A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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I'll try and keep this short, as I'm sure your busy and having things to do, but basically I would like your honest opinion on something. And no, don't worry, it's not about ideas for any of the things you've worked on, nor anything that I or others have written.
Anyway, I'm an aspiring writer who wants to make his own series, and there's an aspect of storytelling that I can't seem to decide on. You see, I have always felt that there are, primarily, two types of villains:
1. The kind who do bad things and don't care
2. The kind who believe that their actions are justified
Summarily, I can't seem to decide which one is worse, as it could really be argued either way. I've asked some friends what they think, and have gotten back different answers.
Admittedly, the self-justifying villain tends to fall under a trope that I have a disliking towards:
Knight Templar - a villain who is convinced that he/she is the hero.
And, after thinking about it, there is at least one thing to appreciate about the "bad and don't care" villains; at least they have no illusions about what they want or what they're doing. Plus, we've seen a lot of the self-justifying villains in recent years, to the point where I think it might be overused. Which is why I think a balance between the two needs to be met, as too much of one can get old fast.
But anyway, I mainly just wanted to ask which type of villain you think is worse; the "bad and don't care" kind, or the self-justifying kind?
I take some issue with the reductive nature of your question. And so I think you're going about things the wrong way. It's not about which is worse. It's about what fits your character. Take, as an obvious example for this website, GARGOYLES.
We have two rather unique and memorable lead villains, DEMONA and XANATOS. I suppose you could reduce Xanatos to your definition of a type one villain. And I suppose you could reduce Demona to your type two. But there are moments when Xanatos thinks what he does is justified, and moments when Demona does a bad thing and just doesn't care. There are also moments when each has done truly heroic things.
The point I'm making is that a great villain is nothing more or less than a great CHARACTER. Write a character with consistency, backed by consistent motivation and history and I don't really care if he or she is type one, type two or type three. (Because, among other things, I doubt that there are truly only two types.)