Bring on the bad guys

I was talking with my friend Micah about villains today.He sent me a list of his favorites and I texted back "combine them and give him a motivation, then get back to me with the result".

A few hours later, this landed in my inbox.

Why I love my favorite villains:

Iago: doesn’t actually DO anything at all, but uses the weaknesses and blind spots of those who trust him so that they do his evil bidding. Also, he destroys those around him for no good reason, though he offers a number of reasons. We get the feeling that these are really just excuses for his manipulations rather than the real source of his venom. Instead, it seems that there is something deep inside him who gets off on tricking others into destroying each other.

Sabertooth: has no grand aspirations; only likes hurting others. His motivations are two-tiered. First, try to hurt others; if possible, come out ahead. But he’s willing to get caught, hurt, lose the loot, whatever if it means that the other person is hurt. He’s a special kind of sociopath.

Richard III: Willing to do anything, no matter how immoral, to get what he wants…power. However, he’s special because he’s fucked to begin with. It’s not really immoral to do what he does since he actually cannot have happiness without doing what he does. He can’t be loved, he can’t be healthy, and he can’t feel comfort. The only outlet for him is attaining power. Thus, we feel sympathy for him when he is brought low, instead of joy.

Ben Linus: throughout the LOST series, at least until near the end, we aren’t sure whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy…and neither are the protagonists. He’s deceptive and manipulative; he’s also creepy. Nerdy villains are often the best to put against athletic heroes. When they rise up after a beating, it’s extra-scary because their vengeance feels justified. He does what he does out of a sense of loyalty to a mystical being, then is betrayed by that mystical being so he becomes “good” or something.

Lucifer: I almost always like portrayals of this character, but here I am thinking especially of the Miltonian version. Part of my attraction to him is his grandness. He rises from the pit after the first fall and is gigantic – the other gods and demons seem to swarm to him like gnats. He’s also very reasonable. He says that a second assault on heaven would be pointless, they’d just lose again. However, he can destroy what God loves most: creation. It won’t give him what he wants (reign of heaven), but at least it will hurt the one who hurt him. Revenge. Pointless and pure. I love him also because he wins in the end: Eve eats the apple.

Zenith is a hero of necessity. He has a great deal of power: he can control electromagnetic fields. In turn, he can do high-energy blasts, create nuclear bomb effects, and so on. However, he has not enough power to anything globally influential. For example, he can’t hold the planet ransom, insisting that he will remove the Earth’s atmosphere or anything. Anything he does is local. He finds this incredibly frustrating. He’s thought through every aspiration of global dominance that he’s conjured up, and each time has come to the conclusion that the strategy would be futile. Any attack would be met with a counter-strike (either military or superhuman) that would end in his death. Also, he knows that – though he’s very smart – that there are people on the planet who are smarter. Of course, there are super-humans with super-intelligence that outstrips his very high intelligence by dozens of IQ points. He knows this. So, he does what he can: he does superheroing and strives to surround himself with as many key players as possible. He’s an excellent study of character and gets what joy he can from playing these heroes against each other, destroying each one systematically when he can. Because he cannot fulfill what SHOULD be his destiny (global emperor), he poisons others’ destinies.

Not bad. I think I will put some, or all, of that to use. But, i still need a more immediate threat.