In most stories, there is a tangible villain that works at every opportunity to stop your hero from reaching their goal. They are oftentimes the epitome of evil and hatred, depending on how extremely their villainy runs. In many ways, they are almost as important as the main character, so here are some tips on developing them well.
Villains should be handled with the same deep thought as heroes.
Just because they’re the villain doesn’t mean they aren’t a very major character, and complex characters are always more favorable than simple, boring characters. Develop their appearance and personality in detail. Formulate a backstory. Understand the motivations behind what they do, and let their actions reflect their internal desires.
Find ways to make your villain stand out from other villains.
Most villains are maniacal. They are almost all willing to do terrible things in order to get what they want. A lot of villains are related to their character in some way, and sometimes this relationship is revealed in a plot twist. These are all well and good, but trying to make these ideas seem fresh and interesting is difficult nowadays. Play with your ideas and tweak these tropes, or maybe even disregard them all together. Do what you can to make your villain not sound like another Voldemort or Darth Vader. (Reading your work and/or having others read your work is a good way to see if your villain (and other characters, too) are interesting and unique enough.)
Consider that your villain is (probably) still human.
Even if they aren’t human in the technical sense, they probably still have human emotions. Give your character depth by exploring their sense of morality and where they came from. Why do they think what they’re doing is acceptable. Do they think it’s acceptable? What happened that lead them up to this point of villainy?
Explore your villain’s relationship with the other characters.
Are they closely connected with your hero and the hero’s friends? Are they in no way related? What did the good characters do to get on the villain’s bad side? How deep does your villain’s anger or hatred for your hero run? Do they hate them at all, or are they doing what they’re doing for another reason? Are the things that your villain is doing a direct result of the hero’s actions, or was there another cause?
Decide what the end result of the villain’s actions will be.
You have one of two very basic routes this can take: your villain can either defeat or be defeated by the hero. The hero also has one of two routes (if they defeat the villain): they can defeat them by force and kill/imprison/etc. them, or they can “convert” them to the good side. How will this decision affect your villain? How will it affect the overall story? How will it affect the other characters? What will the long-term effects be?
Their motivations must be believable.
Too often the villain comes off as cheesy or unsatisfying because there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for them to be acting against the main character. Their actions and motivations should be just as definitive and interesting as any other character’s. Try to avoid falling into the trap of “sworn revenge” for no good reason–or, even worse, copping out by saying the villain is “just crazy”.
Watching Oxygen this week - which I liked, although I don’t know if enjoyed is a word I can apply to an episode with that little joy - I was struck by how much this season has featured systems as villains. And in most cases, it’s not even that the system was originally crafted to be evil, but rather that any system when taken to extremes has the potential to cause great harm.
Thin Ice and Oxygen both feature the system of capitalism, taken in the former to levels of evil we are familiar with and in the latter to levels that have not come to pass, but are scarily easy to imagine. Smile gives us the system of an artificial intelligence designed to make us happy, but through no malicious evil decides the best way to do that is to kill anyone who is sad. And Knock Knock has the system of the wood lice, which to save Eliza’s life kill many generations of housemates. The Pilot is perhaps an exception to this, in that the puddle is not trying to kill Bill, but it is still a system that becomes terrifying as it tries to fulfil it’s goal of running away with a pretty girl.
This could be chance, but five episodes in a row without a malicious or chaotic evil, without deliberate corruption or even malfunction outside the original parameters, looks very much like a narrative choice. And it’s a narrative choice that very much echoes current affairs. The capitalism episodes are a very direct parallel, but we are also seeing national pride turn into xenophobia and populism elect Trump. Our systems are breaking, and not even the most moderate or apolitical person could deny that now (although many people have been screaming about this for years).
We’re also becoming more aware of systemic racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia, and how even if you stop people from being explicitly bigoted that still doesn’t solve the problem, because the problem is with the system not the individuals. This adds another narrative element, because we have the first lesbian companion (the first explicitly queer full time companion), and she’s also black, meaning she and people like her suffer from at least three types of systemic oppression.
I don’t think this can go on forever in Doctor Who, because Doctor Who is not a nihilist show. That’s kind of how I’m feeling about the world right now, even as I’m slowly chipping away in my own way. But Doctor Who is a show that always falls back on hope, on joy, on the idea that we are perhaps not quite as fucked as we though. And now that systems have been established in the Doctor Who universe as susceptible to evil at their extremes (or even slightly outside of normal parameters), it’s time for a string of episodes which break those systems, or reject them entirely.
I think it’s fitting that the next episode, Extremis, features both the Catholic Church - the epitome of a system corrupted by it’s own rules - and Missy - chaotic evil incarnate. And though Missy is definitely the Queen of Evil, she also rejects order and systems, and so is yet again an ally. For now.
I’m interested to see how this reading stacks up at the end of the series, especially because I think it depends very much on how the latter half goes, and the way Doctor Who provides hope and rebellion in a systematically fucked world. We could do with some of that around here.
Progressives and the Left: Where it all went wrong
Progressives struck me as louder versions of liberals. Progressives were the nice guys; they looked out for the little guy, they cared about women and minorities, they embraced change. Who wouldn’t want to be a progressive? But over the last couple of years, the meaning of the word “progressive” has changed and it’s something that I can no longer support.
Progressives used to say, “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.” Not anymore. Banning speakers whose opinions you don’t agree with isn’t progressive. Prohibiting any words not approved of as “politically correct” isn’t progressive. Putting “trigger warnings” on books, movies, music, anything that might offend people - that’s not progressive either. All of this has led me to be believe that much of the left is no longer progressive but regressive.
This regressive ideology doesn’t judge people as individuals but as a collective. Being judged by character rather than skin color was once a liberal idea, but these days, it’s not a progressive ideal. The left prioritize race over character. If you’re black or female, or Muslim or Hispanic, or a member of any other minority group, you’re judged differently than the epitome of evil - the white, Christian male.
The left ranks minority groups in a pecking order to compete in a kind of oppression arm-wrestle where the gold medal goes to who can prove themselves to be the most offended. And what about religious freedom - the idea that no one else can tell you what you have to believe? Surely progressives still support that basic right? Well, not if you’re a Christian. We are told to respect the beliefs of a religion that punishes gay people by sentencing them to 100 lashings, prison or death but then demonize the beliefs of a religion that doesn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake…
You may think that gay people appreciate these activists demanding the government to force a Christian baker or photographer or florist to act against their religion in order to cater, photograph or decorate a gay wedding. But you’d be wrong. A government that can force Christians to violate their conscience can ultimately force any of us to do the same.
Is this really what you support? If a baker won’t bake you a cake, find another baker. Don’t demand that the state tell them what to do with his own private business. If you believe we should have the right to force a Christian baker to go against his beliefs to bake a gay wedding cake, then you must also believe we should have the right to force Muslims to go against their beliefs and remove their hijab and burqas.
None of this is progressive. Today’s progressivism has become a fake moral movement that hurls accusations of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and a slew of other meaningless buzzwords at anyone they disagree with. The battle of ideas has been replaced by a battle of feelings and outrage has replaced honesty. Diversity reigns supreme, as long as it’s not that damn pesky diversity of thought. This isn’t the recipe for a free society, it’s a recipe for authoritarianism.
For these reasons to only name a few, I can no longer call myself a progressive. I choose to be a classical liberal, a free thinker. Although today I am placed in a conservative position for defending liberal values, who would have ever thought? So, as we’ve seen, if you think people should be able to say what they think without being punished for it, that people should be judged by their behavior rather their skin color and that people should be able to live the way that they want to live without government interference then there’s not much left on the left for you either.
the american goverment, the government of the united states of america, represents the epitome of evil, the epitome of slavey and repression and genocide, and the over a half millenium of crimes it is based on cannot be absolved except through violence, except through its complete destruction
Remember this guy? The swooping evil? Of course you do, because he’s amazing (and I feel like he kind of epitomizes slytherins but that’s a different thing).
And remember when Newt squeezed its venom out and explained its properties? The fix-all for the movie was foreshadowed when Newt explained to Jacob that the Swooping Evil’s venom is a powerful memory wiper.
“That’s all fine, but what’s the point to this cheesy post?” You may be asking yourself. And I’m getting to that. Please be patient.
Newt says that the venom wipes bad memories. He doesn’t say anything about the good memories.
So when Jacob stepped into the magical thunderbird-swooping-venom-rain, he lost all the memories of magic that weren’t pleasant (like running from a sex-crazed erumpent, being taken away by MACUSA, watching Credence’s obscurus destroy NYC, etc).
He “woke up” with all his good memories intact, but there were numerous holes where the bad memories had been. Without his friends in front of him anymore, and with New York looking as normal as ever, he chalked it all up to dreams (as no-majs/muggles are apt to do).
This explains how he remembers Queenie and the beasts (new movie idea disney) and doesn’t question what an Occamy is (Newt slipped up a little in his letter) but can’t explain how he remembers them. In the next movies he’ll probably get all his memories back together and figure out it wasn’t a dream after all.
I don’t really have a snappy ending to this or whatever, but I hope you enjoyed my theory, anyway.
(Swooping Evil Slytherins coming soon maybe probably when I feel like it)
Hey Guys, here is a quick little one shot based on a prompt that was sent to my inbox. After the great response to my last fic, I am so nervous to put up another fic and that this will not live up to expectations.
PROMPT: I’ve been reading some of your Bughead stuff and they’re AMAZING. I was wondering if you could write a thing where Betty invites Jughead over dir dinner, but he doesn’t want to go because he’s absolutely terrified of Alice Copper. Thanks!
They were sitting on the same side of a booth at Pop’s something that had become a regular occurrence of late. She sipped on her strawberry milkshake while he ate his fries which she had bought them to share but didn’t seem hungry herself. She was instead staring at her own milkshake contemplating how she was going to tell him.
“You know I care for you right?” She looked up at him with such earnest that he now found himself concerned.
“Yeah”He replied slowly, cautious of where she was going to go with this. It sounded as though she was ramping up for something. His mind went to the most immediate and logical conclusion in his own mind. If she had something to tell him, something important it really could only be one thing.
‘Oh shit.’ It hit him like a freight train, she was breaking up with him. It had been a good run he reasoned in his head, he couldn’t expect it to last forever. It would be hard for him to watch her move on, to give her kisses and soft whispers to someone else, but he would endure it to keep her in his life. He would willingly pay that price.
“Oh god it’s not that bad” She stated looking at the disappointment that had washed over him
“It’s okay Betts really I understand.” He reached out to touch her shoulder, one last touch before he lost her forever.
“I haven’t even asked you yet.” She looked at him confused.
“Asked me?” Confusion replaced the look of disappointment on his face.
“Yeah Mum has been bugging me to invite you to dinner and I like you Juggie, a lot, actually and I didn’t want you to be put off, or think that it’s too soon.” She was rambling she knew she was rambling.
“Oh Betts, I thought that conversation was going a whole different direction.” Relief washed over him, before a whole new set of fears set in. Alice Cooper was one of the scariest people he had ever met.
“So you’ll come to dinner then?”
“Oh God no your mum scares the hell out of me.” He stated simply.
“Juggie come on. She’s not that bad.” She stopped considering the words that had just come out of her mouth. “Well actually yes she is, but my dad will be there too.” She added hopefully.
“Oh great.” He put his head in his hands, processing what she was asking of him. Not only did he have to face the dragon lady, but a dad who would want to protect his little girl after already having one an unwed mother.
“Please Juggie, isn’t this what we are expected to do now, that we are kind of, you know.” The label eluded her boyfriend and girlfriend didn’t quite seem to cover it.
“Betts, you remember breakfast right? She didn’t exactly greet me with open arms then and that was before I helped you to go see Polly. I think your mum disapproves.”
“Oh I know my mum disapproves.” Betty offered a smile his way. She had a rebellious streak in her that was only growing more and more and he had to admit he liked it. “Please Juggie, I’ll make it up to you.” And then she gave him the Disney princess eyes and he felt his resolve waning.
“I’m not getting out of this am I?” He looked into those big green eyes as her smile of success reached them and knew that he had never stood a chance.
“Nope.” She stated giving him a quick peck on the cheek signifying that she had won this little argument and that he had never stood a chance. With that she jumped up from her seat heading to the counter to settle the bill.
“How are you going to make it up to me?” He called out to her.
Here he stood on the welcome doormat on the doorway to hell, his finger hovering over the door bell. The things Betty could get him to do. Not much scared Jughead Jones, after the childhood that he had had but dinner with Alice Cooper was the stuff of nightmares.
He pressed the doorbell and waited. He breathed a sigh of relief when it was Betty who opened the door beaming at him.
“Didn’t know whether you may have had second thoughts and skipped town. ” She whispered the last part to him.
“Only for you.” He stepped through the door way and kissed her lightly on the lips. At the touch of his lips she wanted to melt into him. However she knew her mum would be keeping her eagle eyes on her from the kitchen.
“Jug-Head.” An involuntary shiver went through him. Alice Cooper eyed him from the kitchen. Scrutinizing him from where she stood, he felt like her eyes were boring into him and found himself wondering how his Betty had come from someone so close to the epitome of evil.
“Mrs Cooper.” He greeted her as formally as he could as per Betty’s instructions during their brief tutorial during lunch that day.
“Jug-Head” Every syllable was exaggerated as if every time she said his name she was pointing out the absurdness of it, like he didn’t already know. “I thought you were going to keep avoiding us, or has Betty warned you away from us?”
“Mum” Betty began to protest.
“I’ve been busy looking for a new job actually since the drive in went under.” He replied keeping his tone level, not allowing himself to give her any further ammunition.
“And spending a lot of time with our daughter?” Alice interjected. “This is an important year for Betty.” She started and he could feel a lecture coming his way.
Jughead looked back at the clock in the kitchen and willed it to speed up. He grit his teeth and prepared himself to hold his tongue for the majority of the night. But then he looked over at Betty and how much she needed him there how much she was seeking her mum’s approval and knew that he would be able to do it for her, only for her. She gave him a smile of sympathy and he decided right there that she was worth it, all of it.
The picnic scene in AOTC inspires such backlash and huge amount of criticism - some say the scene doesn’t even feel like SW and its only aim is to show Harlequin-type of romance to appeal to the female audience, others argue that it basically shows Anakin having facist tendencies and it’s the moment Padmé should have run away from him. It’s such a pity because there are so many things going on in that scene - the symbolism, the political and social commentary, all the things it reveals about Anakin’s personality and motivation,… - and it has many different levels.
It’s funny how so many people automatically deduce from the dictatorship conversation that Anakin is twisted and that the relationship between him and Padmé would never work. Everyone is ready to jump on the “inherently evil and twisted” bandwagon just because a 19-year-old man freely voices his personal opinion in a free society which respects the freedom of expression and opinion. They condemn him without giving him the benefit of doubt. It’s a bias stemming from the fact that THEY KNOW HE WILL BECOME DARTH VADER, THE EPITOME OF EVIL, ergo him supporting dictatorship makes him already guilty of much worse crimes.
As if “dictatorship” was the most taboo word in the world. Just uttering it makes him guilty in almost everyone’s eyes. It’s much worse than if he said the F-word (actually, if he did it most people would think him cool). However, what people fail to see is that an opinion and actually acting on it are two completely different things. It feels ironic that the same people who accuse Anakin of being written as a moody teenager vilify him for having a mature and relevant conversation about such sophisticated topic as the political organization of society.
Anakin in AOTC is portrayed with naivité that is typical for his age but also cynism of a man who has seen too much too soon, and this combination makes him much more mature than a typical teenager. However, most of all, Anakin is an idealist who he sees the system isn’t working and Padmé sees it, as well. However, when he offers dictatorship as a way of reforming the system, Padmé cannot offer other solution because she doesn’t have one, even though her own belief tells her dictatorship is wrong, and she can only show incredulity. In that moment, Anakin doesn’t defend dictatorship because he wants to rule the Galaxy himself (that only happens after he joins Sidious), but because he sees it as an alternative to a system that has been failing and HE ACTUALLY SAW PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE OF IT, SAW THEIR SUFFERING AS HE WAS HELPLESS TO SAVE THEM. HE BLED FOR THAT SYSTEM, HE FOUGHT EACH DAY WHILE RISKING HIS LIFE TO PROTECT THAT SYSTEM OUT OF LOYALTY, HONOUR AND HIS VOWS BUT IT KEPT DISAPPOINTING HIM OVER AND OVER AGAIN. He had left his mother in slavery for what she’d hoped to be his freedom, but he ended up realizing that the politicians he serves are as corrupted and evil as the criminals on Tatooine. In ROTS it’s strongly implied how he has stopped believing in what he’s fighting for because that very thing has become corrupted. One of the reasons why he wants to go with Obi-wan to Utapau is because with him he feels he is doing the right thing - with him he feels there are still things worth fighting for in the Galaxy.
Another level is that people forget that the real point of that scene isn’t about Anakin showing to be in favour of dictatorship nor it’s about politics - it’s about an argument and a debate, about philosophy, the importance of discussion and a point of view, because there is no such thing as an absolute truth or a perfect system. George Lucas is famous for working with motifs and ideologies in his Saga and that fact is even more pronounced in the Prequels as the conversation between Padmé and Anakin is an allusion to the Greek history and philosophy which gave birth to the ideas of political systems. Aristotle himself, who lived in the democratic Athens and is considered to be one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of all time, was a passionate advocate of autocracy, which he considered to be the best type of political system, and the rule of a benevolent dictator while he deemed democracy as the worst of all the political systems. The flaw is not in any of the systems, it’s in the people - be it communism, autocracy or democracy (or dynamite), originally they were all noble ideas to help people. However, each time the philosophers and their founders assumed that the people who would hold the power would be righteous and incorruptable and that was their common mistake because people are weak and greedy and power corrupts.
Finally, about Padmé’s reaction to Anakin’s opinions - it’s obvious it shocks her but it also intrigues her because no man would ever dare to openly and frankly voice his political beliefs which are considered by the general society as politically incorrect. He believes in the same things as she does - the prosperity of people - but not neccessarily in the same methods with which he would achieve it. And why? Because he was shaped differently than Padmé who always had the freedom to shape her own destiny and the possibilities and means to freely fight for her people and her beliefs, but for the most parts she was sheltered and protected from the terrible atrocities of war and social injustice. On the other hand, Anakin, even after being freed from slavery, was never sheltered and as Obi-Wan’s padawan was always in the middle of battles and fights; he could never decide for himself and had to follow the orders of the Council and the Senate, left again to watch helplessly all the people he couldn’t save .
This isnt a prompt & I'm sorry, but I wish there was something we could do about the CW and their bullshit fucking queerbaiting. Like, the more I think about it, it's theoretically fundamentally the epitome of evil: taking an oppressed & hurting group of people & dangling scraps in their faces but kicking them at the same time. It pisses me the fuck off. I wish there was a way to just get everyone to not watch their shows, especially with wlw content, as a statement to show them it's not enough
D&D Inktober 2016 #31 - Tiamat, Queen of Evil Dragons
“Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the chief deity of evil dragonkind whose five heads reflect the forms of the chromatic dragons that worship her. She epitomizes the avarice of evil dragons, believing that the multiverse and all its treasures will one day be hers and hers alone”
“…Alec has been told the same stories all his life. He’s been taught the same lines, over and over again. Downworlders are reckless, impulsive, demonic. They’re not to be trusted. And Magnus Bane is the epitome of everything evil about Downworlders. At least, that’s what people keep telling him. Alec’s not quite so sure anymore…”
one defense im seeing for secret empire now is that the writers are not portraying hydra as the good guys, but rather the epitome of evil, and that there is nothing wrong with writing about them. but the problem with that is that you dont need your protagonist to be a good guy for them to be your protagonist. i shouldnt have to say why putting hydra front and center, way ahead of the way your heroes are fighting them is a problem. this is a storyline that belongs in a what if? issue to be frowned upon and be horrified by, not in your main universe’s continuity
to make your villain a substantial part of any storyline, you have to make the motivation behind their goals sympathetic. secret empire aims to do exactly that. it attempts to give hydra depth by putting its villains in the spotlight. it’s trying to play into the human fascination w/ murderers and evil ppl, except nobody but nick spencer is fascinated by nazis
god knows it doesnt work. even making captain america into a hydra operative doesnt make it work. because your reader already knows what hydra is and the real life implications of tht, and they know who captain america is. a character is not their name, it’s their ideals, their personality, what the reader knows them to be. i am so incredibly surprised by how many captain america fans stuck by his book when it stripped him of everything that is captain america.
( and dont talk to me about the “hydra isnt nazis” argument either. because marvel writers are more than happy to utilize the hydra is nazis storyline when they want to have magneto beating the shit out of them. )