|via Sam Lavy, Flickr|
Who doesn’t love a good — er, bad villain? Some excellent examples are Prince Regal in The Farseer Trilogy, Norman Bates from Psycho, Commodus* in Gladiator, Professor Umbrage from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Eremus from Mordant’s Need, Arienrhod in The Snow Queen.
- He’s trying to accomplish something achievable. “Conquering the world” is usually a little over the top, but conquering a city, country, person, culture, belief, or behavior is perfectly credible.
- He has motivation. “I’m just evil that way” ain’t it. He needs to right a wrong, seek justice, prevent what he believes is disaster.
- He has feelings about what he’s doing. Does he believe he’s superior to his opponent or the situation he’s in? Is he bitter? Humiliated? Vengeful?
- He has depth. While his purpose may drive him (and may drive him around the bend a bit), there are other things going on in his life. Normal things. He enjoys the opera, collects chess sets, is an avid rider, and a smashing yachtsman. There are things about him that people like or respect besides his fearsome temper, ninja skillz, or deadly aim.