1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Evil Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MilesTro, Apr 16, 2013.

    Why can't I read a book about a character who is a super villain or a sadist conqueror? I am tire of reading super hero books and stories that teach people how to do good. And most of the bad guys winning are in horror fiction. Can't there be a story that focus on a villain who wants to kill good people or take over the world, even if the villain is sympathetic?
     
  2. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Here's an idea...

    If there's something you really want to see on the bookshelves? Write it yourself.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are stories like this. The ones that come to my mind are actually television shows or movies, but some of them were based on books. Dexter comes to mind -- he's a serial killer, and the television series is based on a series of books. The Godfather movies portrayed a gangster family and were based on Mario Puzo's books. Similarly, The Sopranos followed the lives of gangsters, although they weren't based on a book, as far as I know. Boardwalk Empire follows a corrupt political figure who breaks laws, allows others to take the fall for crimes, and kills people who are in the way. Breaking Bad is a bit different, in that it is following a protagonist who starts out fairly wholesome and sympathetic, but gradually becomes a cold-blooded killer.

    I'm certain there must be novels out there with less than honorable protagonists. They're just usually not the type of novels that appear on my radar, but they're probably out there.

    Like Thorn said, go ahead and write one. But keep in mind, you still have to give us something to relate to. The protagonist can't be evil for the sake of being evil. He needs to have some motivation for doing whatever bad things he does. He still should have most of the same wants and needs that all people have - to be loved, to feel appreciated, to obtain a sense of accomplishment, to be understood by someone else, etc.
     
  4. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    He's not what I'd consider a super villain, but how about Patrick Bateman in American Psycho?

    I third that.
     
  5. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    Jeoffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton from A Song of Ice and Fire. Yeah fine, so they are not viewpoint character, but they are still a big part of the story.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fits the bill. He's destructive, using his submarine to sink ships all over the world, so in that sense he's a villain. But he's not strictly evil; he has justifications for doing what he's doing. He's strongly anti-imperialist and is, in part, taking vengeance for what happened to his family during wars between India and Britain.

    This raises the question: At what point does an antihero become a true villain?
     
  7. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I think what you shown are anti-heroes, and I seen Dexter and Breaking Bad. Those villains are the type who just want to help their families and people in bad ways. I'm talking about evil overlords and super villains from comic books who want to corrupt everything, and see the peaceful innocent world turn to flames. And they kill the people who they use to love. Of course they will have reasons, but not just for evil. Maybe they want to rule like Adolf Hilter, or they think people are better as slaves than being treated like individuals. They could have a sick idea that drives them. They are crazy villains with understanding reasons. What makes the Joker crazy, and why does he do evil stuff?


    I really hate most of the DC super heroes, except Batman. I think they are full of too much authority although they just want to protect innocent people. But it would be interesting to see the super villains destroy the Justice League and conquer the Earth. DC never made a story like that, not that I know of.

    Another character I like is King Arthas from World of Warcraft, who is the Lick King. I read novel about his origin and how he became corrupted and took the Lich King's place. His character development is cheesy and emotional, but he becomes interesting when he becomes an evil death knight. Had any of you read it?

    As the point of when an anti-hero becomes a true villain. I think the hero has to destroy something good inside himself to become completely evil. In Athras: Rise of the Lich King, when Arthras sits in the throne, he enters a dream state where he sees an evil orc shaman and a kid version of himself. Kid is Atrhas's innocent, and the orc shaman is a demon who wants to control Arthras. The death knight tricks his young self and slays him. Although he choose to be evil, he slays the orc shaman so he can be his own master. And that is how he transformed into a Lich King. The good Arthras is no more. That can be an example. Athras starts out as a hero, an anti-hero, and a full evil villain.

    I might write a book about a super villain, but I got other stories to write. I have a villain who is a gorilla overlord who wants to take over the world. There is nothing sympathetic about him, except he wants his kind to rule the world because he thinks his kind are the strongest race and they deserve to rule the world. But he won't win.
     
  8. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    First it was flat, teen characters, then it was animals and robots and now its completely evil super-villains. The reason why you don't see these characters in anything worth reading is because they've been proven to be bad characters.

    From what I understand, you're a comics guy. Have you read Wanted? It's very different to the movie adaptation and I stopped reading a third of the way through because I didn't care about the character. He was sympathetic at first and it was interesting to see him get revenge on his co-worker and his cheating girlfriend, but when he starts sniping innocent people down to practice being an evil supervillain, I started hoping he'd just die. ANY villain in either the role of the protagonist or antagonist should have some redeeming qualities, not so we can sympathise with them, but so we can understand them a little psychologically.

    You gave Hitler as an example. He was reportedly a vegetarian, an animal-lover and was very kind to children. While that doesn't justify the killing 6 million Jews, I think there's a danger in demonising bad people because people tend to forget that they are just human beings. Not one-dimensional monsters.
     
  9. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Wanted is exactly what you want in its graphic novel version.
    And the Justice League has been destroyed, beaten or imprisoned many times even in the original timeline. I won't talk about the alternate timelines like the current Infinite Crisis or the like, because i remember you saying you haven't read dc comics almost at all.
    My point is that even though there are examples like what you are talking about, a villain like Joker is a psychopath with whom not many people can identify. That is also the reason that no books like that come out. People look for characters they can identify with and relate to, characters that give them the feeling "this could be me there if things were different". A character with no emotions who just goes on a destructive spree with no good reason is not really all that.

    From the Dragonlance series, the Dragons of a Summer Flame novel features characters that represent an evil deity who is destructive and imperialistic, but you would have to go through 2 trilogies to understand it and they are a bit more advanced than what you said you usually read.

    Also about Arthas, people who played/read Warcraft from the beginning liked Arthas before he became the Lich King. They sympathized with him and his trials and adventures and that's why when he became Lich King he was still liked. He had already done good like defeating Illidan and the like.
     
  10. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I still wanted to read Wanted, but I can never afford the books, and the library never has it. Villains are human beings who have flaws and misunderstanding. The guess you really have to get into their lives before they turn corrupted.

    If I have a villain who is a robot who starts to kill the human race because he thinks logically that humans are harming the Earth, would it be interesting to show how he observe people and explain why he believes this than giving him a family?

    I don't care about relating to a villain because I am not one. I only want to learn how he turns corrupt and how he views the world. If he is just an evil character for the sake of evil, he wouldn't be interesting to me. He could be a symbol of what happens to a person who thinks only in logic and ingnores his human emotions. There must be a reason why he wants to conquer the world, whether it is for his family or saving another race. I would love The God Father movies if it shown what evil the family does in business.
     
  11. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Have a look at the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. Would you have Genghis Khan as a hero?
     
  12. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Miles what you are describing in your latest post is an anti-hero.
    is the definition of a hero.

    is the definition of an anti-hero.

    is the definition of a villain.
    A villain can also be an anti-hero, and while he is usually the antagonist he can also be the protagonist.

    If you stopped changing your mind every other sentence, it would be easier for us to actually respond to your questions. Also i am not sure if you know what words like sympathetic, relateable or villain mean.
     
  13. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Okay so a true villain is someone that readers should hate and not care about and hope the hero will defeat him? I guess I seen too many stories with anti hero characters. But I know there are villains who have some sympathy.

    Genghis Khan sounds like an anti-hero. He only goes on a quest to conquer all the tribes to make a world a better place for his suffering people.
     
  14. The Codex
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    The Codex Member

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    Damn, reminds me of my next 4th fantasy novel (probs decade away), my villains are going to win... and impact the world.
     
  15. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    That sounds interesting.
     
  16. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Read the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. The world the characters live in is one where the "Hero of Ages" failed and the "Evil Lord Ruler" won.
     
  17. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Yeah, you've answered your own question. As Xatron said, you're probably talking about anti-heroes. I could kind of understand the robot idea if it was an anti-hero. I don't think I've ever written a straight-up hero or cat-petting villain because I'm more intrigued by morally ambiguous characters, or characters who live by their own moral code. That's why I find myself more drawn to film noirs, gangster flicks and spaghetti westerns.

    I suggest you watch The Godfather movies again. You may have missed the horse's head and all the shootings.
     
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I seen all three of the Godfather movies, and they are boring to me. The main character and his family do evil stuff, but they seem to be more caring like normal families. They are just a loving family trying to survive by doing illegal stuff.

    It is true that real people for good reasons of what they are. It is just how complex human beings are.

    Let's try not to talk about anti-heroes. I guess to make a true villain, he has to be flat and full of hate. Nobody likes him because what he does, and nobody cares about him. Now this could be a problem for making a steroetypical evil villain the main character. If readers want relatable caring characters, then how a villain main character work? Should he or she be better off as an anti-hero?
     
  19. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Did you not read anything i wrote earlier? By definition a villain can also be an anti-hero.
    Even heroes can be full of hate, it is not a villain-only characteristic.
     
  20. C.J. Hadwin
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    C.J. Hadwin Member

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    *clap clap clap clap*

    or the simpler version

    *applause*
     
  21. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    What if the villain doesn't become an anti-hero? Are you saying that villains cannot be truly evil?
     
  22. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    http://oxforddictionaries.com/
    You might want to get one of these.
    What i said is that you don't know what you want to talk about and every other sentence you change your mind. Read again what i wrote.
     
  23. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    So if the villain is the central character, he will be considered as an anti-hero?
     
  24. basicloser
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    basicloser New Member

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    You seem to like Star Wars from your image. If you want to read about the bad guy winning you should check out the Darth Bane Series. It does a great job (in my opinion) of showing the motivations of an evil character while telling an amazing story.
     
  25. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Yes.
     

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