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  1. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Should the hero always defeat the villian?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Shadow Dragon, Jun 17, 2008.

    I plan on making a series of fantasy novels mostly about an empire that the protagonist of my first novel creates. However, the mc of my first novel, Ares, is a villian. Over the course of the novel Ares proves to be very sadistic, has a couple psychotic breakdowns, and is more than willing to kill or sacrifice anyone he believes doesn't deserve to live. I plan on having Ares and his allies succeed in creating their empire, which means that he will destroy the heroes who are trying to protect innocent civilians and their homeland.

    In my opinion it's good to have the villian win once in a while. It keeps things more interesting if the reader can't say for a fact that the good guy will win but I want to know what other people think about having the villian win.

    So in your opinion should the hero always defeat the villian?
     
  2. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Depending on how dark your story is, I would say you should definitely keep things interesting and make it seem like the bad guys will never lose. But I would whole-heartedly suggest you don't end the whole series on a downer with the baddies being victorious.
     
  3. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not going to end the series with the bad guys winning, I'm only planning on ending the Ares Saga with the villians being victorious.
     
  4. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    I agree with that, otherwise, a person might not put your book down feeling all too well, but that's only opinion.

    You could go for it. It might add a lot of freshness to the plot and to the story. Of course in real life we will usually want good to triumph over evil, but whatever works for your story is best. It is not written in some rule book somewhere that good must always win. There are many stories where the villain gets the last say.

    All you need to know is which is right for your story and basically know which one you want for it in any case. I would read it even, because something suspenseful as to who the victor is as opposed to knowing who will win could always make an interesting read.
     
  5. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    My personal opinion is that if you can make Ares an interesting character that can still have the reader on his side... then it's okay. But if your heroes are wonderful, intriguing characters that are far more likable than your villian, then it's not very good. It depends on the mood of the story and the characters.

    I hate unhappy endings so my opinion might not be what you're looking for. I feel betrayed if the heroes all die. I can take unhappy endings, but it depends greatly on the feel of the rest of the story.
     
  6. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    Are you saying that the villain is a good guy?
     
  7. Hulk
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    Hulk Banned

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    The answer to your question (the title of this thread), is no. I personally prefer it now after reading hundreds of books when evil triumphs over good.
     
  8. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes and no. A lot of the characters in the Ares Saga will consider him the be a hero. A large portion of his army will come from slaves that he freed and for serving in his army builds a city for them to live in and pays them. Some of the nations that he conquers were set up in a way that only people born in noble families will have access to schools, be able to reach high ranks in the military and own land. After Ares conquers these nations he gives land to the peasants, opens up public schools and offers all of the surviving members of that nation's army to join his army, an army where rank is earned based on talent instead of which family that person was born into. So the people that Ares helps will consider him to be a hero. Some will even consider him to be thier savior and would willingly sacrifice their lives to help expand his empire.

    However, some of the nations that he conquers were peaceful nations, where the people were happy. These nations and people did nothing wrong other than getting in the way of his ambition. He will still attack them without warning and kill any hero of that nation who is simply trying to defend his homeland. To ensure that they don't rebel against him he will sometimes line the roads of that nation with the bodies of dead soldiers that tried to oppose him. These people will consider Ares to be an evil warmonger.

    Personally, I think Ares has a lot of noble ideas. Such as improving education, allowing people to succeed even if they were born into a poor family, getting rid of corrupt politicians and ending slavery. However, he is also very sadistic, has a willingness to kill anyone who gets in his way, and is very egotistical. So overall I consider him to be a villian with noble intentions.

    As for the readers. Well some of them will probably think he is a sadistic monster, while others will think he is an evil that is necessary for the greater good.
     
  9. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    And he wins in the end? Your story sounds kind of like a two-sided argument that doesn't necessarily suggest that the villain is the bad guy, but depends more on the attitude of the person reading it. If you say that you don't want an ending where the bad guys win when at the same time saying that the main character is the bad guy, it really depends on what he really, truly is despite everything that might happen, or it could get confusing.
     
  10. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I plan on having the series end on a happy note. The Ares Saga is only the beginning of the series. The Ares Saga will end with the villian winning, but in some of the other sagas the hero will win.
     
  11. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    In my book the good guys defeat the bad guys, but only just (their whole city is destroyed), so the ending it's actually kind of ambiguous. I think it would be an interesting idea, especially if it's a series of books, to have evil win once in a while.
     
  12. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    I must say that in your story, it would be better for Ares to win. :) Then later, others. It makes it more interesting, and the reader can never know what's really going to happen. Even if I don't like unhappy endings, this sounds interesting. :)
     
  13. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I go with the story. If it calls for a sad ending, and the hero must die, then he must die. :) If not, then let him live. Go with your guy. If your character is suppose to win, then write it that way. :)
     
  14. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, I'm happy that you think my idea is interesting.:)
     
  15. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Toward the end of my current WIP, the villain is going to be defeated, but the land in the story is still going to be destroyed according to his will, meaning that basically, the bad guy wins. WOOHOO! Can't wait to write it!! :D

    Never mind that the land ends up re-created by the good guys...seeing as your "villain" is the main character of the story, it's perfectly fine for him to defeat the good guys. It might be more difficult to pull off if he were just the antagonist and not the main character, as it's kind of hard to sympathize with a plot where basically the protagonist or good guys fail, but if done right it can work. Not everybody likes happy endings--you just have to make sure it's a satisfying ending.

    You do say that there's a "happy ending" later on, and that can help mitigate the sting of the villain's early win. Basically, no, the hero doesn't always have to defeat the villain (though I should say that, at least in your first story, the "hero" is the villain himself--hero often being another word for "main character").
     
  16. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    To answer your question simply...

    No.

    The hero always winning is too predictable. And I especially hate when the hero seems to be losing the battle for the entire story, then magically, deus ex machina style, the hero somehow finds a way to defeat the villian. I'd say think outside the box, give the reader more options, and if the villian must be defeated, at least have the hero die with him (or her). :)
     
  17. Lillias
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    Lillias Member

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    It's always refreshing when there is moral ambiguity . :) I'd say make sure the characters on both sides are interesting and intriguing . Make sure they both have flaws and weaknesses to balance them out . I'm sure it'd be a great story then. ;)
     
  18. jack_of_hearts_06
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    jack_of_hearts_06 New Member

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    Not to steal Shadow Dragon's thunder from his story but I have a different take on this, or a question about it actually. I had tried to write a story along the lines of a villain winning. My story evolved from this into a story about two worlds that coexisted but were ignorant of each other. One of the lands is normal and in a general state of peace while the other land is plagued with eternal disease, demons, insanity, and horrors of sorts.

    The hero is from the dark world and stumbles his way across to the other world and finds that the lands used to be one world and that whichever land houses the last descendent of the royal bloodline will be in peace. The hero then tries to capture the prince/princess to bring back to his dark world, while fighting off what would be the hero of the peaceful world.

    Would he be considered a hero for trying to save his family, friends, and world that he loves so much from a tortured life? or would he be considered a villain because his succuss inevitably subjects a peaceful land to terror, pain, and death? Who would you want to win if there is no "good guy" or "bad guy"? Would it merely depend on who the story revolves around? There are more details to this, but I was just trying to give a quick synopsis to get my question across...
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is why protagonist is a better term than hero for the central character of a story. It separates the central focus away from any assumptions as to the moral superiority of the character.

    Freddie Kruger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees are familiar protagonists to horror movie fans. They are monstrous, by no means heroes. Nevertheless, when you watch one of those movies, you are usually cheering them on despite yourself.
     
  20. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I understand perfectly. It's an intriguing concept if done well, and opens up all kinds of questions. In my own series, the protagonist defeats the first serial's bad guy at the end of that story. But in later stories she slowly learns that she herself endangered the land she's trying so hard to save by doing this, because it turns out the first bad guy is necessary for the land's well being (even though the bad guy was trying to destroy it!). Another character who serves a different bad guy is put in a difficult situation when he's forced to choose between him or the protagonist, both of whom are insisting that their way is the right way; he's a decent person, but has served this antagonist his whole life, and for all he knows the protagonist is completely wrong. Nobody can ever be completely sure what is the right thing to do, as one good action can lead to bad consequences later on. (The protagonist is ALWAYS finding this out the hard way.)

    It's a very delicate balance of good and bad (neither of which is ever 100% free of the other), and what's considered good for one person or situation will of course be bad for another. For every winner, there must be a loser. Depending on how the story is told, the reader can identify with either.
     

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