Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Chatter #5: What Makes A Great Villain

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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I need a great villain. I realized that, for some reason, it's been a while since I read a book with a really awesome villain. I don't mean awesome as in sexy, I mean terrifying, bad to the bone, soulless, has-no-heart villain. Think Voldemort.

It seems that lately, I either read about a government organization full of bad people, or some easy to beat bad guys. I am wondering if maybe I'm alone in this and it's all just in my head, or maybe I haven't yet read the right books? So I thought long and hard about this (this is probably why my head hurts right now) and I came up with a list of traits that I think a perfect villain should have. Here we go.

Really, is it so hard to keep your plans a secret? Why do some villains have to put it all out there? Every time I read about a bad guy revealing their master plan I just want to scream. I want to be afraid of you, damn it!! I don't want to think about what I should do to escape you, because that's what I'll do if I know what your plan is. I want the bad guys to be a step ahead until a certain point. I want the good guys to suffer just a little bit and yes, I want the villain to win a battle or two. We all know that in the end the good guys always win in fiction, but I want them to work for that final victory. Telling them what the plan is really makes the experience less entertaining and it really makes them look bad. Think about it! If the good guys know early on what the villain is planning to do, shouldn't they be able to defeat him/her really fast?

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Remember in The Vampire Diaries season...I think it was the second one (??), when everyone was running from Elijah? And when Elijah finally catches up with Rose, Trevor and Elena, he kills Trevor even though he said he forgave him for helping Katherine run from the originals? Yeah, he was mean and all, but I got all tingly in my stomach because that's how a villain should act! He needs to be bad and ruthless, not some dainty flower easily impressed by innocence. I need a bad guy who's bad to the core!

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I know this one is slightly weird, but I need a villain that has a reason for being evil, an endgame if you'd like. Sauron wanted The Ring, Voldemort wanted to rule the magic world and eliminate all half-bloods, Klaus wanted to unlock his werewolf side and The Evil Queen wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world and to kill Snow White. Each of these villains wanted something, something that somehow makes sense. And if you think about it, all villains that we've read about over and over or watched in movies or TV shows had a reason for doing what they were doing. I've read a string of books where the evil guys were evil just for the sake of evilness. Ugh!

Okay, I admit it, this is just an excuse to have another Tom Hiddleston gif *grins*

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Though seriously, a bad guy who can have a really "good" evil grin makes me even more scared.

You know, it kills me every time a bad guy tells everyone he/she is the one doing all the bad things in a book waaay before I've even started thinking about him/her. Seriously, is it just so difficult to keep their mouths shut about it? I was reading a book about a serial killer years ago and after only a few pages the killer popped up into a scene and very proudly announced the reader (in this case, me) that he was indeed the killer. Talk about a buzz kill. I want to be scared of you and I want to make up theories about who you are and what you look like. Ruining that experience for me really pisses me off. 

I can think of a few more things I believe a real villain does, like doing the unexpected (like Klaus turning Tyler into a vampire - I didn't see that one coming) or maybe have a surprising sidekick or mole (like in Bones when the weird serial killer was using Bones' assistant, Zack). Or maybe have minions. But they need to be bad guys and act like it. Maybe I'm not reading the right books? *taps chin* I'm open to suggestions of books about real villains, in case you want to help me :D

What about you? What do you think a real villain should act like?


  1. Yes to more villains!!! True villains, not weak boring obvious ones. The Diviners had a good villain in it, but other than that I feel the lack too. I can't stand when a villain reveals his/her master plan. I mean I get that the author wants to fill you in, but there has to be a better way. I like a super-secret villain. One you don't see coming at all. Cool post!!

    1. Thank you!! And I must check this book *goes on goodreads*
      Yes, I think there must be a way to fill us readers in, though honestly in that case I'd rather have teh book told from the villain's perspective and little to no scenes from the good guy's POV. Hey, that would be actually a cool idea :D I have boring villains :P
      Thank you for stopping by :D


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