The classic villain: the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 Wizard of Oz film At an audition for my local community theater’s upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz, I observed some actors trying out to play the Wicked Witch of the West, each one ending the monologue, at the director’s request, with […]
I know that I keep saying that I’m going to write a dedicated post about what makes a good villain. And I will get to it, I promise. Eventually. But I stumbled across the above post, and it is itself a good primer on not necessarily what makes a good villain, per se, but what makes a good antagonist. The author’s key point (IMO) is that an antagonist does not necessarily have to be a bad guy (hence my distinction between antagonist and villain), but rather has to provide a challenge to the hero that he/she/it needs to work to overcome.
That actually rather neatly answers the question I’ve been asked several times: “How can ‘Man vs. Nature’ be a thing? Nature isn’t a villain!” No, but it can (and often does) present the most difficult challenges that anyone, be they real or fiction, will ever face.
I want to hear from you all: who is your favorite literary antagonist? Doesn’t have no necessarily be the actual villain, but a character (or thing) that presents a worthy challenge to the hero.
Never Stop Writing.