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Category Archives: character posts

character types: the villain

Every villain is a hero in their own mind-Tom Hiddleston

{Remember that time when I said I was going to write posts about different character types?  Well, here I am.  This isn’t going to be some super-long post talking about fifteen different types of villains, their motivations, quirks, and various methods of evilness.  I’ll be illustrating a few different types of villains, using some of my favorites, and this post will be more quality than quantity…I hope}

Villains are awesome.

I’m sure I wouldn’t like to meet one in real life, but on the page and silver screen, they are deliciously fun to watch (except for the bumbling idiots used for ‘comedy’).  There are dozens of different types of villains, mainly because there are so many different people, events, and objects that can motive a man or woman (okay, I just realized that the list of villains I scribbled down to use in this post doesn’t include any female villains…probably because they’re rarer, and I find male villains more interesting) to turn to the dark side (literally, in the case of Darth Vader).  I find that most villains are complex characters (unlike the middle grade book bully that seems to live only to make life miserable for the hero or heroine) and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading about and watching them so much.

Going with that, there’s a thought that I often repeat whenever I’m thinking of or discussing different villains.

TO BE BELIEVABLE, A VILLAIN MUST HAVE SOME SHRED OF HUMANITY REMAINING INSIDE HIM OR HER.

As with every rule, there are exceptions, but I find that most villains have something they care about, even if it never comes out much in the book/movie/TV show.  If a villain has something he cares about, he becomes more human and, thus, more relateable and sympathetic.  I love it when a character sparks an emotion inside me, whether it’s anger, sadness, or happiness, and villains fill almost every slot.  Many of them have the potential to be good, which makes them fascinating.  Some notable sympathetic villains include Loki, Guy of Gisbourne (from BBC’s Robin Hood), Hans (from Frozen), or even Mother Gothel (see, I did get a woman villain in this post after all).  Now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that goes something like this…”The bad guy is the villain unless he’s {ahem} hot, in which case he’s just misunderstood”.  I sincerely hope that I don’t fall into this little trap.  Even if I like villains, I still fully understand their villainous deeds and please rest assured that I don’t condone them in any way.  Sure, the thing about Loki killing eighty people in two days was passed off as a joking moment, but the fact that he killed eighty people in two days remains.

You’re aware that “Not a corner of London’s safe when Ratigan’s at large.”

As I said above, there are exceptions to the humanity rule (well, it’s not a rule, but it’s my personal mantra that I go by when I create villains).  Three that come to mind immeadietely are Ratigan (pictured above), President Snow, and Mr Hyde.  Hyde doesn’t reeeally count because he’s one, purely evil half of a split personality and therefore it would be impossible for him to be even the teensiest bit good.  President Snow is pure evil, though, and of his own choice (well, in the film version of Catching Fire, there are a couple of slightly sweet moments between him and his granddaughter, but I’m just going to ignore those).  And yet, he’s still a three-dimensional villain.  He’s crafty.  He’s a viable threat.  And he’s larger than life, while still remaining real.  You can see how he became the way he is.  Just another young man hungry for power, and since he had the resources (and poison) to realize his ambitions…guess what happened?  Yeah.  He succeeded.  But Ratigan.  Oh my goodness, he’s pretty much favorite Disney villain, and one of my favorite villains out of any category.  He’s so smart and slick and hilarious without being over the top.  And both his villain songs are the. awesomeness.  He’s one of the most perfect villains I’ve ever seen, and I can’t think of one instance where he demonstrates the slightest speck of humanity.

puss in boots movie

What about when villains redeem themselves?

DON’T GET ME STARTED.

It’s always heartbreaking.  Like Guy of Gisbourne.  Or Humpty Dumpty from Puss In Boots.  It almost always ends with the villain’s death.  I mean, Guy turned himself around before he died, but his death clenched the fact that he’d really changed.  And Humpty…wow.  He goes back and forth from being good to bad to good to bad so many times it gets confusing.  But, in the end, he redeems himself by, well, dying.  I know there’s other villains who do a similar or the same thing, but my mind has gone blank once again.  Leave a comment if you can think of any other villains who redeem themselves.

Javert is a difficult character. People want to believe he's the bad guy but he's not. He believes he's doing right, he's doing his job. He was unappreciated as a child so as an adult he strives to excel and even obsesses over it. He killed himself because he felt he failed. He's not a bad guy, he's just human.

Please don’t confuse antagonists with villains, though.

vil·lain // noun // a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel

an·tag·o·nist // noun // a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary

Loki is a villain.  Bucky Barnes is not.

Hitler is a villain.  Hans Dietrich is not. (please comment if you understood that reference!)

Thenardier is a villain.  Javert is not.

President Snow is a villain.  Cato is not.

Hans is a villain.  Elsa is not.

In my opinion, the difference is quite clear.

What about you?

Eva

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in character posts, random

 

the moms of vengeance is mine

I originally planned this post for Mother’s Day, but things got hectic and I’ve been writing too much to concentrate on this blog (even though it’s a writing blog).  But I thought it was still a good idea, so today I’m going to be sharing a little bit about the mothers in Vengeance Is Mine, as well as some snippets.  Each mother is the mom of one of my main characters (although I didn’t plan it that way).  I have roughly four main characters – Aaron, Nathan, Lily, and Dylan – but Dylan’s mom isn’t alive (I don’t think I ever even mention her), so she won’t be on this list.  And now…to the list!

1. Becca

[I don’t have a character casting for this mom, since she just appears in the prologue of book 1]

Rebecca, or Becca as she’s commonly called, is Nathan’s mother.  She only has a part in the first book’s prologue, as I mentioned above, and I can’t even say that she made an impact on her child’s life, since Nathan never knew her.  However, she does drive the plot because, really, if Nathan hadn’t been born, there would’ve been no book, right?  Becca’s words are the first sentence in the trilogy (although, by the time I’m done editing, that might not be the case) and I found her point-of-view very easy to write.  It might have been because I was in the first fervour of NaNoWriMo where everything seemed fresh and new, but I was able to connect with both her fear and her faith on a personal level, and she’s one of my favorite minor characters.  Five pages into book 1, and I was already crying, because page 5 was when Nathan was born and I was completely overwhelmed by the scope this trilogy would take on.  And Becca started it.

Jase’s eyes widened and he nodded. He made as if to duck outside, making sure to check that no one was anywhere near when he did so, but he came back inside. “If you want me to take you back to the city, and your family until the baby comes, I can do that.”
Gratefulness welled up inside her, and even some hope, but she shook her head. “The journey would be too dangerous, and, besides, I want you with me. And they think we’re dead.” She had said and thought such a thing too often for it to have much effect on her anymore, but the thought still hurt her heart, no matter how little. To succeed in their mission, they had given up everything, even more than a normal Existent did. Their home, their families, their very identities. It was only in the privacy of their own little dwelling did they call each other Jase and Becca. To the rest of the world they were Ethan and Jannara.
“Still, we should have someone. A-a midwife, or something.”
“Jase, women have been doing this by themselves since time began,” she said with a faint smile on her face. “As long as I have you with me, I can manage. Truly.”
He hesitated, then gave a quick nod, as if assuring himself of the truth of her statement. “Well, then, I’ll be off.” She raised her hand a little in farewell, and then he left.

Reading over this snippet, I confess that I knew very little about my story world back then.  And I wrote this in a flood of NaNo inspired words, so if it’s garbage, blame the 30 day writing challenge.  It was the only passable snippet concerning her that I could find.

2. Laii

i feel like this could be laii.

Okay, so I figured out that I couldn’t share who Lily’s mother is, because that would be a pretty big spoiler, so I’m going to share with you some things about Nathan’s other mom – Laii.  She isn’t really his mom, of course, but she’s as close to it as anyone could get.  She loves him and scolds him and makes sure he’s safe (no small task).  And she has a mysterious past.  Which isn’t really relevant to this post, but that’s always cool, right?  Laii made some big mistakes when she was younger, and taking care of Nathan and the other boys under her charge in the facility is one way that she tries to atone for those mistakes.  Laii is hard to write at times, because she’s flawed and I still don’t think I have all her motives and dreams down.  She’s both strong and broken, all at the same time.

“Sneakers?” Laii asked, her voice filled with incredulity. “That’s what this was all about?”  He nodded halfheartedly, much as Dylan had done. “Why?” she asked.
“He’s a bully,” Nathan said, and decided to leave it at that. He wouldn’t tell her the details, especially about the time Dylan had sneered at him and said that he didn’t really belong here at the facility. He was afraid that Laii would admit that Dylan was right, and that he would have to go. He had waited all his life for this day, and it would not be spoiled by a fight with Dylan. He wouldn’t allow it.
She nodded slowly, at least that’s what Nathan thought she did. The hood made it difficult to read head motions, and he suddenly wished that she didn’t wear that everlasting hood and cloak so he could read her eyes and facial expressions and body language as he did with the other boys. It would make everything so much easier.
She gave a frustrated sigh. “You’re too angry, Nathan. You let anger wipe away all your good sense far too often. Why?” Her tone of voice showed she genuinely wanted to know, but Nathan wasn’t about to give her what he knew was the reason. It was because at times he felt like he didn’t belong, that he was an outcast, and so he became angry and violent if anyone questioned his position here. Or even if he thought they had. He just shook his head.
She huffed again. “Go and apologize to Dylan right now.”
“What?” Nathan said, all anger and sullenness gone, replaced by amazement. That was all? No punishment, no- Then he realized exactly what she had said. Apologize to Dylan? Impossible. He would rather take a week without food than apologize to that low-down rat. Why wasn’t she giving him a proper punishment?
“Right now.” Her voice was firm, and devoid of emotion once again. “Or you will not go through the ceremony today. You will have to wait another year, and then be behind all the other boys.”

Again, I didn’t really have all that firm of a grasp on my story at this point, but I’ve always liked this little scene, mainly because I had no idea how things were going to play out.  I was just discovering that Nathan wasn’t going to be a perfect hero, struggling against circumstances.  I had no idea how important Dylan would be in the future (although the sympathetic way in which I handled the scene right after this might have told me something), and I knew nothing about Laii’s past.  Of course, I’m still learning things about my characters (I doubt I’ll ever stop) but it’s fun to look back at some of my earlier writings.

3. Callie

http://dresscode.cl/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/scarlett_johansson56.jpg

Callie is one of my favorite characters ever.  She’s Aaron’s mom, and she’s just plain wonderful.  Besides her great skills as a mom, she always sticks behind her husband, David, through both the good times and the bad (and, believe me, sometimes it gets bad).  She holds the Nonexistent’s community together when David is away (which is often) with the help of Matthew, an old family friend, and she welcomes her wayward son back into the family and their life, despite what he did earlier (*cue dramatic music*).  I’m not done No Greater Love yet (the only book, so far, that she shows up in), but as the story continues, she’s going to be called upon to be even stronger than she has been before.  There’s going to be a lot of stress and strain, but I know she can pull through it.

Monday’s early morning light brought him to the entrance of the community. He stared out across the landscape in front of him, Callie at his side. The ground looked as though it had been chewed up. There were cracks and lines everywhere, all over the ground. Already, he feared for his men’s safety.
“Feeling tired?” Callie asked.
David shook his head.
She put her arm into the crook of his arm and rested her head against his shoulder. “I would’ve thought you’d be exhausted. I don’t think you slept all last night.” She sighed. “It’s been a frightening time for all of us.”
“Looks like the outside got it worse than in here,” David commented, pointing his chin at the scene in front of them. “But we’ll rebuild in there, too. We always have. And the accident seems to be pulling everyone together better than any of my messages ever could.” He closed his eyes for a moment as the sun’s early glare hit him right on. “I should go.”
Her arm slipped out of his gently.
“Be safe,” she said.
He nodded. “I’ll see if we can get some supplies back to here.”
Callie smiled then. “That would be good.”

So there you have it!  The mom’s (some of them, at least) of Vengeance Is Mine.  Do you have any mothers in your book(s)?  What are they like?

Eva

 

an announcement

I’m just popping in to say that in a few days (once DOOM is over), I’ll be doing a series of posts about different character types – villain, hero, sidekick, etc. – drawing on examples from literature and my own writing to illustrate different points about the different kinds of characters.  My favorite part of most books are the characters (I’d rather have a weak plot and strong characters than the other way around), so I’m really excited for this series, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.

Eva

 
 

fighter, dreamer, rebel, thief

 

This is Nathan here.  Eva didn’t feel inspired this evening – to write a blog post or to write my story – so here I am.  I’m sitting in my tiny room that the Nonexistents are letting me use, typing away on one of their laptops.  Aaron brought it to me a little while ago and said I should probably learn how to use it, since the government uses computers so knowing how to use one myself will help my revolution (which I’ll be talking about later).  Eva came over just a few minutes ago and logged me in to her wordpress account (why she trusts me with it, I have no idea – she really shouldn’t) and showed me how to write a blog post.  She said it would be a favor from me to her if I’d write about my life so far, or something like that, but I’m going to use this post to talk about my revolution (although I’ll give you a bit of my background, since that’s important too).

I can already tell it’s going to take a long time to write this, just because I have to use my left hand alone to write everything down.  My collar bone’s broken on the right side – by a Warrior Woman – and if I move my right side at all, it hurts like anything (I’d use a more descriptive word than that, but Eva said if I do anything like that, she’ll delete this post and not let me write any more.  And since I have a feeling they’ll be useful to stir up revolutionary spirit…).  So, anyway, enough about where I am and all that, and on to the revolution.  The purpose behind my revolution is to bring down the corrupt government and, more specifically, the queen.  See, the queen is Lily, a girl I thought was my friend, but then she betrayed me.  So I want revenge on her.  I want to see her shamed and brought into the dust and killed.  She doesn’t deserve to live after what she did to me.

I have another reason for the revolution.  I want to rescue the children that are in the facilities – the ones that are in the special wards that I still don’t know the reason for.  Once I infiltrate the facilities, I’ll figure it out.  I discovered the wards on my thirteenth birthday, but then through some diabolical trick on the part of the facility leaders I was never able to find them again.  For a while after I lost Hunter, and found Lily, and then lost Ethan, I wasn’t really thinking of that part of my quest, but now I am.  I don’t have anything else to do with my life besides revolution, so I might as well do that.  And I want to get away from the Nonexistents as quickly as possible.  Aaron is great, even though he has an attitude where Cara (the girl he’s engaged to) is concerned, but the rest of them get on my nerves.  Especially Benjamin with his constant talking about all sorts of things I’m not interested in at all.

Eva says that since she lives in the past, and the post will go up in the past, even though I’m in the present (it’s really complicated – I don’t even understand it myself), so I can share my battle plan with all of you.  Our government won’t know about it, and I’m sure all of you would be interested.  So, what I plan to do once my collar bone heals – which Eva says will take about four months (unbearable, but I can make my story go in a whole new direction for revenge.  She hates that, but she doesn’t really know all that happens to me, so I can change everything just like that) – I’ll leave the Nonexistents.  I might take Aaron with me, but I doubt Benjamin will allow it, so I’m going on the assumption that he’s not coming.  It doesn’t really changes things either way.  After I leave them, I’m going to infiltrate one of the North American facilities (pretty much any one, besides the one I grew up in) as a trainer.

I’ll train my set of boys in Defensive Arts and then we’ll all escape, taking as many children as we can.  Then, the babies/children will be given to the Nonexistents – I’m sure they won’t mind – and I’ll keep training my boys.  We’ll make raids on other facilities, rescue children, build up our forces, and then when we have an army, we’ll march on the Capitol.  And this all has to be done in fourteen months (after I heal up) because in eighteen months, the world leaders will all be meeting in the Capitol, so we can get them all in one shot.  They’ll have Warrior Women, of course, but I’m sure we can pull it off.  Surprise will be one of our biggest weapons and you can be sure I’ll use it to my advantage.  I don’t have any illusions, though. It could end in disaster, which is why I’m not going to get close to anyone.  I’ve already lost Hunter and Ethan because I cared too much, so I’m not going to care anymore.

It’ll be much better that way, I’m sure.  I mind my own business, the boys mind their business and no one gets hurt if/when things happen.  Of course, I can’t stop them from making friendships, but I can stop myself.  Well, it’s supper over here and I’m pretty hungry, so I going to sign off now.  Here comes Eva to put this post in different categories and publish it and share on some facebook writing group that she’s obsessed with.  That’s good.  I want to get the message out to as many people as possible.  So, if you want to join in my revolution, you’re a guy, and you can come forward in time, feel free to join us.  We need as many people for the cause as possible.

Nathan Bordage