The heel, the bad guy, the antagonist, which ever form they take, I am always drawn towards the main villain of books, movies, or television shows. I don't know what it is. They are, simply put, more interesting than any other character. Let's be honest, if there wasn't a villain, there would be no plot.
When I read Ender's Game, Peter Wiggin was fascinating. He wasn't the main antagonist, but then I begin to wonder if the book ever had one at all. He terrorized Ender to the point where Ender felt Peter would eventually kill him. It wasn't until the Ender's Shadow series where you found out he was actually not that bad of a guy. But the Shadow series introduced a new terror in Achilles, the merciless, cold blooded killer who didn't want anyone to see him in a weak state. All of a sudden, Peter Wiggin was dull and Achilles was sharp...like the knife he'd put in my back. Is this similar to why some most girls are drawn to the bad boys and ignore the nice guy? I may be on to something here.
Antagonists have such unique backgrounds compared to the protagonists. The formula to create a protagonist is fairly simple and common across all heroes. There's a lot that goes into building the antagonist of the story. Each one is different in their own way. Their stories are so varied and it affects how they act as the villain of a story. Johan Liebert of Monster was such a mysterious figure. An orphan who committed murders when he was a mere child. As he grew up, he became more twisted, wanting to be the last one standing at the end of the world. He did horrible things, yet in the end, I still wanted him to live and see what his goal was.
Johan was from one end of the social class spectrum. The next antagonist is a man who came from a wealthy background at the opposite end of that spectrum, Jaime Lannister. I've only watched the first season of Game of Thrones, but that was enough to get intrigued by the King Slayer. The different backgrounds add to the factors that make villains so much more interesting than any of the protagonists and other supporting characters. Villains do vile and despicable things. They are supposed to be detested and hated. So why do some have such a strong following of supporters?
I watched wrestling back in the 90s, both the WWE(WWF then) and WCW. The nWo made the bad guys look cool and made you want to join them. Could that have influenced my obsession with "the bad guys?" The heel's (wrestling jargon for antagonist) was to make the audience hate them. What do they become when they are adored by the fans when they are supposed to be hated? CM Punk accomplished this when he dropped his infamous "pipe bomb" shoot and was appreciated by wrestling fans for what he'd said and done.
Itachi of Naruto was seen as a villain towards the beginning of the manga when his intentions of killing his entire clan was unknown. The guy slaughtered his clansmen, best friend, mother and father, yet he was still considered cool. It wasn't until later that you find out he did it to protect his village and younger brother, which was kind of noble, I guess. Like Peter Wiggin, when light began to shine on a character with a dark story, their story becomes...less interesting.
I'll conclude this post of villain obsessions with The Governor. The man who was probably your average guy before the dead started walking. It's obvious he became ruthless after his daughter died since he stated that she would still be alive if he was the way he was from the beginning. The guy killed anyone who was a threat to his leadership and collected heads… why? So many questions.. so little answered. But the questions can most likely be answered with his mindset of "In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill."
I've often wondered if I could ever hack it as a villain. Star Wars the Old Republic gave me the opportunity as I have the ability to make dark side choices over light and allow the sith corruption to consume me as I take my character across the galaxy far away. Although some of the dark side choices were funny, there were a few that left me feeling guilty and sick inside. I guess that answers that question is no, I would suck as a villain.
I lied. I could most likely pull it off.
Currently in my fifth year of teaching Pre-K at a early childhood elementary school.