I’ve always been fascinated by evil and don’t make a secret out of rooting for the bad guys. For the longest time I only read thrillers because I thought there is nothing more fascinating than reading about people who can’t stop killing others.
I love my villains, they have a special place in my heart and some of them are obviously just poor misunderstood creatures (not really, but I like to pretend).
Loki and Victor Vale are just two of many anti-heroes who I love. There are also the ones that are bad through and through, like Voldemort from Harry Potter or Mayor Prentiss from Chaos Walking. I love* them all for very different reasons, but liking them always comes down to just one thing: they are interesting.
(*loving/liking as a character, not a person, obviously, at least in most cases)
I love villains for pretty much the same reason as for why I prefer fantasy over every other genre: I want to read about things I don’t experience myself. And that doesn’t just include having an adventure in a world that doesn’t exist or getting to see dragons, doing magic, or traveling through time. I also like to see people do evil things because it’s something I wouldn’t do myself. Not that I want to do that, like I want to get to see a dragon, but it’s something you don’t interact with every single day, it’s not “normal”. I want to explorer the villain’s thoughts, learn what makes them the evil person they are, I want to try to understand a villains’s thoughts because I would never have these kind of thoughts myself.
Villains are so much more interesting than the heroes because they do the things you don’t expect, things you wouldn’t do yourself. Every character has a backstory, a story that explains what makes them the person they are, but for villains, this is 100x more interesting. What does it take to turn a person into an evil mastermind? Did they just snap and suddenly decided to be evil? Did a certain event push them into doing evil things? There are so many options and there isn’t a single one of them about which I could say “sounds familiar, I would turn evil too if I had gone through that” and THAT is what makes them so fascinating to me. The unfamiliar.
There are all kinds of villains our there but I can easily sort my favorites into two different types of villains.
This is the kind of villain that would actually scare the shit out of me and make me run away screaming if they were real people. Living in the world of Harry Potter, I would be too scared to say Voldemort’s name out loud too. If I lived on Patrick Ness’ New World, I would probably easily be manipulated by Mayor Prentiss, because let’s be real, that guy is a master manipulator and evil genius.
What fascinates me most about them is that they know they are the evil guys and they don’t care. All they care about is what they want and how to get it. Reading about them justifying their actions, seeing them spinning their evil plans, not caring who they hurt in the process is so much more interesting than the hero who just tries to save everyone (they love).
I love hating these kind of guys. Without villains that actually are pure evil, without villains that aren’t easy to fight, stories like Harry Potter and Chaos Walking wouldn’t been even half as much fun.
This is actually my favorite kind of villain. Characters who do evil but often seem more like they could need a hug and all would be well. Characters who use some strange logic to explain their actions because really, they only want the best for everyone, they aren’t actually the bad guys here. Villains who don’t understand that they are the evil guys and think their justification for evil behavior is entirely plausible and why can’t everyone see that?
It might be weird to actually love these characters, but I would definitely give them a hug if I met them. They obviously aren’t really bad, just misunderstood and need someone to get them on the right track again. Who cares that they might have killed someone here and there, it’s just their poor broken heart that needs fixing.
This post is part of Nefarious Tales, a week-long event hosted by Chasing Faerytales to celebrate villains. Check out Mishma’s blog for more villainy posts all week and a giveaway, or the following blogs for your dose of evil for today:
Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales
The love for precious misunderstood villains speaks to my soul!!! As a character snob, I love the fact that these type of characters have a lot of layers and depth. On the other hand, I also love being swept up in the feels that these characters drown me in.
I agree with the fact that we love villains, because we like to read about things we don’t do ourselves. Personally I think, villains reflect that dark dormant traits inside us we don’t like to come to terms with. It’s fascinating to see someone who lets those traits free, leading them to the path of evil.
Thanks for joining the event and for the amazing post, Crini! <333
I have a strong love for villains that I love to hate! (If that makes any sense at all lol) they’re just so scheming and smart that you just can’t help but give them a round of applause for good effort! Sometimes you gotta look at it from their point of view.
Every single time I saw this post in my blog reader today, I read it as “Why I love vanilla.” XD
There’s definitely a difference between a villain that is well written but whom you couldn’t possibly root for (like Umbridge) and one you can’t possibly NOT root for. (I still need to read or watch a good Loki story!) Books would be so boring without them, I agree. I think you’re completely right that it’s just fascinating to get a look into something that seems so far away from our own reality. I always wonder about the authors who can write these kinds of characters so well, though. :P
I guess you would be Sydney in “Vicious.” XD
Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books
I LOVE VILLAINS SO MUCH!!! I want more books that are told from the villain POV. They are so wonderfully complex and so freaking interesting. Great post!
I rarely like the good and brave main character in books [Or shows. Or films.]. I’m more of a sidechara shipper and of course I like the evil ones the best. As you said, they are interesting and often funny and while the heroes are often alike, the bad ones are… different. Most good characters are heroes for the same reasons: they fight for someone. But the evil ones… well, they are evil because of soooo many different reasons and it is great to find out about it throughout a book.
Sometimes this is a delicate subject. I remember one time watching a film with my dad when I was younger. I was rooting for the bad guy, because I thought he was cool and bad ass and he wasn’t the evil American Psycho kind of bad guy. At one point he just went down the wrong path. His intentions weren’t exactly bad. But then my dad scolded me because of it, because clearly a normal person would want the good guys to win and not the bad ones. From that moment on I kept my opinion about this subject to myself.
But I never stopped liking the baddies ;) And at the end of the day we need them, because who else would make our heroes journeys exciting?
Zoe @ Stories on Stage
I completely agree with you 100%! I like villains for the same reason – they’re so complex, and they represent a side of humanity that we try to pretend doesn’t exist. And villains I love to hate and misunderstood villains are two of my favorite types of villains as well! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3
I love villains! My favorites are the ones that have likable characteristics and the line between black and white starts to become blurred. A villain that I’m supposed to dislike, but find myself loving more than the hero is my kind of villain. I also have a thing for anti-heroes. I want my hero to be just as ready to do dirty as the person they are fighting.