1. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Why would a societies hero become the new villain?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Andrae Smith, Jun 27, 2012.

    Hey everyone I've been struggling with this for a while now, but does anyone have any ideas as to why a hero character may become a villain [e.g. he never wanted to be a hero, society doesn't appreciate him, society wants him to kill his opponents and once he does loses himself, anything like that]?

    Conversely, can anyone give me any reason why the societies man villain may want to be a hero, or at least save society from the former hero [e.g. he never wanted to be a villain, he doesn't really hate society, hedoesn't want the world destroyed, he doesn't want to be upstaged]?

    Any ideas are acceptable and much appreciated :)
     
  2. GillySoose
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    GillySoose Member

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    There could be so many ideas for this I'm not sure if this will fit into the context of the story you're planning, but whatevs.

    Maybe the hero and his followers/society he protects were fighting the villain and his minions and managed to defeat and drive them away/capture them. The hero wanted to pursue/kill the villain to make sure he never comes back, but many of his followers/society disagreed because they thought it'd be a distasteful thing to do. So the hero said they're all blinkered fools who're just setting themselves up for another massacre, took the followers still loyal to him and tried to violently overthrow the other followers/society so he can have his way. In their last bid to stop him, the followers/society turn to the defeated villain for help in exchange for some sort of concessions/freedom/power/etc.
     
  3. bo_7md
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    bo_7md Member

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    Love.

    The Original Hero (O.H) falls in love with a woman, and the original villian (O.V) falls for the same woman.
    During his fight to save the world, or what ever applies from you story, the O.H falls victim to a stronger enemy or an illness but no one helps him. Enraged that he was left to die he changes sides, to seek revenge on socitey, losing the woman he loves--she is hero oriented. Now, the OV sees an opportunity to get the woman he loves and the admiration of socity he always seeked.

    There are many ways, the setting and plot of your story are a big factor of that--need more info.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Example: Hero ends a war between humans and an alien species by an act of genocide. At first he is cheered, but soon public opinion turns against him for the monstrosity of the act.

    Orson Scott Card has done a lot with this, with his best known character.

    Note that the character need not even change. The change can be in the society itself.
     
  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    This is actually a perfect answer It gives me a lot to consider. It actually does fit right in with the story as well. Thank you it really does help.

    To bo_7md, that is a good answer. You got into the story as well. there is a love interest here and I think that helps clarify how I can use it. of course there is more purpose to the girl than advancing the other two.

    To Cogito, I like that last sentence a lot. That is a more esoteric way to look at it and one I will consider heavily.

    Thank you all for your answers. I understand the plot plays a huge factor, but ideas are always nice and appreciated. :)
     
  6. xhawkeyex
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    xhawkeyex Member

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    Well, a good hero and villain shouldn't want to become what they are. The villain should think that he/she is doing the heroic thing and not just for being a bad person. The same goes for the hero. The difference between the two is normally their views on what the outcome. What makes them the hero and villain is their ways of completing those goals and how acceptable it is to a society. So according to what I posted here, their places would be swapped by what becomes acceptable by the society.
     
  7. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    Check out Iron Man by Ozzy. That hero makes a grave sacrifice for the people of his world and as time goes by, people just forget about him and all he did. In a fit of rage he returns and destroys them for their lack of appreciation. The Batman vs. Superman comics have a similar setup. Superman will get depressed because humans are so unappreciative and then he'll go around terrorizing them looking for respect. Batman then has to go stop him.

    The lack of praise/appreciation is a valid reason for good to go evil, as for evil turning to good I think that love of some form would be the more realistic approach. In my opinion it would really depend on why the character was evil.
     
  8. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Thank you guys that gives me a lot to consider. I was already gettign that sort of feeling. The only reason the villain is considered a villain is becasue of society and the family he was born into. its a prejudice thing. He doesn't really care whether what he does is good or bad because society hates him anyway, but as he grows up I still need a reason that would finally slowly pull at his morality until the hero makes the final choice to destroy the people he "protected" and the 'villain' then makes his ultimate decision to save the world from destruction; and perhaps love is precisely the thing to do it to set him on a course. Thanks again, I really do appreciate it.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think others have noted this, but sometimes good people do bad things. They don't want to do them, but they have to. Society is fine with the outcome, but when the details come out... Then again, sometimes society doesn't care as long as the outcome is what they want, and that turns the good guy bitter, cynical, angry...
     
  10. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    He wanted to seize power for himself. So he opposed the evil overlord, and became a hero as a result, but once he's defeated the evil overlord he becomes the new evil overlord because that's what he wanted all along.

    Lots of real life dictators were like this. They had the support of the people when they were opposing the previous regime, but it turns out they're pretty rotten rulers too. (Robert Mugabi in Zimbabwe is a good example.)
     
  11. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Hero becomes villain examples: Start with crusade against X, but crusade and power becomes repressive. On corruption or fairness grounds he could win power, then with power obtained actually do widespread anti-corruption punishment which leads to the masses hating him.

    Villain becomes hero: Villain actually is trying to do something good, but is portrayed negatively, has had some mistakes which involve innocents being killed or hurt. Plenty of options, but most villains aren't 'I like being evil!' and are a different set of morals and viewpoints which conflict with the opposing side. 'Slavery' for one, for or against, the other side will think you are out to destroy their way of life or are an inhuman monster. The hero can be the villain or vice versa even prior to the end of the conflict. Then its history who determines whether or not they were heroes of villains.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Then I suppose that leads me to a new question, What might be a moral or character flaw in the teenage hero? Just ideas I kow I have to write on my own, but I am most inspired by ideas because ideas produce thought, and in turn questions, thus research, which gives birth to new ideas, and so on... you guys are all really helping me a lot and I appreciate it :) This is my first time planning things out like this so its great to have people whom I can ask for help :D
     
  13. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Teenage characters are old enough to be anywhere from childish to mature in their goals; allowing for lots of flexibility. Take from the background, noble or peasant or middle-class. Nobles are used to finer things and have an upbringing towards people, status and finer things with good education and world sense, usually a sport to go with it. Middle class is usually the generation in which the father or mother came from noble (fallen status) or peasant (success) or just a line of better then usual. This sets up for market savy, a trade and a decent education, maybe a sport. Peasant class is usually little education, low status and a trade which offers no hope of advancement and little opportunity to do so.

    A peasant class might have the lowest desire to go villain or hero; unless something really pushes them, their abilities will be almost impossible to lead or coordinate any action worthy of being noticeable. Other then a respected peasant leading a small rebellion. Middle class is usually better, but if the means (market control) allows for funding and operation, it could be possible to do far more, but resources and power will typically be out of reach. Noble class is ideal, power and status comes as a given. Capable of pushing opinion and able to operate it as the means. For nobles, living is a constant struggle to achieve higher status or keep the same status while others intend to weaken your own position.

    A teenager of any class will have different means to do so. If we are going hero or villain, draw from strengths. A yeoman or hunter (peasant) could become a threat in a larger army for the ability to lead effective and devastating attacks. A middle class one will be capable of behind the scenes, logistics or any other mid to high up importance functions. Nobles typically take the 'face' of any large scale matter, they hold sway and visibility and the means to achieve their ambitions for a price; or just cause general havoc to lower classes if they hold power.

    Flaws which provoke any emotion to a fault are fine. Such as 'revenge' or 'love'. If we are going 'world threat' you want a noble type. If you want 'Major threat' you want middle class' and peasant is 'low to mid threat'. After all, a corrupt police chief with a desire for revenge could still cause havoc for a specific group of people or the entire community, surprise inspections, trumped up charges, false charges, or any other kind of effective style. He could have found that position by cleaning up the streets, getting the trust of the people and ridding a problem of crime. Then becomes bored or gets a reason to go after someone and can do a very good job of it. You have endless options, just make sure the progression is detailed well.
     
  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    wow! Thanks for that. I never thought of it that way :)
     
  15. Quabajazzi
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    Quabajazzi Member

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    Ooh ooh ooh! I love Hero becomes Villain stories! (with some humor, granted)
    If you want comical, and I'm in no way suggesting you copy this but more to enlighten you, I always enjoyed the Disney 'Kim Possible' villainy. Now that's a very basic twist on it, but simply having a hero who gets bored with being a hero and developing that could have lots of potential. And having a villain who is a villain simply because he/she had childhood issues that made them think being a villain would help, when in actual fact they fail at being villainous and accidentally succeed at being a hero. That's a basic summary of Kim Possible's protagonist villain, Drakken, and it is a cute and sort of clever look on being a villain. Just something to maybe consider?
     
  16. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I would not have thought back to Kim Possible but that is a very nice idea. I won't be going for the comical tone but the idea is just as valuable, thank you :)
     
  17. Caeben
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    Caeben Member

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    Picking up on the comic-book note earlier in the thread by Psychotrshman, the film The Dark Knight is a text book example about a hero (Batman) that is turned into a villain both by external forces and his own desire to maintain the reputation of Harvey Dent.
     
  18. Jamie Senopole
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    Jamie Senopole Member

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    I was going to suggest love. When in love, someone can make you do things you never thought you would do. I really like the suggestions from bo_7md & Psychotrshman too!
     
  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Watch the Dark Knight :D "I'm not a hero..."

    Oh and Harvey Dent in the film should give you inspiration for good turning to evil. "So why am I the only one who lost everything?"
     
  20. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    Huh. Well, a hero might become a villain when he isn't appreciated. If he's worked so hard to save people, but then they just reject him and treat him like he's nothing. Or perhaps your MC is an optimistic nerd, but has been so embittered by all the teasing that he eventually just shows up the mockers. He liberates a tyrannical state, but is rejected for creating a refugee problem. Maybe something like that.
     
  21. henry ni
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    henry ni New Member

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    Maybe a new hero came into play with pretentious characteristics. The new hero absolutely loves attention and tries to steal the main hero's fans using propaganda and the media, something the main hero never really gave any attention to. The main hero is dragged into obscurity, and the new hero tries to eliminate him completely by forging his belongings to place in crime sites. The main hero goes through a series of headaches and traumas where he eventually becomes enraged at society for how easily they abandoned him.

    For some reason I'm pretty sure this happens a lot in hero vs villain series but I posted it anyway :D
     
  22. introspect
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    introspect Member

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    Yes. Luke sky walker joining darth vader instead of fighting against him. why shouldn't a hero become a villain. we all have the desire to good and bad. keeps it on a cliffhanger. people don't know where they stand :)
     
  23. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    First of all, get back to the question in order to truly discover the answer that a writer would really want to know. You want an answer that you can work with and use to shape your story, right? Specifics, right now, aren't going to be helpful to figuring out the problem of transforming the Hero Archetype. First, you have to figure out the mechanisms behind them.

    There are three basic ways to do this:

    A) The Hero Changes

    B) The Values that the Society Reveres Change

    C) An External Event (Act of Nature/Gods) transforms the Society or the Hero

    So, a Hero can be pure and faithful. But, if the Society no longer views those qualities as Heroic, the Hero will not be seen as heroic. The Hero could even turn out to be persecuted, much like was mentioned above with the Ender character in Card's books. In time, that society came to view his actions as despicable because they were made to face their own guilt and complicity in the act. A wonderful twist.

    A Hero can also change. For instance, Lancelot was a Hero. Depending on who's interpretation you wish to read or follow regarding Arthurian legend. But, let's take the classic one from modern day tales - Lancelot was pure, just, righteous, had shining armor and a white horse and all that jazz. He was King Arthur's most faithful and brave knight. He could also whoop some serious butt. But, then he saw Guinevere and he was doomed. Lancelot's love for her was real, but it was not just. The same hold's true of Guinevere, though nobody really cares much about her since she is not the focus of much of the Arthurian myth until she becomes Queen.

    Here, Lancelot falls from grace and is hounded by those who called him friend. He is hunted by factions in Arthur's Court who were always trying to stir up trouble, anyway. Lancelot is forced to do things he wouldn't have normally done, all for the cause of Love. Arthur was the kuckold king, but he knew it. He simply did not want the drama involved in confronting the issue and was content to let sleeping dogs lie. Even then, even with Lancelot and Guinevere knowing that Arthur turned a blind eye to their shenanigans, they still didn't stop... So, in the end, far from being the pure and just knight, Lancelot sullied himself for love. Today, we'd definitely view Lancelot in more of a bad light if we read traditional interpretations of Arthurian legends. But, we still like to glorify his own legend today and choose to forget what he did.

    Lastly, an external event can transform the society or the Hero, through no fault of either. An act of the gods could force the Hero or the Society to change its values. A magical token could pollute the Hero or a magical spell could turn the Society against the Hero. Interference by the gods in the mundane lives of mortals has done this pretty frequently in ancient mythology. One day, the Hero is a hero. The next day, some meddling god has changed things so that the Hero's fortune is much more difficult. A Hero transformed to appear as something horrible could not only change the Hero, outwardly, but change the way the Society reacted towards the Hero. A journey from Hero to Villain with just a bit of makeup, courtesy of divine intervention.

    In order to change your Hero, you should weave both A and B together, if possible. Use C only if you're working on epic events surrounding mechanisms that are plausible in your setting. Use internal and external forces to change the character's traits over time. In order to retain the sympathies of the reader, make the internal changes of the Hero appear just and the changed values or observations of the Society, unjust. A spurned Hero would be sympathized with if they wished to gain revenge on the society that spurned them. But, we know a true and "good" Hero would never resort to such a thing as revenge, don't we? (Obviously rhetorical.) Leave enough room for the reader to be able to view the Hero as a Villain, or you'll start making the character far too grey. (That's not always bad, but you wrote you wanted a true "Villain.")
     
  24. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    WOW! That is a fantastic interpretation/ analysis. I couldn't have asked for better help. :D

    I think my story is a mix of A, B, and C. That is, throughout the book the hero changes gradually, at the same time, society seems to change in response to his change [allowing room for a new hero] and yet he ultimately makes his final decision and realization of a darker destiny due to the intervention of a Gd who'd been working ominously throughout the book as well-- though behind the scenes, so the "hero" doesn't realized he's part of a much larger scheme.

    I ultimately have to decide on my characters motives but this gives me a far clearer picture of possibilities for change-factors. Thanks for taking the time to type that up, It is a huge help :)

    Thanks as well to all else who have replied, I've had a lot on my place recently and havent spent much thought on this issue, but your responses are all appreciated :)
     
  25. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Hero and Villain are in essence perceptions by the general public, based on information they have/get, usually on actions attributed to the hero/villain. A swap effectively is a turn in perception. In other words: the "why" someone is perceived as a hero turns out to be dead wrong, inaccurate, stolen, or whatever, and the hero morphs into a villain.
    HTH
     

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