View Single Post
Old 04-15-2010, 04:01 AM
Scytherwolf's Avatar
Scytherwolf Offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hiding from metal coats...
Posts: 6,989
Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

If villains are done well, I enjoy reading about them. What I don't like is when villains are given no personality and no real reason for doing the things they do. Or...a silly reason.

One pet peeve of mine is the 'territorial' pokemon who are portrayed as evil simply for being territorial. A territorial pokemon on its own is fine-it's perfectly reasonable that some pokemon would be. But one that corners the main characters, won't allow them to just leave the territory, and launches into a monologue about how painfully they're going to kill them? That's just annoying. (And same goes for predators that act this way). It doesn't make sense unless there's an actual reason for it (which I haven't ever seen explained in the stories I've read that had this sort of thing happen). A predator or a territorial pokemon should just try to attack, chase out, or kill the pokemon right away without a display of how 'evil' they apparently are. it's made worse if the main characters totally clobber them with little effort and that's seen as okay because, you know, that pokemon wasn't trying to survive just like any other, they were eeeeevvvviiiiiiillll. Sometimes the main character has no choice, of course, but in those situations I'd rather see some sort of major struggle to fend off/run away from the attacker, rather than a one-sided fight.

Still, I think that sort of situation, along with any other involving villains or dangerous pokemon/people, can be done well if the author actually makes it balanced, as in not focusing just on the main character, but the villain/dangerous pokemon as well, either making the reader have to guess what the outcome of the battle will be, or giving them a way to relate to the villain/attacker as well through their actions and emotions. (As an example, how would a houndoom who suddenly found him/herself being beaten by the pokemon he/she was supposed to hunt and bring back to his injured mate feel? Even if the emotion is shown only quickly and subtly, I'd like to see something.)

When it comes to villains, no matter what sort of villain it is, a sympathetic villain or a pure evil one, or anything in between, villains need a personality. They need to have their own thoughts and emotions just like any other character. I'm not fond of people throwing in random villains and one-time characters just to give the main heroes someone to beat up. Even if a character appears only once, there are still a lot of ways to show their personality, if only a little.
But yeah, the personality plays a major role when it comes to the villain. That, and villains need to seem unstoppable. If they're too easy to take down or they're constantly being defeated, then they've lost their potential.
I agree with this in that my favorite types of villains are the ones who seem like a real, terrifying, nigh-unstoppable threat. The types of villains who aren't cowardly (and there's a difference between simply having fears and being cowardly), who won't back down after the hero's show of bravery, who can hold his own, or better, against the main characters. Someone strong enough or with enough strength on their side that the heroes would be absolutely stupid to try and go to battle against them without a lot of help, and even then they'd be taking a huge risk. The type of villain who is willing to fight to the end for what he or she wants, and is defiant even when at the hero's mercy.

Though there are lots of ways to write villains well, the terrifying, threatening ones are by far my favorite. I like wondering how, and if the main characters will ever bring him or her down. Plus there's the fact that if the main characters are captured or attacked by said villain or those following him, they can't just simply fight their way out of it, which adds a really interesting edge to the story. It makes it seem as if there is so much risk, which makes the story exciting and leaves me wondering how they're ever going to get out of it, when all I know is that it bravery and some fighting skills won't nearly be enough. Not this time.

Thanks to Lunar Latias for the banner and Kirimori for the picture!

-My Links-

Last edited by Scytherwolf; 04-15-2010 at 04:04 AM.
Reply With Quote