HOW TO CREATE A NOBLE VILLAIN
A nobleman is a man of dignity and sophistication. He is a man who handles business with a professional approach. He is a man who is determined to succeed. Take this nobleman and give him the traits of a villain, and you have created the Valiant Villain.
A VV is the type of villain who has a strict moral code, and only under the rarest of circumstances does he break it. This is the kind of villain whose motives need to be explored. He deserves to be understood; he demands it even.
There are countless examples of these types of villains all throughout literature. General Cornwallis is the VV in The Patriot with Mel Gibson. He does an amazing job at making you feel as if his cause is valid, even to the point of convincing Mel Gibson’s guerilla militia to fight the final battle in the British formation.
I could name so many others, but I’ll spare you. Let’s look at how to craft the Valiant Villain.
This character has to have a specific ethical code that he lives by. He’s not more underhanded than he needs to be. Does this mean he’s not vicious or evil? Of course not. But there’s something within him that prevents him from becoming a Slippery Villain. There’s a “method to his madness.”
Obtaining his goals are supreme, but not to the point where he must risk his morality.
VV must have a view of the world that can be understood. If the reader could only but see things from his perspective, the reader would see why it is necessary to kill innocent victims – because the world needs to be rid of its evils.
This type of villain is right, in his own eyes, even though as readers we may disagree with him. For this reason, it’s important to make the noble villain’s cause something more than money or power.
He may want to obtain money and power to accomplish his mission, but these two assets are fickle and fleeting, secondary to his primary mission.
A VV begins in nobility, and he should end in the same way. There’s nothing worse than a VV getting knifed in the side by a random motorcyclist. Reserve this type of random death for the Slippery Villain who should have his head crushed like the snake that he is.
No, a VV should go down as a hero in his own right. How can you do this?
Think about your novel from the perspective of your villain. What if he were your hero? What if you changed the story to justify his cause to the reader, and your current main character becomes the new villain.
Once you have considered this, how would you like your “hero’s” story to end? That’s how you should have your villain be defeated.