Previous, in February I penned an article: ‘What Defines a Hero?’ Well, guess what. LOL I love a great hero no matter his archetype, but I also love a great villain. How can you not have black without white? Ying without yang? Good without evil?
A villain or ‘bad guy’, just as a hero, can actually make the story. ‘Robin Hood ~ Prince of Thieves’ comes to mind. Alan Rickman played the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, and wasn’t he good. Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman did a wonderful job, no doubt, but Alan Rickman stole the show with all his great one-liners and off-coloured comments. Not to mention, he was evil straight through until the bitter end. Alan Rickman is a master though, and almost always plays the villain or a character of a crooked persuasion.
According to Tami Cowden there are sixteen villain archetypes. This lady has a wonderful website, with great information that is perfect for the aspiring author and even those out there who are veterans. http://www.tamicowden.com
The TYRANT: the bullying despot, he wants power at any price. He ruthlessly conquers all he surveys, crushing his enemies beneath his feet. People are but pawns to him, and he holds all the power pieces. Hesitate before getting in this man’s way – he’ll think nothing of destroying you.
The BASTARD: the dispossessed son, he burns with resentment. He can’t have what he wants, so he lashes out to hurt those around him. His deeds are often for effect – he wants to provoke action in others. He proudly announces his rebellious dealings. Don’t be fooled by his boyish demeanor – he’s a bundle of hate.
The DEVIL: the charming fiend, he gives people what he thinks they deserve. Charisma allows him to lure his victims to their own destruction. His ability to discover the moral weaknesses in others serves him well. Close your ears to his cajolery – he’ll tempt you to disaster.
The TRAITOR: the double agent, he betrays those who trust him most. No one suspects the evil that lurks in his heart. Despite supportive smiles and sympathetic ears, he plots the destruction of his friends. Never turn your back on him -- he means you harm.
The OUTCAST: the lonely outsider, he wants desperately to belong. Tortured and unforgiving, he has been set off from others, and usually for good cause. He craves redemption, but is willing to gain it by sacrificing others. Waste no sympathy on him - he’ll have none for you.
The EVIL GENIUS: the malevolent mastermind, he loves to show off his superior intelligence. Intellectual inferiors are contemptible to him and that includes just about everyone. Elaborate puzzles and experiments are his trademark. Don’t let him pull your strings – the game is always rigged in his favor.
The SADIST: the savage predator, he enjoys cruelty for its own sake. Violence and psychological brutality are games to this man; and he plays those games with daring and skill. Run, don’t walk, away from this man – he’ll tear out your heart, and laugh while doing it.
The TERRORIST: the dark knight, he serves a warped code of honor. Self-righteous, he believes in his own virtue, and judges all around him by a strict set of laws. The end will always justify his nefarious means, and no conventional morality will give him pause. Don’t try to appeal to his sense of justice – his does not resemble yours.
The BITCH: the abusive autocrat, she lies, cheats, and steals her way to the top. Her climb to success has left many a heel mark on the backs of others. She doesn’t care about the peons around her – only the achievement of her dreams matters. Forget expecting a helping hand from her – she doesn’t help anyone but herself.
The BLACK WIDOW: the beguiling siren, she lures victims into her web. She goes after anyone who has something she wants, and she wants a lot. But she does her best to make the victim want to be deceived. An expert at seduction of every variety, she uses her charms to get her way. Don’t be fooled by her claims of love – it’s all a lie.
The BACKSTABBER: the two-faced friend, she delights in duping the unsuspecting. Her sympathetic smiles enable her to learn her victims’ secrets, which she then uses to feather her nest. Her seemingly helpful advice is just the thing to hinder. Put no faith in her – she’ll betray you every time.
The LUNATIC: the unbalanced madwoman, she draws others into her crazy environment. The drum to which she marches misses many a beat, but to her, it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Don’t even try to understand her logic – she is unfathomable.
The PARASITE: the poisonous vine, she collaborates for her own comfort. She goes along with any atrocity, so long as her own security is assured. She sees herself as a victim who had no choice, and blames others for her crimes. Expect no mercy from her – she won’t lift a finger to save anyone but herself.
The SCHEMER: the lethal plotter, she devises the ruin of others. Like a cat with a mouse, she plays with lives. Elaborate plans, intricate schemes; nothing pleases her more than to trap the unwary. Watch out for her complex designs – she means you no good.
The FANATIC: the uncompromising extremist, she does wrong in the name of good. She justifies hers action by her intent, and merely shrugs her shoulders at collateral damage. Anyone not an ally is an enemy, and therefore, fair game. Give up any hope of showing her the error of her ways – she firmly believes you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
The MATRIARCH: the motherly oppressor, she smothers her loved ones. She knows what’s best and will do all in her power to controls the lives of those who surround her – all for their own good. A classic enabler, she sees no fault with her darlings, unless they don’t follow her dictates. Don’t be lured into her family nest – you’ll never get out alive.
I never really took the time to put this into perspective, but now that I read her list, I have to say, that she’s absolutely correct. There are that many villain archetypes. In my first series I used Stein Anderson, ‘The Tyrant’. He thrilled in bullying one of the heroes. In my latest series there are several villains, but the central one in the first two novels is Algar Flynt, and I’ll classify him as ‘The Sadist’. And believe me, he’s one hell of a sick and twisted bastard. I believe, in order to create the perfect cast, you’ve got to take into account the purpose of the protagonist and equally the antagonist. I also believe both should be opposites, in yet compliment one another. If you have a mighty hero, shouldn’t your villain be just as worthy. A villain doesn’t necessarily need the muscle mass to be effective or intimidating, brains play a large part when constructing your villain. Can he/she outwit the hero? Insanity is another great tool. Insanity provides exclusive unpredictability. I’m one of those people that secretly routes for the bad guy, especially if he’s been dealt a bummer hand.
One of my favourites is Count Dracula, from ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’. A girlfriend and I went to the theatre (many moons ago), and at the end when Dracula (Gary Oldman) is lying in Mina’s (Wynona Ryder’s) arms exhaling his final breath, here I am bawling like a baby. And I kid you not everyone in the theatre was staring at me as if I was insane. Okay, I admit, he devoured several people, raped and pillaged, but wasn’t he just a little misunderstood. LOL
Another great film–‘The Dark Knight’. Heath Ledger did a splendid job, and I’ve never been a big Batman fan. When it comes to villains I honestly believe a good one makes the show and sometimes that why I chose to watch. What would Harry Potter be with Voldemort? How could Robin Hood save Maid Marion if there wasn’t a Sheriff of Nottingham? When you write take into consideration your villain and what has influenced his life. The bad guy needs a history no different than the hero. It makes them believable, someone we can relate too. A great story needs a great villain, just as peanut butter needs jam!
Happy Yaoi Hunting