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  #1    
Old October 9th, 2011, 03:54 AM
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If you have a protagonist in your story you may very well have one of these in there too, be it the head of the criminal team, rival, society... =p But how do you portray your antagonists?

Also - what antagonist is your favourite from other writing, and what do you think makes a good antagonist?
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Old October 9th, 2011, 04:30 AM
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What I think makes a good antagonist is a plausible motive. They can't just be bad for no reason. I have a soft spot for villians who could also be viewed as sad or lonely people (that's hard to explain).

But for a personal novel, my villian's actions are a desperate attempt to gain her fathers affection before he passes away. After a lifetime of her father turning down every heartfelt gesture has got to be shattering.
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  #3    
Old October 9th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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I have always been a fan of the antagonist that's not always clear. When they're doing what seems evil but for a good reason (whether it's good to them or good in the long run for everyone). Like, for an example from one of my stories that isn't written yet, the antagonist nearly destroys a village to get a cure for their sick friend. It seems evil, but its also good, and he would honestly go back and help the village rebuild! He just did it because they thought he was evil just by the way he looked.

This story just got a plot, so it's on my mind.

I also like the fun-loving villains. The ones who just seem to love causing trouble, and you kind of don't want to defeat them because you want to see what else they can think up. A good example of this is Discord, from the first two episodes of the second season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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These types of questions always get me excited. So, let me try to say this in the fewest words without this sounding like some essay. Alright, alright. What I like most in my antagonist is that they are realistically evil. That means, they have a certain character depth that makes them who they are. For example, in the Harry Potter series, Voldemort truly thought that the way that he done things was the way to restore the wizardry world back to its former glory. That is what makes a good antagonist; they don’t consider themselves as evil.

I think that people forget that people always think that they are the good guy. There are few completely insane cases in which they know what they are doing is wrong. Those people are usually sociopaths and ends up being their downfall in the long run. That’s beyond the point. A good antagonist has traits that makes commendable, has a good reason behind their actions, and/or believes their way is the right way.

People also forget that the antagonist can be a good guy, while the protagonist can be the bad. It’s just the idea of opposition that makes them who they are. I like to see antagonist that are realistic. Not all the time “I AM EVIL, I WANT TO RULE THE WORLD!” That just makes me say….why?
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Old October 9th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Sgt Shock View Post
People also forget that the antagonist can be a good guy, while the protagonist can be the bad. It’s just the idea of opposition that makes them who they are. I like to see antagonist that are realistic. Not all the time “I AM EVIL, I WANT TO RULE THE WORLD!” That just makes me say….why?[/SIZE][/FONT]
Like that you mentioned that as a protagonist and antagonist is moreso opposition and not just who's the good guy and the bad guy.

Anyways, like everyone else I like antagonists that have motives for what they're doing and why they think it's for a good cause. I also like antagonists that are good but then slowly changed into something more sinister (the development has to be believable, of course!) An example of that is Jacob Alexison from my finished fic, Nothing, Everything. There was an incident where he accidentally caused and someone else was accused of it. He was helping that person get out of the situation at first, only for him to suddenly turned his back against the accused person.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 08:50 PM
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I've always felt the antagonist always needs a lighter touch than the protagonist. Tell too much and it draws away from the heroes. Tell too little and they seem contrived. Too weak and they aren't threatening. Too powerful and they become a joke. Too serious and they become bland. Too funny and they cease being threatening. They need to be menacing, but not so much that it becomes self parody.

Also, try to make sure they have a goal. And not a stupid one like they want to become so strong that everyone worships them because they felt excluded for being so much stronger. Something smart like, wanting to create a utopia or wanting peace (if your protagonist is a villain).

In short; be creative and try not to go overboard.
  #7    
Old October 14th, 2011, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
What I think makes a good antagonist is a plausible motive. They can't just be bad for no reason.
Yeah, this I'd agree with - has to be a motive for them (kinda like how a protagonist needs a motive to be 'good' too).
Quote:
I think that people forget that people always think that they are the good guy. There are few completely insane cases in which they know what they are doing is wrong. Those people are usually sociopaths and ends up being their downfall in the long run. That’s beyond the point. A good antagonist has traits that makes commendable, has a good reason behind their actions, and/or believes their way is the right way.
It's true that a lot of them would have the aim to do something 'good' or what they think is right anyway, and are just the bad one in the way they go about it or via other influences - such as for instance... the villian in Crystal Chronicles: EoT (but idk how many here have played it), or for a fic example Bay's fic in Jacob is a pretty good instance of that. Bit I don't think that if they don't think they are good that they are socialpaths - for instance it could be simply power/money that motivates the villain. I guess that is covered by the 'good reason behind their actions' bit you have but I don't feel they always feel they're the good guy in having said reasons - one doesn't have to be a sociopath or think it's for the better good to have that as a goal imo via less than ideal means - I would argue that sometimes a good villain could also be just that villain you love to hate for example.

But I do agree with Bay that I liked the point that protagonists and antagonists are often opposition and not black and white characters in terms of good/bad.
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 01:32 AM
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No matter the motive, be it greed or personal quests that take precedence over the well-being of others, depth is key. Just as I'm not for the whole "White Knight" thing for a protagonist (flaws and even some selfish or less virtuous behavior can keep a hero more "real" to me), I don't like to to see an antagonist dehumanized by complete lack of positive attributes. For instance if the evil-doer is a fallen character, or someone with good motives but fairly bad methods of achieving them. In keeping them both more or less people than symbols, they can be identified with, and identify with each other as well, opening more avenues for conflict in the story (character development too, woohoo!).

Back-story's always great too. If it's going to be a fairly good-sized read, little bits and pieces about the antagonist that come to light throughout while leaving some mystery kinda help flesh him/her out and draw me in. Overall, while the baddie is too often just something for the reader to rally against in an effort to get you closer to the good guy, a well designed villain makes a story so much more than a chance for the hero to do something heroic.
  #9    
Old January 23rd, 2012, 03:46 AM
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Woah, thread bumpage - don't post in threads over a month old please.

That said might as well give this thread another chance, so I'll leave it open.
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 08:32 AM
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I do feel that antagonists need a motive to be bad, I feel that their motive shouldn't be known until the end. Give the reader a reason to hate the antagonist because it seems he is being bad because he likes the rush of it. Towards the end, reveal the motive and either give the reader more of a reason to hate or a reason to feel sympathy or something of that nature.
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  #11    
Old January 23rd, 2012, 04:36 PM
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I think one of the most important things to consider when creating an effective villain is that they are - at least initially - set directly against the protagonist. Maybe this is personal, like how Wile E. Coyote's sole aim is to destroy the Roadrunner. Maybe it's because the hero acts as a symbol of resistance to the villain's operations, like Vader's need to destroy the Rebellion. (There's personal stuff there too, but whatevs.)

Once that opposition has been established, you can go a number of ways. Perhaps the protagonist and the antagonist discover that they're 'not so different after all'. It's possible that the hero's only standing up to the villain to protect his family, but it might turn out that the villain is only doing his evil deeds to benefit his sickly younger sister. Maybe the hero and the villain are working towards the same goal - say, uniting a country in the grasp of civil war - but one's trying to do it by force and the other by a different method and this naturally throws them into opposition.

Another point that's crucial is believability. I like how that wonderful Pixy guy put it: that a certain amount of balance is needed to make the villain credible. Few villains do things because they are purely evil. You get the odd type like the Joker, who just goes 'F*** everything, let's blow stuff up for laughs! Look at me, I'm Chaotic Evil!'. For the most part, though, villains have established motives and necessary reasons for that motive. Some of them do just want to take over the world, but a good world domination villain will always have a reason. Maybe they're sick of the wars and just want to unite the people of the Earth. Maybe they had some horrible things happen to them as a child and became set against humanity as a result. Others might actually be aliens who, lacking the craft or the manpower to conquer Earth directly, infiltrated the planet to subjugate its people and extract its natural resources to aid their dying planet.

Hmm, I think I've talked for well long enough. I could say more, but I might have to come back and have another go later for that.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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My favorite antagonists are the ones that know the heroes on a personal level. For example
Darth Vader - Luke Skywalker
Spiderman- Green Goblin

It makes the story all the more personal for the hero, other than "I HAVE TO SAVE THE WORLD DAMMIT!" It's fun to see the antagonist have some history with the hero.
  #13    
Old February 11th, 2012, 07:21 PM
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Personally, I'd like antagonists who believe they are doing good but aren't. At least in the eyes of the protagonists and the public.

I'm actually attempting this with Team Plasma where the Knights (grunts) and N believe that they're heroes purifying the world for Pokemon and showing humans the error of their ways, unaware of Ghetsis's true agenda. The Knights are portrayed as like military soldiers and are divided into seven squadrons of seven. They each have a well-rounded personality (at least that's what I intend) and they're not evil or devious in behavior. Heck, even though their passionate about freeing Pokemon from people, I show them doing other stuff when off duty like playing games, eating out and more.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by THAT WONDERFUL PIXY GUY! View Post
In short; be creative and try not to go overboard.
*probably went overboard*

Well, first I would like to differ between villians and antagonists. For the villians, I prefer the not-evil-for-greater-good ones. From time to time it's okay, but things like turning a main villian into a good guy (as in Naruto…) is not so cool. "Oh, they are not entirely evil, they have REASON!"
The thing is, you can deal with villians who have someone close in danger. You can't really deal with psychopaths.
My main villians are somewhat symbolic: revenge, rage, power and cruelity. This is increasing psychopathically, but aside from pure strength there is a species in my storys who are (at least for the protagonists) more dangerous: Pure chaos and madness. You can talk out revenge, rage and power (with fists). Cruelity is not so easy to handle but at least expectable. But you can't do a thing against chaos. As fantastic (as in "fantasy") this sounds, we have examples in our world as well, wars for example. Lets compare WWI and the Vietnam war. Lets have a look at the romans. An open field? Order your troops and we win, no matter if the opponents rage or not. A forest and opponents came out of nowhere? Oh why, Juppiter?

About the antagonists: I agree to most posted yet, but I think it's to difficult to decide where being the antagonist starts. Who was Harrys antagonist in book 1 or 2? Draco Malfoy? Severus Snape? Lord Voldemort / his horcrux the diary? Tell me.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 02:54 AM
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Most of my antagonists are usually just lackeys. Then there's the main villain who's a TOTAL dick and the epitome of all that is evil and vile in the world. Usually, I will probably have an antagonist become a protagonist. It's just the way I am. I like that kind of stuff. Shows that people can change for better or for worse.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 03:49 AM
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Watch the post date of threads before posting yourself, as this was over the one month limit.

I will leave this open in the case someone else has something to add though, as it provided a decent discussion.

Actually no, I already did that with this thread so if it gets revived a second time I guess it doesn't have too much to offer. If someone does want to say something a new thread can be made though.
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