Tuesday, March 29, 2016

3 Things Villains can Learn from the Joker

Hello all!
Hope you had a great spring break. :D
I've been trying to focus a little more on my own writing over this month, so if you were wondering, that is the explanation for the sad lack of fanfic. :P

So recently, I watched The Dark Knight movie, and got inspired to do this post.
As you probably noticed.
In my opinion (and in many others I believe), the Joker was one of the best written villains in cinematic history.
(Note: I'm going to not draw from the DC comic version of the Joker, just the one portrayed in The Dark Knight. Also, I have not watched every movie in existence, so that is one drawback for me in critiquing villains. :P)

But anyway.

Despite being one of the best villains in any movie, there are a few things some other villains can learn from him to be 'evil'.

1. Be Unpredictable

This one is a no-brainer, but just as easily can be overlooked. The more unpredictable a villain, the more scared the characters (and the readers!) will be of him/her. In my own baddies, I've made a lot of them single minded: not extremely smart, and honestly, it gets a little dull when you can predict their actions. 

A way to do this would be relatively simple (but could easily scare the socks off anyone if done well): make the villain appear where he never is; dissapear when they think he is somewhere; blow up a bus and then leave with no explanation. 
Make him surrender when you least expect, make him whisper when it would be better to be loud. 

Take the norm and twist it. 

2. Brother Against Brother

Another really scary tactic the Joker uses is to turn someone against someone else. Make them both weapons to each other, then put them in a room together. (That's vague -.-).

  • But in essence, the villain can make the hero choose between saving two people, and the MC knows he can't save them both. 
  • Same with situations: save this city or the other, you can't do both. 
  • Maybe the Villain could shoot two MC's up with a disease, tell them that they had two hours before they both died, and tossed one antidote into the room. 
  • Hostage situations are good too. :P

Hard choices are scary.

If a villain has the power to force people into tight situations, the tension will spike, the villain will become much more powerful just based on that, and everyone will want him dead much more.

3. Motivation

The most motivated villains are the best villains. Doing whatever they want, to get the results they want. No substitutes, no crying, no guilt (although villains can indulge in that too sometimes). 
They want what they want, and there is no substitute. 

Intense baddies are one of the scariest too. Once the MC knows that the villain won't stop, it becomes a lot more frightening to know what the villain can do. 

It doesn't really matter what the motivation is (so long as it prohibits the protagonist) but Villains that go all or nothing are quite possibly the scariest, and most dangerous people to be around. :P

What do you guys think? 
What makes a really good Villain that'll scare MC's and readers alike? 
Comment below with your best answer: I'm always up for discussion. ^.^

Thanks for reading this very short post. :D 
Don't forget about this month's blog: The Upstairs Archives
I'll see you all later, Keep Smiling! -Saphira :D 


  1. Ahh! This is so helpful. I often read that making the villain reflect the MC's weaknesses is a good factor to have, but I like that you've put more insight into what makes a villain truly scary, and not just bleh, "I'm bad because I'm doing this...fear me!"
    Haha, great post, Saphira!

    1. Thanks Momo! Glad you found it to be helpful. ^.^
      Having the Villain reflecting the MC's weaknesses is a really potent factor as well.
      You're so sweet, thanks for commenting. :D

  2. Oh my word YESSSSS! I hate villains who are annoying and just do what they want but that's what makes a villain a 'good' villain. Like Bolg in the hobbit...Oh you just loathed him!

    1. ^.^ Oh yeah, for sure. Those are some of the best too.
      Bolg was gross too -shiver-.

  3. Do you know how I got these scars"

  4. Personally, I didn't like the Dark Knight joker when I watched the movie, but this is a really great post! I'm marking it down to remember and reread for my own villains when I go back to edit. This will definitely make them scarier *rubs hands together evilly. oh gosh, I might be a villain*


    1. I'm glad you found it to be helpful! :D
      Sometimes I think I might be a villain to my characters as well. XD
      Thanks for the comment!


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