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  1. InkDream

    InkDream Active Member

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    Let's talk villains

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by InkDream, Nov 22, 2019.

    Who is your favorite? Why?

    What are your favorite traits of a villain?

    What stereotype or trope are you tired of seeing with villains?
     
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Albie Kinsella.

    Depth, humanity, intensity, and a backstory that explains the absurdity of their evil doings.

    The mwah, ha, ha, bad for bad sake types (trope). De facto antagonists.
     
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  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Yep, you're nuts. :P Contributor

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    The plot forced antag/villains. They are simply randomly forced
    to be the baddy so the story can have one to play off the protag.

    The obvious villain, that is defined as being evil for the sake of
    being evil.

    Any and all that have no depth/character of their own other than
    being the baddy.

    So basically the one trick pony villain that is just thrust into the role,
    and has no real arc or depth.
     
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  4. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

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    I like villians that are powerful but not overtly in your face about it. Something haunting about the subtlety of it.
     
  5. Nesian

    Nesian Active Member

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    Lucifer on Supernatural. That guy is hilarious.
     
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  6. The Bishop

    The Bishop Active Member

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    1.) The Joker

    2.) The have to be real and relatable. Real as in not just bad for the sake of the story, real as in a believable motive

    3.) That they always lose. A lot of the time, a villain can outsmart the good guy and gain an upper hand. And the trope that the quote on quote "villain" is usually, if not always, wrong. They may be wrong in the eye of the main character, but they may be right in the grand scheme of things.
     
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  7. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

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    My favorite changes regularly, though recently I enjoyed Toffee from Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

    To me, a villain should be competent above all else. Having an air of charm about them is also a big plus.

    One of the worst tropes in my opinion is the rival-turned-big bad trope, where the character becomes the villain just because they have a relationship with the protag and magically becomes the best at being a villain. This is especially bad when there are more competent villains who end up playing second fiddle because the rival is the author's favorite.
     
  8. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    Who is your favorite? Why?
    I tend to like real-world villains over fantasy villains...so Hannibal lecter, Humbert Humbert, Mrs Danvers, Uriah Heep, Lady Macbeth, Nurse Ratchet. I think I like these villains because they are human and relatable. They don't rely on anything like magic to achieve their goals. I do like magical villains but sometimes I find the magic tends to over shine all their other attributes.

    What are your favorite traits of a villain? Intelligence, charm, humour, ruthlessness, vulnerable, competent (but not so much everyone is beyond shocked the hero succeeds) but more than anything I want them to be human with the potential for anything. I am a nice, peaceful person but if I wanted to I could be a right bitch and cause trouble, I just choose not to. I feel like a humans we all have the potential to be any trait. I think the scariest thing about a villain is that we have the potential to be one as well.

    What stereotype or trope are you tired of seeing with villains? evil for the sake of it. Twisted and crazy but has no real purpose. Hates the hero just because they are the hero. But I wouldn't worry to much about avoiding tropes. Concentrate in stead on making them the center of the story, because most villains are. The hero would have little to do if it wasn't for the villain meddling and his/her goal. Villains are often active characters, it's hero's that have the tendency to become reactive.
     
  9. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    Here's my favorites.
    I'd name their traits as: rigidness, corruption, jealousy, chaos.

    I notice that each one of them wins the battle if not the war, sometimes outright and sometimes in the moment. Not to say they get away unscathed (well, one does). You wouldn't want any of them as an enemy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't much like the word 'villain', as it has a moustache-twirling aura to it ...which is way too melodramatic for me. However, the first one I thought of, when I saw this thread, was the fantastic antagonist in the TV series Farscape. Scorpius.

    Scorpius was terrifying, cruel, devious, ruthless and focused,repulsive to look at, but with a unexpectedly light voice and elegantly cultured manner of speaking. However, as the series developed, and we learn his backstory, we began to realise there was more to him than villany. In fact, in some ways, he was actually aligned with our heroes from Moya. Occasionally they were forced to work together, which was fun to watch. And the ending of the series left so much in the tank, were there ever to be a continuation. Just fabulously conceived and acted.

    The picture above, of Salieri, in Amadeus, reminded me of what a nuanced and entertaining villain HE was as well.

    In terms of books ...well, there are lots of them. I just finished reading a book by James Robertson, And The Land Lay Still, which contains a truly psychopathic character who really did make me shudder. He really didn't have any redeeming qualities shown in the book, although he apparently made a good soldier (offscreen) and died in an ordinary way (car crash.)

    I prefer 'antagonist' to 'villain,' because that allows for a more rounded character. Rounded characters are more interesting, in my opinion. That feeling that these characters COULD possibly be redeemed—even if they never are—is a powerful hook to keep readers and watchers glued.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
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  11. Thorn Cylenchar

    Thorn Cylenchar Senior Member

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    Favorite traits: Depth and intelligence. Pragmatic. They have a reason for doing what they are doing and are brutally efficient in it. Bonus points if their employees/subjects/minions are loyal to them because they are 'good' bosses.

    Tired of: the ones who are supposed to be this big threat but turn out to be so stupid they are easily defeated. Your typical cartoonish villains.
     
  12. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Tricksters. I love that they are demonized for their humanity. My favorite is the Greek god Pan. Who only turned villain by the Christian Church. He's essentially Satan at this point. Originally, just a creature obsessed with sex. I mentioned Clockwork Orange recently in another post and the main character, Alex, is a favorite baddy of mine.

    I don't particularly like villains with ideals. I like them simply trying to live and enjoy life. Failing to compromise or fit into a society generally because they just can't. A great flaw keeps them incapable even when they seem capable. Lestat would be another choice. Always creating trouble by being himself. The Joker from the most recent movie was a perfect example.
     
  13. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    1. That would be Demona from Gargoyles. For a kid's cartoon, she was devilishly complicated. The fact you can completely sympathize with her motives, is scary by itself. Then there's the rivals she has over the centuries that are just as twisted as she is.

    2. Logic. There has to be a logic behind the villains motives. I don't mind villains having motive that I don't fully understand, like the Joker being an agent of chaos. But it has to be fitting of the character.

    3. Being so overpowered that the only way the hero wins is by a Deus Ex Machina. Or having a weakness that has to be exploited.
     
  14. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Contributor

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    My favorite villain / antagonist right now is Thanos from the Marvel universe. He's certainly cruel and murderous but pretty much everything he does is entirely consistent with his stated *for the greater good" goal. He isn't really even deceptive or prideful. He just mops the floor with all the good guys, does his thing, then

    ...just kinda, like, retires, you know...

    On a related but perhaps slightly different note, in science fiction we also have villains that are basically just aliens who have such a different perception on reality that neither they, not their entire society, sees them as evil at all. Examples being the aliens in Pandora's Star and The Mote in God's Eye. Can you really blame them for doing exactly what they evolved to do?

    In a sense, these villains are scarier than the mustache-twirling kind. They're just something completely different. How do you deal with that?
     
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  15. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Senior Member

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    My favorite villain is Iago from Othello. He's insanely evil in my mind. He manipulates the entirety of the world around him to the point where people literally are killed by his machinations. And he does it because he wants to and he can. Well, he hates Othello, but only because he's a whiny little buttcrack about not being promoted over Othello. But that's another reason why I like him. He's out for revenge over the dumbest thing. If we looked at him from today's standards, he'd be the stereotypical white person angry that a person of color got something better than they did. He'd blame it on the whole "trying to be a diverse workplace," thing, and he'd be wrong. He just sucked as a soldier.

    A close second is Grindelwald from the newest Fantastic Beasts film. If you look at it this way, Voldemort had fear. Grindelwald has trust. There's a huge, huge difference in their quality of follower because instead of people who are doing it because they don't want to be killed or their families killed (with the exception of those who are actually just like Voldemort and terrible people -- Bellatrix Lestrange, blah blah blah), you have people who are listening to what he's saying. They're believing what he's telling them.

    Anyway... Now that I've gone completely off the topic. In terms of qualities I like, something along the lines of what @jannert said. With Scorpius, I mean. Someone who is almost impossible to believe they're a villain if you just hear them speak. But once you see them for who they are, they're terrifying and unpleasant. A complete surprise, but not unexpected.

    Tropes I don't like: the villains are tragic. Sometimes, people are assholes and they deserve what they get. The villains shouldn't be seen as martyrs. I make exceptions for those who didn't want to be what they ended up as, such as what someone else said above, about how they're just trying to live their lives, but a majority of the time, people try to force sympathy onto their villains, and that makes me feel greasy. It's like when you try to make a white supremacist seem like a good person because they joined forces with a black person. I grant that they might have changed a little, but does that erase the lifetime they lived before? A concentration camp officer now lives as a priest in a different country. Does that make him a good person? I don't know... now I'm in the mix of "can people change or are they always who they are?"

    I confused myself....
     
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  16. RoyGBiv

    RoyGBiv New Member

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    Shang Tsung on Mortal Kombat. All that talk about souls and the like is funny.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  17. Malisky

    Malisky Sirocco Contributor

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    Olivia from Hemlock Grove. Azula from Avatar. Clever and all that sass.

    Deceitfulness, cleverness, sass and their discreet melancholy. No one gets them. It's hard being surrounded by weaklings and idiots. :p

    The stupid one.
     
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  18. Red Herring

    Red Herring Member

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    The more I think about trying to find my favourite villain they more I realize that a lot of them don't really "stand out". I don't mean that in a negative connotation. My initial thought was Joker, but as great as his portrayal was, he's far more a force of nature to me than a character.

    The one that stood out for me is Kingpin from Daredevil season 1 because he has all the attributes that I love in a villain.

    Those being...
    -He is multidimensional. He isn't just a moustache twirling guy. What he wants is empathetic. He wants the same things anyone else; someone to love, a safe environment, to find success, etc.
    -He wants the same thing the hero wants. Daredevil wants to protect Hell's Kitchen, and Kingpin wants to do the same. Their methods are really what sets them apart.
    -We as an audience can empathize with the actions that he takes. We may not agree with his methods, but his ends are understandable.
    -He matches the hero in both wits and strength, sometimes even more so.

    Another one that stood out for me is Ozymandias from Watchmen, the graphic novel version. I think he probably hits those points stronger than Kingpin, so much so that it's hard to qualify him as a villain.

    Stereotypes/tropes I hate:
    -Villain monologues explaining their genius plan to the hero, giving the hero a chance to stop them.
    -Writers making villains do EVIL things to show how terrible they are; ig. killing their own underlings for unjustifiable reasons, or killing animals.
     
  19. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    The 'villains' that blew my mind the most are the unexpected ones, the ones who began the story as the main character and somehow ended up being the monster by the end. I'm thinking in particular of Jack Torrance in The Shining and Betty Elms in Mulholland Drive. I'm not sure if I'd call them my favorite villains, but their turning out the be the villains really sent chills down my spine, because you identified with them, and then you slowly realize they've done or become something terrible, and it's deeply psychological. It takes you through the process as if it's happening to you, and it makes you realize this is probably how it does happen to some people.

    Similar but she's not the main character-- the Glen Close character in--ah crap, I can never remember the name of the movie! The one with Michael Douglas where she boils the rabbit. I always want to say Basic Instinct but that's not--wait, or is that it? I think it is. Or was that the Sharon Stone one? So confused right now! Anyway, she started off just as 'the other woman' and suddenly took a hard left turn into deranged psycho-ville.

    Edit - it was Fatal Attraction of course.

    I guess what all 3 movies have in common is that they're built around a main character who made a bad moral choice and now has to pay dearly for it, far more dearly than they expected.
     
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  20. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    I also need to give a shoutout to Kilgrave from the Marvel Netflix show Jessica Jones. I've heard it said a story can only be as good as the villain, and I suppose that's part of the reason why JJ is my favorite of all the Marvel offerings (season 1 anyway). What makes him so good, aside from the amazing acting by David Tenant, is how perfectly he fit into the theme of the show. All the Netflix Marvel shows seem to be based around the effects of abuse, which is what caused the powers of the heroes and villains.

    Kilgrave, with the ability to completely control anybody through telepathic mind control, is sort of the ultimate abuser. And the themes were handled particularly well in Jessica Jones. Almost everything she did in her job as a PI was related to her status as a damaged survivor of abuse, by Kilgrave particularly, but even before that, the trauma of her family's death and her survivor's guilt. So many great thematic elements--her broken door at the very beginning of episode one relates to the fact that all her (metaphorical) doors and windows have already been broken through and she doesn't feel safe, so why fix the door? She regularly breaks locks, doors and windows to violate other peoples' privacy as part of her job. And as a villain, Kilgrave is capable of violating anyone's privacy to whatever extent he wants, and is a spoiled child in an adult's body, so he has no compunctions about whatever gets him his desire of the moment.

    The theme of doors and windows is even prominent in the show's opening title sequence. I mention it because it does tie in with Kilgrave's ability to smash through anyone's interior doors and windows, but also just because I'm in awe of the writing and thematic elements throughout the show.
     
  21. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    Team Rocket.

    Seriously though, I love the Marvel villians - when they're not being villains. Dr. Octopus, Baron Zemo, Dr. Doom, the Thunderbolts. Maybe I just like redemption stories.
     
  22. shiba0000

    shiba0000 Member

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    Compelling villain traits:
    -personality and actions that genuinely piss off the reader (to create emotional investment in the villain's demise)
    -power that instills ambiguity in the story's outcome (because the protag is expected to succeed as a default)
    -unconventional morality that defies the trope of empathetic villains (while remaining believable for immersion)
     
  23. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    A villain does not change. He makes the poor hero go through a lot of hoops and he sits back and enjoys. I like villains who are know-it-alls. I like a villain who sits back and enjoys the plight of the hero. He does the minimum to turn the hero's world upside down. If he does become more active, the villain should have no problems manipulating the mechanisms of the world to bring the hero down. I think the Christian god is a good example of this villain. Another is Iago.

    I don't like villains with backstories. There is a difference between a villain and an antagonist. An antagonist you can sympathize with, you might even root for him/her (I often find myself doing that). But villain you want to be beaten and if a villain is well written then you root for him to be destroyed, for his devilry to be destroyed. Then the audience is invested. That is the investment they want to make in the villain. They don't want the villain who has reasons to be evil. That is not a villain. That is a tragic hero.
     
  24. Rin Silverstar

    Rin Silverstar New Member

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    I think my favorite villain would probably be MARVEL STUDIO's Loki. He's funny and is always pulling pranks and surprises that make things interesting.

    Humor. Humor is definitely a good trait for a villain. Any kind of humor will work. Even if they are the only one who finds their jokes funny.

    World/country-conquering villains. There are way too many of those.
     
  25. Lazaares

    Lazaares Active Member

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    Hans Landa is a well-written villain. No remorse, gentlemanly attitude, absolute indifference to the evil he commits. And the lingering question of how much he knows and his true motives - just makes every scene he's in tense. Pretty much puts the audience & another character into an immense, 5 minutes long pit of dread by asking for a glass of milk.

    He's also a villain-villain. There is no effort being made to justify his actions or to push him towards being "morally grey". Villains don't necessarily need that.
     

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