1. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Properly Handling a Villain Who Feels Love

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gammer, Apr 10, 2010.

    Having some trouble with the main villain in my story. Moving away from the more cliched fantasy villain, my villain actually feels love (fatherly) towards his closest subordinates. There's 6 of them, all of whom he "rescued" from their circumstances. And throughout the story I establish they've created a sort of family dynamic out of it.

    Problem is the more I focus on that aspect of him the less villain-like he gets. And at times he has more heroic and tender moments than the story's actual hero. So how do I balance the love aspect of him and still maintain that he needs to be stopped?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is not a bad thing that the "villain" is shown to be human. He has to be stopped, not because he is an awful human being, but because the actions he is taking are intolerable.
     
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  3. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    True that, to some people the villain in your story is actually someone they can root for instead of the main character - don't forget that. If he's actually a nice guy deep down, but he's going to hurt the MC's friend to reach his goals, then he is the villain because the MC has to stop him from hurting his friend regardless of whether or not the villain is a nice guy.
     
  4. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Well, what's he trying to do?

    We can't really help you figure out a balance if we only know one side of the scale. What is his main goal? His ambition? Maybe even touch on his powers?
     
  5. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Alright well (this is going to be kinda lengthy, I'll paraphrase as much as I can)

    The villain, who calls himself Lucifer (unoriginal I know, but it's only temporary till I figure out a better name), is a demi-God in the same form as Hercules and Achilles. His mother was raped by a God. Her family disowned her because of the shame and she fled to a village where the people constantly mistreated her and her child. Luci grew up watching his mother get beaten and spat on, and being hated and feared by everyone. The God, to cover his mess, floods the village. Kills everyone but Luci was saved by his mother. He swore revenge on his father.

    20 years later he gets that revenge after constant training, murder and betrayal. He uses a technique to absorb the powers of his father, and he gets taste of Godhood. With that one taste he makes a new vow.

    He swears to destroy the Gods on Earth and in Heaven for their ambivalence (they did nothing to the God who killed his mother, and did nothing to ease his suffering). With their death he wants to absorb their power and become the one and only omnipotent God so he can wipe out the humans for their hatred of him. Then plans to reshape the world where everyone worships him and only him.

    As for his subordinates, he found them all when they were kids with horrible home lives. He then manipulated events so everything would come to a head and force the kids to show off their powers. He then told them what he did just so that no one can use that to turn them against him.

    And that's about as far as I've gotten. Once again sorry for the length, couldn't figure exactly what to cut.

    Does this help at all?
     
  6. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    Marvin Martian was pretty cool, with his nifty broom-thing hat.

    But still, he was going to blow up the Earth.

    It sounds that right now you really just have a logical villian. He has a reason for his hatred, a reason for seeking revenge. Yet he's not one-dimensional. He has positive emotions too. It's actually a good thing to show other sides to the villian. Otherwise they're just little cardboard cut outs going, "Rawr, I'm evil."

    Normally I'd say, just make sure that the reader "gets" where the hero is coming from, or the story might become more complicated than you want it to be. But since the stake here is pretty high, we don't need a lot of explanation WHY he's bad. He might be cute, but he's still going to blow up the earth.

    //R
     
  7. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Generally, "villain" is synonymous with "antagonist." The protagonist can be good or evil or somewhere in between; he/she is simply the person that the action of the story follows. The "villain" is usually thought to be the "bad guy," but this depends on the protagonist's perspective.

    If the protagonist is a serial murderer, the antagonist of the story might be the cop or FBI agent hunting him down, even if the antagonist is the one that the reader would usually think of as good. The story might make you see the cop in a different light, making him seem more like a villain to you, or it might be very clear that the protagonist is evil. Either way, the villain is the person or force opposite to the protagonist's actions or ideals. Depending on how you write the story, the villain could be absolutely anyone.

    Just thought I might bring that up.
     
  8. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    From the sound of it, it sounds like your villain has a perfectly good reason for his actions. If you can get the reader to think about the fact that god-murdering can be justified, then you're perfectly fine.

    Then you have the real hero who has to stop this demi-god because he thinks that one omnipotent god would not be a good thing to have.
     
  9. Saje Williams
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    Saje Williams New Member

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    A lot of it comes down to motivation

    You have the old cliche of the actor asking "what's my motivation?" It's wise to have your characters--heroes and villains--ask you the same question. What drives the character the hardest? A villain might be misguided, ruthless beyond reason, haunted by a particular emotion (love can be an even more corrupting an influence than lust, from my perspective), or driven by dark needs like a crime thriller's serial killer.

    I like to create a pivot point for a character, around which his or her actions and reactions revolve. Character development can be a matter of moving that pivot point--not changing the character's motivations, but allowing circumstances to alter them as the story unfolds.

    Giving the villain a capacity for fatherly love humanizes him and instantly makes him a more compelling antagonist than a thousand such examples in fantasy fiction in particular.

    Or so I see it.

     
  10. JoeyMystery
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    JoeyMystery New Member

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    Well...Charles Manson had fatherly love and I don't think I'll ever see him as human. Evil. Pure evil. But that's the real world for ya. Not quite like the books.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have never met Charles Manson. Certainly he did some truly horrible things, and all we know of him is the monster.

    But what made him the way he is? What damage or flaw turned him into a killer? Somewhere in there is a human being. Yes, he is dangerous, and no, he should never set foot outside of prison, but there is still undoubtedly a side of him that is not a monster.

    Evil is a simplification. It is a comfortable category to dehumanize those who truly frighten us to the core. Pure good and pure evil are the fiction. Reality is that humans are complex creatures, who act according to their emotions and ideals - fear, love, hope, desperation, etc., and based on what they perceive of the world that surrounds them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  12. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    Most people want to 'do the right thing'. But the 'right thing' is different to everyone. And some of it is evil.

    The Nazis thought the 'right thing' was wiping out anyone who was different. I would consider that evil, but in their minds, they thought they were justified.(Scary)

    A person could think that the world is in such trouble that the best way to 'help' people is to destroy the world.
     
  13. sunwave
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    A story is about (some form of) a protagonist and (some form of) an antagonist who (willingly or unwillingly) prevents the protagonist from simply reaching his/her/its goal.

    So, as long as your guy prevents your "hero" from doing whatever (s)he wants, he's the antagonist. And as long as he does "evil" (which can be defined many ways) he is even a villain, no matter if he (at some times) does good things and has a human side. Actually, giving him a human side makes the character more interesting.

    Take a look at one of the more popular stories right now: A song of Ice and Fire. Most characters, even the most evil ones, have believable human sides and the "good" side is hard to define (although most people root for a certain group). Except maybe some of the minor characters (and one moderately important one), we understand why evil things are being done. And it's usually not 'because the characters are villains'.

    Or, to keep it simple:
    - Doing bad things makes you a villain.
    - Being a villain does not make you do exclusively bad things.
    Well, usually. And as an extra:
    - You don't have to be a villain to be an antagonist.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  14. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I had one of these fellows, well, should say have, because he is still around. He developed into a shockingly likable, not to mention useful, character. Play with folk like this, run scenarios, follow them around and get inside their heads. There are a minimum of two sides to every story, take the time to learn the ' villian's'. In doing so, you might come across some of your best characters.
     
  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Vito, Michael, Fredo, and Sonny Corleone all loved each other, and that didn't make them any less villainous. Decency to the people that you do care about won't cancel out cruelty to the people that you don't.
     

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