“Every morning they had trained together, since they were big enough to walk; Snow and Stark, spinning and slashing about the wards of Winterfell, shouting and laughing, sometimes crying when there was no one else to see. They were not little boys when they fought, but knights and mighty heroes.“
“you’re a warg too?”
Nobody hides under their blankets when they see Snidely Whiplash or Jesse and James. Here are a few tips on how to make an effective villain that makes your readers sleep with a nightlight.
- Give them an unusual, unsympathetic reason to hurt or kill.
If Lord Skulsanstuf kills for revenge, because of bigotry, or to prove how cool he is, he’s not as powerful. Readers hear about people in real life killing for those reasons all the time.
Instead, make him kill because he wants beautiful people never to have the experience of growing old and ugly. Make him kill because he thinks the only way to stay pure is to drink a glass of blood every morning. Then do a chapter from his perspective and show how delighted he is with his way of thinking. Instant chills.
- Allow them to kill fully developed characters.
Nobody cares that Lady Lotsoblood burned an entire village to the ground and tortured all the children to death if nobody in that village is important enough in your story to have a name. Look at all your characters and figure out which ones are the most expendable. Then let Lotsoblood work her magic.
- Go in detail about the strange deeds they commit.
I would never want to be stabbed, but I especially don’t want a knife to run down the side of my cheek, lifting parts of my skin so my assailant can brutally rip them off later. That sounds a lot worse because I can imagine it better in my head.
- Don’t bog them down with too many evil traits.
A vivisector who kicks puppies and burns down buildings in his spare time is silly, not scary. Good, nice traits can drive in the fact that your villain is human and therefore anybody could turn into them, which is a scary thought.
- Don’t make them annoying.
Professor Umbridge hits almost every point on this list, but she’s too annoying to be truly scary.
- Give them control of every situation.
Until the very final battle, the villain should know more about what’s happening than the heroes. The heroes should have a hard time keeping a secret no matter what measures they put in place.
Sidekick - Joey Richter (A Very Potter Senior Year Soundtrack)
I’m not a great athlete
I’m not good at art
And I know my brain is not my most impressive part
My wand can barely work
And my car won’t start
But I know what makes me special is what I feel in my heart
One for the sidekicks…
Every villian needs the imprisonment walk.
Gilderoy - AJ Holmes (A Very Potter Senior Year Soundtrack)
Who taught a yeti how to sing?
Walked into Mordor and destroyed the ring?
Battled a banshee and came out a champ?
Trapped Jafar inside of a lamp?
Do you have characters with theme songs?
So in The Hobbit film, there’s this sequence in the rain with rock giants battling it out and trying to separate our poor company that probably cost two million dollars to produce.
The next sequence is in a cave where Bilbo makes to leave everyone and is paused by Bofur. It’s just Martin Freeman and Jimmy Nesbitt talking to each other with a couple reaction shots from Richard Armitage. And it’s the most emotionally effective scene in the movie.
I love you, Peter Jackson, but when you have moments of such simple beauty and impact, you don’t need battling rock giants or superfluous storylines about one-armed orcs. Use what’s in the original story and adapt and make it your own, but don’t feel the need to add action and special effects to make it more compelling. That’s what your actors are there to do.
(That being said, the ‘Riddles in the Dark’ sequence is one of the most impressive pieces of filmmaking ever.)
You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love ‘til it kills you both. You’ll fight, and you’ll shag, and you’ll hate each other ‘til it makes you quiver, but you’ll never be friends.
When I was in high school, I always saw myself as Xander. As I got older, I realized I had more traits in common with Spike than I thought.
Even when Spike went all lovesick for Buffy, one thing I always loved about him was that it never took him long, no matter what the circumstances, to come to terms with himself and embrace who he was.
Reporter: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
Joss Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.