Villainy, Sweet Villainy

I love me a good villain. There have been stories where the villain has sucked me in more than the protagonist. So let’s talk a little bit about the different types of villains:

1. The villain that is just evil for evil’s sake.

2. The villain that is evil, but has a clear back story that led to that descent into evil.

3. The villain that hovers in between good and evil, and you’re never quite sure which side will win out in the end.

Each of these villains has a place and a purpose. Sometimes, you just need a person or people or force that is evil personified. It makes for a clear distinction between good and bad, and can wreak unspeakable acts of horror with no real clarification necessary. It’s just what evil does, you know? Unfortunately, this kind of villain is hard to pull off with decent believability, and the “I’m just a bad dude” ploy gets old really fast.

I much prefer villains 2 and 3. Villain 2 can be just as evil as Villain 1, but there’s more believability, more attachment. You can see where the villain came from, that the villain was once a person. You might even feel sorrow for the villain. Villain 3 creates the best tension, and, when done right (read: not like Anakin Skywalker), makes for a great moment of either tumultuous jubilation or crushing despair.

Villains can make or break a story, sometimes more so than the protagonist. Guy of Gisborne was the only reason I watched all three seasons of BBC’s Robin Hood series (both because he was a compelling Villain 3 and because, come on, it’s Richard Armitage). Voldemort’s back story made for a great Villain 2, and Draco Malfoy was a wonderfully pathetic Villain 3 by the end. And oh, Bevin Conner! Where would The Ascendance Trilogy have ended without Bevin Conner as a villain?

Who are some of your favorite villains? What makes a good villain in your eyes?

And it’s time for another Monday writing challenge! In keeping with the theme of the post:

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Write out the scene where your villain makes (or starts to make) the turn from good to evil.

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7 Comments

  1. Oh, villains, how I love thee! Which is hilarious because I’m ultimately a goody-two-shoes. Maybe that’s why I love them. They personify the type of person I’ll never ben, so that makes me interested in them.

    Voldy is, of course, one of my faves. I also love Saruman from LOTR, who once was good, but turned bad. Long story there. LOTR is just packed with characters who have shades of both good and bad in them.

    I’m also a big fan of Josie Pye from the Anne of Green Gables series. She’s someone I love to hate, and her whole family is underhanded, greedy, snooty, etc. So it’s a learned behavior and not completely her fault.

    My own villain is a definite #2, and I want to cry when I think about his backstory. It’s pretty traumatizing, actually, and you do feel bad for him at times when his history is revealed. However, he had a choice to make, just like my MC, and he chose the wrong path.

    Great prompt! And great topic! I really need to get back to blogging, but I have so little time for writing, it’s that or blogging. And writing will always win.

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