Why I Love Villains

When I was first discussing my idea of this topic with my friend Christine (WeeReader) I realized I don’t necessarily love the true villains, like Professor Umbridge or Voldemort (for example), but what I actually love are the morally gray characters. Those that walk a very fine line, and frequently cross it, of villain and hero.

There’s a difference between the villain and the morally gray characters that often gets forgotten, resulting in the latter being considered as villains, and that difference is why I personally love the “villain” more often than the hero in a story. Ultimately these characters are still doing villainous acts but in their minds the reasons are for good, and that adds a layer of complication or depth to a character that is in my opinion often lacking in the “heroes”. I find this quality allows for deeper roots to be made on character development and gives me as a reader or viewer more opportunities to connectΒ to the character.

Heroes are basicallyΒ designed to do good to achieve the “happy ending” laid out for them, which makes the character less interesting and occasionally predictable to read about or watch. Leaving out the rare occurrence where an author chooses not to give their heroes the happy (or happy-ish) ending, we all know how the hero’s story is going to end, but for the morally gray character there is always room for speculation. Will these characters get the ending they’re striving for or will happiness always elude them?

Really what it all boils down to for me is complexity of character. Now I’m not saying a hero can’t be complex, absolutely they can be.. I just personally find “villains” to have more wiggle room for complexity to take root in the very bones of their stories that isn’t available for heroes. Basically morally gray characters have the space allowed to grow and change, the potential to be either the villain or the hero that heroes aren’t often allowed because they are too busy being the hero.

Do you have a preference? Hero or villain?
I hope my jumble of words formed a coherent thought, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on heroes and villains/ morally gray characters!


10 thoughts on “Why I Love Villains

  1. I completely agree! I think villains in books are so much more realistic than the stereotypical hero. In fact, they’re sometimes easier to relate to as they are flawed, fully-developed people rather than the shiny and somewhat unattainable hero character.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh god now that’s a question! I love the characterisation of Bellatrix in Harry Potter as this twisted, obsessive witch. I almost wish we’d got a bit more of her backstory so we could really see the psychological side to how she became as evil as she did. Humbert in Lolita is intriguing as well – I obviously hate him as a person but the way that the whole narrative tries to get you on his side is so interesting. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Bellatrix! I would also love to get more of her backstory. Something happened in her life, and I want to know what it was.

        Oooh.. Moriarty from Sherlock is a favourite. He’s just so unhinged and yet brilliant at the same time.


      • I’d forgotten about Moriarty! It’s definitely the villains with the most twisted minds that grab my interest, which is probably quite a weird thing to like in a character hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting point, I’d never thought about the fact that we don’t know the ‘villains’ ending as much as we likely know the ‘heroes’! Is it weird that I often find the villains more attractive? (unless they’re really evil) There’s just something about someone with a great plan haha

    Liked by 1 person

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