Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creating an evil and realistic villain

How many of you love writing the villain? (*Raises hand!*) Isn't it fun? Creating someone with so many different layers? How do we create the perfect villain? There are so many great villains already out there. Some of them more evil than others. We can't just start writing how evil someone is. There has to be something that made them the way they are. What makes them hate everyone, or why do they have a problem with the hero in the story? Jealousy? Something that happened between them when they were young? Did the hero pick on the villain through school?
Here are some examples of how different villains can be.

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. (I know it's a cartoon character, just bear with me.)

Gaston thinks he's perfect. He's charming, handsome, and the perfect catch for any young woman. Just look at that cleft in his chin! How could any woman resist such a man?
Well my friends, Belle figured it out. He's conceited, rude, self-absorbed, and all he really cares about is good looks. He wants someone who is as beautiful as himself, and that is his true character flaw. All he cares about is Gaston. When Belle turns him down we see a scary part of him that no one really sees. He gets obsessed with getting the girl, and can't believe someone who is ugly can win his girl's heart. He got what was coming to him I think! :)

The Joker from The Dark Knight

Personally, I find him a wee bit creepy. Actually, a lot. I think I had nightmares about that creepy painted on smile after I watched this movie. Which I might add, was awesome. Anyway, he is clearly a psychopath and isn't afraid to show it. One would wonder why he turned out the way he did. What pushed his buttons so far that he would kill innocent people? I think he's a fascinating villain. He's a liar, a deceiver, and completely crazy. But why? Why is he such an evil person? This is a perfect example of a complex character who obviously has some issues he is dealing with. (By the way, I think Heath Ledger portrayed him so well. *Tear*.

The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera

This is one of my favorite musicals ever. I'm curious to hear what you think about The Phantom. Is he really a villain? Or just a man in love? Thoughts?

Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter

I think Voldemort/Tom Riddle is one of the best villains ever. J.K. Rowling did an amazing job creating such a complex character. In the books she slowly pointed things out that happened in his childhood that made him the way he was. He was an orphan. His father left him. He had powers he tried to deal with and had no idea why he had them. Then once he did know how to use them, he grew power hungry. His lust for power and revenge on those who scorned him turned him into one of the most evil, merciless characters I've ever read about.

There are so many ways to make a villain truly evil. I think that is why they are so fun to write. They are real, normal people with sometimes deadly flaws. They are even portrayed as the good guy at times, but deep inside there is something eating them alive just waiting to be released. When the character finally snaps, an awesome villain is born.

Who is your favorite villain and why?


Demitria said...

I like villians who aren't all bad...who have what some would think are good reasons for acting the way they do. This is totally random, but I love Alan Rickman in Quigly Down Under...anyone?

New follower...


Carol Riggs said...

These are great villains! I like the villains who you can relate to why they became the way they did. For instance, Darth Vader. Also Magneto from the X-Men (first movie), where he was sent to a concentration camp at the beginning of the movie; his parents died there and he survived to become a twisted, malevolent man. Shivers! ;o)

Happily Cheesy said...

Quigly Down Under all the way!! Personally I love the villains that flip, you know the guys who go a perfect 180. Of course then I guess they get lumped in as an antagonist rather than villain, or am I just getting pedantic?

No one in their heart of hearts is a true villain. I think that's why they're so fun to flesh out.

Claire Gregory said...

I love Voldemort as a villain, but my favourite is-he-isn't-he villain from Harry Potter was always Severus Snape, for similar reasons. Such a beautifully developed, complex, conflicted character.

Author Diana Gabaldon has a very memorable antagonist in her historical Outlander novels in the form of sadistic English Army officer Black Jack Randall. She's fond of saying that people don't realise when they're chatting amiably with her that they're also talking directly to Black Jack himself- her advice is to reach inside yourself for the things that make your villain real and understandable, as well as the things that make them evil. You'd be surprised how much you can find in there when you go digging.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

@Claire Gregory I LOVED Severus Snape. I just knew he was a good guy! He was very well developed as well. Thanks for stopping by Claire! :D

@Happily Cheesy: I love the villains that do a 180 as well. The ones that redeem themselves at a pivotal time in a movie or book.

@ Carol: Darth Vader is a great one. Seeing his whole story was eye-opening. It was sad how he became who he was. I loved the end though. He really did have some good in him.

@Demitria: I've never seen Quigly Down Under believe it or not... I may have to check it out now. :)

Sully's Scribbles said...

As nerdy as this is going to sound. Probably Crowley from Supernatural. XD

Anonymous said...

I have so many fav villains, lol! It's hard to choose just one.

Devin Bond said...

Snape is one of my favorite villains ever. The he is-he isn't thoughts made for a wonderfully complex character. I think Severus Snape has to be one of the most well rounded characters I've ever read.

Susan Fields said...

The funny thing about the Joker is that he kept telling stories about how his face got messed up, but we never knew which one was real (in the Heath Ledger movie, anyway). I really wanted to know!

I agree with Devin - Severus Snape is a terrific villain.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hannibal Lecter! Brilliant, merciless, manipulative, and perceptive to a point that's downright freaky. Although Anthony Hopkins was amazing as Lecter on the screen, the best part about the character in Silence of the Lambs the novel was that he was slightly more than human. As I recall he had a sixth finger and violet eyes.

I love villains for their ability to see beyond the conventional.

Lydia K said...

Don't forget that Gaston said, "Every last inch of me's covered in hair!"
He was so awful, you could help love hating him. But I agree, Voldemort is one of my favorites too.
Hi Crusader!

erica and christy said...

Thanks for this post! I needed it. I think my current villain is falling a little flat. Hmm.. I need to have more FUN with it. Creativity is what it's all about. Thanks for this reminder. The Phantom. It is my favorite musical of all time. I am going to do some thinking on this one. I'll get back to you! Christy

Melanie Jacobson said...

I agree. I think Voldemort is a seriously underrated literary villain, for sure!

Jennifer Hendren said...

Great topic! I think one of my all-time favorite villains is Hannibal Lector. He's super scary, yet I can't help liking him. That to me is the best kind of villain out there. The ones you COULD like if they weren't complete psychopaths.

As for the phantom -- I think he's obsessive. Both about his music and about Christine. Not healthy on any level, but he's likable because there's something to admire about his devotion. He does care, just a little too much. (g)

Great post!


Chantele Sedgwick said...

You guys are awesome!! Keep em' coming!
Devin- I agree 100% about Snape!

@Susan-I've wondered which story the Joker told was true too! They were all equally creepy!

@Elizabeth-I've never seen Silence of the Lambs, but I've heard he is a terrific villain.

@Lydia-I know! That is so sick! Every last inch of him covered in hair! LOL

@Christy-Good luck writing your villain! It is fun to write them, but they can frustrate the heck out of you too!

@Jen- I totally agree about the Phantom. He was definitely obsessive.

Thanks for stopping by guys!:)

Theresa Milstein said...

Voldemort is my favorite villain, hands down. Though Snape is a close is he/isn't he villain. And Delores Umbridge is a great villain too.

Kristina Fugate said...

Oh, Voldemort for sure. I'm also a big fan of Darth Vader and the Joker. Oh, and Nathan from REPO! A Genetic Opera.

Great post :)

Marieke said...

Hey fellow Crusader!

I'd say Voldemort... but A Very Potter Musical irrevocably changed the way I look at Voldy ;-)

Witless Exposition said...

I think the best/most interesting villain I've come across (in movies, because that's where my head is at the moment) is in 28 Days Later. It's a zombie movie, but they really aren't the villains, just something to be survived. I won't really give away the ending, but it makes you think about how people act in dire circumstances.

Houstonproductions1 said...

I love lord Voldemort and think he's the evilest of evil. He's so evil and incredible...(*Sigh*) it's just so impossible to describe what a fantastic and evil villain he is. Though on that note, a fairly new villain I've noticed that is incredibly evil and yet dimensional, is General Monroe from the Revolution NBC tv series.