for the love of villains

KristenShadow Fall3 Comments

I have a confession to make. A big one. My favorite character in Harry Potter isn’t Harry Potter. Or SnapeRon Weasley. Or even Hermoine Granger. Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest. So, anyone care to wager who may hold the golden slot of favoritism for me? Let me give you a hint… Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin. That’s correct, my friends, this gal is completely and utterly devoted to Severus Snape! Why, you may ask, do I hold more love for the greasy, hooked-nose potions professor over the adorable and socially awkward Harry Potter? Because villains make me happy, that’s why. Now, before you snarky little brats start clamoring, “But oh, Snape is no villain, you unintelligent bogart!” let me remind you that for the first 99.9% of the series, he is. And a totally awesome one at that.

See, it’s not just Severus Snape that steals my attention. In fact, in well over half the books I read, I find myself secretly rooting for the villain. I know it sounds a bit nutty, and slightly evil, and I am sure some of you may casually distance yourself from me certain I am a maniac underneath this loveable persona; but I can’t help it. It’s kind of easy to craft a likeable main character. Perhaps a kind-hearted girl who struggles to overcome oppression, or a genuine lad who must take on the world to save the ones he loves. Even those terrible books you read that make absolutely no sense have some likeable characters. But it is much harder to craft a truly detestable villain that makes sense. Sure, you can always throw in some nut job who is utterly insane and just likes to slaughter people and make a decent story, but it won’t be a memorable one.

Villains are a complicated lot, and more often than not an underappreciated one. One of the main reasons I have snubbed my nose at books is because they have pointless villains. “I are villain, I kill everything, Bwahahahahahahaha!” is pretty much the surest way for me to scowl and toss a book aside. It is also one of the reasons I will reject a query. Authors tend to overlook the villains and leave them without depth, without true character, without purpose. A true villain is the hero of his or her own story, and that is rare to find. Luckily, my boss, the charming Krystal Dehaba, agrees with me. And she has signed some amazing books with some incredible villains.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this.

Archduchess“Maia, I am going to restrain you. Carefully peel off your flesh like the skin of an orange. Part your tendons and muscles from the bone and sift through you. Every part of you. Your bones will be snapped, your marrow collected, your organs plucked out and examined. All while you are conscious.”

I mean come on! This quote, brought to you by the chilling Archduchess, hails from our upcoming novel, Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey. The Archduchess is bloodthirsty and vicious, but has depth and intrigue that make her a full, powerful character. One you can connect to and understand to some creepy degree. You know what, maybe I am a little evil…

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3 Comments on “for the love of villains”

  1. Pingback: characters who embrace the suck | Blaze Publishing

  2. I won’t go so far as saying villains make me “happy”, but I do admire a bad guy or girl that isn’t one-dimensional…or worse…predictable. A character can only be as heroic as the villain is diabolical. I’ll take Hannibal Lecter over Sauron any day! 🙂

    1. I embrace my weirdness! Is it normal to love villains? Probably not… but I love that you see the value added by having a developed and intricate evil doer! I completely agree that having a one-dimensional character detracts from the conflict of the story, which subsequently leads to the protagonist feeling a bit weak.

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