1. yuedarkangel
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    yuedarkangel New Member

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    Villain's ultimate goal

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by yuedarkangel, Sep 11, 2013.

    Ok we've see the cliche many times before, villain needs to kill a large amount of specific people, or even just that one person on that one special night. My question is why? I can only think of the fact that he/she wants to become a god, or kill all life on earth. There has to be more than just these two answers, right? Or is that just the best gimmick's to go with?
     
  2. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    He might hate a specific group.
     
  3. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Like that guy with the mustache.

    It could also be a scientific experiment, done for "the greater good." Then he ends up poisoning/irradiating/infecting a huge amount of people who eventually die, but he's mainly interested in how they die, how long it takes etc.

    Also, villains rarely work alone. Like the mustache guy. He had a lot of allies too who did loads of dirty work for him/for their cause.
     
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  4. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Sometimes financial gain. E.g. Max Zorin in A View to a Kill.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is actually a pretty serious problem in fiction - how do you motivate a villain? In realistic fiction, it tends to be easier, because usually the "villain" isn't really a villain at all - he's just someone at cross-purposes to the MC. They both want the same girl, for instance. Or they both want to win the state championship at whatever sport they do.

    In fantasy, you often have villains like the one you're talking about, one who wants to kill large numbers of people. How can a character be motivated to do that unless they're insane? One answer that works is that the villain is a religious radical, one who believes, for example, that members of another religion are Satan-worshipers who are ruining the Earth and must be wiped out for the greater glory of God.

    I'm trying to think of other motivations, but they all seem to require the villain to be hopelessly deluded - either utterly insane, or utterly convinced of some radical religious or political idea. It's hard for me to imagine someone wanting to kill a large number of people just because they're greedy for money or power - that would be a form of insanity.

    I think the thing to do in a case like this is to look back at history to see if you can find a model for the kind of villain you want. The one that pops into my head is Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi officer who was one of the organizers of the Holocaust. He was cool, efficient, and totally ruthless. Google him if you want to see what a large-scale villain might be like.
     
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  6. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    If we're talking fantasy, or basically anything where magic is involved, or religious sects, then he might need to use the people (their body parts, souls, etc.) for some kind of ritual. And the ritual might require him to do it at a specific time - which is something the OP's mentioned and no one has addressed yet.

    Of course, a ritual is an easy way out when it comes to explaining weird motivations, but I guess it often works.
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Revenge can make both a hero and a villain
     
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  8. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Doesn't have to be insane. Imagine there's overpopulation on earth. Everyone will starve unless we take the necessary step of killing 25% of our population (obviously I'm pulling these numbers out of the air.) Villain might be the one willing to take the step. Hero might refuse to see level with the utilitarian approach, and seek an alternative solution.
     
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  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's still an element of insanity here. A sane person would try to feed the excess people rather than kill them - the solution isn't the deaths of billions, it's increasing the food supply. Either that, or a massive campaign promoting birth control. Or, in an extreme case, sterilization of a large chunk of the population. Actual mass murder is way down the list of possible solutions - too far down, probably, to be considered sane.
     
  10. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Fair enough - it depends on the situation, and I didn't exactly take a huge amount of time to create the justification in that example. I'm assuming feeding the excess people is impossible. Rather than focusing on the individual example, the point is that in certain extreme situations murder might be considered (to a certain type of mind) justified, in order to perform some greater or necessary good, rather than being the end in and of itself. The villain might see themself as qualified to make that choice, (kill 100 people to save 1000), whereas the hero might feel that nobody is entitled to make such a choice and that everybody should have a right to survival unless nature, specifically, sees otherwise.
     
  11. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    So, in some cases what makes a villain is merely an individuals perception? Take real life; was Dub a hero or bad guy for putting troops in the sand? Was the Catholic church evil in its own eyes? Alexander the Great, or Alexander the Invading Asshole?
     
  12. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    I'd go so far as to say in all cases, in real life. Fiction is the only place people actually see themselves as evil. Even serial killers tend to be in the grip of an addiction, or fascinated with the idea of rebelling against social authority. Dexter is a nice show to watch if you want an idea of how a killer can justify what they do internally. Or read any Cersei chapter in Game of Thrones.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. As the saying goes, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Often, whether someone is a hero or a villain depends on which side you're on.
     
  14. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    I'm afraid that answer doesn't work, as while it's tame to believe that (bordering on insanity, though) it is not tame to act on it. It then becomes obvious of how delusional and crazy that person is.

    To kill someone, you have to be crazy, unless you have been brainwashed, or raised to believe it's OK (which is also brainwashing, and kinda makes you crazy). The part that makes the story different from all others is what the murderer thought he/she was accomplishing while killing people. In the end, though, the character has to be crazy. (Unless, of course, we're talking about gangs; then it becomes a battle to survive, and not so much insanity.)
     
  15. yuedarkangel
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    yuedarkangel New Member

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    Thx for some great replies everyone, should have specified maybe that I'm looking for fantasy, sword and sorcery world reference to a villain's goal
     
  16. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Politicians, anyone? Okay, this hasn't really been proven, afaik, but let's pretend it's true, for the sake of the argument: the Bush administration wanted Iraq's oil, so they pinned 9/11 on Saddam, came up with fake news of WMDs, and used that as an excuse to essentially take control of the country and its oil. True or not, I think our history books are full of wars that were prompted by political / monetary reasons and the end result was thousands upon thousands (sometimes millions) dead. Granted, one can question the sanity of the people who made those calls, but I'd wager you won't find that many blatant examples of insanity there in comparison to people who believed they really were doing the right thing for their people (and, of course, themselves).
     
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  17. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    Psychopaths are insane; that we can all agree on, right? Well, all politicians are psychopaths. Enough said.
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with this, but it's kind of beside the point. I doubt Bush or any other political leader who starts wars wants to kill large numbers of people. That's not the reason to go to war. Again, for the sake of argument, say Bush wanted Iraq's oil. I think if there was a way to get it without killing all those people, he would have done it. He wanted the oil, not the deaths. The deaths were an unfortunate side effect.

    I think the OP was asking why someone would want the deaths, not as a side effect, but as the primary goal. I was trying to think of someone sane and not delusional doing that, and it was rather hard.
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    True that, I was thinking along the lines of not really caring that many will die for the money / power you want, i.e. money and power are more important to you than lives.
     
  20. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No: "insane" means that somebody either can't understand what they're doing or can't stop themselves, psychopaths just don't care.
     
  21. HarleyQ.
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    HarleyQ. Just a Little Pit Bull (female)

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    And they don't care because they can't care. They lack the capability of empathy and sympathy. Psychopaths are born without such feelings, and cannot acquire them later on in life. Do you think psychopaths are capable of stopping themselves from hurting others on purpose? Because they're not. That's why, if found true, they end up in psych-wards for the rest of their lives instead of jail if they kill someone. The only reason why we imprison them in actual jails is because the insanity plea seems less likely to be believed as opposed to if someone else killed someone because they heard voices telling them to do it. They are no less insane than someone who hears voices telling them to do things.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A villain is a character. His or her motivations are generally not that different from those of any other character. His or her worldview, or moral code, or priorities, or reasoning may be all the difference between a villain and a hero. That, and who you induce your reader to identify with.
     
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  23. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    A villain in a fantasy world could be under a curse which can only be lifted after he has brutally done to death a certain large number of people. Or perhaps the curse is not on him, but on his loved one(s)? That should make for interesting moral conflicts.
     
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  24. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That's good.

    How 'bout, his wife can't carry a child, so he has to kill someone to allow her to concieve.

    Or, the lots of people are infected with plague, and rather than attempt to cure them he wants to kill them off.

    Or he's opening a gate that will allow him to talk to god, but it's powered by the souls of the innocent (presumably in their talk god will ask him what the hell he was thinking)

    Or there's a weapon that will stop aliens from attacking but he has to kill all the people protecting it to make it work

    Or he's trying to prevent another galaxy from colliding with our, what he doesn't know is that all the stars will miss earth. Because he's an evil villain, not an astronomer.

    Or he's trying to bring the dinosaurs back to life, by killing people and putting their souls into dinosaurs.

    That also works with robots, driven by human souls. Then the robots kill more people to power more robots to kill more people to power more robots. Then everyone is a robot and they're all happy because the don't have to eat or feel feeling anymore. Obviously the robots will have to go into space to kill more aliens to power more robots.
    BONUS: The villain is a devious cyborg.
    Or a super smart dinosaur that was preserved for 65 million years.

    Or everyone he kills is actually in stasis because he needs colonists to go to a new planet.

    That's all I got in 10 minutes, give me a break and I'll have some more.
     
  25. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    A man leads a group away from an evil government (or wizard or overloard) to a far away land. In doing so, he meets another group of people. They two groups try to live together, but the man unknowingly brought with him disease, war, and greed. The man ends up being the cause of the genocide of the other group
     

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