Whoever is reading this: random blogger, avid blogger, or just generally bored person and decided to go on the internet, let’s admit it, sometimes the villains in a story are more fun to watch or read about than the actual heros. They get to do all the fun things…like make complicated plans for world domination, but what makes a good one?
A good villain has to be powerful. That power may be magical, physical, or simply access to a lot of resources, but a good villain can get things done. In order for the villain to have any kind of menace, they have to be able to deliver. Take Game of Thrones character, Jaime Lannister. He is quite the villain, but he has the prowess to back up all that swagger.
You can’t have a good villain simply bumbling about and making mistakes all the time. A good villain knows how to cover their tracks and keep the audience and the hero on their toes. A great example of this is Sherlock Holmes villain Moriarty. He does all his work behind the scenes, but make no mistake he is the mastermind.
3. Have their own code of ethics
While everyone else in the world may think the villain is, a good villain doesn’t care about what society thinks. They usually have their own set ethics and what they think is right or wrong and that is usually the reason behind their actions. Bane in the third Dark Knight movie did what he did because he didn’t like what society had become. Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series knows that what he’s done makes him unredeemable in the eyes of society, but to him, it’s for the greater good.
A good villain does not go down after the first encounter. They have to be determined, because that’s what keeps the audience guessing. “What will the bad guy do next?” is what keeps an audience on the edge of their seats. Determination is what separates your everyday baddie from a true super villain.
Whether you villain became because of some kind of bad past experience or some twisted outlook on life, they can’t simply be a one note character that’s simply wants power for the sake of having power. Layers are every character’s best friend, even more so for the villain. You can see it in the new retelling of the fairy tales in TV. People want to know the motivations behind the actions, otherwise they just seem cartoonish, and that’s just no fun.
Which villain is your favorite?