Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Villains We Love

We had a terrible thunderstorm this morning. Storms don't bother me (unless they knock the electricity out), but it sure scared the cat, who hid under my bed.

So I spent the hours before gettin'-up-time with my iPad, catching up on blogs and Tweets. I read Heather McGovern's blog Bad Girlz Write (May 20) "They're Best when they're Baddest" where she blogs about why we love villains.

And we do. There's something in us that secretly admires their audacity and complete disregard for the rules we "Good Girlz" follow.

Yep, we need a villain to make our characters use their wits to outsmart him, to learn something about themselves, to grow in understanding.

I admit it, I love creating villains more than heroes. They make me stretch my imagination. And it is so much fun when I bring about their demise. This demise, denouement, or comeuppance, depending on your viewpoint, can come about in two ways.

In one, the villain is completely demolished: dead, imprisoned or somehow made impotent.  This ending makes us cheer. Other times he manages to redeem himself at the end of the story--which also makes us cheer.

And, we need a little bit of villain in every hero. Too perfect is too boring. Yes, our heroes have to overcome their weaknesses, but in the long run, those weaknesses (or hint of villainy) make them more real to us.

Do you have a favorite villain?

Mine is Messala (played by Stephen Boyd in the movie "Ben Hur"). Remember the chariot race and those lethal wheels?

Aah, villains. We love and hate them.












7 comments:

  1. I love Bond villains! There's just something about they way they thwart James Bond that draws me in and holds my attention! Great post :)

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    1. Ooh, yeah ... They were very, very bad!

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  2. Mrs. Clennam in Dickens' "Little Dorrit"

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    1. That's one I never read. I'll put it on my list.

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  3. I just commented and it disappeared! So shall repeat..
    JR Ewing of Dallas was always referred to as the character we love to hate!
    I don't like our heroes to be "too perfect" either. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes and not too proud to admit it. His villains were great!

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    1. You are right, we all had love-hate relationship with JR.

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  4. I love an anti-villain, in opposition to an anti-hero. ;) Think Dracula in the 1979 movie with Frank Langella. Think Dexter. Think the Joker performed by Heath Ledger...

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