Of course, villains in real life suck. They’re not nearly as juicy or attractive as the movies make them seem, played by magnetic and attractive actors and actresses brimming with sexual heat, seductive with voices like velvet. I’m a very aural person. Tell me Jeremy Irons purring through Scar’s lines in The Lion King doesn’t do it for you. Or Gary Oldman accessing his deeper register for Dracula in soft-core erotic Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
It doesn’t hurt that most villains are unconventional people, typed as characters who deviate from established norms. (Take the Disney villain, who is most often a deviation from sexual and gender norms.) They also tend to be INTJs, so I can relate. Don’t worry, I’m occasionally Snapish, but I’m not villainous by nature—quite the opposite. I’m way too empathetic.
There’s a freedom to fictional villainy, though. A freedom to casting aside the chains of conventionality or caring what the rest of the world thinks of you. A freedom to living within your own set of rules instead of being a hypocrite pretending to follow the ones pounded into you since birth. Villains appeal to the frustrated nihilist in me. Living within them through the fictional worlds in which I immerse myself makes up for the meekness and obedience in which I engage in the rest of my life.
The thing about villains, though, is that they’re fun for protagonists to take a vacation from reality with, but in erotic romance, their love burns hot, fierce, and unfortunately fast before it becomes too hot to handle—love transformed into something hard, cruel, perhaps obsessive lust—what was called “love’s dark pretender” in Orton’s musical version of Dracula. The villain is always vanquished, and to the hero or heroine goes the spoils.
But don’t villains ever get the love?