Villains We Love to Hate
Hi, this is Guillaume Wolf “Prof. G,” author of the newly released supernatural thriller, The Last Arakad. Before we start, I want to thank Wolf Majick Reviews for inviting me to guest blog; it’s a pleasure to be here.
So today, I’d like to talk with you about villains.
Moriarty, Captain Hook, The Joker, Mr Hyde, Patrick Bateman, Hannibal Lecter, Voldemort, and Darth Vader . . . These fictional characters are all villains we love to hate.
But why, you may ask? Why do we enjoy villains in stories so much?
The superficial answer is that they’re entertaining. Without a villain (or a major opposing force), you don’t really have a story. A really good villain creates a tension and gives the hero or heroine a reason the push beyond his/her limitations. The villain forces the hero to grow.
But is that all? . . . Is the villain just a catalyst in a literary plot? If so, where does our fascination come from?
As an author, I spend quite some time researching material to create my villains, which leads me to study some very unsavory characters; but I never end up staying close to factual material. In a story, a perfect villain needs to have certain over-the-top qualities that allow us to connect with him/her. Great villains must be larger than life and capture our imagination. That’s enchantment at work. And it’s during this act of enchantment that fascination occurs.
This brings another question: why do we love stories so much?
Again, the first answer would be: “because they entertain us.” But good stories do more than that. They help us make sense of our world and the tribulations of our lives. The struggles of the hero become our struggles. Or perhaps, we project on the hero our own story.
In the same way (but on the dark side of the coin), the villain is a reflection of our shadow self. With the fictional villain, our shadow self, filled with unconscious desires for absolutism, destruction, or domination, can safely be expressed in the space of a story. We don’t even have to register it. And as you read this you might even think: “What is he talking about? I don’t have a shadow self! I’m an angel!” Are you, really?
Do we secretly wish the villain could win? Sometimes.
But interestingly enough, when a few bold authors make the villain triumph (by killing the hero, for example) we leave a book (or a movie theater) with a horrible aftertaste. We feel cheated.
Order must be restored in the story because it reflects on our interior ecology. We want to find this balance inside as well.
In my novel The Last Arakad, the heroine, Maya, has to fight a ruthless evil clan led by an ancient demon. The action takes place in modern Paris (a city I grew up in) and this conflict is the overt battle. But could it be possible that the real villain of the story hides undercover, close to Maya?
Unfortunately I can’t go on any longer without creating a major spoiler; but let me tell you this: I feel the best villains are the ones that appear under sheep’s clothing, the ones that seduce and cajole us. The ones that promise us the moon.
Why? Because these types of villains are the most dangerous—truly evil as they possess a “luciferian” quality. Lucifer (another name for Satan) comes from a Latin root that means “light-bearer.” But this ‘light’ is poisonous and twisted; and the reward for the power offered is always outmatched by the real price to pay (losing your Soul, for an example).
But for now, I invite you to discover The Last Arakad so you can tell me if I succeeded in creating a villain you love to hate.
Next, I’m curious to read your comments: What are your favorite villains and why?
Guillaume Wolf "Prof. G" is the author of the supernatural thriller, The Last Arakad (http://arakad.com),
and reDESIGN: reCREATE (http://redesignrecreate.com), a book on reinvention and creativity.