Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing Exercise - 10 Top Villains - Part 1

Taking a leaf out of Alexandra Sokoloff's wonderful blog post on villains, I decided to list my top 10 villains and why. Be sure to tell me yours! My villains are largely drawn from videogames and movies just because I haven't read as many stories as I've played / watched (something that's changing now that I work out the back of a library). By the way, these are in no particular order.

Sae (Fatal Frame 2 / Project Zero 2)
In many ways, a representation of the Fallen Hero. This young woman was meant to be sacrificed by her twin sister in order to appease a great evil. When she fled with her twin sister, and only her twin escaped, she was sacrificed anyway but as the proper protocol wasn't achieved, she came back ... different. Now she's a twisted, laughing ghost whose touch spells death for the protagonist even as she begs the protagonist (who she's mistaken for her sister) for answers as to why she abandoned her. There's just something so tragic and yet so manic about the poor, broken soul that really pulls my heart strings.

Lucy (Elfen Lied)
This young girl was born a monster. Always an outcast in primary school until a group of bullies beat her pet dog to death, triggering a rage that slaughtered them all, she then roamed around killing people and living in their homes. That is, until she met a young boy who befriended her ... and who she rewarded by killing his younger sister (who recognised her from an earlier massacre) in a fit of rage and jealousy. Later on, she's hit on the head and develops Dissociative Identity Disorder - one personality is sweet, confused and can only say the word 'Nyuu' which I believe is the word for 'milk' and the other one is the predatory, cunning, and intelligent Lucy. I think I like most the contrast between the monster and the innocent, sort of like a ditzy Jekyll and a cunning Hyde, that makes her easier to sympathise. There's also a definite driving desire to be loved mixed up with a cold acceptance of her own condition. This tragic villain doesn't angst nor is she manic. She just accepts ... and that makes her scarier.

Sir Guy (Robin Hood television series)
I like this guy because he's unapologetically lawful evil. He wants power whatever the cost. He'll do what his boss, the Sheriff of Nottingham says, and doesn't flinch at torturing innocents, dumping his own illegitimate babies in the woods, or chopping off the hands of children. He also holds himself with confidence and just oozes calm but tough masculinity. His soft spot for Maid Marian also provides internal conflict to make him interesting as he wants her a little more than he wants to please his boss and has to constantly seek a way to juggle his two interests.

Alex Mercer (Prototype)

Alex Mercer is a disease-based mutagenic organism that reanimated the corpse of a scientist that dropped a vial of it on the ground just before being killed and collapsing on the shattered vial. The virus consumed Alex's corpse, reanimating his body in the process, using his cells to preserve its existence and creating a new entity with inhuman and assimilation abilities. While he's technically the protagonist of the game, and kind of falls under the mantle of anti-hero as he strives to halt the infection and save Manhatten Island from being nuked, his methods are anything but heroic as he consumes and absorbs random and not-so-random humans, murders hundreds, and at times assists the virus in his own need to learn what he needs to know. He's slightly emo about it all, which provides a little emotional depth, but his little shots of angsty irritation at the evil men who did this to him seems a little alien when you compare it to what he's happy to do himself! A delightfully convoluted bad guy and an alien mind to boot. What a guy!

The Faustian Devil (Many).

More of an archetype than a character but still my favourite. This is the evil con artist with the welcoming smile. This person is clever and cunning, though not very wise, and often will end up over-playing his hand. He'll play to the hero's faults, enshrining them, developing them, helping them grow, and thus is a lot of fun. He also tends to be at ease with himself, genuinely happy with his situation (at least while the going is good), and eager to gain more. What can I say? I like happy, conniving bad guys. Too much angst is bad for the skin.

And that's it for the ones off the top of my head. I'll start taking a look around, read a few more books, and do the next five over the next few months because - sadly enough, I've just realised that there are too few bad guys of interest for me to learn from.

So, do you guys have any suggestions of books I should read to find some of your favorite villains?

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