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06/19/2021 – K. D. Alden

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Villains I Love to Love #redemption

Hello, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories with a romantic soul. This month's topic is supposed to be villains we love to hate, but I'm not sure I can say that about any villains. I find hate exhausting, and if I really hate a villain chances are it's something in a genre that I don't like any way, and they can't get their comeuppance soon enough to satisfy me. Besides, hate leads to suffering... The Dark Side of the Force!
No, what I love is a redeemed villain. The bad guys turned good. It gives me hope (especially at a time when we could all do with a bit of that). So I'm going to tell you my top five redeemed villains, and you can tell me yours in the comments after.

1. Megamind. Oh come on, if you pretend you don't watch animation when you're a grown up well...I don't believe you. Some of my favourite films are animation - it doesn't make them any less complex or adult. In the case of Megamind, you have an alien with a Superman origin story but something goes awry with his arrival on Earth thanks to another alien, and he ends up living a completely different life when he lands in a prison exercise yard. Smart but bullied for being different, he decides that if everyone is going to call him the bad boy, that's what he'll be. But his life eventually takes a turn and he has to step up when the lifelong hero decides to hang up his cape and move on. There's even a heartbreaking touch of romance in the story. 
Favourite line: "I'm the bad guy. I don't save the day, I don't fly off into the sunset and I don't get the girl." 

2. R from Warm Bodies. Okay, if you read my posts regularly you might remember my weird obsession with a certain zombie film. Never a fan of horror, I gave this a try based on the comedic trailer and was instantly hooked. This film made me fall in love with a ZOMBIE. Of course, R isn't your typical zombie. We get to see the story through him, a zombie who thinks, who has feelings, who really doesn't like being what he is. When he does the unthinkable and saves a living girl rather than eating her, it sets off a chain reaction that not only changes his life, but that of every zombie in existence. A bit of a play on Romeo on Juliet, but kind of in reverse. 
Favourite quote: "So much for dreaming. You can't be whatever you want. All I'll ever be is a slow, pale, hunched-over, dead-eyed zombie. What did I think was gonna happen? That she'd actually want to stay with me? It's hopeless. This is what I get for wanting more. I should just be happy with what I had. Things don't change. I need to accept that. It's easier not to feelThen I wouldn't have to feel like this."

3. Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Now, I have to admit when the new Star Wars trilogy started, Ren was my least favourite villain. He came across as the same petulant brat as his grandfather had in the prequels, throwing a tantrum at every setback. General Hux was far more impressive, even terrifying when he gave his speech to the First Order before the destruction of several planets with their Starkiller Base. By The Last Jedi my opinion changed completely as he engineered a major power grab. And *spoilers* he made the ultimate sacrifice, all for love (sigh). No favourite quote because the clip says it all.
4. Snape from Harry Potter.
Now, there's a lot of controversy over this one because some fans are outraged about Snape's treatment of Harry throughout the films, but to me, while Snape was neverendingly spiteful to Harry, he never once allowed him to be in serious danger (even if his method of doing so was sometimes to hurt or injure Harry himself). And I'm not even going to start on the latest controversy about the author, other than I'm saddened by her attitude. But I'm not up for arguments on this. Snape was a man who suffered for the entirety of his life, who had every reason to be a villain, but ultimately did what needed doing (even if it meant killing people - the risks of a double agent) to keep Harry alive (if not necessarily happy). His adult life was spent living a lie, and again it was all for love (starting to see a pattern here!). The clip below is from the final film where the truth about Severus Snape is revealed at last.
Favourite quote: “Look...at...me..." he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.”

5. Riddick from The Chronicles of Riddick. This is my favourite of the three films because, yes, yet again it involves and (almost) romantic sacrifice. It's a bit different to the others though, because Riddick is much more of an anti-hero than a villain (although those on the receiving end of his abilities might want to argue that). Riddick is not a good man - he's a stone cold killer - but in the first film, Pitch Black, he does put himself out to save people (though I think it was mostly out of his disgust with the real villain of the story). And he obviously has a conscience that prompts his actions when, several years later, he discovers the girl he helped save in the first film is in trouble again. The Riddick films are also gloriously cinematic scifi in the style of Dune but without all the heavy deadweight, and Judi Dench rocks as the air elemental Aereon. The clip is the deadly escape run across the surface of Crematoria, a planet where reputedly Hell would make a pleasant holiday destination in comparison. 
Favourite quote: when he doesn't get eaten by the man-eating alien beast and is found petting it instead, "It's an animal thing." (Riddick is a man of few words!)
And there you go. Hope you enjoyed those (I'm excited I made a discovery about why these are my favourites, so I've learned something new). Let me know if you agree with my choices or not, or feel free to add your own.


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post, Pippa! I agree that redeemed villains are awesome. It makes the story much richer.

Sarah Raplee said...

I also love redeemed villains. Love your examples, Pippa! Most are my favorites, too.

Judith Ashley said...

Your posts always introduce me to characters I've never heard of and this post is no different. I did watch the first couple of Harry Potter movies but not the rest and some of the ones you mentioned, I'd never even heard of but then I'm not a big movie person. Love the clips!