Nefarious Tales Blog Tour: Do we actually need villains in books?


There’s no denying that often, villains can be the most interesting and readable character in a book. Although being sometimes frustrating by getting in the hero’s way, I think a well crafted villain can really make or break a book. Specifically in fantasy, there’s often a bad guy who doesn’t want to help our hero in their journey. But are villains critical for every book?

A boring villain doesn't emotional impact. If they come across as cold and heartless (for pretty much no specific reason), their mere existence in the book can be pointless. Like, if they just hate the ‘right cause’, there seems to be no point in them, and it gets frustrating. Personally, if I’m not able to resonate with the villain, I can’t hate them or understand them, as they’re just too dull.

However, this tends to just be in fantasy or sci-fi books. In fantasy especially, the hero has to go on a journey, and the bad guy is standing in their way. In these genres, I think we definitely do need something to hinder them on their journey. If it was easy with no one standing in their, it would make a pretty boring book!

Could a mental hurdle work too? I haven’t read any books like this, but I’m thinking that the character could have something else that gets in their way - not a specific person or group of people. The hero could have a mental illness which they need to overcome (yay diversity ideas!), which would make a very interesting fantasy novel. Maybe depression could be the villain?

This is explored a lot more in contemporary novels. Although there can be someone who is getting in the way of the protagonist, mental boundaries are explored a lot more. One of my favourite books exploring these themes is Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne. The protagonist, Evie, is recovering from OCD, and just starting college. Her mental illnesses are great boundaries for her, because she it restricts her and can’t live her life ‘normally’. This book is so important because it’s about overcoming mental struggles. In this book, there is no villain, except her OCD.

This leads on to saying: instead of a physical villain, could the protagonist be their own villain. There’s the saying “you’re your own worst enemy”, and maybe that could be the case (and in more books than we think) for some books. At some point in their life, everyone suffers from low self esteem, which can be so much worse than any villain from any book.

So overall, it seems like many fantasy books do have villains, even if they’re not necessarily needed. I think maybe we do need some sort of bad thing/person the protagonist has to overcome, but it doesn’t have to be a physical person, even though that’s what it tends to be. It would make interesting variety for the protagonist to be facing mental demons though! 

To celebrate this blog tour, Mishma is hosting an international giveaway! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Don't forget to check out all the other stops on the blog tour! Today, you can visit:
Quality Fangirls
Paging Serenity
Chasing Faerytales to check out the other posts on the tour from today!!

Don't forget to join in the twitter chat tonight (7pm EST) about villains too.

Thank you to Mishma for hosting this blog tour! So, it's your turn: do you think we actually need villains in books?

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