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Durakken

What do you look for in a good Antagonist (group)?

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It seems to me that coming up with individual antagonists are fairly easy. You just need someone to throw a wrench in whatever plans the protagonist has and this can stem from "because I felt like it", "because I really like you but can express it", "because it's my duty", "because if I let you do this it will cause problems for me", "because my god says so", "because your beliefs are bad", "because you are inferior", etc...  and coming up with enemy groups is likewise pretty simplistic as all you need is a reason to rally multiple people behind which can be all of the previously mentioned + communal reasons such as "If we don't get your resources we'll die" or "You hurt someone we know so now we hurts you" or even something as simple as "this be our territory!"...

 

And since all these are very basic and can all be messed up, the harder question is, what changes an antagonist from some generic character to something memorable. And in groups of antagonists how do you balance the group and since each individual antagonist is different (in most cases) what are good combinations of these personalities, beliefs, etc? Is a random mixing of memorable antagonists as good as any other, or is there a best, or best in a given situation, mixing?

Edited by Durakken
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I agree with Got_Rhythm. I look for a realistic or compelling reason for whatever they are doing. For me, the stories that are truly great demonstrate growth and change in both the protagonists and the antagonists. If you're interested, the following link is a good resource for figuring out what type of antagonist(s) you wish to include in your story: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Villains . Best wishes!

 

 What about the Joker then?(the movie ones) He, compared to Bane, is just plain nuts. He made the phrase: "Some men just want to watch the world burn" famous, not because he had an obvious reason behind it, like Bane did, but more so because of his rancid unknown hatred for the world. He is fun exactly because he's a nut crack; or just plain cool at times. He has no redeeming qualities that are known of (except maybe for brains), he's just plain crazy.

 

 You don't need a redeeming quality to make a good, loved villain(although it does help), you don't need to make a believable one, you can imagine a person so twisted as to kill a puppy in front of a child as long as you give him a purpose, keep them cohesive, and give them an actual personality. As long as he stands on his own feet and has a purpose, he'll work.

 

 Another kind of villain that hasn't been mentioned in this forum is the "fallen one" or simply the "good guy" who, tricked or simply misinformed thinks the protagonist is a bad guy, and try to stop him at all costs, maybe even renouncing some of his own former morals. Seeing a paladin fall down to the likes of a cutthroat over something as minor as seeing the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time, while devastating, will leave a lasting impression and  emotional attachment towards him.

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I like the Joker, except I don't like the movie ones, he's too scary/disgusting.  I like the one in the animated batman, where he did stuff like drug the whole city so he could just stroll by collecting all the money because everyone else was too busy acting stoned or laughing so hard they couldn't stand up.  And jokerfish - that was an unforgettable concept:

Joker_Fish_%28DCAU%29.jpg

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Joker is not just crazy. He actually is trying to show one of the themes of batman overall of "One bad day and you could be just as crazy as you say we(the villains) are". He's also a solipsist where he believes it doesn't matter. That for all Batman and people's belief that things matter and there needs to be order to the world none of it matters and there is no order to the world, just people pretending that it is the case.

 

I absolutely hate what DC has done with almost all of Batman's villains since the new 52. They gone from having this rich character that is psychologically deep and interesting to shallow crazies that have always been "just crazy". It's irritating as a fan that they are so bad in current cannon.

 

On the other hand, I highly recommend people should read "Penguin: Pain and Prejudice" which delves into the history and psychology of Oswald Cobblepot.

 

I think what makes a good antagonist is a character that you understand where they are coming from and can see how they got from a position you could very easily see yourself in to this other position that seems completely nuts... in other words it seems like a good antagonist is a character that makes the Irrational rational.

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