The Three Types of Villians

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The Three Types of Villians

Postby DarthKirby » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:54 am

The Three Types of Villains

I made this useful template for myself to use when writing. The template is that there are three majore archetypes of villians: The Brat, The Evil Sue, and The Misguided Ideologue. Each of these three categories can overlap with one of the others to varying degrees to create more nuance in the Villian and to a degree all Villians have a little bit of each of these categories, but all Villains will usually have one which is dominate and one which is secondary. There are some Villians which are purely one of these archetypes, but those usually exist in parody or in very black and white story telling. Also each of these archetypes exist on a spectrum with the attributes of that archetype being more prevalent or less prevalent in the Villain depending are where they are in the spectrum. Without further intro, let me explain each archetype.

The Brat

The Brat is probably one of the easiest Villians to understand. They are selfishness and pettiness incarnate. They believe the world owes them everything and they are most important no mattter what. If they can't have something they will make sure no one can have it either. If they aren't the center of attention they rain on the parade of whoever is in the spotlight. They are spoiled brats. Hence their name. Brats are often protrayed in positions of power where their authority or strength can bring about the most damage and therefore created a compelling obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. Examples are The Brat being a petty King or a spoiled rich kid. Perhaps he is that playboy that refuses to be denied by any woman or the arrogant swordsman that can never admit that anyone is stronger than him. The Brat can take many forms, but his essense is always the same. Selfishness, pettiness, and immaturity.

The Evil Sue

There are no examples of a perfect Evil Sue outside of parody or ancient mythology. Evil Sue is originally a term meant for a Villain so evil to the point of being ridiculous. Evil purely for the sake of being evil and destructive. Despite that, there are plenty of Villians which display less extreme examples of the Evil Sue than compared to the parody/mythology versions of this archetype. A strong desire to destroy everything and everyone is a common trope of this Villian. Sometimes it's because they simply enjoy evil for the sake of evil while at other times it's for things like revenge or believing that the world is rotten to the core and must burn to the ground. Whatever eventually ends up motivating the Evil Sue, they almost always end up enjoying their evil acts and seek out new ways to create more pain, suffering, or destruction.

The Misguided Ideologue

The Misguided Ideologue, unlike the other two villain archetypes, doesn't always believe what he is doing is wrong, or if he does, then he believes it is a necessary means to a good end. He has good intentions or goals that he wants to realize. Perhaps he wants to create a world with no war or a place with no criminals. But whatever his goal, he is always ready and willing to do horrible things in order to achieve his lofty ideal. Many villians of this archetype will often lose sight of their goal, while others will remain so laser focused on it that everything else is thrown by the way side. Many times these villians are victims of some other, greater villian from behind the scenes like a demon, wizard, or evil mastermind. Some may even see the error of their ways, but only when it is too late to change things or go back. A rare few however, may actually acheive their goal only to have it ruined or not turn out how they thought it would.

How to Blend the Three Archetypes

As I stated before, most Villains are a fusion of two of these archetypes with many having a bit of all three inside them. I want to give some examples of how this works and what it looks like. Let's take Light Yagami from Death Note as our first example. He is a fusion of The Brat with The Misguided Ideologue. He has the goal of destroying all crime by killing all criminals with the Death Note, but also plans on use the Death Note to "become the god of the new world" that he is attempting to create. Deep down he comsiders himself superior to all others and that he deserves the power that was granted to him by pure chance with the Death Note. His goal of eliminating all crime might seem noble until it is made very clear that he is willing to kill just about anyone in order to ensure his safety and his rise to power as the arbiter of all humanity. He truely believes in his cause, but he is also selfish and petty to the core. His "perfect life" merely a fascade to cover up his egotism and lust for power. We can also see small amounts of the Evil Sue in him as he relishes the killing of certain individuls during the story. Going so far as to terrorize some victims immediately prior to killing them just for his own enjoyment as he did in the case of Naomi Misura. His belief for destroying all criminals is rooted in the belief that the world is rotten to it's core and must be cleansed with his vengance upon all criminals.

With proper consideration and tweeking of these three archetypes you can created all sorts of nuanced villains depending on which archetypes defines the villian most and how strongly the villains displays the traits of each archetype. I hope this will prove a useful tool for those who may need tools for villian creation.
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Re: The Three Types of Villians

Postby shooraijin » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:56 am

A nice article, though it's spelled "villain" :)
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Re: The Three Types of Villians

Postby DarthKirby » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:32 pm

lol Made a typo. I often mix up two letters when I try to type fast
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Re: The Three Types of Villians

Postby ClaecElric4God » Sat May 01, 2021 12:18 am

This is such a gravedig, but I appreciate this so much. I have always been really bad at writing villains that aren't just one dimensional "I wanna destroy the world just cuz" to have something for the good guys to fight. I will definitely be referencing this for my writing in the future.
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