One of my favorite parts of the fictional world are the villains. For most movies, books, or television shows the main focus is the heroes. However, one of my favorite characters is usually the villain. Well, that is if the villain is well done. As I work on my own series, I have been analyzing what makes a great villain. First off we need to figure out some details about a villain.
What is a villain?
The dictionary definition for a villain is
In the fictional world, the villain has several roles. In order to understand what a villain is, we need to look at the roles of a villain.
The villain is the second most important character. I truly think that the villain is second only to the hero in importance to the storyline.I think that this is definitely the case. Without a good villain, the hero can’t rise to the occasion and defeat him or her. So, if the villain is weak or lame then you cannot have a really dynamic and impactful hero. The easy example is Voldermort. His actions in a lot of ways made Harry Potter the hero he was. As well as being crucial to the story, Voldermort and Harry have several similarities in personality.
Honestly, I think that it could be argued that the villain is even more important than a hero. However, not every story fully utilizes their villain, and some have a villain that doesn’t take up to much screen time. So, we can safely say they are generally the second most important.
Likewise, the villain is the antagonist. In some cases, the villain is completely on the same level as the hero. They are as smart, cunning, powerful, etc as the hero, but with a more nefarious spin. For example, Moriarty is almost like the evil version of Sherlock Holmes. His aims are to literally antagonize Sherlock for sport, gain, and self-revelation.
Personally, some of the most fascinating villains are the ones who don’t necessarily see themselves as villains. They see themselves as something else. Either a necessary force of justice, someone worthy of more than their station in life, or in some cases they see themselves as the hero. There are so many different examples of this, but I don’t want to start getting into motivations just yet.
Next week, I want to explore the motivations of some of the more interesting villains in fiction. Please comment on the Facebook page here. I want to hear about your favorite villains and why.