in which eva classifies alllll the villains

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The big thing keeping me from writing my semi-promised villains post (why I like ’em, why I don’t, etc) was that I couldn’t figure out what angle to write from.  How to sum up all my feelings about villains in a succinct, understandable way.  But as I ate lunch today, I decided to classify villains I like (or loathe or whatever) by category.  The categories are based on how I feel, personally, about the different villains I list. (That sounds totally confusing, but I think it’ll make sense…)

ATTRACTION

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I am attracted to some villains.  It’s something about their coolness, how they wield their power, and a bunch of other rather undefinable qualities. (Also, movie and TV people keep casting gorgeous actors as villains, so…?)  The three main villains that come to mind for this category are Ben Wade (Glenn Ford, not Russell Crowe), Moriarty (BBC Sherlock version), and Bucky Barnes.

Bucky is more of an anti-hero.  And when he’s doing all the villainous stuff in Winter Soldier, he’s brainwashed so it isn’t really him (but I still class him as an attractive villain, kinda).  Moriarty is a full-on villain though…I like how he livens up certain episodes of Sherlock and he’s hilarious and super clever and, yeah.  (Though I know I’d hate him IRL.)  I spent a whole blog post talking about Ben Wade.  He’s simply the best.

(Oh, and I also find any Sean Bean villain wildly attractive.  Because…Sean Bean.)

FEAR

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To date, there’s only been one villain who’s inspired actual fear in me and that is Anton Chigurh from ‘No Country for Old Men’.  I watched the film by myself (probably contributed to the fear) and the utter soullessness of him, coupled with all the murders really made an impression.  Absolutely terrifying.

LIKING

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Liking a villain usually happens when they become sympathetic in some way.  It’s hard to like someone who’s as morally corrupt as villains usually are, but it does happen.  To me, anyway.  I like Loki because I understand his motivation (and because he’s such a fleshed-out character).  I like Maleficent (‘Maleficent’), Hans (‘Frozen’), Cath (Heartless), Slade (CW’s Arrow), and even R’as al Ghul (‘Batman Begins’) because I understand them, I know why they do what they do, and a lot of the time they have pretty good reasons. (Not that’s it’s an excuse, but at least they’re a little more approachable because I know.)

There are also villains who are so delightfully fiendish and hilarious (and even campy at times) that I can’t help but grin and like them.  Ratigan (‘The Great Mouse Detective’) is someone who instantly comes to mind.  I mean, when you have a villain gleefully exclaiming (in Vincent Price’s voice no less), “Oh, I love it when I’m wicked!” you can’t help but laugh.

HATRED

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Just like ‘fear’, there aren’t many villains I actively hate.  But I’ve discovered that whenever I hate a villain, it’s because they treat my favorite characters horribly.  So, I hate Ernesto (‘Coco’) because he poisons Héctor, tries to kill Miguel, the whole nine yards.  He’s an awful person and I hate him.  I also LOATHE Alexander Pierce (‘The Winter Soldier’) because he tortures Bucky and almost gets Steve killed.

Honestly, though, I’m having a hard time coming up with villains I hate (or even who I dislike).  They’re just too interesting in general.

INDIFFERENCE

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The worst category, in my opinion. 😛  Sadly, there are many forgettable villains and so much of the time, they don’t have to be!  I was talking with a friend at church about old Disney villains versus newer Disney villains and he said that new Disney villains aren’t as memorable.  I think it’s because, for the most part, villains in earlier Disney films embraced their villainy.  They didn’t pretend to be the hero’s friend so that there could be a surprise reveal.  Instead, they were larger than life and incredibly freaky and scary (Jafar, Ursala, Maleficent, and sooooo many more).

Mother Gothel is a notable exception.  Yes, she appears nice to Rapunzel at first, but the audience can see through her right away.  But, overall, Disney villains have become a little lackluster lately and I’d really like to see more openly villainous villains from them.

IN CONCLUSION

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There are many reasons why I’m intrigued by villains: from clever plans to tragic backstories to sparks of humanity hidden deep inside some of them.  So what about you?  Are there certain villains you like or are you not interested?  And are there any  other great villains I should know about?

Eva

 

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20 thoughts on “in which eva classifies alllll the villains

  1. Okay, this post is genius, and I am so beyond happy that my favorite villain of all time (MORIARTY. OBVIOUSLY.) made an appearance!! Honestly, I find myself loving a lot of villains, simply because I find their motives and their personalities (especially the quirky ones) very interesting to dissect and understand. And don’t even get me STARTED on writing villains. XD

    I wholeheartedly agree that indifferent is the worst category. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie or reading a book and the villain is just … MEH. VILLAINS SHOULD NOT BE MEH!! THEY SHOULD BE AMAZING AND MAKE ME FEEL ALL OF THE FEARS. 😂 I also love slightly insane villains, but I think that’s just a me-problem… XD

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    1. I find ‘Frozen’ a semi-mediocre movie and I think Hans is the most interesting character so, yeah, I like him. (Haha! That whole sentence would also make sense if you switched out ‘Frozen’ for ‘Thor’ and ‘Hans’ for ‘Loki’.)

      Like

  2. Pingback: The Fantastical and Felicitous Fictional Character Blog Tag – coffee, classics, & craziness

  3. I really enjoyed this post! There are some villains that I like, such as Boromir (LOTR), Guy of Gisborne (simply because he’s played by Richard Armitage ❤ ), and Smaug (The Hobbit)… somewhat.

    Mostly I like a villain because I enjoy hating him/her. 😛

    Like

  4. liviepearl

    I don’t think I used to understand the villain “liking.” Until Loki or maybe Guy of Gisbourne. However, what makes me like Loki is when he ISN’T being the villain, I mean truly the villain, but being the trickster or in a convoluted way “good.” But still, i can’t off the top of my head think of any other villains I “like.”

    And Tom HIddleston and Richard Armitage are super attractive and play attracted, sarcastic, sort of conflicted bad guys.

    I understand the importance to the story and all that. But I think for some like at least one of my sisters, there is a “coolness” factor. Which is hilarious since said sister is the “good” one or one of them, and I’m very much the “bad” one. Although not villain bad, just family dynamics/comparison bad.

    Also, most of my sisters immediately loved the Sheriff. He freaked me out. I do think he’s funny, but not quite as much as they do.

    I don’t know if you’ve read Harry Potter or not, but Snape always comes to mind. He’s a “conflicted” one, though, not a true villain.

    I think what I can really like are those that are bad (but not villainous) who truly change and become good, like Edmund. And for Harry Potter readers, Regulus Black.

    And yeah, Disney hasn’t had strong villains recently, Moana didn’t even have one. I don’t think they are always necessary, but they do play an important element in the fairytale aspect.

    And Bucky’s not a villain at all.

    Sorry, this is a book length comment.

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    1. Ahhhh, I should’ve added the Sheriff as a villain I LOATHE. Even though he’s funny, I hate him so much. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

      I haven’t read HP, but I think I’d really like Snape, from everything I’ve heard about him. And YES to liking characters who were villainous but then changed because I totally get that. I love them too.

      “Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain.” (Moriarty quote 😉 )

      Yeah, I…may have made a mistake about Bucky. He’s definitely not a villain. I think I included him mainly because I find his ‘bad guy’ persona in The Winter Soldier awesome and somewhat *cough* hot *cough*. Lol.

      Don’t apologize! I love super long comments.

      Like

  5. This is a very good post.

    I think I can understand better, now, why you like villains so much: you like them as a story element. You like what they add to the story, even if you’d hate them to be a part of your REAL LIFE.

    Whereas, I, who is and always has been unable to separate real life from fiction, can’t like villains because that would be tantamount to inviting them into my life & inviting them take whatever they wanted. Which . . . I’m not gonna do. 😛

    Thought-provoking, the differences between us, no?

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    1. I think I’m better at separating fiction from real life (as a ‘survival’ method, if nothing else). So yeah, I definitely get the differences between us and how we view villains.

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      1. Right! Because if you’re going to experience a wide variety of different kinds of fiction (read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies), you kind of HAVE to be able to separate it from real life.

        But I’m not able to, so my solution is just to read/watch a much narrower selection of things.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. liviepearl

      Ok, now I want to think and write about book viewing. That is an interesting perspective, in terms of villains and books as a whole. I think I prefer books that are idealized reality? I don’t like books that try to be real (also partially explains how historical fiction inaccuracies can drive me nuts, and accuracies can scare me). But also, maybe I’m not imaginative enough, I feel “safe” because I’m not in the book? Not always, but yes, this is so intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it intriguing?? I love learning how different people experience stories.

        I’ve just been noticing this about myself, more and more and more–I CAN’T separate fiction from real life in my mind and whenever I view fiction it automatically becomes “real” to me, as if it were happening to me, in fact.

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