When you read a story with a villain in it which do you prefer:
A) The villain is unredeemable. He or she is the embodiment of evil and is destroyed in the end. (Think Voldemort in Deathly Hallows)
B) The villain is unredeemable. He or she is the embodiment of evil but is not destroyed in the end. Instead remains as a lingering threat. (Think Voldemort in the first 6 Harry Potter books).
C) The villain is not necessarily the embodiment of evil. Perhaps the villain is simply misguided or the result of his or her environment. He or she is redeemable and is perhaps even redeemed just before being destroyed. (Think Darth Vader)
D) Like option C, the villain is not only redeemable, but is redeemed and lives happily ever after. (Think Gru in Despicable Me)
E) The villain was never really a villain in the first place. Perhaps he or she was an unlikable character but was actually a hero. (Think Professor Snape)
I am interested in this because I am wrestling with the final disposition of the villain in my next novel Highland Courage. In reality I like the idea of redemption and forgiveness. However, I also love to hate a villain, and if there is nothing good about that person, it makes having the blackguard trampled by a horses oh so satisfying. 😉
Difficult that one I like the idea of being reedemable, but I also like the idea of them being taken to task for all the things they’ve done, em thinking, no go for the latter.
That is the direction I am leaning too–at least for this one. Although I think trampling is out 😉
This is a tough one, Ceci. I’ve read so many books where each of the ones you described were written. Loved them all. For me, it would depend on the plot of the story. Do you want to make the villain the hero? Have him go on a path of redemption? Or make him a true blue villain — where in the end, he must die.
That is what I am wrestling with. The fact is, he is clueless, thoughtless, selfish, and does at least a couple of really bad things that we know of. My initial plan was for him to pay dearly (muwah ha ha). However as the story evolved the opportunity has presented itself for him to make a really good choice and the mother in me wants him to do it! But if he does then I hate to kill him. You know Mary, I never, ever, ever thought this is the kind of thing I would worry about. 😉
In reality I would hope the villain to be redeemable, but in literature I want to hate that person with all my emotions unchecked. No revenge could be too horrible for that evil being. BTW, one of my favorite TV shows is Revenge.