“Then a dream once reminded him.”
There are a lot of things that make a great story.
The plot, the writing, grammar, imagery, creativity, all kinds of things, and each one has to carry their own weight. But there’s one more thing that belongs in nearly every story, there’s always one or more. Characters. And when you have your classic tale of good vs. bad, what is the story without the most important piece?
The villain. The antagonist.
The one who puts the good to your good guy and the nightmares and monsters under your bed. The bad guy in every story, movie, video game, whatever you’d like to name, is a key character. I for one, really, really appreciate the art of creating a great antagonist. They are the ones that make the hero who they are, the one that forces them to rise up to unbeatable lengths so that they can conquer, they make the hero a hero.
Frollo – Hunchback of Notre Dame
Dr. Oliver Thredson – AHS: Asylum
Bane – Batman Trilogy
Snape -Harry Potter
Hannibal Lector – Hannibal Series
Scar – Lion King
The Joker – Batman
Some of the baddest baddies out there for sure, and the list goes on and on and on because there are endless heroes and endless villains in this world. But what I really want people to understand and realize is the importance and the depth of these characters.
Villains aren’t just bad straight out of the book, well, most aren’t in the first place. Each one of them undergoes some kind of change, some life experience that makes them the way they are, they aren’t just bad. They became that way, and when taking in a character, one should understand that.
Prince Zuko from the amazing cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. If you’re not familiar with the series that’s fine, in basic terms, Zuko was a young prince of the Fire Nation, this power hungry organization set out to conquer the entire world, the works. But Zuko was different from his family, inheriting the kindness from his now missing mother, he sought for a more peaceful look, but when he tried to voice these opinions, he made a grave mistake and was challenged by his father to a duel he would only loose, leaving him with a horrible scar.
But it wasn’t his face that changed Zuko, a young boy who only wanted to make his father proud, he was practically disowned then and their, and became hell bent on restoring the one thing that mattered to him, his honor. And he would go so far as to capture the world’s last hope, the Avatar, and bring him to his father to return to his rightful place in his home. For the majority of the series, Zuko plays the antagonist constantly chasing after the crew and prepared to destroy whatever was in his way.
But when worst came to worst and Zuko slowly began to realize that this may not be what he wanted, this might not be what he was meant to do. He was reminded of the person he once was and the kind of place he wanted the Fire Nation to be. In the entire series, I think he’s the one character that gets some of the most amazing character developments you will ever see. Going so far as to turn against the one thing he’s always known and join forces with the good side to establish his own honor, the one he thinks is right.
It was thanks to Zuko as a villian that Aang was able to realize so much about himself and discover the potential he really had to protect his friends and save the world, things that couldn’t have been realized if Zuko was just some average guy.
Ice King from Adventure Time.
WARNING: THIS WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS ABOUT THE ICE KING IF YOU ARE NOT YET AWARE OF THE SIMON-MARCY CONNECTION, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THEN SCROLL DOWN UNTIL YOU SEE THE WRECK IT RAPLH GIF.
The Ice King plays the somewhat endearing yet annoyingly funny role of Adventure Time’s main reoccurring antagonist, but the thing that sets the Ice King aside from all the villains in Adventure time, is the fact that despite his creepy old guy looks and princess-kidnapping tendencies, the Ice King was once a really good guy.
He just doesn’t know it.
The Ice King’s character has so much depth and hidden, underlying sadness to it that its insane. But an amazing cartoon like Adventure Time can somehow cover it up and make us imagine it was nothing more than a dream.
Because the Ice King was not always the Ice King. The Ice King was once a man named Simon Pertikov.
A normal, nice guy who happened to discover an ancient artifact, the crown in his hands. He was a really cool guy who thought it was pretty col and tried the crown on from time to time as a joke for his girlfriend, Betty, whom he often referred to as “princess”.
But the crown had a negative affect on him and there was a dark power along with it that would make Simon black out for periods of time. Before he knew it, he couldn’t get rid of the crown. The crown held with it a dark power that would take over Simon, slowly but surely, and he would soon start to go mad from the affects of the crown and change, forgetting things and having his memory blocked. He realized the more he used the crown the more its power would take hold, so he resist it as much as he could.
But then Simon realized he needed the power of the crown to protect a young girl he’d stumbled across, and there was no other way to protect her then by tapping into the power that would finally take hold of him. And with it, he gave up the little bit of humanity he had left.
Thus turning him into the baddy he is today. Even if he sort of is a good guy.
But the point is that not only our villains some of the most important people in our stories, they sometimes hold the most depths to them.
Have you ever wondered why villains do the things they do? It’s because they have a goal. They’ve all had something they wanted to strive for, and sometimes, they just get lost along the way.
They all had something they wanted, a dream before them that just ended up changing. And I think that we should all take a moment and realize how villains are not just villains.
So say thanks to that bad guy once in awhile, eh?