Notes from Scum and Villainy panel at Westercon


Scum and Villainy
David Brin
Corry L. Lee
Pierce Ludke
Shoshanna
Robin Hobb
  • Favorite Villains
    • David: Alan Rickman in Die Hard. Pattern: you can give the villain a speech, and he can be fascinating and rationalizing. You can’t give the hero a speech, because it’s alienating.
    • Corry: Dr. Horrible. Sympathetic villain. He wants something.
    • Pierce: Dracula. The Joker. 
    • Shoshanna: Villain as central character. Richard the 3rd. Frankenstein’s Monster.
      • Richard the 3rd: He’s likable and charismatic, but he’s horrible.
    • Robin: Moriarity. Snape. Snape is more interesting than Dumbledore. And sympathetic.
      • Villains are victims of their circumstances.
  • The villain is never the villain in their own story.
  • Tolkien: the elves could be seen as the villains. The victors get to write the propaganda. Soroman could just be viewed as an industrialist who wanted to raise up the proletariat. 
  • Brin: The ability of villains to rationalize. As a writer, you can make the rationalizations almost tempting to reader and to the hero. 
  • Corry; The ends justify the means archetype. As a reader, we can believe that.
  • The villain has less rules guiding their behavior, compared to the hero.
    • We as readers also have rules that govern our behavior, and we like to experience freedom by living vicariously through the villain, who experiences more freedom.
  • Robin: 
    • The Heros, Joe Abercrombie. You see two sides of a two day war. By the end you don’t know who you are going to root for, and no matter which way it goes, it is going to be tragic.
    • Prince of Thorns: does unspeakable things to win, but you come to see his point of view.
  • Book by Anne Pratchette about terrorists who lock japanese businessman in a room, and by the end you are rooting for the terrorists.
  • calling the paid protectors (e.g. 911)
    • the hero doesn’t think to call them
    • the hero calls them but they don’t come
    • they come but they are incompetent
    • they come and their competent, but they are in cahoots with the villain
      • or the villain has framed you
    • and it scales with the threat: in the movie independence day, the entire united states citizens, the u.s. military and police force are all good and all competent, because the threat is so large.
    • the villainy is on a sliding scale, along with the competency of the paid protectors.
      • the villain can ensure the protectors don’t show up.
  • all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing
  • flowers for algernon: there isn’t a villain. it’s the circumstances. fate is the villain.
  • yellow wallpaper
Post a Comment