Monday, March 12, 2012

If Loving You is Wrong...

..I don't wanna be right.

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and come away loving the villain? Or at least identifying with the bad guy. Maybe I’m weird, but that happens to me so often it’s kind of scary. I have a thing for bad guys (shh! Don’t tell my husband). And nothing annoys me more than a story with a flat, boring villain. A good villain adds that much needed spark and variety to a story. A lame villain is such a turn off.

So who are some of my favorite villains? Let’s start by going way back. I happen to love the White Witch in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought she was so much more interesting than that ‘ol good two shoes Lion. Talk about conniving and manipulative. She was a pro at it.

Right now I’m reading the Percy Jackson series from Rick Riordan. One of my favorite characters is Clarisse. Sure she is not the main villain of the story, but she is still painted as one of Percy’s enemies while he is at Camp Half Blood. I love her boldness and her ability to take charge. She is my kind of girl if you ask me.

Stepping away from books for a second and looking at movies, I am probably the only person above age eight who came out of Star Wars Episode I wanting to paint my face like Darth Maul. I seriously wanted George Lucas to bring him back to life in the next movie. That fight scene with his double light saber totally redeemed that movie and made it worthwhile to watch. It was an awesome action scene. And it would not have been possible if Darth Maul wasn’t such an evil lackey of the emperor and willing to exterminate anyone who got in his way. Speaking of the emperor. He is another excellent example of a great villain. He doesn’t even have to have a double light saber action scene to be completely engaging. His psychological terror and manipulation is just pure genius.

To me, it is the villain that drives a story and makes the entire adventure more interesting. The hero would have no purpose and no direction if not for the villain. So has a villain ever stolen the show (or book) for you?


Sybil Nelson is the author of the Priscilla the Great series. She resides in Charleston, SC with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her here.


  1. One of the most fascinating villains I've read in a while is the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo's upcoming SHADOW AND BONE, the first in a new series set in an Russian-inspired world of elemental magicians used as weapons of war. For much of the second act of the book I found myself rooting for him as the protagonist's love interest! I do love complex characters. Maybe it's a sign that we need to spend more time on making our protagonists less perfect?

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