Villains Are Better Than Heroes

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.

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:

evil queen

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.

hades

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.

lestat

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.

mab

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.

the joker

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.

smaug

For more information on why dark is the best side to be on, check out this handy dandy guide to being evil HERE.

vader

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.

That’s right.

#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”? …

bellatrix

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 🙂

Blessed be

RK )O(

rumple

Morgana

ursula

lucifer

tywin

 

EDIT: RK apologises for the prolific use of Gifs in this post. She has no willpower.

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RK’s Top Ten Favourite Films

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I’ve decided to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve seen what it does to people. It’s like the One Ring. It tempts you. Glints, winks, at you. You think you can resist it. Then, before you know it, you’re a skinny, drooling, insane mess, clutching papers and coffee mugs, twitching and giggling to yourself in the corner.

Maybe I’ve been talking to the wrong people.

Anyway, since I’m not partaking in this delightful… event, I’ve decided to instead dedicate a post to my Top Ten Favourite Films of ALL TIME. Runners up will be at the bottom. I’ll talk a little bit about each one, too. Because, y’know, I don’t have ten chapters I should be editing instead.

10) The Avengers

Released: 2012
Starring: Tony Stark. And some other people. And Tom Hiddleston, obviously.

Arguably the most popular film of all time, The Avengers for years was thought to be an unmakeable film. Enter Joss Whedon, King of the Nerds. Everything about this film screams “awesome”. The casting is perfect, the writing is perfect, the effects are perfect. It’s just fantastic, let’s face it. And if you don’t like it, you’re wrong. I know that’s your opinion, but it’s wrong.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m not a fan of DC, and I loathe Superman as a “hero”, so I find it especially satisfying when SIX heroes do less damage to a city in trying to defend it than Superman causes ALONE. Come on, Supes. Get it together.

9) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Released: 1991
Starring: Kevin Costner and Professor Snape Alan Rickman.

Despite Costner’s accent, this film is beautiful. It’s a (fairly) faithful adaptation of all those Robin Hood tales I read growing up. Even satire film Men in Tights pokes loving fun at this one the most, because they know it’s the most popular, and most people will have seen it. And laughed at Costner’s accent. Alright, enough about the accent. But really, he couldn’t have toned down that drawl just a tad?

8) The Winter Witch (US title, The Snow Queen)

Released: 2002
Starring: Bridget Fonda and Chelsea Hobbs

I’m not sure how many of you will have seen this particular film. It usually floats around on TV at Christmas time. It’s not particularly well known and wasn’t received very well because of its bad effects and sometimes stilted writing, but it always makes me feel nostalgic and cuddly inside. It’s based on the Hans Christian-Anderson tale The Snow Queen (also the basis of Disney’s Frozen), and it’s very loyal to the source material.

7) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Released: 1991
Starring: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, and Angela Lansbury

What can be said about this film? It’s practically a modern classic. I can’t say much about it, because it’s perfect in every way. If you haven’t seen it, you had no childhood. If you hate it, you have no soul.

6) Labyrinth

Released: 1986
Starring: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie

Sorry, Mother. I know you really, really, really hate Bowie, but this film is a Jim Henson classic. Yes, it’s very… 80’s. Costumes and music are a little cringe-worthy, effects make CGI artists cry, and Pre-Academy-Award Jennifer Connolly has a long way to go. Still, it’s a classic, and I love it.

5) Dragonheart

Released: 1996
Starring: Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, and Sean Connery’s voice

Fantastic, original storyline. Excellent effects for the day. A novelisation. What more could a dragon-lover want? Except maybe a better haircut for Einon. Seriously. Get it trimmed. You look like a mushroom. Oh, and the accent, again. C’mon, Quaid, I know Costner did it, but the film is set in Britain. You even say it in the film! Get your accent together.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The novelisation is, incidentally, a fantastic read, and one of my favourite books.

4) Stardust

Released: 2007
Starring: Claire Danes and Charlie Cox. And a lot of other people.

One of the most romantic, heart-warming stories that has ever graced the screen. Neil Gaiman, the author of the novel, is one of my favourite authors. I heard he’s got a cameo on Captain Shakespeare’s ship. Which I find weird, since Captain Shakespeare was barely in the novel at all. Ah, I’m nitpicking. It’s a beautiful film, makes me cry every time, and it has this:

How can you not die laughing?

How can you not die laughing?

3) Willow

Released: 1988
Starring: Warwick Davies, Val Kilmer, and some fairies

I think this is the first film I remember watching. Yes, I probably watched some Disney ones first, but I remember this one the most vividly. It screams 80’s all over it. Had this been made in 2014, it would already have two-dozen sequels lined up, because it was so original and well-made. Also, oddly enough, has a novelisation that expands on Elora Danan’s background, what happened to Sorsha’s father, and why Bavmorda Madmartigan is such a badass.

2) The Princess Bride

Released: 1987
Starring: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright

*takes deep breath* THIS IS THE MOST FANTASTIC FANTASY FILM THAT FELL OUT OF THE 80’S.
That is all.
No, really. It has everything. True Love. Giants. Fencing. Torture. Miracles. Billy Crystal (yes, you read that right). Rodents of Unusual Size.
See it. SEE IT.

 

And my absolute favourite film of all time ever is….

*INSERT DRUM ROLL HERE*

1) Merlin

Released: 1998
Starring: Miranda Richardson and Sam Neill

Technically not a “film”, it’s a TV mini-series. Still, although I could recite this back to front, I would watch this again. This movie is the reason The Old Ways exists. It fed my love of fantasy. It sparked my interest in the old legends of Britain. Many people criticize its bad effects, and yes they are very bad, but everything else makes up for it. Miranda Richardson as Queen Mab and the Lady of the Lake, Sam Neill as the titular Merlin, Isabella Rossellini as Merlin’s True Love, Nimue… if you’re going to watch anything on TV ever again, watch this.

Oh, and if you’re thinking of watching the 2006 sequel, Merlin’s Apprentice… don’t.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Also has a novelisation, in three seperate books. Merlin: The Old Magic, Merlin: The King’s Wizard, and Merlin: The End of Magic. They’re my favourite. I cuddle them when no one is looking.

EDIT: Er, I don’t actually do that.

Merlin_(movie)_1

Alright, that’s enough gushing about Merlin. Here are the runners up, in no particular order:

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Brothers Grimm
Inkheart
Frozen
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy (don’t judge me. It has Tom Hiddleston in it. Singing. *swoon*)
Corpse Bride
Ladyhawke
Legend
The Mask of Zorro
Elf

 

Blessed Be )O(

RK