Here is my problem with a lot of fiction stories: the main character is flawless. And I do mean flawless. And the antagonist is just one big walking flaw of evil glop.
They are almost always some goody-goody-letter-of-the-law-absolutely-beautiful people who can never knowingly do anything wrong. It’s seriously just about always Good versus Evil – and the Good is too good and the Evil is too evil.
I mean, come on. You cannot tell me that evil beings don’t know how to do good things, or that they can’t love anything.
If you ask me, evil beings probably love more than their good counterparts. Just take a look at Anakin Skywalker. He didn’t evolve into Darth Vader and then become evil. He was absolutely capable of love — a deep, true love that consumed him in its passion. And this love directly led to evil acts. Not because he was being tricked or manipulated, and not because he didn’t know better. But because he loved too much.
And to me, that would be the ultimate evil. Someone like Darth Vader who had nothing else to lose because he had already lost (err… destroyed) everything he loved. Unlike Darth Plagueis or Lord of the Rings’ Melkor, both of whom are portrayed as being evil and seeking conquest throughout their entire existence. They never had anything to lose to begin with because they never loved anything.
Which leads me to my next point – the bad guy doesn’t always have to be so bad. Just look at the past few presidential elections to see what it looks like when you have to choose between the lesser of two evils. Sometimes, it’s not always so easy to define the bad guy.
Maybe this is why my main characters in Heir of Elendri are all varying shades of Evil. Liars, manipulators, murderers, slave owners, kidnapping, human sacrifice (of a child no less)… any combination therein – I’ve pretty much covered them all. And yet, you’ll find that just like Anakin, these characters are not devoid or incapable of love.
Rather, they love too much.
Does that mean that love is evil? No, that’s not where I’m headed here. But the amount of feeling and emotion required to love that much – it’s that level of passion that would be required to try to conquer the world. Just as it would be required to give your parachute over to someone else in a crashing plane… you probably couldn’t do it just by liking someone a whole lot. You’d need that deep, consuming, exploding level of passion that only comes from love.