A while back, I asked the Facebook world about people’s favourite villains. I got a bit of a mixed bag, but because my friends are nerds, the answers were pretty much what you’d expect.
There were a couple of joke answers, Darth Vader came up a couple of times, and Voldemort made an appearance. (Again… nerds.) My favourite answer came from my bud Derek, who replied with “God from the Old Testament” and pretty much shot all the other answers down. I disagree in that good villains are compelling and I don’t think God came off as particularly sympathetic in the early chapters of the good book… but it was funny.
The reason I asked is two-fold.
First of all, the subjectivity of villainy is odd to me. Sure there are a few absolutes (sexual assault) but a lot of the rest is up for interpretation. My first example of absolute evil was going to be hurting a child, but where does the line stop? Is spanking bad? Some say no, some say yes. Is there a definitive answer? Obviously not or I wouldn’t be asking. I’m guilty of a lot of things but trying to waste your time is not one of them, gentle reader,
What about fighting, war, and the like? Is everyone involved wrong for committing acts of violence against another person? The bible tells us it’s wrong. It’s one of those big commandment things… but if it is stopping someone who is slaughtering people, does that make it alright?
That might be the only thing that would make me curious about the afterlife, if it does indeed exist. What will God’s ledger look like? Are their hard absolutes? I suppose there would have to be. I read the early chapters in the bible. Not that I take a lot of pleasure in making fun of the such a document (seriously, I got off that hate train a whole back) but if ever a being existed that believed in retribution, it was the big man in the Old Testament.
I guess there is comfort to be taken that there are plenty of people in the world who stand against villainy, regardless of its manifestation.
The second and most important reason I asked for people’s favourite villain is because I am writing for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign and I need a good bad guy. I’m trying to avoid clichés but they are so warm and inviting. Why not go with a tested formula? Sure the unpredictable is as it is described but will it also be interesting? I don’t know. I’m not trying to reinvent bad guys but making one all it’s own isn’t simple, or at least it isn’t for me. Perhaps, and by perhaps I men most definitely, I’ve given too much guff to movie and television writers in the past.
Basically, I need an evil doer who will counter balance the heroes and I am not sure if I want to go the route of using the baddies as a mirror to what the good guys could become if they choose the dark side, or if I want to go the Macbeth route and make the heavy a tragic type who really felt they were working for the greater good.
I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Thanks for reading.
I’m done now.