Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RTW: A villain is always a hero - in the villain's eyes

It's Wednesday and you know what that means...

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival hosted every week by the lovely writers of YA Highway where the contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. This week's topic?

Who are your favorite literary villains/antagonists, and why?

"Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story." ~John Barth

I'm not sure when I first heard this quote, but I have taken it to heart - especially when it comes to literary villains. For me, the best villains believe they are the hero. You'll see this in nearly every villain that I write or love to read about. I'm entirely enthralled when a villain is doing his evil deeds: because he thinks it will make the world a much better place, for love, to right a perceived wrong, etc.

In fact, I recently had a conversation with my writers group about the "villains" in my current WIP. I told them, "None of them are 'bad.' [air quotes were applied] They're just trying to do the best for the people they love."

My favorite villains aren't mean or cruel, necessarily. They're (in their own eyes) doing what they need to do to protect themselves/the ones they love/the world. That's why I love:

What about you? What do you love to see in a villain and who are your favorites?


  1. I'm with you. I like my villains to have a reason for their actions that makes sense. Even better, I like to be able to feel for the villain.

  2. Oooh, I forgot about Dr. Cable! Her pointy teeth creeped me out.

  3. I'm totally with you Sarah (and Tracey). I actually just talked about those ideas in my post too, except that you quoted a famous author and I used an overheard comment from someone reading a Star Wars comic :-D

  4. Oh my goodness--I haven't read any of these. Shameful! Still, I love your reasoning. I like my villains layered and with strong motivations as well.

  5. Eeeeeee! I haven't read any of these, either!!!!!

  6. I love a good villain with a cause.