Every story, when broken down to the core contains two things- a hero and a villain. Most of the time, it’s easy to identify which is which. Yes, everyone admires the hero, the strong and valiant individual who fights for what is right and will typically overcome evil in the end. Myself? I tend to be more interested in the villain and here’s my explanation why…

Villains bring excitement, their passion, and determination to achieve whatever goal they have builds drama and keeps the audience entertained. Villains make you question things, make you think about morals and how they fit into each and every audience’s personal code of conduct. Their self-motivation drives the story. I believe a good villain is one that you don’t necessarily agree with but can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. These antagonists show power; they show their enemy (and the audience) that a single individual can make the biggest impact, no matter their intentions. Good villains are smart, they’re cunning, and their motivation is sensible, strong, but sensible.

I enjoy how villains do the things people would typically never do, they go for what they want, strive to accomplish whatever wicked or insane goal they’ve set for themselves. They keep things blunt and to be honest, they always have the greatest back stories.

Some villains never get the chance to develop fully, so no one really gets to see their back story and how they became the person that is currently opposing the protagonist of the story. But, they still manage to make a name for themselves, one that people can recognize and perhaps even fear, or in my case, admire.

Seeing the hero win gets old after a while. We begin to recognize the same basic plot of hero encounters problem, hero confronts villain, and finally, hero beats villain. Yes, a good fight and a likeable, realistic hero is always something nice to have, but villains come in some many shapes and forms. There are those that are openly wicked, embracing their criminal label, announcing their villainy through their clothes or their speech or even just by the way they are introduced into the story. Then, there is the harder to catch villain, those that have questionable pasts and make decisions that leave the viewers trying to figure out what side they’re really on.

Some villains are just plain evil, no reason, no likeable traits, but some become evil through some event or over time when life just seemed to push them a little too far. Some villains are forced to become villains, for their own personal survival or the survival of someone close to them. Some villains are created by other villains, led down a dark path to fulfill a personal goal.

So, that’s why I enjoy villains, why I’m always curious about the villain in the book or movie or game or whatever is currently peaking my interest. Honestly, some qualities in likeable villains are just...I don’t know, encouraging?