What makes a good villain? I am far from the first person to pose such a question. Maybe Darth Vader comes to mind when you hear that word, or maybe a power-hungry wizard. Villains are a huge part of fantasy. Some are the that demons heroes face internally, while others may be opposing factions. The real question may be who is really evil? In fantasy there is a wide range of villainy, as there should be.
I prefer a villain to have depth, to struggle with things internally that he/she would never reveal outwardly. Hate and anger may be a driving force behind some of his actions, but he never sees it that way. I see a good villain that is someone as good at deceiving herself as she is at deceiving others. However, these traits just scratch the surface because to make an antagonist worthy of a story, he should be someone with whom the reader can identify if placed in a similar situation. I believe the scariest villains are not mindless monsters or those who are evil just to be evil, but they are the ones we can see ourselves becoming.
In the real-world, people often do evil things while believing they are doing good. This happens for a variety of reasons: perhaps the person’s worldview has changed, or maybe that person’s worldview does not line up with the status quo. It could also be that the person was persecuted in some way, and the pain he/she endured manifested after a long period of time. One does not have to go very far to find evil, and most of them did not suddenly wake up and say, “Hey, today I’m going to do something only an evil monster would.” Instead, they rationalize it to themselves. That is the villain that resonates with the reader. That is the type of villain I strive to create in Goandria.
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