Fiction Focus Week 2- Villains

So I considered going into more detail about protagonists and focus on one small part of that- the hero. Then I came to the conclusion that most people don’t really care about heroes. What we really care about is the villain.

It’s a trend in the twenty first century to draw everything in shades of grey, but it’s definitely not a new idea. My first exposure to a sympathetic antagonist was when I studied The Merchant of Venice for English class when I was fourteen. It could be because Shakespeare was ahead of his time, yet in the play Shylock the Jewish moneylender is by far the most interesting character. Ostracised, embittered, discriminated against, I often felt Shylock- who was also a loving and fiercely protective father- was justified in wanting the chance to take his revenge when the protagonist came to him asking for a loan.

There are other classic villains, such as Dracula, who practically single-handedly created the stereotype for all vampires for quite a while afterwards. In all mediums of fiction we are presented with moustache twirling villains. There are other types too, such as the omnipotent and elusive Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, or The White Witch, an evil dictator in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Probably the most famous villain of our own generation is Voldemort, who is definitely evil, but interesting because he has a backstory that is very human and very sad.

So today I’d like to know: do you have a villain in any of your stories? Where did you get your inspiration? What is your favourite type of villain? Do you see things in black and white, good and evil, or do you want a villain with whom people can empathise? And who are some of your favourites?

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    I like different villains for different books! For the most part I like the main villain to be someone I can truly hate, but also understand why he/ she did those things because otherwise they don’t feel real.

    For side villains though, I like a stronger shade of grey! I really love those characters who twist on the axis of being good or evil and sometimes swing one way, sometimes another.

    Some of my favourite villains include Jafar from Aladdin or Faustus from Dr. Faustus.

  2. PenguinAttack says:

    I think that the most important thing for me in a villain is that I hate them. They have to be good characters, and part of that is my genuine “I hate you – villain!” feeling. That doesn’t happen too often, I didn’t hate Voldemort and I loved Snape, I didn’t care about Sauron very much at all.

    You know who I hate with a passion though? The witches from the movie of the same name. They are hideous, terrifying and I hate them, those wicked creatures! Also, the guy who melts in Who Framed Rodger Rabbit. A bit of fear is super helpful in making a good villain too.

    More villains more of the time, I say!

  3. Stella says:

    Oh my goodness, you know I never finished reading The Witches? I got too scared and had to put the book on the other side of the room- I never finished it!

    Pengu, I guess you win for suggesting the most terrifying villains of all time! Roald Dahl was right- kids loved nasty things, loved being scared but that book was a step too far for me!

Leave a Reply to Heather Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *