1. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    The parts of your soul you refuse to recognize.

    Ambiguity Rawks!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ferret, Sep 30, 2007.

    Is it this humble weasel of the night, or do "villains" with a reason to be "bad" slightly more interesting that Mr. Kent's clone?
    Personally, when crafting the antagonist, I like to show their side of the story, briefly, as not to impede the story.
    EX:

    Kerry's mommy owns a store.
    Beth is best friends with Kerry.
    Beth steals from karry's momma, in order to feed her starving matar.
    The fight escalates into a duel above New York's city scape, with the reader wonder who is right.

    So, let us poke holes in My Ideas! Seriously, do you like ambiguity (Vader), or totall badassness (Sarah Kerrigan?)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No question about it, villains with depth are more interesting. But far from impeding the story, undertanding why the villain acts as he does often is a major element of the story. Consider Voldemort of the Harry Potter series. Here is a villain who is purely evil, but understanding the parallels between his upbringing and that of Harry makes you look closely at just what made one become the greatest villain of the time, and the other an unyielding hero.

    Look also at Lex Luthor in the current Smallville series. He has progressed from Clark's closest friend to a dangerous enemy, and yet he is not what you could call evil. He fully believes that every action he is taking is to protect humanity, and that every ruthless act is both necessary and worthwhile in that pursuit. We have seen his choices, and how inevitable each choice has been, taking him down the path he is on. He is surely twisted, yet he is an honorablecharacterin his own way, and you can feel sympathetic toward him.
     
  3. dushechka
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    dushechka Contributing Member

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    I love that in any "evil" character. It reminds me of war somewhat- both sides think they're right, and they're fighting to protect the "world" so to speak. They fully believe they're fighting for the good of their people. Whether or not that's true, well, that's an entirely different matter.

    Anyway, suffice to say, depth in any evil character is way better (in my opinion) than a complete moron who's evil just because that's how he was brought up to be.
     
  4. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Here come the drums

    If you ask me, the most awesome (not necessarily most intriguing) villain I've seen lately was The Master. Never saw any of his other forms, what with being American, and not alive then, but this guy is insane. I don't even think he even has any motivation beyond the fact that he's been driven mad by the face of time. Insane villains are interesting to me, their reason for doing things is because of a messed up brain, and their reasons make sense to them, if not anyone else. Though there are to many things that are just, "whoo, I'm insane, look at me." at least the Master is funny.

    Something as simple as stealing to feed your family isn't as interesting to me as say, having to kill someone to save your family who is also trying to save their family. Or a king having to make a Machievelian decision that would end up killing millions.

    Total badassness on the other hand... I've seen to much of that in forgettable anime and video games. Hell, that's why I hate Sephiroth, from what I've seen he was all "rawr, i am teh greatest, look at my giant sword. Using a field katana when I'm not on a horse is totally not me overcompensating". I'd rather go for the guy who's had a crappy life, who's wife committed suicide, who's children died, and now he wants to give the quiet little waif girl he found in the woods a wonderful life, and... I don't know, sets out to perform some blood ritual or something. That one kind of got away from me, phone rang and my train of thought was derailed. Burning bodies were everywhere, the dead started coming back to life and attacking the passengers...
     
  5. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    What do you guys know About General Sherman, who served in the American Civil war?
    The history Channel (US) even did a special on him.
    Interesting Example, I beleive.
     
  6. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I agree that you should go into their story a bit. But I also think that a character who is truly bad actually is worse if they have no "daddy was a drunk and beat me" baggage. As you know the majority of people who have suffered through tragic childhoods, war, famine, POW camps, accidents, seeing someone die, drug abuse and alcoholism, etc. have not resorted to becoming bad guys.

    I like my villains to have some kink in their ethical judgment that gives them permission to hurt other people. I personally think that rich coddled people who have always thought themselves to be above the law because they could buy their way through life (Paris Hilton style) are better villains. For some reason except for stupid crack fiends on a binge (who are more criminals than villains). I think that the majority of villains alive today are of the "executive" class. Osama Bin Laydin hugely wealthy childhood, Ken Lay, the Enron creeps who stole their workers pensions, I frankly would put the staff of the white house on that list, The Carlisle Group. These are all hugely rich people who step on people and kill them if they get in their way. I think this is more of a villain than a simple criminal.
     
  7. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Depth in the villian is the better way to go, whether it is some form of insanity or something else.

    With the whole Skywalker/Vader thing, I'm a bit meh on the whole thing, it is a whiny brat who was manipulated, big deal, only in the end does he realise how far he has fallen, and finally understands what he must do to be free.

    I prefer the type of baddie who has his own set of morals and logic, but those don't work within a normal society, example, the Taidanni emperor in the original Homeworld game.

    He is nuts, yes, however he believes that by showing his people the death of an ancient enemy as a whole people he will with their support for his righteous reign etc etc. Thats his reason, but others don't see it that way, quite the opposite actually.
     
  8. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I agree with Funny Bunny and LionofPerth. It's more important that a villain be interesting than sympathetic. That interest could come from sympathy with the character or it could come from the character simply having an interesting (non-typical) description/design or it could be the whole sociopath route. There's many more ways to make a villain interesting than sympathy. I happen to be a big fan of villains and most of the ones I like really aren't sympathetic at all.
     

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