Sep 24, 2012

Archetypal Awareness: The Tyrant (Villain pt 2)

There are so many different kinds of villains that there was no way I could talk about them in one post.  Today, the tyrant.

This villain doesn't usually start out with the intent to be evil.  They often believe they are doing work for good, trying to change life for the betterment of people around them or in the area they are serving. This is the category where many political villains fit in, but also could include mob bosses, criminals, even over the top coaches.

Tyrants often have a rough childhood in some way, getting neglected, abused, witnessing something that sticks with them, that serves as a motivation to prevent that from happening again.  This archetype could include a group, like a governing power who is taking all the authority as well (this is often how this tyrant is depicted in dystopian works).

The key with these villains is once they realize the power they have to showcase in order to accomplish what they want, they become addicted to the power and will do whatever it takes to get things done.  The one pretty general catch with the tyrant villain is that s/he OFTEN gets someone else to do their dirty work.  They give the orders and have enough power for the subordinates to follow with the greatest precision they can.

And, full disclosure, these tend to be some of my favorite villains because they often have an incredible element of intelligence.

Cardinal Richelieu from The Three Musketeers
Hate when plans are foiled with a gift from the Queen of America. :) 

Commodus

King Pin
So so so so so bummed about his passing.

Lex Luthor

Magneto

Ah, I LOVE a good villain!

Do you have a favorite tyrant villain?  Can you think of some females (not much evil girl power in this one...maybe the White Witch?)?  Are you working one of these in your text?  I'd love to know how you YA and MG authors mix this one in.

14 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Vader is always a favorite. And I saw a truly evil female villain this weekend in the movie Dredd.

J. A. Bennett said...

I love this type of villan too! Very good choices :)

Angela Cothran said...

I love a villain who thinks they are doing what is right. I think there is nothing scarier. The villain in my MS is a woman and she is BAD NEWS. I love it.

David P. King said...

Such a fun villain to write. I want to much to get back to my epic fantasy. The guy is just waiting to do evil things. :)

Kathleen said...

Scorpius from Farscape... LOVED hating him, lol=)

Andrew Leon said...

I was very sad about MCD's death. He was one of my favorites. Now I'm all sad again. :(

Joshua said...

And all of those, great villainous examples.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I haven't used the tyrant, but I love the look inside their motivations!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like Magneto, especially after seeing Xmen First Class.
I have tyrant type female characters in my second fantasy series that is contracted by Crescent Moon Press.

Lisa Regan said...

I love the female villains in Gillian Flynn books! Those are my favorites. The one Dean Koontz did in his From The Corner of His Eye and in The Face (male villains) were really awesome too. Great post!

Mark Koopmans said...

I always enjoyed the old Bond villains.. they were awesome, but why did they always tell Jsmes what the deal was :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

The creepiest of all of those has to be Commodus. That guy just made my skin crawl!

Jessie Humphries said...

I got a sort of tyrant in my MS. I think. I need to think about this some more. Btw, I tagged you on a meme on my blog today. No pressure. But I would love to hear about your MS. I actually know very little about what my favorite H.S. English teacher is working on! :)

Gina Gao said...

These are very nice villains. I always like a good bad guy to keep the action moving.

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