I realized too late that since I was up with family the whole weekend, it was gonna be awkward for me to write a blog post for Monday. But Monday was the 4th of July and with it comes watermelon, barbecues, and a remembrance of our breaking off from Britain.
And if I think of villains, it gets me wondering how a villain can fight for independence, too.
Usually, especially in ‘Murica, if someone is fighting for independence on a big scale, or heck, a personal one, they’re the good guys. They’re probably the underdogs, too, like us. It’s quite relatable. And of course, there’s the patting oneself on the back – we did that in the past, and we are totes heroes*, and these guys are doing it so they are totes heroes too. Heroes twinsies!
*not to say that the colonials who broke off WEREN’T heroes. It might be a bit of a stretch for most people to say “we” about it, though.
Heck, any “fight the overlord” story is in its own right a freedom fighter story, and many involve a setting where the overlord already rules a bunch of stuff.
But that leads us to an interesting thought exercise, doesn’t it?
How could someone trying to fight for independence be a villain?
Well, if fighting for independence is good, then the villainous part of it could be motives, probably of the ulterior sort. Maybe a member of a country who wants a bit of land colonized by a different country could pretend to be a colonial and fight for independence…so that his own country could sweep in and grab them after weakened from throwing off their old overlords. Maybe fighting for freedom will reinforce derogatory stereotypes and cause the destruction of the freedom fighters – maybe that could have been avoided if fought diplomatically, but the villain pushed the fighters to do more literal fighting. Maybe the timing sucks and the economy collapses once the whoevers become independent. Perhaps the villain is playing both sides.
But maybe the independence itself is bad. Maybe the desired separation is like the civil war, and the side that wants independence is because they want to be racist or continue other egregious practices in peace without the bigger part of the country or whatever telling them to knock it off.
Even if ultimately you don’t want to determine a way to warp the beauty of the underdog escaping her cruel master, it’s an important sort of exercise to go through because it gets you thinking like a villain. Evil warps all things, and sometimes that warping is more like a carnival mirror than a twisted piece of metal. It’s a reflection of something good and might even be mistaken for the good thing, but ultimately, it’s not. And if you can figure out how to warp even the best of things, then you have an important tool for writing a villain.