Rooting for Your Villain

So I had my baby. He’s a super sweet little guy who is patient and quiet. Part of me is positive he’s going to be like his dad, a pensive, careful sort of fellow, but I also acknowledge I could be completely wrong about that. Ultimately, I don’t care who he becomes when he gets older, as long as he’s a good person who cares about others.

This brought to mind how I kind of similarly care about my brainchildren. Things are a little different with them on account of their whole life existing in a compact space across my life, and my knowing how they’re going to turn out, and who they are completely, and all that other stuff that obviously makes a fictional character I created different from a real life baby I created. But I still hope the best for them, even when I know they’re going to do bad things and ultimately die horribly.

If you’ll allow me to wax religious, it’s a like how God sees any individual – not condoning and perhaps actively condemning evil activities but really hoping that the evil individual turns their life around, so ready to reward writh redemption…possibly already knowing whether or not that actually happens. (There’s a lot of argument for how God’s omnicience works and there’s plenty of room to suggest that He doesn’t actually know what will for sure happen, just can predict like a grand chessmaster. I don’t know how it works so I acknowledge that maybe we’re like book characters to God and maybe not who knows?)

Whether or not you actually can muster up this sort of hope or care for a villain – I can with most of mine, but there’s one or two who are just SO terrible I just want bad things to happen to them – the attempt does put them in a different light for you to work with. When you see your characters as people, it makes it easier to look at all their little aspects, characteristics, let them do that weird thing where they act and you didn’t cause them to do it, and this is one good mindset for viewing your characters as people – rooting for them as a parent roots for a child, hoping they’ll win, where “win” isn’t defined by what they want to do, but by their achieving the best life they can for themselves.

And maybe in your trying to help your villain to have opportunites to get that life, you’ll give them a more interesting arc where they reject redemption and truly earn their brand as an insiduous villain…and maybe they’ll surprise you with a change of plan and go for redemption after all.

About Rii the Wordsmith

An aspiring author, artist, avid consumer of storytelling medium, gamer, psychologist (insomuch as one with her bachelor's is a psychologist), wife, mother, DM, Christian, a friend to many, and, most importantly, an evil overlord.
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