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January 1st, 2008, 07:36 PM #16
Someone made a point here. Too lazy to see who, but they were quite correct: Haveing a hero choose between two evils. make them fall to the dark side out of necessity. That is a good idea.
Wow, I seem to be one of a kind. That's amazing, how I am the only one loves the Super evil villains like Voldemort, and The Dark one, and Morgoth. I feel extremely special now.
January 1st, 2008, 08:14 PM #17
I like the characters that were once villains but then become heroes and even friends with the good guys. Although they still have some tendencies to do things the old way. I can think of about half a dozen shows that have done this but when it comes to books, I can't.
I guess for books, I don't actually like villains. I prefer the protagonist to struggle with himself and what he does and his inner feelings than anything else. I think the problem is that things can't be told in books so easily. If the POV had to do with the villain then it would be his book instead of the hero's. Off the top of my head, I can only think of King's Randall Flagg as a great villain. His demise was extremely crappy but he made for a great character in the 6 books, not to mention the shoot offs he was in.
January 1st, 2008, 08:19 PM #18
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And by having the hero only kill the henchman, you can write a sequel
January 1st, 2008, 08:35 PM #19
January 2nd, 2008, 04:27 PM #20
January 3rd, 2008, 03:05 PM #21
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Im another who is all for 'grey' characters, and finds absolutely no interest in the big evils. Morgoth is an exception of course, but he was sort of the original dark lord wasn't he...
In my story, there really aren't any villains. The main antagonist is really not much more 'evil' than anyone else, just the two protagonists have a feud with him as he killed someone close to them (accidentally).
If you don't mind I'm going to use Harry Potter as an example. Bear in mind I haven't read the last book yet (no spoilers please!).
I found the character of Snape VERY interesting. First of he was nasty and evil, and in the first book Harry (and subsequently the reader) thought he was a bad guy. But when it turned out he wasn't, I really liked that. Later on when he was in the Order Of The Phoenix, but Harry still didn't trust him, that was great too. I WANTED him to be a good guy. Where I last left him (the 6th book) it seems he WAS evil all along, which really surprised me. Through most of the books I thought he was a good guy, and sort of got really pissed off with Harry and Ron for always hating him. The clever thing here was that Dumbledore trusted him, and he was written a character who made everything safe. So I thought if Dumbledore trusted him, he is ok, and Harry should grow up!!!
Anyway, point is I think Snape is a good example of a 'grey' character, and he is much more interesting than boring old Voldemort. Yeah yeah, you are the king of evil and are gonna kill us all, am I bothered??!!
January 3rd, 2008, 03:16 PM #22
My Idea for a Villian is a character who starts out with mixed intentions where the reader reads about he or she and they do not quite understand he or she's ultimate motive at first. But as the story progresses he slowly becomes more evil to a point where he or she does something irreverisble to become an ultimate badass.
The reason for this is because Anakin slowly follows this same path and eventually does something irreversible to become an ultimate form of evil.
January 3rd, 2008, 07:42 PM #23
I think you can have a Big, Bad, Ultimate Evil Villain and still have it be interesting.
One of my favorite villains is Asmodeon from the Wheel of Time universe. Asmodeon is a frustrated former child genius. He was praised as a great musician in his youth, and when he fell out of the limelight, he grew bitter ... so bitter that he was willing to kill in order to be special and famous again. That's socially messed up on so many levels.
Randall Flagg from Stephen King's novels is another fun one. He's just mischievous and likes to be evil. He doesn't really have a motive; he's just a jerk. We all know someone like that. Think of someone that just bothers you at work or school, someone who just purely enjoys screwing up other people's happiness. Now imagine that person with major powers.
I think those kinds of characters can be believable ... just give them some personality. Make them sarcastic and sardonic, like Randall Flagg. Or make them mournful and morose, like Asmodeon. Or plainly psychotic and sociopathic, like Dread from Tad Williams's Otherland series.
I'm listening to a Dean Koontz audiobook right now. He's got your average sociopath as the bad guy in it, but he gave the sociopath a twist: He's got OCD. And he believes he might be immortal. That separates him from all the mundane sociopaths in fiction.
You can draw so much from real life, too. There was a woman who killed a pregnant lady in order to cut out the baby and claim it as her own. What was her motive? She wanted a baby. And she attached absolutely no value to life other than her own. I think there's a villain in there somewhere.
Oh yeah, and of course your Big, Bad, Ultimate Villain needs henchmen. And they ought to be just as strange and twisted.
Last edited by Abby; January 3rd, 2008 at 07:46 PM.
January 3rd, 2008, 11:31 PM #24
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My ideal villain is one that, if they weren't trying to kill you, would be pretty fun to hang out with. Someone who can crack a joke and be charming and sensitive, but still be a complete sadist bent on world domination. If you've seen the episode of The Simpsons where Homer worked for Hank Scorpio, a James Bond style supervillain who also happened to be the friendliest boss in the world, you know the kind of villain I'm talking about.
"Somebody stop him, he's supposed to die!"
*Homer tackles secret agent*
"Nice work, Homer! When you get home, there'll be another storey on your house."
January 5th, 2008, 06:23 PM #25
My favorite villians are the ones so selfish, so egotistacal, they either cannot or will not see what the true consequences of their actions are. If many die, so what? He/she has whatever it is he/she wanted. They are willing to risk destroying the world for power or something, because they truly believe THEY cannot fail. And, if they cannot fail, there really is no risk ...
These are also the villians it is fun for the hero to defeat, delivering ego-shattering failures, more horrible than death. Such failures can lead to break-downs, insane hate, or other dips into madness.
January 5th, 2008, 09:25 PM #26
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Shades of gray. A villain shouldn't be evil for evil's sake. Conflicted, sure. Demented, maybe. But the one thing that makes a villain truly scary is their steadfast belief that their evil deeds are done for the right reasons. See Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.
January 30th, 2008, 04:02 AM #27
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"What makes a good villain for writing?"
i always wondered the same question......there seems to be a lot of different preferences from the above replies. personally i preferred the "grey" villain, or at least one whose motive i could understand. the "ultimate evil" one is a pretty common archetype, depending on the scope of your story (ie, a story that involves gods and empires versus a story that involves a small town and its inhabitants).
i found out that ppl have different preferences when i was discussing movies with a girl i dated. she absolutely HATED "the last samurai" because it was too grey (if you remember, the "good guys" and "bad guys" switched roles halfway thru the movie) and thought "troy" was meh because it wasn't clear who the bad guy was (in the original epic, its even more grey....there's no clear-cut 'hero' or 'villain' except maybe you could make a case for agamemnon). on the switch side, she LOVED "the patriot" (the villain was almost pure evil) and a chinese comedy called "shaolin soccer" (the antagonist was i believe called "evil corporation" or something along those lines....its a comedy remember). to each their own, eh?
January 30th, 2008, 08:35 PM #28
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Which brings us to Aristotle's Poetics, in which he discusses tragedy. What makes a play a tragedy is that the hero has a flaw which he can't overcome and it leads him to overstep himself and destroy, not only something valuable to him, but himself as well. Thus,, Oedipus. But these are the cases of the grey areas and the people who could be good but then do something that makes logical sense to them and end up being bad.
One of my favorite characters was the dad on Alias. He was morally conflicted. I remember in the first season, this dad kills someone he has trapped and tied up, who he could easily turn over to the authorities, but kills him instead in cold blood to protect his daughter. He was really the only interesting character on that show, but worth watching for. (It was worth watching just for Jennnifer Garner but her character wasn't interesting, just hot!)
Anyway, for me, that moral conflict helps. Of course, Melkior does not have that moral conflict. He has a flawed personality. Annakin does have a moral conflict. As much as Episode one and two sucked, the third one really, fr me, brought out that conflict and convincingly showed how he finally fell to the dark side.
Anyway, that's what I strove for in my last novel. The protagonist has conflicting loyalties, and the "bad" guy has chosen one loyalty and keeps pulling her in that direction.
January 30th, 2008, 09:18 PM #29
well... a villain... described in a few sentences... of course, not just any villain, a perfect guy (or as perfect as you can imagine) that is...well, perfect. he or she or whatever they are might only meet the protagonist once or twice but will be the mastermind of the book. the hero? lovable, maybe cunning, but definitely not as smart as the villain... Gosh, listen to the fragments! But it's a thought, just my thoughts, of what a good (in a manner of speaking) villain should be like. If not, then just a psycho genius out to ruin the world is fine too.
January 31st, 2008, 02:48 AM #30
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.....For a different take on a villain; look at Ayn Rand's charachter "Ellsworth Toohey" in "The Fountainhead".
.....He's kind of a negative quanity, who gains power and influence over others; because he actively encourages their worst vices- presumably due to his own inferiority complex.
.....Rand's metaphysics and morality won't work for all stories; nonetheless, she makes the excellent point that most villains do not represent themselves to the common man as an oppressor; but as an altruistic champion- and probably percieve themselves as heroic too.(Ellsworth being a noteworthy exception- he knows exactly what he is; and does.)