
(*can I patent that word? I likes it! hehe)

Hermione

“No, Harry. Even in the wizarding world, hearing voices isn’t a good sign.”

Played by: Emma Watson
Born in: England, 1979
Scary or sexy: Sexy (once she came of age, naturally :-p )
Good or evil: Good
Powers: She can do almost anything by flicking her wand, brewing a potion, or hopping on a broomstick.
Weaknesses: Endless curiosity that could get her into trouble, habit of being a know-it-all, Ron Weasley.
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

The Horned King, The Black Cauldron

Horned King

“Soon the Black Cauldron will be mine. Its evil power will course through my veins, and I shall make you Cauldron-born! Yes, yes. Oh, yes! Then you will worship me! Me! Oh, my soldiers. How long I have thirsted to be a god among mortal men.”

Played by: John Hurt
Born in: Prydain, date unknown
Scary or sexy: Scary
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Necromancy, all manners of dark magic
Weaknesses: Love and sacrifice, the Black Cauldron
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: When Gurgi sacrificed himself by jumping into the Cauldron, all of the Cauldron-born are sucked back into it, dragging the Horned King in with them.

 

Jareth, Labyrinth

Jareth

“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave!”

Played by: David Bowie
Born in: Unknown
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: Evil(ish)
Powers: Shape-shifting, slowing and speeding up time, master of illusions, some clairvoyance through his crystals, the ability to conjure things from nothing.
Weaknesses: Arrogance, Sarah
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Lamia, Stardust

Lamia

“You shall not see the star, touch it, smell or hear it. You will not perceive her even if she stands before you. Pray you never meet me again.”

Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
Born in: Kingdom of Stormhold, date unknown but she and her sisters are described as ‘centuries old’.
Scary or sexy: Both
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Pretty much anything, from transfiguration to conjuration and the animation of dead bodies.
Weaknesses: Love
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: With Tristan in her arms, Yvaine lets her love for him shine, and her pure light disintegrates Lamia.

 

Melisandre, Game of Thrones

Melisandre

“Death is coming for everyone and everything. A darkness that will swallow the dawn.”

Played by: Carice van Houten
Born in: Asshai, year unknown
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: I think the character was meant to be more ambiguous than straight good or evil, but mo matter what good comes from helping Stannis is deeply over-shadowed by the horrible things she does. In her case, the ends don’t justify the means, and burning folks alive is just plain evil.
Powers: Clairvoyance, dark magic, giving “birth” to shadow demons, immunity to (at least some) poisons.
Weaknesses: Arrogance, religious fanaticism
Alive at the end?: As of where I am in the show (end of season 3), yes. I’ve read all the books, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read yet, or who are waiting after the show.
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Merlin, various films and tv shows

Merlin

“I’m gone, but then, I’m not gone. So if I do leave, you can never be sure that I am gone, can you?”

Played by: Various actors, including Karl Swenson, Sam Neill, Joseph Fiennes, and Colin Morgan
Born in: England, date unknown
Scary or sexy: He’s not scary, but usually he’s portrayed as an old man, so he’s not really sexy either.
Good or evil: Good
Powers: Various or none, depending which movie or show you’re watching, but they can range from everything from transforming himself into animals, to casting illusions, and much more.
Weaknesses: Again depends on the film, but he’s often shown as having had trusted the wrong people, and is betrayed.
Alive at the end?: In everything I’ve seen him in, yes.
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Winifred Sanderson (and her sisters), Hocus Pocus

Sanderson sisters

“My ungodly book speaks to you. On All Hallow’s Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground. We shall be back, and the lives of all the children of Salem will be mine!”

Played by: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy
Born in: Salem. They were executed in 1693, but it’s unclear how long they’d been alive before then. I’m assuming a lot.
Scary or sexy: Neither. They’re pretty funny-looking, actually.
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Various dark magic spells, including transforming children into animals, cursing hundreds of people at once, and sucking out the life-force of children to keep their youth.
Weaknesses: Hanging, fire, holy ground
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: While trying to suck out Max’s essence, the witches accidentally end up on hallowed ground, and the first rays of dawn’s light disintegrates them.

 

Sally and Gillian Owens, Practical Magic

Sally & Gillian

“Witch! Witch! You’re a bitch! Witch! Witch! You’re a bitch!”
“You’d think after three hundred years they’d come up with a better rhyme!”

Played by: Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman
Born in: The States (not sure which one), exact date unknown, but I imagine it was some time in the 70’s.
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: Good
Powers: Love spells, healing spells, some clairvoyance, and many other spells.
Weaknesses: A long standing family curse that any man who loves an Owens woman will die young.
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

Ursula, The Little Mermaid

Ursula

“Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I can’t stand it! It’s too easy! The child is in love with a human! And not just any human. A prince! [laughs] Her daddy’ll love that. King Triton’s headstrong, lovesick girl would make a charming addition to my little garden.

Played by: Pat Carroll
Born in: Atlantica, year unknown
Scary or sexy: Scary
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Various dark spells, the ability to turn merfolk (including herself) into humans (or better looking merfolk), able to see whatever her familiars see, no matter the distance.
Weaknesses: None save arrogance, and, I guess, being impaled :-p
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: After growing to an enormous size, Eric is able to steer the ship right towards her, and the broken mast goes right through her breast as she’s struck by lightning. She wraps her huge tentacles around the broken ship, and sinks to the ocean floor, dead.

 

The Warlock, Warlock and Warlock: The Armageddon

Warlock

“Of all the curiosities here I’ve seen, none have surprised me more than this.”

Played by: Julian Sands
Born in: Boston, year unknown (he was slated to be executed in 1691 when he escaped to the present time, but it’s unknown how old her really is).
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: Evil
Powers: Dark curses, flight, jumping through time, and more.
Weaknesses: Nails pounded into his foot prints, salt
Alive at the end?: No
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: Kassandra injects him full of salt water, and he bursts into flames. He is reborn in the sequel, but is vanquished again, this time being stabbed by a knife made from the same material as the Holy Grail.

 

Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow

“I’ll give Xander a call. What’s his number? Oh yeah, 1-800-I’m-Dating-A-Skanky-Ho.”
“Meow!”
“Really? Thanks! I’ve never gotten a ‘meow’ before.”

Played by: Alyson Hannigan
Born in: Sunnydale California, 1981
Scary or sexy: Sexy
Good or evil: Good (except for a handful of episodes in season 6)
Powers: Pretty much everything one can think of.
Weaknesses: Addiction to the magics, fear of going bad again, Tara
Alive at the end?: Yes
If not, how did (s)he bite it, and by whom?: N/A

 

And here, a few honourable mentions:

The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
Sarah and Nancy (The Craft)
Mombi (Return to Oz)
Lady van Tassell (Sleepy Hollow)
Aleesa (Silent Hill)
Claudia Hoffman (Snow White: A Tale of Terror)
Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)

And that’s my witchy list!! Which witch is your favourite? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more! 🙂

M.

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11 comments on “Top 15 Onscreen Witches

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