Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Villains: The ones who think they're heroes

Villains! What can I say about villains that hasn’t been said already?  Everyone has touched a little on this, but I think I’m going to go a bit further.  I think the worst kind of villain is the one that doesn’t realize they’re a villain.  And the one that makes us question, if we’d been in their shoes, which option would we have chosen.  And hopefully that answer isn’t as easy as we think it is.  Sure we’d all like to say we’d have done the good thing, but when it comes down to being “in their shoes,” would we?

Most villains aren’t born evil.  Their circumstances and their choices are what’s made them the villain.  Whether or not they’re truly evil.

I like what Lenore said last week about giving us a villain to root for.  For their change if nothing else. For them to see the error of their ways. But what if they don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong?  What if they can justify what they’re doing as the “right” thing?

The tagline I gave my novel (and one I hope sticks in at least some form) is:  “Some sacrifices must be made for the greater good.” And I think that explains everything. No one is truly good.  Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils. So what if your villain thinks they are doing “good” by doing “bad?” 

I think of my villain as that kind of villain.  She truly sees what she’s done as trying to improve things.  To make them better.  (Or at least that’s what she tells me.  :P) And I don’t think she started off being bad, but her circumstances and the way she saw things made her make the decisions she made.

I’ll admit that my favorite villain is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.    

At first glance she’s this truly evil witch that destroys a girl’s entire child hood, but if you think about it.  She was snubbed by the King and Queen of the kingdom.  She didn’t even get an invite!  Um…hello?!  That’s not very nice.  Who wouldn’t get upset about that?  Granted she took it a little far, but who hasn’t wanted to “curse” someone for snubbing them? 

So…what’s your favorite villain, who doesn’t realize they’re a villain?

 J.A. Souders is the author of RENEGADE a YA dystopian that takes place in an underwater utopian society, coming Fall 2012 from Tor Teen.  For more information visit her blog or website.


  1. Awesome post. I love those kinds of villains too!

  2. But don't most people believe they're the heroes in their own stories?