As you’ve been reading my blog, or The Old Ways, or anything about or by me really, you may have noticed I have a slight soft spot for the villains of any story.
The Grim Reapers. The masterminds. The mad scientists and the fallen angels, the gods of death, the wicked goblin kings, the voracious dragons, and the evil wizards.
And I know what you’re going to say… “Oh, it’s because Tom Hiddleston plays Loki and you really fancy him. BOR-ING.” Well, no. It’s not that.
Well, mostly not that.
I think it all began when I was younger, and Disney gave their villains all the best stuff. The best songs, the best lines, everything. I’ve still got a CD of Disney Bad-Guy songs I sing along to. Blame Disney for making their villains so damn cool. The Evil Queen, I mean just look at that glare:
Maleficent was so cool, she got her own movie! Yet even when Disney films weren’t at their best, I’m talking about the Disney Dark Age, the villains were incredible. Hades, Yzma, Ratcliffe, all funny and quirky and sassy. Don’t even get me started on Hades’s sass.
Every medium of entertainment must have an element of conflict. Every good book, movie, or game has to have an engaging antagonist to move the story along. Whether they’re funny, dark, sinister, charming, misguided, or just basically on the wrong side, a good villain will always impede the hero from his ultimate goal.
A good villain is powerful. No one wants to read a story where the hero pokes the villain and he/she gently deflates like a flan in a cupboard. No. A good villain fights for what he/she wants. And fight to the death if necessary. Powerful people don’t like relinquishing their power, so they’ll do anything they can to keep themselves at the top of the food chain. It makes it especially fun if the villain has already fought to put themselves at the top of said food chain.
I always like a villain who has a sympathetic motive. Someone who believes they’re fighting for something good, like love or acceptance. It’s like, they want to be a good person, but they just don’t know how to do it. *cough*Loki*cough*. Sorry. I have a cold.
But yes, sympathetic motives. It casts the hero in an awkward situation. The villain is wanting to do something good, but is going about it the completely wrong way. Does the hero stop them? Kill them, even? Tension gets high, tempers overboil, people make mistakes and other people die.
Heath Ledger’s Joker is an absolutely fantastic example of a sinister and mysterious villain. We know absolutely nothing about him. Who is he? Where did he come from? Are those stories about his abusive father and gambling wife true? What made him into the psychopath we see in The Dark Knight? No one knows. And it’s best that way. The Joker went out with a bang, and Heath Ledger’s performance cemented the image of a twisted, manical, almost gothic Joker into everyone’s mind.
And before you ask about Harry Potter, yes I prefer Bellatrix and Umbridge as villains over Voldemort. I find Voldemort to be quite… cartoonish. I know that sounds really stupid, but I find Bellatrix and Umbridge to be more believable and therefore more interesting, whereas Voldemort is more inhuman and monstrous. His humanity and empathy is gone, leaving only a beast. I’m not afraid of beasts. I’m afraid of the villains who talk to you, who can think, who are clever. They’re the best villains.
For more information on why dark is the best side to be on, check out this handy dandy guide to being evil HERE.
So what is this all building up to? Why the title? Why am I obsessing over villains in this post? Because I’ve done it. I’ve succeeded in my original goal. Like any good villain, I planted the seeds of my plan a long time ago, and now I’m watching them blossom.
#TeamErlik is now a thing.
People who have read The Old Ways or are currently reading The Old Ways are all sympathising with Erlik. I’ve had people say to me “I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing” or “I feel really bad for him”, and even one instance of “I want to hug him”. Someone even referred to him as a “poor guy”!
I’m so happy you’re all falling under his spell. He’s disgustingly charming and you’ll all become Erlik fangirls before this series is over. Whoops. Did I just say “series”? …
Better get busy, I’m being pestered for the sequel after that devilishly tempting cliffhanger at the end of The Old Ways. But do tell me all about your favourite villain in the comments below! I’d love to know I’m not alone in my strange love of evil 🙂
EDIT: RK apologises for the prolific use of Gifs in this post. She has no willpower.