Discussion Putting sad backstories of antagonists

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by 0000000, Nov 30, 2021.

  1. 0000000

    0000000 I B SMILING!

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    After reading the latest manga chapter of Knights and Magic, I have this epiphany; that the sad or whatever BS backstory that tries to justify how fucked up the villains are is just there for me to point and laugh at them when the lights in their eyes dim with regret still plaster on their faces.

    Like seriously, you gonad, you don't go murder half of the neighbouring kingdom and their king, try to have your own country's prince rape the now-fatherless princess and at your death's door, try to justify all your actions as "essential" because you want to expand your own country. Fuck you, fuck your dreams, fuck you piece of human shitstain.

    And now that I think about it in other previous works, some villains are still worth sympathy, like a rape victim-turned-succubus who ends up dying in MC's hand, cursing at how she still has not enact her revenge yet and lament slightly on whether her actions are wrong. These people are still relatable, not the cockwankers who are like typical xianxia villains who curse and scream about unfairness and the lack of karma when they themselves had wiped out billions for shits and giggles.

    Victims who turned villains, still ok until a certain threshold, like a son of a whore who starts murdering people? Not sympathetic about him.
     
  2. The Hamster Overlord

    The Hamster Overlord Mad scientist/Revered wizard/Alleged antichrist

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    Committin genocide to expand your country is such a mood
     
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  3. Neiri

    Neiri Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of Daenerys of ASOIAF , At first she is so innocent, then taking revenge, her fans ignored the signs just because the victims got it coming and not innocent. Then she burn alive people who just happen to serve the otherside, they still ignored it. Then burn the Kings Landing , then they say they did not see it coming.
     
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  4. meliori

    meliori [in a dark tunnel seeing light from afar]

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    They're still a bad person no matter how sad their backstory is
     
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  5. runsing

    runsing status : bleeding, health -10/s Novel Updates Staff

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    i remember Kenja no Mago's villains each has some kind of sob story that led them to being a demon. the first few still feel ok, i mean, i might want to know more about the main villain, but when each of the 3rd-rater also given one, the story quickly becoming a chore to read.

    to me, side characters pov are fine, and often fun to read, but only if they are done moderately, and serve to compliment the main story line. the most recent best side pov i remember was from Moto Sekai Ichi’i no Sub-chara ikusei niki
     
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  6. canaria23

    canaria23 『  』

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    kimetsu no yaiba
     
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  7. Xian Piete

    Xian Piete Author of many mediocre stories

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    I remember reading a story about an aspiring artist who watched his country lose a war and fall into a deep depression. As a result, he gave up on his dream of painting and became a politician championing the common people who were suffering. He rose to power through luck and having enough political allies to just barely become his country's leader. Then he brought his country back to being a world power fighting all those who had oppressed them while they were down through economic reforms. Until he made a series of terrible decisions that brought him to the point where he committed suicide as his country paid for his mistakes in fire and death. In the end, no one cared about his stupid "art" thing. Why did they even bother adding that to his backstory?
     
  8. 0000000

    0000000 I B SMILING!

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    Cuz they try to drag Hitler into the mix? Cuz the first thing I thought is the toothbrush moustache face screaming in passion in the bar, wowwing the drunks.

    Also, most of the times politicians have dabbled with arts and ethics, because the skill of human manipulation translates well.
     
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  9. Kurotsubaki

    Kurotsubaki Reincarnation of the Seven Deadly Sins

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    People laugh until they're on that shoes.
     
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  10. Viator

    Viator [Cult of Pyoo: Pyoo's Oak Tree]

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    Anyone can forget morality when the right (or wrong) buttons are pushed for that person. The degree and the situation depend on a host of different factors. But I find it important to remember that every single person may only be a few decisions away from the worst of villains. Remembering that helps me make the right decisions based on the ideal of who I want to be, even when I am tempted to be otherwise. No one person has any less capacity for evil than another. Even if it is never realized, it only takes a single moment for a lifetimes worth of integrity to count for nothing. The "sad antagonist backstory" can highlight this thought if done well enough.
     
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  11. 0000000

    0000000 I B SMILING!

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    Sadly, half of the cases I read, it's shit solely because it feels less like trying for a redemption and more like a get-out-of-bad-man-jail-free card by saying that "he is deep and emotionally torn."

    Do it occasionally to give your characters depth is fine, do it at the very last moment just before death feels like a joke.

    I know the term "hero of one end and devil to another", but doing a last minute "he's not a truly bad guy" is always pissy in my view. Like how The World's Best Martial Artist with the antagonistic characters suddenly showing depth before getting bifurcated feel cheap and pointless. Yes I get that most of them have long enough backstories to be in their own books, but would it kill the author to give us some highlights of their lives? There are no pure good or pure evil people, just people.
    Duh, that is (most of) humanity.*

    *overgeneralisation is a sign of edginess.
     
  12. Neiri

    Neiri Well-Known Member

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    Putting backstory is a way to prevent one dimensional character many readers dislike.
     
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  13. 0000000

    0000000 I B SMILING!

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    Yup, that is correct. But the authors should not, I repeat, should not try to shove a last minute backstory aa though someone is having flashbacks nearing death.
     
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  14. Kadmos1

    Kadmos1 Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to the tragic backstory of a villain or antagonist, I would prefer that it be done around the time they are introduced. At least then we might sympathize with them a bit more. If they are around for a while then years later we finally get their back story, that sympathy altogether absent from various readers.
     
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  15. asriu

    asriu fu~ fu~ fu~

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    this cat prefer villain background reveal along the way not one instant~ like Azula from Avatar, from genius transform into insanity~ its not directly said bad, just tid bit here and there and when come final confrontation it just blow up~
    The Joker is good example hmmm the formula of save the cat for hero while beating the dog for villain~ Harleyquin from suicide squad is lazybum~ meh~
    hence execution is important, the way of how it delivered~

    for trivia
    bunch of such stuff exist on many thing
     
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  16. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    I've seen writers inserting these sad backstories to add depth to villains, and it almost never works. The reason is quite simple, villains like any other characters need to have depth in the main body of the story to begin with. Any backstory can only build on what's already been established; trying to create something whole cloth is only going to feel artificial because it doesn't arise naturally. A lot of writers don't get this so it sucks when they try to do this.

    This is theoretically a good idea but it actually isn't. If the villain is one dimensional without the backstory, then adding one isn't going to improve much (and will often make things worse).
     
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  17. The Hamster Overlord

    The Hamster Overlord Mad scientist/Revered wizard/Alleged antichrist

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    Speaking of which, I remember that "one bad day" batman story. It is considered one of the best batman stories so far. Does it excuse Joker? Of course not. But does it humanise him? Give him more dimension as a character? Hell yes.
    So, a sob backstory for a villain doesn't always justify him (her/them/it), but it certainly something that can add to the story.

    Though personally I prefer the villains who are unapologetic for their bad deeds, who revel in their villainy. Just like robots and AI's can be made to closely examine certain qualities of humans, so are pure evil demons of characters.
     
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