: a character in a story or play who opposes the hero
: one blamed for a particular evil or difficulty
:arousing sympathy or compassion
By nature, these two definitions probably should not be arranged together. Sympathetic Villain. They do not go hand in hand, but sometimes, in books, they do.
Have you ever fallen for the villain of the story? Have you ever found yourself rooting for them when you know that you probably shouldn’t?
Star Trek: Into Darkness comes to mind when I think about a sympathetic villain, John Harrison played by Benedict Cumberbatch (But if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that it’s only for a little bit that you feel this way). Also, General Monroe from Revolution, played by David Lyons.
See, both of these characters are admittedly considered the villain in both, the movie and tv show. Yet, the writers/producers/JJ Abrams has made us feel sympathetic towards these characters. I found myself almost yelling out loud for them not to turn evil because I saw the “good” in them.
I love sympathetic villains because frankly, what would we root for it we couldn’t root for the good of these villains – you know, besides the “hero.” Don’t get me wrong. I love heroes too, but there is something I love about having an author of a book or the person behind the idea for the movie/tv show make me feel for the villain and why they turned out the way they did. You can see the good in them. I love that!
I think everyone has good inside of them, but sometimes circumstances, invented or otherwise, makes them choose the lifestyle they do.
How do you feel about villains being sympathetic? Do you write these types of villains? I have before, in Piercing Through the Darkness, and I guess maybe a little bit in Read Me Dead. But, sometimes no sympathetic feelings are good too. What do you think?