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Discussions about books > Do you ever root for the villian?

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message 1: by Scott (new)

Scott (srussell) | 33 comments I was just wondering if anyone ever rooted for the villain. Not all the time just certain novels or in certain situations.

I wanted to see Artemis Entreri beat Drizzt in the Icewind Dale books. I really don't know why, I just wanted to see him win. Not kill him, just convincingly defeat him.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) If it's a really good villain, I might be sad when they die. I like antiheroes a lot, so I guess I am intrigued by a good villain.


message 3: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) oh I love a good villain and quite often find heroes amazingly annoying in which case I'm rooting for the villain!


The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I'm not sure, rooting for the villian is what I do (unless am not enjoying the main character). I do believe that it's the Villains that move good stories, maybe even more so than the Hero and heroine who often are just riding out the storm and trying to survive.

Think Frankenstien's Monster...

So, a book with a so-so villain is less than so-so on most counts. In that respect, yes, I root for the villian. I want him to be good at being bad, and the more complex and sympathetic he is, the better.

I'm still a white hat kind of guy though. The good guys need to survive and restore some sense of order from the chaos.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) Hmm... I don't think I've ever actually rooted for the villain, but I do occasionally find some villains pretty awesome and better-drawn characters than the heroes. Even then I tend to root that the good guys will win - I guess I just can't get past that basic wish-fulfillment type thing that the good guys win.

That said, I enjoy a good anti-hero. Dark and brooding and morally grey and whatnot - but, still, they're generally still the hero of their story, even if they're not particularly heroic.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) I have a general preference for stories without "heroes" and "villains" ... I like the sort of books where everyone is acting according to their own view of 'good' and then I tend to root for everyone.


message 7: by Traci (new)

Traci Like others have mentioned I love a good villain but that doesn't mean I want them to win. Except for a few,
Raistlin in the Hickman Weis Dragonlance books.
The "villain" from Tigana ended up being my favorite character from that book.
And yes, Artemis Entreri is a favorite.


message 8: by The Pirate Ghost (last edited Oct 28, 2011 10:49AM) (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I second Raistlin the Raistin thing, but cheering for him is kind of like the old Maoist saying "My enemy's enemy is my friend." (Yes, that die hard principle the CIA has operated under for so many years. Talk about an Villain to root for.)


message 9: by Amanda (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) I love good villians and I do tend to vere toward antiheroes over heroes like in Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Prince of Thorns.

I think its less that I bid for the villain than that I can often wish the villain had made better choices so they weren't killed at the end. I really get sucked into the story of how they got where they are.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Amanda, I totally agree with you about villains. I like when an author can make me sympathize with a villain and wish things had turned out different for them.


message 11: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Amanda wrote: "I love good villians and I do tend to vere toward antiheroes over heroes like in Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Prince of Thorns.

I th..."


I agree, this is what I meant by "Sympathize" with a villian, though it might have better been stated "empathize."


message 12: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) Yes, multilayered villains who aren't all black are the only ones worth reading about.


message 13: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I also like the not so good guys that the good guys have to work with, or, by virtue of a desire to keep their skin intact on their bodies have to work with the good guys. That's usually a wonderful internal conflict to have in a story. Not the main villian, but a bad boy to root for.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Ditto, Hugh.


message 15: by Kim Marie (new)

Kim Marie | 179 comments I'd say The Night Angel Trilogy has some interesting antiheroes.


message 16: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (versusthesiren) | 357 comments Hmmm... if I find a villain especially sympathetic and a protagonist rather annoying, then yes, I can start rooting for the villain. :P That doesn't happen often in books, though - if I start finding a protagonist insufferable, that's usually a cue for me to drop it.

I do agree with Rachel, though - books in which everyone's varying shades of gray are much, much more fun.


message 17: by Traci (last edited Oct 28, 2011 07:22PM) (new)

Traci I like heroes having to work with almost villains too. But I hate it when a writer decides to keep a villain in their story by making them a good guy. It doesn't happen too much in books. Mostly tv shows. It can be done if the character isn't completely redone. Vegeta from the anime DragonballZ is a good example of how to keep a bad guy once he's been beaten (also another character I rooted for more than the hero) Sylar from Heroes is an example on how not to.


message 18: by Hélène (new)

Hélène (hlneb) | 9 comments Gerrald Terrant in Black Sun Rising! He made me crazy half the time but he is the absolute axis of the trilogy. You might say I rooted for him ;-)


message 19: by Scarlet (new)

Scarlet It mostly depends on the villain, if a villain is smarter than the hero then he should win.. right??
I totally hate it when a smart villain loses to an incredibly stupid hero out of luck!!


message 20: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Sometimes..


message 21: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Traci wrote: "I like heroes having to work with almost villains too. But I hate it when a writer decides to keep a villain in their story by making them a good guy. It doesn't happen too much in books. Mostly tv..."

So right! Sylar from Heroes turned hero was a shark jumping moment. Maybe why the show was cancelled? They realized they made the bad guy too powerful and needed to make him a good guy otherwise he'd always win.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I often find I don't actually like the characters I feel like I'm supposed to like. Especially if the supposed hero is very self righteous and/or condemning of others.


message 23: by Mach (new)

Mach | 572 comments I have rooted for the villain in tv shows and movies but never in a book that i can remember.

Yeah, Sylar is a great example of an awesome villain. Btw the actor that plays him just came out of the closet, who could have guessed that?


message 24: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Mach wrote: "I have rooted for the villain in tv shows and movies but never in a book that i can remember.

Yeah, Sylar is a great example of an awesome villain. Btw the actor that plays him just came out of th..."




Really?

To be honest, after playing Sylar & Spock...I can't see him in any romantic relationship. *shudder* sorta like asking for a lobotomy by cold fish.


message 25: by Shelley (new)

Shelley (shelleylea) | 11 comments I'm working my way through the George RR Martin series - have to say, Tyrion, the Hound and even Jaime have won some sympathy! Martin describes their pasts so well that it is impossible not to feel sorry for them at times. Of course, they then go and do something nasty and the circle goes round again!


message 26: by Weenie (last edited Oct 31, 2011 05:28PM) (new)

Weenie Shelley wrote: "I'm working my way through the George RR Martin series - have to say, Tyrion, the Hound and even Jaime have won some sympathy! ..."

I saw the title of this thread and my first thoughts were Tyrion and Jaime!

It's not just me then lol!


message 27: by The Pirate Ghost (last edited Oct 31, 2011 06:14PM) (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) If we go Tv and Movies, I kind of liked the Sherrif of Nottingham in Kostner's Robinhood. (Kostern was lucky he was there.)


message 28: by Tina (new)

Tina | 177 comments In his Gap Series Stephen R. Donaldson does this thing where he makes his villain...and yeah this guys is an asshole rapist, actually become the person you kinda root for by the end of the series.

But yeah, I think sympathize or 'doesn't necessarily wish they die in the end' might be a good way to put it. I think Dexter kinda fits this. I mean he is a serial killer after all.


message 29: by Shanshad (new)

Shanshad Whelan | 35 comments Admittedly the most clear cut case of me rooting for and sympathizing with the villain is movie rather than book. Joss Whedon's Doctor Horrible is just stunning at turning the tables so we root for the super villain. There's a bit of that with Soon I Will Be Invincible though I couldn't identify with that villain as much.

I generally like certain manga story lines because the villains are complex and often has a sympathetic side. Even the ones that turn into ravaging tentacle beasts at the climactic battle (if they're conflicted about it). ^_^


message 30: by Scarlet (last edited Nov 01, 2011 03:58AM) (new)

Scarlet MrsJoseph wrote: "So right! Sylar from Heroes turned hero was a shark jumping moment. Maybe why the show was cancelled? They realized they made the bad guy too powerful and needed to make him a good guy otherwise he'd always win.
"


I haven't watched that season yet..you could have put a spoiler alert you know..


message 31: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Scarlet wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "So right! Sylar from Heroes turned hero was a shark jumping moment. Maybe why the show was cancelled? They realized they made the bad guy too powerful and needed to make him a goo..."

Sorry, that was a good two seasons ago and I didn't think about it. Plus the show was cancelled in 2010.


message 32: by Chris (new)

Chris Galford (galfordc) A good villain can be every bit as intriguing (and sometimes more so) than other characters in a work - so I certainly do find occasions where the bad guy wins my vote. Particularly, as it were, when a main character is doing something particularly unintelligent.


message 33: by Terry (new)

Terry Simpson | 261 comments I rooted hard for Jorg in Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1) by Mark Lawrence . Don't know if you can consider him a villain but he did do many things that would fall under that terminology.


message 34: by John (new)

John Jr. (john_r_phythyon_jr) | 12 comments Yes, I have been known to root for the villain.

When I first saw STAR WARS it was not Han Solo or Luke Skywalker that captivated me. It was Darth Vader. After seeing JAWS, I became fascinated with sharks. My favorite James Bond character is probably Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and, when I read THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, I wanted to know more about Lord Foul. And really, can you read PARADISE LOST and not have a soft spot for Satan?

To be sure, it's really the good guys I root for. I want to see people get what they deserve in the end.

But there is something about an intriguing bad guy. Give me an interesting and really dangerous villain, and I'll pull for him or her quietly behind the scenes.

I don't know. Maybe I read too much Byron and Shelley, whose protagonists were villainous in their own ways. But I just can't help it. A good villain hooks me more than a good hero.


message 35: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) In Thomas Covenant, I rooted for the bad guys just because I found the protagonist obnoxious on so many levels that it was hard to root for him. Kind of rooting for the villain by default.


message 36: by Jon (new)

Jon Sprunk | 49 comments John wrote: "
When I first saw STAR WARS it was not Han Solo or Luke Skywalker that captivated me. It was Darth Vader."


Hell to the yes.


message 37: by Lis (new)

Lis (lazyseagull) In the Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb, I was sort of rooting for Kennit throughout the first book, but I lost favor for him in the second and third (particularly after his horrid treatment of Etta and what he did to Althea near the end of the third book.)


message 38: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Edgerton (teresaedgerton) If I find myself rooting for the villain I often put down the book, because either the hero is boring me to the point of exhaustion, or I find him or her more distasteful than the villain.

On the other hand, I may enjoy a book more if the villain is fascinating or almost more of an anti-hero, but the protagonist had better be appealing, too.


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