Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A to Z Challenge Day 22: Villains

Every good story has a villain, whether it's on a large scale or a small scale.  The small-scale villain could be the mother of the protagonist who spits venomous words, shows no support, encouragement or love while manipulating and scheming every chance she gets.  On a larger scale, a villain can be a truly evil character - a murderer, a rapist, a thief, someone who appears to have no conscience, no soul, no sense of right or wrong, or they simply just don't care or don't think those things apply to them.   

I love a good villain - pardon the oxymoron.  My favorite villains are the people that you  love to hate, whether it's because they're so brilliant in their deviousness, or because they're misunderstood and relateable on some level.  The villains whose actions make sense or seem justified on some level.   

One of my all-time favorite villains in literature is Severus Snape from Harry Potter.  He's a character that you love to hate - he's dark and mysterious, and there's just something sexy about him (in the movies, it's definitely that deep voice and the sweeping robes for me).  But as you read the books, and learn about his past, you begin to sympathize with him.  You can see why he did some of the things he did, and see that some of them are even justified.  It doesn't stop you from hating him at times, but underneath that hate is something more.  **SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS**  I was sure all along that there would be more to Snape than met the eye and when I finally read HPATDH and learned that Snape isn't the villain after all, everything bad he's done (or at least most of it) makes sense.  His actions are justified.  I love that twist because it makes you rethink everything he did throughout the series.

Severus Snape

I think this is also part of the appeal of vampires.  These misunderstood creatures of the night are dangerous and mysterious, powerful and sexy.  Even though some of them are pure evil, there's just something about them - something in the way they speak, the way they move, the way they're able to seduce a person with little effort.  Of course there are literally dozens of vampires to choose from in literature (and I do love vampire books), but one of my favorite vampires is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He's a total badass and does awful, sometimes downright evil things, but there's something so lovable about him that even when you hate him and even when he's doing terrible things, there's part of you that understands why he's doing them and loves him anyway.  He fights his natural instincts and at times wants to be good, even when it goes against everything in him.  Another appeal of vampires in general - their struggle with their inner demons and true nature, the control they have to show in order not to kill, maim, drink blood, etc.  I think the fact that they have unspeakable powers and choose not to use them is part of what makes them so desirable to so many people, and also part of what makes us forgive them and overlook their villain-y qualities and actions.
Spike, aka William the Bloody

"And I'm supposed to just help you out of the evilness of my heart?" ~ Spike

Who are some of your favorite villains and why do you love (or love to hate) them?


  1. I love it when a villain has a little bit of likability about him, so you feel torn. I know I'm supposed to hate him but . . .


  2. Gotta love Spike. I've been listening to an audiobook series 'The Dresden Files' where the actor James Marsters is the narrator - he's not the bad guy this time, but he's not far off being a similar personality.
    Fun post
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  3. Villains are vital to the story and without them there would be no story.


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