So Bad They’re Kinda Good: Best Villains Ever!

Hello, Mr. O.   Today I’m chatting about you to all the J.R. Ward fans out there.  Mr. O is the primary villain in Ward’s novel Lover Awakened.  I was into this villain–one of the best villain’s ever. Why? Because he’s not just a villain, he’s a lover.

This is from page 10 of LOVER AWAKENED:  O hesitated before leaving.  God, he wanted to hold her.  The thought of losing his woman, even in the hypothetical made him mental.  That female vampire…she was his reason for living now.  Not the society.  Not the killing.

“I’m going out, wife, so be good.” He waited.  “I’ll come back soon and then we’ll wash you.” When there was no answer, he said, “Wife?”

O swallowed compulsively.

Even though he told himself he should be a man, he couldn’t make himself leave without hearing her voice. “Don’t send me out with no good-bye.”

Silence.

Pain seeped into his heart, making the love he felt for her soar.  He took a deep breath, the delicious weight of despair settling into his chest.  He thought he’d known love before he’d become a lesser.  He’d thought that Jennifer, the woman he’d fucked and fought with for years, had been special.  But he’d been such a naïve fool.  Now he knew what passion really was.  His captive female was a burning pain that made him feel like a man again.  She was the soul that replaced the one he’d given to the Omega.  Through her he lived, though he was undead.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can, wife.”

Creeeeepy!  He’s so passionate, so into her.  He’s just twenty degrees off kilter though.  So even though his love is true, and passionate, and he lives for her (well, sorta lives) to the point where he seems quite similar in feeling to the warrior-heroes of Ward’s books, yet he’s not headed in the same direction.  Like two diverging lines, O and the heroes may seem very close at first.  Especially in this book where messed-up Zsadist deliberately tries to hurt Bella.  Ward’s warriors always cross the boundaries of our modern rules about love.  So does Mr. O–or David, as he insists Bella call him.  But David O’s emotions take him far, far out into creepy-crawlie land, where Ward’s heroes simply do not go.  His love may be all about that jacked-up place of unthinking impulse (like them), and jealousy (like them), but it’s also about mutual, co-dependent destruction (doh).  The heroes in Ward’s books all find transcendence through love.  O’s ideal love is a violent death spiral downward.

The divergence between him and a hero takes the hero to a happy ending, while Mr. O goes plonk right into a big pile of icky perversity.

And if there’s one thing that I truly love, it’s perversity.

I have to confess, I have a thing for amazing villains.  Mr. O is a true villain in that you do want him stopped, you want him dead.  And he doesn’t quite lay down and die.

Meanwhile, there are those villains that you would never want to die. That you kinda feel a little uncomfortable and wiggly about, especially if you were to fantasize about having to be alone with them.  So though Mr. O is right at the top of my favorite villians list, here are three other favorites below. I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me about some of your favorite villains as well.

Before Allan Rickman played Snape, he stole–just stole–the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie.  Which is ironic because the movie was called Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  Rickman played a very sexy Sheriff of Nottingham.  I’ve never seen a sexy Sheriff of Nottingham before. I mention him first because it was watching him in this movie that I realized a villain could take you places that the hero couldn’t.

He got all the good lines, too.  He finds out what Robin Hood’s been up to and says: “Wait a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it? That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.

When he tells Gisborne to cut out Robin Hood’s heart with a spoon, and Gisborne says: “Wait, why a spoon? Why not an axe?”  Rickman’s Sheriff replies, “Because it’s DULL you twit.  It will hurt more.”

He also exudes really awesome sexual chemistry like you wouldn’t believe.  This is mainly because he’s so in-your-face baaaaaaad.  He commands a hottie kitchen wench: You. My room. 10:30 tonight.

Which is like, you know, forced seduction.  She doesn’t have a say.  But then the wench looks so hot at the prospect that her shorter wench companion looks kinda wistful.  It all happens in a flash, but then Rickman’s Sheriff notices the second wench.  Looking her over he says: You. 10:45…And bring a friend. He’s supposed to be a bad guy and mistreating them, but the movie screen almost gets wavy lines from the heated charge coming from him.

This is the point at which all the women watching the movie start to rationalize about this very big bad boy. See, (the woman movie watcher says to herself) he’s not that bad.  He’s smart. He used to be compassionate, letting lepers have kitchen scraps, and the people have Christmas.  And like, he’ll even have sex with the less attractive wench.   I think that Rickman works about 3/4 of his magic with that amazing voice of his and the delivery of his lines. The rest is sheer charisma and confident mojo. (Drool.)

The final two villains that deserve a nomination for Good Bad Villains are Angelus from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Spike, ditto.  Angel when he was bad was sooooooo good!

Angelus: Spike, my boy, you really don’t get it, do you? You tried to kill her, but you couldn’t. Look at you. You’re a wreck! She’s stronger than any Slayer you’ve ever faced. Force won’t get it done. You gotta work from the inside. To kill this girl … you have to love her.

I mean, that line just slays me, no pun intended. Again, there’s a complicated mix of emotion there at the heart of him.  Yum! The best part was the way he’d always turned Buffy’s “we all die alone” tragedy-jane sensibility back on her to outwit her.  He fights with her and when it’s a draw, points out that because she’s gone after him so single-mindedly, that she’s left her friends unprotected.  She sprints away to save them as he calls out, “And again, you always think it’s about you.”

Of course, Spike was simply amazing. He, too, is every bit as much a lover as he is a hater.  He says, “I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”

Fantastic villains always cut through societal rules.  They don’t posture; they show who they are through action.  Maybe that’s why I love them so.

An excellent villain is smart, honest to the point where it hurts, and he is supremely confident.  He’s exciting because you never know what he’s going to do next.  He may know us better than we know ourselves.  He is that perverse flip-side of the hero.  He could have gone so right, and just didn’t quite make it.

The brilliance with Mr. O is that Ward created such a layered, textured villain whether she meant to or not.  He feels deeply, he hurts, and yet he doesn’t pity himself or live in the past.  He’s really sick–make no mistake–there’s no redeeming him.  But in that part of him that wants passion and wants love and to feel strong emotion there is a kernel of humanity that’s in all of us.  This is what makes him so compelling to read about.

Meanwhile, LOVER’S AWAKENING is really supposed to be about the love story between Zsadist and Bella.  Zsadist (sigh) has a lot of demons from the past to fight inside himself.  Bella–she rocks it out.  She knows she wants to ride the big bad boy, knows it’s perverse, and she really doesn’t care.  So you like watching her do a little bad boy taming.  She’s amazing.   Worthy of a villain like Mr. O.

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4 thoughts on “So Bad They’re Kinda Good: Best Villains Ever!

    1. Yeah, the only time I had to read them was at night. I kept wondering if it would effect my dreams too. 🙂 Instead of bad dreams though, the only thing that happened was each night I had an incredible yen to say “Goodnight male of worth,” to my DH before turning out the light.

    1. Bella is a great heroine in this one. I could write another blog post or two about how J.R. Ward shows Bella responding to her lesser lover, but you should probably just read the book! ;>

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