Well, I'm feeling very cheery to hear my favorite villain Osama bin liner is dead. There is something cathartic about finally getting the bad guy. Of course Kate's post some time back about the complexity of villains springs to mind: this was a man to whom life, innocent babies even, were chaff, to killed without qualm or guilt. The sort of human being who is model villain... but who convinced millions that he was a wonderful man and a great leader, and that somehow, just because he told them to do something which any human with a shred of decency or fellow feeling for anyone else would find abhorrent, and justified it in terms of their predjudices, he was worthy of their worship and unquestioning loyalty. The parallels with Adolph Hitler, Stalin, and even Mugabe are obvious. Some humans have a weakness for villains, and, even if it is not a majority of humans with this weakness , the minority following these pieces of snake excreta are most earnest and brutal in their following and unquestioning dumb 'loyalty'
It's a real challenge to get right in your writing. Because, yeah, the real major villain has people who believe in him (or her) and think their actions are heroic. And the trouble with doing it too well is of course that the book can become a masterpiece of realism... and an excercise in Mick Jagger (I can't get no...)
Because yes, it's not inevitable and it's not every book, but WE LIKE TO SEE THE VILLIAN GET HIS. It leaves us satisfied. It's as much of a delight that the noxious Dursleys get it Harry Potter, or Reacher Gilt fail to look at the door he's stepping through and all his greedy little cohort go down.
So what books left you feeling "YES, that sorted the Bastards!" and which didn't - but you still loved?