Hi dear friends,
I am back again with a little chit chat about some topic dear to my heart. This week you have “the villains”.
You know the bad guy in the story!
Sometimes some of them are even more interesting than the main character! And they do add some salt and dimension to a story! The same way you can’t have light without darkness I think you can’t have goodness without …badness 😉
If there are villains that I hate wholeheartedly there were some others I fell for or at least felt for. Yes they did bad things but ….
And that made me think: what makes us empathize with the villain? What makes us find excuses for him? Even wanting to redeem him (or her)?
More: what kind of villains do I like?
Let’s delve into brands of villainy
Firs of all, the easy to hate and think “just go to hell” are usually “all black” villains.
They are pure evil and more than that, we don’t empathize with them. This is a “no nuances” villain, the one that keeps doing unthinkable things to others.
Mine are: Voldemort (sorry but I never felt the need to save him); Queen Elara in Red Queen (completely mad and loving to make others suffer); Ghassan in The City of Brass (I never saw one redeeming quality in that man); President Snow; Shannon’s father in “Binding 13” by Chloe Walsh, to name a few!
Then you have the one that began as the villains of the story but unexpectedly turned out as heroes!
My two favorites are Rhysand (don’t forget he was the bad guy in A Court of Thorns and Roses) and Warner/Aaron from Shatter Me series (he was Juliette’s enemy in the first book and most part of the second one)! What morphed them into heroes is that some secrets have been revealed! They played a role. They were not truly bad but it served them to let people think they were bad!
You also have the unexpected villain! The one that began as your ally. The one you trusted and plotted with. The one you maybe fell for. One of the best example is to be found in Wicked Saints (I won’t name him as the book is relatively recent and it’s not yet well known).
Another brand of villain is what we call the “anti hero”. He or she is a character who takes matters in his hands and thinks that the police is not good enough or that there is a fault in the system. He will do bad things to protect other people. One of the most famous anti hero is Batman!In adult litteratur, Keri Lake is known for her “anti heroes” like Ricochet for example.
And my favorite kind: the “all in nuances” villain!
The one that does or did bad things but you can’t help feeling sad for him. You want him to change. To be good. Because you think that he is misunderstood! Because you think he was not born as a villain but life, abuse, circumstances “forced” him to do bad things. And underneath the cover you feel that he would like to become better. Be it for a girl or because he still has a conscience.
Some of my favorites: The Darkling; Sebastian Morgenstein (I wanted to save him as it was not his fault if he was like that); the kidnapper in Stolen by Lucy Christopher; Maven (Red Queen); Marcus from Falling Kingdoms; Jude and Cardan (The Cruel Prince) both can be seen as villains or at least anti heroes; Naz from Monster in His Eyes by JM Darhower; Twitch from Raw by Belle Aurora; Julian from Twist me by Anna Zaires; Vicious in Vicious by LJ Shen ….
Now for the final question: what makes us empathize with some villains and not others?
I think it’s the famous “walk in his shoes” trick used by authors. If you learn about the sad past of the villain, if you get a glimpse of his thoughts where he shows remorse and vulnerability, if you get his point of view most of the time, if the author is gifted I will fall for the villain!
Now it’s your turn! What do you think of villains? What’s your favorite brand and why?
Thanks for reading!