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  #1  
Old 04-15-2010, 01:43 AM
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Default What makes a good (bad) villain?

Simple little thread: I'd like to ask what everyone thinks makes a good villain? Should they be pure irredeemable SOBs, or are they better when their sad sob stories make them almost pitiable? Of course, there's way more to a villain than just those two, so everyone, feel happy to post what you think makes the best villain?
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2010, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

I personally like the latter. Feeling connections to the protagonist is usually a given, but if I'm able to feel something deep for both sides, I tend to like the story more.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2010, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

I say it depends on the story and also how the write can pull them off; not just anybody can pull off a purely evil villain without making it seem silly.

I like villains who have a good backstory because, like HiF said, you can connect with them more. You know why they are doing this or why they didn't do that. It adds a lot more substance to a story, and you care more about the "good vs evil" battle. If it was just some random villain who we know nothing about, I'm like, "Uggh, who is this guy?" Of course, though, the villain with the background can be the total SOB.

A bit off topic, but I love those cool, calculating villains. They always give me the chills. :3

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  #4  
Old 04-15-2010, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

The Joker from The Dark Knight is an absolutely awesome example of how to make a really outstanding and really diabolically clever villain. A LOT of what a villain does isn't just physical destruction or greed, but largely based off of their kind of mentality, and how they would "like to see the world burn."

Good villains also deny they're actually evil, even though they know it secretly inside. Either that, or they just think there's nothing wrong with it, and that its the way of the world in a might makes right context.

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.
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Old 04-15-2010, 04:01 AM
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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.
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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.
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  #6  
Old 04-15-2010, 04:11 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

I've noticed that there is this rise in "greater good" villains lately. Like some stuff has to be sacrificed but in the end it's all for a good cause, even though the good guys disagree with the methods being used by the villain.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Lately, I got done with a series of books known as Fablehaven, and from that spawns one of the most interesting villians I've ever met. Known as the Sphinx, he's very intellegent, clever, resourceful, and secretive. He's actually one of the "greater good" villians Alonso mentioned, who was doing something he believed would end up saving the world. What made his great is that he crafted plenty of deciet and treachery around the main characters, so they were never certain they could trust anyone, even themselves. What delicious hoplessness this fostered! >:3 For the longest time, no one ever knew his real identity, as he could cleverly disguise himself and his cohorts. So, he's got to be one of my favorite villains as of yet. ^^
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  #8  
Old 04-18-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

A villain made to be that way only because we perceive the villain to be a villain, but would not be considered a villain under any other given context.
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  #9  
Old 04-18-2010, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny_C.002 View Post
A villain made to be that way only because we perceive the villain to be a villain, but would not be considered a villain under any other given context.
.... can you give an example?
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Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."
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  #10  
Old 04-19-2010, 03:27 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny_C.002 View Post
A villain made to be that way only because we perceive the villain to be a villain, but would not be considered a villain under any other given context.
Whoa.... profound....


xD
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  #11  
Old 04-19-2010, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Best villan ever = Gerard Butler in law abiding citizen.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Real vilains have spikey hair and a jacket that says 'BAD' on the back.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Well, a good villain in my definition would be someone who affects in such a way that would appeal to the reader/watcher/etc. As listed earlier, the Joker is an excellent villain partially because of what he says in the movie. "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object". This analogy that the Joker makes is known as a paradox, if you didn't know already and often paradoxes, if worked certain ways, can do some serious (or in the Joker's case, "not so serious") work on the reader. In general, a villain must be the person that attempts to cause the reader or watcher (or whatever) to question his or her beliefs and virtues, because if that villain does so, the author or writer has succeeded in making a memorable villain. Even if there is no villain and the opposing force the protagonist himself or a turn of events (protagonist vs. self or protagonist vs. nature, etc.), the opposing force must have that kind of affect on the reader. However, you may realize that not all villains turn out to be so life-altering in the end. Some of these villains may become good before they can have any effect on the readers and others may be pushovers or weaklings that are dependent on the power that they received out of treacherous or other villainous acts.

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  #14  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Ah, this is a question even professional writers and directors have trouble answering. It really depends on the era! If you have noticed, depending on what is going on in the real world inspires what a person thinks is evil. For instance, in modern society, we find Health Care providers to be the spawns of Satan himself, for they rip us off. But, they did not always do that and back when, we thought something else was purely evil.

In my opinion, a truly evil villain would be a combination of a cold hearted person, that only feels anger and hate. He/she feels that they need to get revenge on society for being so cruel to them. Even though what they think that society did to them is cruel, the rest of the people (heroes, minor characters) think otherwise. But it really depends on the era and story.


A great villain wouldn't just kill his foe, no that is too fast and simple. He/she would need to make him suffer. Make him feel pain before he finally dies...
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good (bad) villain?

Any type of villain can be an interesting one if played out well by the correct author. No buts about it. I have see hilarious failure villains (Jack Spicer, anybody?), I have seen totally insane villains, I have seen angsty Face-Heel Turn villains, and I have seen them done well. If I'm supposed to answer straight up, though, I don't think I could - I always tend to root for the bad guys more than the good guys, regardless of if I like the latter or not.
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