I’ve talked a lot about good and evil and writing tips and an extra litmus I always like to put on any villainous plan I’m writing or conceptualizing is:
Does it make sense? Is this largely, a practical and coherent plan I could see someone coming up with? And if the person coming up with it is bent out of shape in a particular way, does it make sense with their biases and personal hangups?
Because unless your villain is a petty bully who just loves the suffering of others- making other people suffer is in fact a very tedious and resource-intensive thing. It’s like if you’re walking down the street on your way to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted and you personally have to stop and cut down every flower you encounter.
Nobody’s got time for that! Even people who hate flowers and nature are going to reach a point at like their third lilac bush and go “you know what? I have priorities. And standards. I’m an important person and there are things I care about more than how much I hate flowers. Like world domination. Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something about world domination?”
One of the biggest reasons many old-school cartoon villains are ridiculous to me is they seem to have no sense of urgency or priorities, like they’re personally compelled, they cannot possibly pass up the smallest act of cruelty. Their entire life is bent around enacting some arbitrary standard of unpleasantness around everything and everyone they encounter.
It doesn’t make them scary or threatening. It just makes them frankly ridiculous. It makes you wonder how in hell this person managed to become a villain and build an army in the first place. There are so many opportunities to be awful. The richest and most well-connected person in the world doesn’t have time for that. If anything, the richest and most well-connected person in the world would have even more of a reason to stop and look at the data sheets and go “I’m spending how much having my minions setting dandelions on fire?”
And yeah, villains are going to be petty. Villains are going to have weird hangups. But if their personality is nothing but an elaborate cluster of hangups- you have to consider these are weaknesses. These are ways the villain is being impractical. These are things your hero can exploit against them.
Consider Zarkon, in Legendary Defender, and his fixation on the Black Lion. In s2e5, Eye Of The Storm, Shiro sits down and makes a plan: They need to get Zarkon’s flagship away from the castle long enough for it to get to safety. Any prudent enemy would stay on the castle, as Haggar points out.
But Zarkon wants the Black Lion back. More than anything. He’s so used to winning he can’t deal with having his goal in front of his eyes and not chase it.
So? Voltron can basically just pop up in Zarkon’s field of vision and he will literally ignore Allura, ignore Coran, ignore his golden opportunity to hit the heroes right where they live and take out two integral members of the team. He has to chase the Black Lion. And, just as Shiro predicted, just as they were betting on- Zarkon ends up with nothing because making large scale military decisions on irrational personal fixations is a huge liability.
And this is my big issue with the writing of overly vindictive villains: there reaches a point where looking past all the shock and moral revulsion of what they’re doing, trying to understand it from their perspective where none of this is repulsive at all- it’s just… what are you even getting out of this? What do you possibly gain? Why are you sinking so much time and energy into doing this? There’s a villain having a nasty hobby and then there’s a villain who cannot stop shooting themselves in the foot for five seconds long enough to point the gun at the hero.
In which case it just falls into “you, the writer, are solving problems for your heroes that they haven’t earned just so you can make the audience cringe a little more at how nasty the villain is being.”
“Wait a moment, Geralt,’ the poet began, looking around. ‘Don’t be in such a rush to get back to
camp. We want to talk to you in private, here, me and Milva. It’s …Well, about Regis.”
“Aha,’ The Witcher lay down his arm full of brushwood. ‘You’re starting to be afraid? It is about
‘Shut up,’ Dandelion raised his eyebrows. ‘We have accepted him as a companion; he has offered
his support to help find Ciri. He pulled my own neck out of the noose, I will not forget that. But,
don’t be surprised that we have concerns, damn it. Are you surprised? All your life you have
persecuted and killed those like him.’
‘I have not killed him. Nor do I have any intentions too. Is this declaration sufficient for you? If not,
though sorrow fills my heart, I am unable to cure your fear. It’s paradoxical but the only one among
us who can cure you is Regis.’
‘I told you to shut up,’ the troubadour said angrily. ‘You are not talking to Yennefer, save us you
twisted eloquence. Just answer directly to a simple question.’
‘Ask them. Without twisted eloquence.”
“Regis is a vampire. It’s no secret what vampires feed on. What will happen when he gets really
hungry? Yes, yes, we saw that he ate fish soup and since then he has eaten with us, as normally as
any of us. But… But will he be able to control his desire? Geralt, do I have to pry it out of you?’
‘He controlled his lust for blood when he was tending to your head wound. When we were tied up,
he did not even lick his fingers. And then, during the full moon, when we were drunk on mandrake
liquor and slept in his hut, he had a unique opportunity. Did you check and see if you have teeth
marks on your neck?’
‘Do not mock,’ Milva snorted. ‘You know more about vampires than us. You can mock, Dandelion,
but you must answer me. I grew up in the mountains, I didn’t go to schools, and I’m in the dark. It
is not my fault and not right to mock. I ashamed to admit it, but I am a little bit afraid of… Regis.”
“And not without reason,’ he nodded. ‘He is one of the so-called higher vampires. Extremely
dangerous. If he was our enemy, I’d be afraid as well. But, the plague, for reasons unknown to me,
he is our companion. He leads us to Caed Dhu, to the druids who can help me obtain information
about Ciri. I’m desperate and so therefore I cannot give up this chance. And so I accept the
friendship of a vampire.’
‘Is that the only reason?’
‘No,’ he said with a slight reluctance, but finally opted for honesty. ‘Not just that. He… He behaves
honourably. In the camp by the Chotla, at the judgement of the girl, he did not hesitate to act.
Although he knew that it would expose him.’
‘He pulled a red-hot horseshoe out of the fire,’ Dandelion recalled. ‘He held it in his hands for a few
moments and did not even wince. None of us could repeat that act, not even with baked potatoes.’
‘He is impervious to fire.”
“What else can he do?’
‘He can become invisible whenever he wants. He can hypnotize you with his eyes, inducing a deep
sleep; he did it to the guard in Vissegerd’s camp. He can take the form and fly like a bat. I think that
these things can only be performed at night and only during a full moon. But I could be wrong. I’ve
already been surprised a few times, and he might have something else up his sleeve. I suspect that
he is unusual even among vampires. For years he has quite convincingly posed as a human. Dogs
and horses can perceive his true nature but can be tricked by the smell of herbs that he always
carries. But my medallion didn’t react to him, and it should have. I repeat he cannot be measured by
the standard measure. You will have to ask him about the rest of it. He is our companion; there
should be no misunderstanding between us or mutual mistrust and fear. Let us return to camp. Help
me with the wood.’
‘I’m listening, Dandelion.’
‘If… Well, I was wondering, theoretically… If…’
‘I honestly don’t know,’ he replied sincerely. ‘I don’t know if I could kill him. I would rather not
have to try.”
“Baptism of Fire” A.Sapkowski
Fanarts by Gotat, MoogleOutFitters, AmySilverShine
She’s busy with Quidditch practices and managing her very first paycheck, and he has his Auror training and endless dodging of interviews and evading questions. They only get to see each other at night for weeks on end, and though they wake up in each other arms, with his hair tickling her nose and his arm full of pins and needles from her rolling on top of him, they know it’s not enough.
So they do the unthinkable and request time off.
It only seems unthinkable because no one would even start to think of them as people who need time off of anything. He is the hero who has always been for others to gather around, a legend before he even knew who he really was, and he has never asked to be alone because he remembers being shut away in the cupboard under the stairs, with no friends to give himself for.
And with her being the only daughter, she has always been the one to calm others, helping them with finding their center while Mum needs time to cook and Dad needs time to work and her brothers simply insist on being absolutely useless prats.
They aren’t in the habit of putting themselves first, simply because they’ve been needed by so many.
But now they do, and they decide the best course of action is to camp out in the flat for a bit. He manages to find a small telly set, and she laughs at the sound of the static and doesn’t fully appreciate the appeal until he finds an channel dedicated to black and white movies and she becomes so entranced by Some Like It Hot that she ends up cradling his head as he snores on the sofa, while she watches with rapt eyes and giggles to herself.
She tries cooking with no magic, some nights simple recipes and some nights grandiose french ones that Fleur passed onto her. Surprisingly, she has more success with the french ones. Her attempt at treacle pudding sticks to the pan and has a nasty burnt taste to it, but he eats it anyway. He tries cooking one night, and they both get surprised when he turns out to be the better chef.
They bring the blankets and sheets and pillows from their bed onto the hardwood floors, and make a nest in front of the telly. He tells her about the shows he would try to watch while Dudley was away from the house, and she ends up singing along to the music in one of the movies, though she can’t hold the tune at all. They bring her mother’s dandelion wine out, and some fire whiskey that Ron sneaked past Hermione, and they belt out songs, loud and intentionally out of tune, and soon she’s helpless with laughter as he balances on the couch in in a grand operatic pose, his hair even more of a mess than usual, imitating the grand diva on the screen in front of them. She twirls around the flat, laughing and stumbling and swinging her arms, and knocks over the hideous lamp that Percy passed onto them.
The let the sheets slide about them and the wine and whiskey makes both of their stomachs burn pleasantly, and she drags him into a sloppy and heartfelt kiss that soon deepens into something else entirely. They have taken every precaution before now, and he is achingly gentle with her, and she holds him afterwards when he needs a moment, needs to come back from the realization that he almost never got this, that a flash of green light almost separated them forever…
It comes to an end, but not entirely. They each go back to work, but the rhythm has changed. She starts watching the telly late into the night when there’s no early morning practice the next day, and he gets into the habit of exchanging notes with Fleur about alterations to classic recipes. Each weekend, they end up on the floor in front of the telly, and sometimes they lose some clothing in the process and sometimes they simply hold onto each other.
They’re both extremely independent people, and it isn’t a fully established routine.
But Harry and Ginny both agree that it’s a fine start.
A curse to impede thoughts and wishes, to destroy a hope.
What you’ll need:
a safe place to burn
a dandelion (the puffball kind)
a match/source of flame
GO OUTDOORS. THIS IS CRUCIAL SO THE CURSE CAN CARRY THROUGH FREELY (also you wouldnt want to set off any fire alarms)
Clear your mind of most, if not all thought/ideas. While this curse should only affect your target of choice, fire spreads. Fire will consume if given fuel. So as a precaution, do clear your mind for a more directed energy.
Think of the person you are planning to curse whilst holding the dandelion. Imagine their image, especially their headspace. Think of every thought they have voiced to you, every sting of words they’ve uttered in your presence that made you hurt and squirm. Think of the crude filth that permeates their whole being starting from their brain.
Visualize it being wiped out, either with fire or without. Imagine that headspace blank, void of thought and unable to find the right words.
Dreams burning on the wings of dandelions Visages of a youthful wastage May your thoughts stumble and crumble As you struggle to find fitting words May the filth of your tongue be wiped clean May your selfish hands grasp at wordless screams Bound by your own mindless words, May you now have a wordless mind.
Now burn the dandelion, watch the seeds shrivel up as you direct your intent towards it. Let go of the stem and let it fall to the ground. For a good “in your face” measure (as well as to prevent a serious fire problem), step on the dandelion and smother it into the ground with your foot.
To reverse this, pick a dandelion that’s been watered with either storm or rain water, preferably grown by yourself, and have your former target make a wish and blow out the seeds.