by Andrea Bohn
One thing that has got my mind thinking lately is villains. Sometimes when I see certain villains I can’t help but think of their situation. What would they be like with a different life? Everyone has a reason to like certain things, hate certain things, and to be afraid of certain things. So if the bad guys crave attention from people, then maybe they lacked attention themselves, or if they have bad habits maybe they were never taught they were bad, or better yet they were taught they were good.
We usually see the hero’s side of the story, but it begs the question: what was their side like? A lot of the time villains in the story are on the older side when it comes to age so we got to see them at a later point in the story and would, at first, have little-to-no knowledge about life before being the villain of the hero’s story. While I do believe that they did bad things and should be given the consequences there is no denying they must have had a reason. Some common examples of this are neglect from parents/higher-ups and feeling a need to please, finally snapping after poor treatment, seeking revenge from the main character, someone the main character knows, or someone else completely random, or simply thinking they aren’t doing anything wrong, or that they are doing the right thing.
I remember one time someone once said “Why should I apologize for being a monster when no one apologized for making me this way,” and I think that this is honestly a spot-on representation of what goes through most villains’ heads, especially when the hero tries to reason with them and/or when they are defeated. It’s like “Why are they being so unfair!?” “Why do I have to apologize!?” “Where is my apology?” ‘‘Where is my sympathy?”
Kids (at least in my generation) are always told that every fight has 2 sides just like a coin, but then when watching or reading stories the whole idea tends to get thrown out the window. Like we’re seeing heads! We.need.to look.at.tails!! And I can see how sometimes villains are created to be evil (ex: Pennywise/IT, Anti-Pops (Regular Show), etc) I feel like most villains can be redeemed if and when the right measures are taken. Tie them to a chair, put a shock collar on them, talk and sympathize, bond with them, and make them feel comfortable. Some may need a new family, some may need some friends, maybe you need to give them a new view or perspective, there has got to be a way to help. Maybe you can have them talk to someone they know like a sibling they look up to or a role model of theirs. Maybe hearing things from a certain person may knock them into perspective.
Just remember to be patient. It could take time. They aren’t gonna trust you from the get-go, but eventually, you’re effectively gonna be a therapist. Be ready to offer some advice and I’d suggest keeping napkins on hand cause you could end up crying because you feel bad, they might end up crying, who knows. Have medical professionals and like police ready, you can’t immediately drop your guard, you give them freedom, yes but start at the minimum and work your way up. That way you can be safe and you can help another person. In conclusion, Every villain has their story and can be redeemed, don’t judge their story by the chapter you walked in on.