A Thursday Post: Villains

So a while ago I was doing a series called Inspiration Monday, but that kind of petered out because 1) I've been busy lately and 2) I usually do Top Ten Tuesday, and posting two days in a row feels lopsided to me. So here's what I'm doing: I'm moving all my random posts on thoughts/inspiration to Thursday! (For now. This might change, since I apparently can't keep a regular blogging schedule.)

Today, let's talk about villains.
Related image
Some Villainous Tropes That Drive Me Crazy
  • When the protagonist gets captured by the villain and then the villain tells the protagonist all about his crimes. (*ahem* Nancy Drew *ahem*) I mean, why do you want him/her to know that?? There's a 1001% chance that he/she is going to escape, because he/she is the protagonist, for goodness sakes! And when he/she does escape, he/she will have mountains of evidence to bring out against you! Besides, as a reader, I don't find it fun to have all that information dumped over my head all at once. I want to figure it out as the story goes along.
  • When the villain is a braggart. If he/she is so full of himself/herself, I find it really hard to take that villain seriously.
  • When a female villain (villainess?) does what she does because she's bitter about lost love. Losing loved ones is hard. I get it. But . . . does every female villain have to lose her goodness when she loses the love of her life?
  • When the villain doesn't have a convincing motive. Or no motive at all. In the acting camp I've been attending for the past three weeks, our director tells us, "You need to have an intention for everything you do." Even if all we're doing is walking across the stage to get from Point A to Point B, we need to have an intention for that; we can't just be walking across the stage. I believe the same is true for villains. They need to have an intention. A really good one.
  • When the villain is just power-hungry. I get that this is an actual Thing, but I just don't connect with this. Like, why do you want to rule the seven kingdoms plus the underworld . . .?
Speaking of connecting . . .

Villainous Twists I Love
  • When the villain has a quality (or qualities) the reader can connect with. (A villain who just wants to be left alone? A villain who is doing what he's doing because he wants to help the world, but who's going about it in absolutely the wrong way? A villain who's just afraid?) They're humans too. They need human qualities.
  • When the villain has a good spot in his/her heart. I'm thinking of Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time, who still has the capacity to love, even though she's made bitter by losing it. But what sets her apart from the typical villainess-who's-lost-the-love-of-her-life is that she keeps finding people to love. 
  • When the villain contemplates redemption.
Oh, and while we're talking about villains, go check out this post at Ink and Quills.
Some Villains I Love
  1. Erik from The Phantom of the Opera. (He just wants Christine to love him and he had a traumatic childhood.)
  2. Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time. (He's just scared and he also had a traumatic childhood. Hm, I'm sensing a theme here.)
  3. Javert from Les Miserables. (He just wants to do what's right.)
  4. Edward Hyde from The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (He's . . . um . . . completely evil. Yes. But you know he's not like that all the time . . .? Honestly, he's complicated.)
  5. Long John Silver from Treasure Island. (Long John Silver is one of those villains that I love to hate. He can be as smooth as butter one minute, as murderous and self-pleasing as, um, himself the next.)
  6. Capricorn from Inkheart. (Another one I love to hate. I'm not sure why.)
Most of the time, however, I prefer it when there is no defined villain, or when the lines are blurry.

What kinds of villains do you love? Hate? Love to hate?


  1. Good analysis of villains. I think the best villains are the ones that are just there, being the people that they are. Everybody thinks that they're doing the right thing, even if they are a bad person.

  2. All of those tropes are awful. I like complex villains. The best stories are the ones where you don’t know which character to trust because they all have complicated motives.

    1. Yes!! The most subtle villains are usually the best.


Post a Comment