Villains Are Characters Too.


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I very recently got myself a t-shirt from Hot Topic with The Lion King’s Scar on it. A comment from my mom made me think to write this. To sum it up what she said briefly, it was along the lines of, “I like how you like the villains; you don’t like them for the evil things they do but you like them for who they are as characters.” This is so true for me and reminded me of a pet peeve of mine that I want to discuss now.

From some of my past circles of social life, something that always annoyed me was when people would discuss movie/book characters, and while they’d discuss what they did and didn’t like about the good guy/hero/heroine as a full character, they’d then turn around on the villain with statements of, “They’re the bad guys, you’re not suppose to like them!”

The villain would fall to the bottom of discussion, brushed away as a two dimensional, flat, black and white stand up, whoย got what they deserved. I would be left feeling awkward, because, I’m sorry, I didn’t realizing liking Darth Vader was a crime against the story, the hero, or being a decent person!

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Those social circles have been long gone and I’ve grown more comfortable in speaking up about what I think and like. And I still see that thinking from time to time. Some people do not understand why one would like a villain, while others fall all over certain ones simply because they’re good looking, *cough-most-Loki-fangirls-cough*.

I certainly would never applaud the villain’s evil deeds nor do I like or appreciate every single villain that I encounter. However, I see villains as more than just a black and white cutout that can be summarized by the oneย word: “bad”. They can be much more than just “bad” and that’s why I like them.

They are characters too. They can and should be as complex and compelling as the heroes they’re opposing.

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Take Loki. Adopted. Mischevious. Jealous. Emotionally wounded. Clever. Bitter. Sassy. He’s a well-rounded, brilliantly evil, smart, yet understandable villain.ย Or how about one of my other personal favorites, The Joker. Disfigured. Crazy. Heartless. Clever. Has wicked sense of humor. Mysterious. He’s bad for bad’s sake, to ruffle Batman’s feathers and see if anyone is up to the challenge of stopping his evil deeds.

And Darth Vader is just iconic-ly awesome from voice to costume to back story. I wouldn’t know what to say if you didn’t like Darth Vader at least a little bit. And there are many more!

While not all fictional villains are as dimensional as they should be (shame on you, writers! Shame! Shame!) the ones that are do deserve to be acknowledged for who they’ve been created to be. Stop labeling them as just ‘bad’ and look at them as deeply as you look into your favorite heroes. See what you can learn from their mistakes and appreciate what they add to the story. That is part of the art of appreciating the fictional stories around us.

Okay. Pet peeve rant over! ๐Ÿ™‚

~Jamie

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15 thoughts on “Villains Are Characters Too.

  1. Exactly! As always Jamie you nailed it with this post! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Villains are the best! ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, some of the best characters ever are villains. Of course Vader and Loki are my top two favorites, which you have known for a long time, but there are so many others like Magneto, Gollum/Smรฉagol, GLaDOS, Kirei Kotomine, Lust, and obviously the Joker, both Hamill and Ledger’s version, just to name a few. The Joker is infinitely more interesting than The Dark Knight’s version of Batman (the comics, video games, and animated series version is SO much better). My favorite type of villains are usually the almost redeemable type that are not purely evil (Loki, Vader, ect.), although even the pure evil ones like Hans Landa have their merits.

    *Obligatory Death Note reference*
    I don’t know why but I seem to reference Death Note in the last several comments on your blog lately. ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, villains like Light are also very interesting, especially when they are given the role of the protagonist. There should be more villain centric movies and TV shows for sure. And a Loki movie wouldn’t be a bad idea either. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But in response to what you said earlier, I also feel like re-watching Death Note, especially now that I have more than 15 series and several movies to compare the series to. Maybe I can convince someone to give the show a try and watch it with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    -James

    1. YES TO ALL! ๐Ÿ˜› There are SO many great villains and sometimes they are what makes the heroes as awesome as they are. Otherwise, a lot of protagonists would be rather boring without them! ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, I’m glad you agree, but I pretty much knew you would already. ๐Ÿ˜›

      LOL Death Note was awesome! ๐Ÿ˜› But yes, Light was so fascinating because he became so villainous yet was a understandable protagonist! Those types of characters are really fascinating– he’s a little like Loki in the first Thor movie. Their mischief just spiraled out of control! I agree, it would be interesting to see more villain centered stories. A Loki movie would be FANTASTIC!

      Maybe you could get Rebecca into it if she hasn’t seen it already; the three of us would have another topic to talk about then! ๐Ÿ˜›

      ~Jamie

  2. Speaking of the Joker, my brother ended up buying the Batman Trilogy rather than Sherlock to watch while he’s on his business trip. I could either be disappointed I won’t be meeting Sherlock right now, or excited that I’ll finally meet Batman…and since I’m trying to be an Eternal Optimist, I’ll go with “Excited Mode.” Besides, I’ll finally find out what all this fuss over the Joker is about, haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. While I consider Sherlock to be WAY better than the Batman Trilogy, they are still really good movies. The Dark Knight is my favorite with Batman Begins my second favorite. I didn’t really care for The Dark Knight Rises that much but maybe you’ll like it. Let me know what you think of Batman and The Joker and the stories if you do get to see them! ๐Ÿ™‚

      ~Jamie

  3. One of the things I’ve had hammered into me as a writer is that villains should be as complex and as strong characters as your hero! Which means, of course, I think about bad guys a lot ๐Ÿ˜‰ As the saying goes, “Every villain is the hero in his own mind.”

    I’m quite a fan of Moriarty. So deliciously creepy, kind of cute, and SO EVIL. Scar, Ursula, and Hades…if there’s one thing Disney does well, it’s villains with verve!

    Hmmm….Red Skull from Captain America was a good villain. I like Hugo Weaving. Hans Gruber from Die Hard, the Master from Doctor Who…I really think the only villain I’ve ever hated with unreasoning passion is Dolores Umbridge, and NOBODY likes her! The giggling pink sadist.

    What’s your favorite quality in a villain? I tend to appreciate the smirking, clever types, like Scar and Loki.

    1. I love that saying; it’s so true! Trying to create complex villains is sometimes hard for me but they are definitely worth the work!

      I really like Moriarty! And yes, Disney has created some of the best villains; I love Scar, Ursula, Cruella De Ville, Medussa and Hades! They all have a flair to them!

      I didn’t care for the Master myself, I do like Red Skull and Hans Gruber! They are both great villains. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I really like that type of villain too. Also the psychotic, ‘create-master-plans’ type ones, like The Joker or Moriarty. ๐Ÿ™‚

      ~Jamie

  4. Another thing I want to add to what you just said about respecting villans as characters is that real life isn’t as black and white as the movies, and, in regards to real people, it’s important to be able to separate who they are as persons from the things they have done.
    I mean, for example, everyone hates Hitler. Bad man. And I agree that he did do absolutely TERRIBLE things. But he was brilliant, he really was. I mean, you can acknowledge someone as a genius and recognize their talents while not condoning what they do.
    So I guess it’s a pet peeve of mine too. Yes. Yes all these historical figures were bad men, but they were BRILLIANT. They had amazing talents, they just used them the wrong way.
    Ok, minirant over.
    My two cents. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I agree. A lot of people I know have said life is black and white but I disagree with that statement now. And I pretty much agree with your whole comment. ๐Ÿ˜€

      ~Jamie

  5. Thank you!

    I absolutely love villains. I want a shirt that says just what you posted here .

    In practically any piece of work, the villain is always my favorite, or the anti-hero. They are complex and often philosophical, when the hero is all too often blasรฉ and rigid in their thinking; it’s sad.

    Loki is a good example. He’s more an anti-hero in the fact that he can do good, but really is more concerned about himself. He has a reason for being bad: lies, emotional abuse, bullying. And the interesting thing is he thinks that he’s doing good, that he’s genuinely in the right.

    A good villain is awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

    Ps: I love Loki because he’s complex, though he is quite beautiful.

    1. You are welcome!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I’ve found that the Christian heroes especially have become very rigid and un-relateable, which annoys the heck out of me.

      Loki is a fantastic villain, pretty much one of my ultimate favorite characters in fiction PERIOD. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes he is beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜€

      ~Jamie

  6. There are villains out there who I love to hate. These are the villains who I think have great character depth, or are seriously so bad that they are really good bad guys. If that makes sense, they are so good at being bad that I hate them. And these are usually my favourite villains. And I’ve got to agree that villains need back story it’s kind of boring if they don’t and it makes it so they are just there to stop the hero and not have some deeper motive for doing it either.
    Some of my favourite villains are people like Loki, Moriarty, I prefer Darth Sidious over Darth Vader as I think that he was far more clever, i mean look how long he waited for Anakin to turn to the Dark Side. I also love the Sheriff of Nottingham from BBC Robin Hood, Killian from Iron Man 3 is pretty good. These are all characters who are good bad guys. And who I love to hate because they are so good at being bad. ๐Ÿ™‚

    God Bless,
    Vellvin.

    1. I see what you are saying. ๐Ÿ™‚ One of my other favorite Star Wars villains is Emperor Palpatine. ๐Ÿ™‚

      There are some villains that I love to hate and then there are other villains that I love to love because they’ve been so masterfully created. They make me envious as a writer because I often feel like I could never create something so perfect for my stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And yes about the Disney villains! They are fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚

      ~Jamie

  7. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚ Personally, I think the villains of a story are important characters and shouldn’t be ignored. How did they get to be who they are? I agree with what you said at the end about learning from mistakes…villains’ stories can be warnings of slippery slopes that at first might not noticeably lead anywhere, though they do.

It always makes my day to see your messages! Don't forget to check back, I try to write back to you too! <3

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