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OTHER TOPICS > What are your favourite kinds of villains?

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message 1: by Scribble (new)

Scribble De Dibble (Scribbledoutname) | 11 comments I prefer powerful people/beings who are cold and ruthless and who have huge plans. For example, an asshole necromancer who wants to tear open the veil between life and death and consume souls to become godlike, or an ancient vampire looking for some tool to subjugate the world from the shadows.

Basically, they're strong and scary but they have a /personality/, so when the MC beats them they earn it and its satisfying. It also makes the fight scenes cool :P

What about everyone else? Do you like big bads too, or do you prefer more intimate baddies, like a manipulative member of the local were pack or a magical serial killer hiding in the city?


message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
I like bad guys who think they are doing good. Like Javert from Les Miserables or that guy from the Watchmen series. They are the 'ends justify the means' type of bad guys.

I think I like them because they have a twisted way of looking at the world, and I find that interesting.

Of course, manipulative members of the local were pack are also fun to read about! Then there's the stereotypical 'mean girl'. I love to hate them.

I love all your different kids of baddies, lol.


message 3: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 46 comments I like the unredeemable ones. The ones who enjoy what they are doing


message 4: by Daníel Freyr (new)

Daníel Freyr Jónsson | 4 comments I mainly like two kinds of villains: The uncompromising evil and the Hidden agenda, i.e. their villainous acts are just a means to an end that is not revealed right a way.
There are other kinds of villains that I enjoy, but cowardice and betrayal make a lousy villain in my view. I like them to be honest and brave ... heroic even?


message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 33 comments Just finished a book Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (The Cynster Sisters Trilogy #1) by Stephanie Laurens where the villain was doing something he was forced to do. I'm guessing he will be the hero in a future book. I like that. He was sufficiently menacing and dangerous in this one, but I can see him being the tormented hero of a future book. I guess you could say my fave villains are a lot like some of my fave bad-boy heroes.


message 6: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 46 comments Andrea - I can get into that kind of conflict in a hero


message 7: by Zouagie (last edited Aug 29, 2013 12:22PM) (new)

Zouagie | 8 comments Those who are viewed as the bad guy but are actually the good guys inside. Is that a bad obsession? I certainly hope not...:) Just like The Emperor's Edge


message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) (last edited Aug 29, 2013 10:04PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 237 comments I like a villain who is actually formidable and hard to defeat. I can't stand weak villains. For some reason, I like villains who have a snarky, cutting sense of humor and some style and panache. Sometimes, it's cool when you can almost feel sorry for and possibly like the villain under a different circumstance.


message 9: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 33 comments I plan to read The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge #1) by Lindsay Buroker in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to it.


message 10: by Zouagie (new)

Zouagie | 8 comments Andrea wrote: "I plan to read The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge #1) by Lindsay Buroker in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to it."

You should! :)


message 11: by ᴥ Irena ᴥ (new)

ᴥ Irena ᴥ (-irena-) | 3 comments @Zouagie I love those. My favourite (beside those who cannot be forgiven, of course) are the ones who start as bad, but somehow end up doing the right thing. I hate villains who are chatty in the end.


message 12: by Zouagie (new)

Zouagie | 8 comments Morana wrote: "@Zouagie I love those. My favourite (beside those who cannot be forgiven, of course) are the ones who start as bad, but somehow end up doing the right thing. I hate villains who are chatty in the..."

I know! Tell me about it! I'm still looking to see if there are other books with those kind of villains out there. Any suggestions?


message 13: by Adriaan (new)

Adriaan Brae (adriaan_brae) | 0 comments I like my villains plural and varied. I think every story needs several different villains acting against the hero. The type of each villain should not be obvious to the Hero (or the reader) until the end.

My favorite type of 'villain' is one where we're presented with an entire cast of potential villains until the hero(es) identify themselves by some act of kindness, compassion, bravery, etc. This is also my favorite type of hero.


message 14: by Erica (new)

Erica (eljobman) Villains are my favorite! They are always doing something interesting. :)

I'm partial to the super-competent, super-slick villains. Kind of like Nicodemus from the Dresden Files.


message 15: by Nicolas (last edited Sep 13, 2013 08:22AM) (new)

Nicolas Wilson | 8 comments I wouldn't say I have a particular type of villain that I like, but there's certain traits I look for, no matter what their motivations are. They have to be understandable, even if that understanding is that their actions are born of a cohesive mental illness, or sociopathic greed. I don't buy the big, unambiguously evil and powerful in all ways kind of thing. Of course, people who write those sorts of villains into their stories tend to have other storytelling quirks that lose me as well. So maybe the villains are more a symptom of the other ideas that bug me, rather than something that I inherently dislike for its own (lack of) merits.


message 16: by Fergus (new)

Fergus | 22 comments Understanding the motivation of a Villain is highly desirable to me.
Mostly this means the Villain needs to think they are doing the right thing even if their ethical reasoning is skewed.
If the Villain is not human then it opens interesting possibilities. Maybe they embody or personify a natural force or character of the universe...

I suppose my absolute favourite is the Redeemed Villain though. If it can be done believably... Not by the erotic attraction of a doormat woman...


message 17: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 28 comments Villains with a motivation other than "I'm a villain because I'm evil". Not that intrisic evil can't exist, but I always find that when that's all there is to a villain, it's less interesting. At the least, in such a case, the villain should have other traits that give him/her personality—and perhaps also something that explains why s/he became evil in the first place.


message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Hewlett (thomas_m_hewlett) | 25 comments I like the villains who operate in the gray zone of morals and ethics. The ones who made a conscious choice at some point to commit a horrible act and accept the label of "evil". In their heads, they may see themselves as righteous, but they have no illusions about what they are willing to do. These kinds of villains are more terrifying for me because so they are believable and more human. They weren't born evil and aren't evil "just because" but rather they slowly drifted into who they are and now they embrace it. All the Fallen in the Dresden books come to mind. In those books (as is many) the Fae who are evil are evil by nature, which is not as interesting to me. Basically - evil by choice, not by nature, is what I'm after. (I know there are other examples of this. I will consult my library...)


message 19: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments I like them when they are super smart and powerful with a ruthless edge while they may momentarily feel guilty most is it is all about achieving their mission. Like Trent in Rachel Morgan

Or when they are psychotic and just ruthless like the aunt from the Kate Daniels series


message 20: by MadameZelda (new)

MadameZelda Good looking and hard to resist!


message 21: by Gaynell (new)

Gaynell (gaynellk) | 62 comments Fergus wrote: "Understanding the motivation of a Villain is highly desirable to me.
Mostly this means the Villain needs to think they are doing the right thing even if their ethical reasoning is skewed.
If the ..."


I think Heart of Obsidian would fit your requirements. But, you'd need to read all the other previous books to really understand everything that happens in the psy/changling world.


message 22: by Fergus (new)

Fergus | 22 comments Thanks for the suggestion Gaynell. I have been trying with read some Nadine Singh... She is from my country. Per thing us a bit of a negative for me but your suggestion has tipped the balance.

Where would you recommend I start to work toward the book you suggested?


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 93 comments Villains who are more like forces of nature than human beings like Sauron or King Haggard in The Last Unicorn

Villains who are distinctly worse than the heroes, so it matters which side wins


message 24: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 28 comments Oh, I should add: villains who're at least somewhat "genre savvy." As in, no gloating and revealing every detail of their plan to the heroes, while having totally overlooked THE crack that will allow the heroes to escape/survive and then thwart his/her plans. You want to gloat? Then do it when everything's already in motion or almost done. Ozymandias-style.

Of course, it's demanding on the author, who has to work out HOW exactly the "good guys" can win after that. But seriously, a good villain shouldn't be so dumb as to put him/herself in a position where s/he can be easily thwarted.


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 93 comments Kurt Busiek did a nice Astro City where the villain didn't gloat himself -- he sat on his duff in the courtroom, having let himself be captured, while the prosecution laid out his nefarious and deeply intelligent plan.

Ain't no way nobody's going to say it wasn't that hard after that.

Or in The Incredibles. What is more natural than Syndrome monologuing to Mr. Incredible? He doesn't want money. He wants respect.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with Ysabel, nothing worse than a villain who gloats. Although I can't help but feel that might be the fault of the writer who's desperately trying to tie up some plot points before the end!


message 27: by Summer Seeds (new)

Summer Seeds | 1 comments I like villains who are smart(there is nothing worse than an incompetent villain)and somehow oddly likable. I like the ones who teeter on the brink of morality. Those who are not evil for evil's sake but who will go to any lengths to achieve the end they are looking for. I like tragic back stories too. You know what? I also like my villains honest. Give me a heroic villain. It sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but heroic villains are definitely my favorites. Make them bad, but make them true.


So, I Read This Book Today (leiahingolden) | 330 comments Agreed, Summer. You pretty much described my ideal villain... one who has some possibility of redemption . . .


message 29: by Heather (new)

Heather Heffner | 9 comments I like charismatic villains who are exceptionally cunning and their motivations may not be what they seem, i.e., the main character might have thought Villain A was on their side the entire time, but then a betrayal happens that neither they nor I as the reader could see coming.

I agree with the above, I roll my eyes at villains who gloat and waste time explaining their entire master plan, giving the hero time to come up with a plan to do away with them.


Margo - Putting the Mmmmmm back in Menage | 15 comments I love to hate on evil mothers who are trying to ruin their children's lives. Those are the very best villains.


message 31: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Brotherton (mabrotherton) | 20 comments I heard a quote once, something along the lines of "Nobody thinks they're the villain. Everyone thinks they are the hero." Generally speaking, I like to have an antagonist that generally believes he's the hero and the hero is the bad guy.

Of course, part of that is also that I enjoy Anti-Heroes, so sometimes the antagonist is the good guy and the protag is the bad guy.

I think the important part is that the character is the character no matter what.

Like, I love John Marcone in the Dresden Files as an antagonist. He's got that suave anti-hero angle that makes you like him almost as much as you hate him.

I think one of the things that makes UF so appealing to me versus, say, High Fantasy, is that those bad guys are less black and more gray.


message 32: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 93 comments M.A. wrote: "I heard a quote once, something along the lines of "Nobody thinks they're the villain. Everyone thinks they are the hero.""

Well, there's a certain amount of posing going about. You can find people willfully doing things for their evil impact. . . .

Since they're generally adolescent, that's kinda limiting, but it exists.


message 33: by thalassic (new)

thalassic I think that the most important thing for a villain is to be complex and well written.

A charismatic bad guy who manages to be sympathetic even though you know he's got to be stopped is a wonderful thing, but I do have a certain fondness for the occasional crazy, evil, monster of a bad guy.

Like the Dark Knight quote: "Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

But I guess that's because I really love anti-heroes and I think they're best when they have somebody truly horrible to fight.


message 34: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 93 comments Elizabeth wrote: "But I guess that's because I really love anti-heroes and I think they're best when they have somebody truly horrible to fight. "

Of course. Who wants to read about two unpleasant and morally equivalent people in conflict? It's not like it's serious conflict; it won't matter which side wins.


message 35: by Domino (new)

Domino Finn (dominofinn) | 21 comments Many people are mentioning villains with understandable/ relatable motivations. Me too. Big time.

I would add that it is surprising how many stories break down if you try to look at the entire structure from the point of view of the villain. For me, this is key to creating an engaging conflict.

Trust me, if you try thinking like this, you'll constantly be asking yourself "Why did s/he do that?"


message 36: by Nick (new)

Nick | 100 comments I'd like to think that the "classic" moustache-twirling, cat-stroking, massive leather chair-sitting, incompetent henchman-killing villain who's evil just for the sake of it is a dying archetype. They can be fun if they've got a good line in witty put-downs, but you don't really *believe* in them.

I think that the most interesting villains are those who are doing evil but believe that they are doing good; they see themselves as the one who's willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve a greater end. I also like villains who have slipped into a sequence of bad deeds due to trying to rectify an earlier mistake, and instead find that they're digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole.

I prefer that any incidences of maniacal cackling, hand-rubbing, and tying of people to railway tracks are kept to a minimum.


message 37: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 93 comments Eh, too many of the villains who think they are doing good -- at least those I've run across -- are obviously tissue-thin wish-fulfillment fantasies designed to make the heroes look good by contrast.


message 38: by Nick (new)

Nick | 100 comments Well like anything in fiction, it's only ever as good / convincing as the writer makes it. :)


message 39: by Feral (new)

Feral | 42 comments Sometimes I like a good psychopathic egomaniac, and sometimes I like a polite, smiling villain. It all depends. I do like there to be some depth to the character,because if you just kill the giant mindless squid monster, you haven't engaged anything but the physical aspect of a struggle.


message 40: by D.Michele (new)

D.Michele | 11 comments Never really thought about "liking" villians, but if it's about seeing them have their backsides handed to them... I think the sociopaths are most satisfying. It's fabulous watching their smug expressions fall when they're well and truly beaten.


message 41: by chucklesthescot (new)

chucklesthescot The bad guys need to have personality and not just be a cardboard cut out figure. This is why I have an issue with evil Fae characters-a lot of the time they are just bad guys with no character or personality.


message 42: by Eloise (new)

Eloise Kindred | 7 comments I like a book to have different layers of villains, from those who are just lackeys - in it for the money, to an ultimate big bad who is just pure evil! In a demonic world that works just fine, but if the villain is human he has to have a motivation, can't just be evil for the sake of it. I saw an interview with an actor (can't remember who) who said he plays every villain as if they are the good guy and believe they are on the right side of the line. I also love anti-heroes, good guys who have tasted the dark side or bad guys who redeem themselves in the finale.


message 43: by Mayko (new)

Mayko | 41 comments I like bad guys that are unapologetic and up in your face with the evil. The best ones also make you laugh as they are dealing out there havoc and chaos.


message 44: by Shen (new)

Shen Hart (reviewhart) | 3 comments I love the sociopaths. Those who're highly intelligent, cold, calculating, manipulative and probably blood-thirsty. I adore the psychology of it. I enjoy seeing it all unravel as they show the different masks and sides of their personality.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) wrote: "I like a villain who is actually formidable and hard to defeat. I can't stand weak villains. For some reason, I like villains who have a snarky, cutting sense of humor and some style and panache. ..."

I also like that kind of villain.

I like villains who are three-dimensional, with good traits as well as bad, realistic people that are more interesting. Likewise, I prefer my heros to have their dark side too.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Shen wrote: "I love the sociopaths. Those who're highly intelligent, cold, calculating, manipulative and probably blood-thirsty. I adore the psychology of it. I enjoy seeing it all unravel as they show the diff..."

For some reason those are my least preferred villain, but I know they are a popular kind, especially considering the serial killer craze/fascinating in the 90s


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