Saturday, 16 May 2015

Why are we obsessed with Loki? (Or, the Elements of a Good Villain)

Hey grasshoppers! Today I'm thrilled to have Jo Day here to analyse good villains with a generous dose of Loki gifs. Without further ado ...

You know, and I know, that we both love Loki (just admit it) as much as Thor, perhaps even more. The question is: why? He's tricky, manipulative, sly as a snake and power-hungry, while Thor is the perfect paragon. Is it because of his initial attractiveness (kudos to Tom Hiddleston), or something more?

Let's have a look at why Loki fascinates us, and how you, too, can learn to create great villians.


1. Backstory


Besides his serious daddy-issues, his backstory is quite a sad one. Who could forget his speech about how he was always overshadowed by Thor? When his father eventually told him that he was adopted, at last he thought he had found an explanation for what he thought was his father playing favourites.
Use this to your advantage. We, humans, are naturally sympathetic towards other humans; use this to make your villains more empathetic, and ultimately, more human. Make a backstory that explains why your characters are the way they are now. Make them relatable. *clutches heart* Sentiment...

2. Morality


We've all come across a chaotic villain before. You know, the ones who just like doing bad things because...why not?  But how is this relatable? Those authors have created a villain that we can't understand, which makes them neither believable nor complex.
We love Loki because he has a strong motive that stems from his oh-so-tragic backstory. We want the heroes to win, but at the same time, we want Loki to succeed. Going to send an army of Chitauri to Earth? Well, I was wrongly denied lordship over Asgard, so this is my chance to set things right!

He has his reasons (albeit flawed ones), and so should your characters. Do not make them mindless murderers who kill because...well, they just like killing. Make them feel as if their actions are justified. Isn't this why villains are villains, because they fail to see their flaws? Establish their morals.


3. Personality


Yes, Loki's evil. But he's also compelling and charismatic. He impressed us with his little disappearing tricks. We adored his spontaneity and grandeur (with a touch of diva). His snarky attitude combined with dark glamour means we are pleasantly intrigued by this character.

In my opinion, this is the most important one. We like a personality that shines on paper. Give your villain quirks, habits, traits, grudgingly good qualities and interests.
Now, off you go. Write good villains. Make them shine. Please Loki. (And don't forget to read Alyssa's post about Thor on my blog!)


Jo goes by several aliases including TeX (gamer tag), Feather (old blogger name) and Pun Master (just because). She is the bookish mastermind behind The Bearable Blog, which is full of thoughts, writings and life updates. She wishes you a pleasant day, and hopes you'll take the bus to her little internet village.

24 comments:

  1. Great points--I really do think backstory and personality are everything, especially when creating a villain.

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    1. I'm working on creating a villain for the new WIP, and while I'm trying to veer away from backstory, I am working really hard on personality. Charisma is a difficult skill!

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  2. These are good points but you also forgot HE'S CUTE AS HECK.

    Love this post and the Thor post, the fangirl-Hulk inside of me is about to burst through my chest.

    O | Life as a Young Lady

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    1. OH YES. CUTENESS HELPS. *soothes your fangirl-Hulk with a lullaby* Tom Hiddleston is sort of just branded in my head as 'the cute person known as LOKI', ahaha.

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  3. Oh, Loki, Loki, Loki...who honestly doesn't love him? I think having a great personality is part of what makes a good villain great, and also backstory. Something to make their evilness legitimate is always welcome.

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    1. Even Thor loves him. I think the only people who don't love him are Odin (who cares about HIM) and Loki himself, a little bit. Backstory is sometimes a little overused -- I have had villains ruined by backstory -- but personality and charisma never run dry.

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  4. OH NO, OH NO, I AM SO SORRY FOR NOT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. *hides* (I neeeed to learn things about Avengers. I apologise. But this does have me quite convinced, because I'm a sucker for good villains. Loki is also one of my favourite mythological characters, so. :P.)

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    1. Well, the mythology technically came first, so you're still safe XD You should probably watch Thor at least, because Loki's backstory there was fabulous -- the Avengers pulled through mainly on charm and oblique references.

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  5. Just a pretty british guy playing him in the movies. Notice how the majority of hardcore Loki fans don't even care for comics or Marvel? There's your answer ;)

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    1. Ahahaha, yes, that could be a reason. (AND how said fans tend to de-villain-ify himin fanfiction. His villainy is the POINT.)

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  6. oh. my. gosh. I assume y'all planned the post interlapping? BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH "YES" FOR THIS I MUST SQUEAL.
    The points are all great (a tad diva!) and my day is complete with those loki gifs. Thanks, Jo :)

    Chloe | Curious Ramblings

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    1. Yep, we scheduled them to go up together -- thought it would create better cohesion! Diva indeed -- we do love Loki for his charm.

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  7. Oooh I loved this, and absolutely agree. Loki is such a great character because he's not of the norm. When we think of villains we think of sadistic monsters, but more and more we are seeing people exploring the backstory to these characters. LOVE IT.

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    1. Yes! Classic 100% villains CAN still be written well, but villains who are intelligent, who are charming, who have reasons for their villainy -- THOSE are the new trade of villains.

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  8. I like it when a villain is funny, so even though I'll probably not like them, I still like that they can make me laugh.

    Confession time: *whispers* I don't actually like Loki. Am I the only one? Thor is my favourite!

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    1. Humour is always fantastic. Ultron had such snark! *whispers back* That's okay. Just go and visit my Thor post to soothe your fangirl feels.

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  9. Thanks for having me! :D

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    1. You're very welcome! Great to work with you :)

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  10. Ooh yes excellent points here! I do love a good villain and a backstory is probably the most important thing to it!

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    1. Mmm, I definitely agree -- but it's also hard to get the exact balance between villainy and victimisation. I love a carefully crafted backstory.

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  11. akdfjdkljs Loki is so awesome, and for all these reasons! He really does have a lot of things I feel like are important in every villain, as Jo highlights, and in some ways, things I wish I could develop in myself. Also, I just adore the morality thing. It's so fun to contemplate! :D Thanks for the daily takeout of Loki, Jo, and of course to you, Alyssa, for hosting! :)

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    1. aslkjdljksd HE IS SO AWESOME. GO KILL EVERYONE, LOKI.

      I'm not sure you want to develop daddy issues and grey morals, but charisma is a great thing to have. The spectrum of morality is just so fun to play with, though.

      You're very welcome!

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  12. I found your blog through the blogger spotlight (what makes good characters) and this totally goes along with this! It's good to know that some people really consider these things deeply. I loved Loki as a character, too, especially since he wasn't a "Named Nemesis" (which happens too much in my opinion) where he's just decided he's against the main hero and that's that. I love his constant side switching, his relatability, and the fact that he's thoughtful enough to be out for himself instead of out against the main character.

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    1. That's such a fabulous idea, isn't it? Thanks for dropping by!

      Jo's done an amazing job with this post, judging by all these lovely comments. Loki was one of my fav characters in The Avengers, and yep, his double-dealing and his selfishness. He is rather centred around Thor, though.

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