Friday, June 19, 2015

Discussion Post: Why We Love the Bad Boys

A good villain is hard to find. 

Sometimes we want them so terrifically bad that we want their defeat to be over the top and glorious. We want them to go down in a spectacular way with dramatic ending lines and walking away from the explosion. Then there are the villains that you know, that you can relate to. They are the horrible bosses that make you work overtime on the holidays. They are the ones that torment you at school and love the fact that they have some sort of power over you and you can't do a damn thing about it. Those are the ones that you hope live a long miserable life just so they can remember that they could have been nice and this never would have happened.

And finally, there are the ones that we are attracted to. The bad boys with the sad past. The ones that act so cold and distant but are really just extraordinarily warped or broken. Their pain and anger isn't natural but developed. Their hatred is learned and we can all connect to it.

This is not going to be a Harry Potter post, I promise.

But I have always personally felt that the villains are often more compelling than the heroes. Heroes have one job and that's usually to save the world. Their "goodness" is based off of them being compassionate or brave, not based off of their past. Their history can either be rosy or horrible but they have hope and they want something better than the world that they are existing in. And while we have to have the good guy in the end, there has to be the bad guy to balance them out.

But characters are rarely evil for the sake of being evil. It's hard to hate that much without reason and I am obsessed with characters that play the villain role that slowly transform into something else. I think we all have a favorite bad boy. It started young for me, with Beauty and the Beast where the character that is supposed to be evil and terrifying turns out to be gentle and compassionate. Obviously, my favorite bad gone good character of all time is Draco Malfoy (and Dramione is my eternal OTP) because we get to see what he goes through.

That's the important thing about creating a bad character. You have to understand his pain because otherwise you just have a sociopath. There has to be a cause, whether it be physical or mental. And they have to be able to redeem themselves which doesn't necessarily mean that they will. This character must be capable of it when he/she is given the choice and they have to make that decision and it has to be believable. There's no redeeming quality to someone who has killed hundreds or thousands and won't repent but there is hope for those who carry the guilt around like a blanket draped over them. Compassion must be developed at some point.

As I stated earlier, I love me some Malfoy but I also really love Morpheus from Shattered and Warner from the Shatter Me series. I love it when characters can redeem themselves.

So, the entire point of this post, is who is your favorite bad boy/girl? Do you have one and why do you like them as a character?

In other news, I have finally made it into graduate school so my posts may drop for a few weeks while I get used to my new schedule. I promise, I'll keep reading and I will catch up soon!

Everybody have a happy weekend!


  1. I agree with this post 100%. I enjoy reading about villians because I like to see how someone could become like that, why someone would become like that. I cannot say I'm always "attracted" to them though, I normally just enjoy their story or perspective. I agree with Malfoy though, he's one of my favourite characters too. And Warner pretty great too but I haven't read Ignite Me yet so I don't feel right commenting on that yet. :)

    1. I haven't finished the series yet either but I'm already in love with Warner.

      A good villain will make you understand how he/she got to that point. They have back story that is sometimes missing from the good ones.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think my favorite “bad guy” is Crake from Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy. He’s complex and not like any other “bad guy” I’ve ever seen.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I'll have to check that one out! Margaret Atwood is fabulous