Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Best Villains of All Time--Part 2

"Villainy that is vigilant will be an overmatch for virtue, if she slumber at her post."--Charles Caleb Colton

Hello everyone! So last week I did a post called Best Villains of All Time. Here, I'm doing part 2 of my villains series.

Today, we'll be talking about secondary villains and next week we'll address comedic villains. (My terms. You won't find them on wikipedia.)

A secondary villain, by my definition, is a villain that follows the primary villain around. In other words, storm troopers (star wars), orcs and goblins (LOTR), and various monsters and villains in other stories. Basically, secondary villains are the grunt guys or sidekicks to the main villain.

While your primary baddies need to be almost, if not entirely as well rounded as your heroes, your secondary villains really shouldn't be. In fact, you should make them pretty flat. By all  means make them evil, intimidating, etc., but if you go into a back story with them, it will take away from your primary villain.

Of course, depending on your story, it's perfectly acceptable to have more than one villain (especially in writing, all rules are made to be broken, right?) but if you have too many back stories and too much well-roundedness, it will clutter up your narrative. (Note: Robert Jordan fans, feel free to sniff and ignore me. We both know you'll do it anyway. I'm just giving you permission.)

So, make your secondary villains one-sided. In my story, Persistence of Vision, due out the end of this year, I have two types of secondary villains. They're called Arachnimen (so named for the spider's web tattoo on their face) and Trepids. They're more or less the same thing except that Trepids are higher in the hierarchy of evil.

These guys are basically just big stupid brutes. They take orders from the collectives and go around doing the rape, pillage and plunder thing. They rarely make their own decisions, and aren't at all independent. I do have main bad guy which the reader is only briefly introduced to in Book 1, but it's enough to know that, while the Arachnimen and Trepids are capable of doing some damage, they aren't the real threat. And they're definitely not the brains of the operation.

And your secondary characters don't have to be all evil either. Let's look at LeFou. (Who?) In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, he's Gaston's sidekick. Now, Gaston is the primary bad guy. Granted, he's good looking (or at least he thinks he is) rather than scary or intimidating, but he's also the one who tries to kill the beast, tries to get Belle for himself, storms the castle, yadda yadda. LeFou is his sidekick. Is LeFou all scary and intimidating? Uh, no. Is he well rounded with an awesome back story and great inner conflict? Not even remotely. So why do we love him? Well, rather than all-evil, he's kind of all-stupid. He doesn't seem to have anything better to do with his time than follow Gaston around and say painfully obvious things. Sometimes I want to politely suggest he be more independent. (*grabs LeFou by collar and shakes him* "Get your own life!") LeFou provides comic relief (always a plus) and he's a secondary baddie that can accomplish things in the plot (i.e. fill holes that would otherwise be there) and back up the primary bad guy without cluttering your story line.

As long as you have a well-rounded primary villain to pit against your hero/heroine, secondary villains, while not great characters themselves, can definitely be an asset to your story! Try one out sometime! :D

Random Movie Quotes

Don't know what this is? Click here.

So yesterday's RMQ was guessed by a few people. Great job! And kudos to all of you who remember such an old film. It was one of my favorite and most-watched films as a kid. Even today, I look back and think, Wow! No wonder I'm a writer. I grew up watching stuff like this! Though the acting and special effects don't hold up especially well (we ARE talking 1984 here!) the story is still phenomenal. The characters and conflicts and challenges faced are still very applicable today, especially as themes in literature.

The film is called The Neverending Story. The line (very tragic) was said by Rock Biter. Both of these were guessed first by The Housework Can Wait. So two points there! Great job! No one guessed the name of the actor that played him. His name was Alan Oppenheimer and he also did voices for Falcor, G'mork, and the Narrator. (Just a bit of totally useless trivia for you! :D) Thanks to everyone who participated! Great job!

Now, onto today's RMQ!

"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends."

Again, three points possible. One for the name of the film, one for the name of character who says the line, and one for the name of the actor. Good luck! :D


  1. Not sure on the quote.
    And the dumb secondary villains are sometimes the best.

  2. Ah, yes: Mooks!

    (Warning: TV Tropes link -- high potential for severe loss of productivity through endless hours of browsing!)


    1. Great link! Thanks for sharing it Chris! And thanks for stopping by! :D

  3. Very interesting post! I've never really thought of the secondary villains - but they do play an important role! I'm afraid I'm not coming up with anything on the RMQ, darn!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Charlene! Keep your eye on the RMQs. I'm sure one will ring a bell eventually! :D

  4. LOL, loves it. Gets me thinking about all these secondary villians.