Tag Archives: Villain

Villainography: Happiness Is Boring

I don’t have sob stories like all of you. I could sit her and complain how our mom liked Zuko more than me. But I don’t really care. My own mother thought I was a monster . . . She was right of course, but it still hurt.
-Azula, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Episode 3.05: “The Beach”

After quite the hiatus, Villainography continues! Today we’re speaking with ASV Game Editor Brian Pham, who’s going to tell us what qualities he believes makes a good villain, and why he’s superior to me in every way, resulting in Dad loving him more.

Philip: WHAT UP BRO?

Brian: hi . . .

Philip: WELCOME TO VILLAINOGRAPHY.

Brian: thisfeelslikeapoliceinterrogation

Philip: IT IS. *breathes heavily*

Brian: oh.

Philip: So, who is your favorite villain?

Brian: I choose . . . Azula! *slams table* From Avatar: The Last Airbender.

https://i2.wp.com/static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/14/146951/4049016-4734491566-55592.png

Philip: Not from Spongebob Squarepants?

Brian: No?

Philip: Oh. I was hoping we could do this entire interview with Spongebob quotes. I don’t think it’s possible though.

Brian: THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK, BUT IT’S NOT OVER YET!

Philip: No! It’s not! In fact it’s just getting started. So, tell me about Azula.

Brian: She’s like the perfect villain, because of how ruthless she is. In the context of the show, she’s the first real threat. She can bend blue fire, and is the first to lightning-bend. She really raises the stakes.

Philip: So she’s basically the opposite of that loser Mako.

Brian: Yup. And her personality, her character, is a perfect foil to the main character Aang’s, because she controls her friends with fear, whereas Aang has friends because of his compassion.

Philip: M-hm, m-hm.

Brian: And she has the awesome villainous breakdown at the end, too.

Philip: Oh yeah, that was strong stuff.

Brian: Villainous Breakdown is a trope, by the way.

Philip: *exasperated sigh* Noted. Okay, so what would you say to a person who thought that Azula was just a washed-up goody two-shoes?

Brian: She’s not?

Philip: Fair enough. WHAT’S THAT?

Brian: Huh what?

Philip: Nothing, I got distracted. How would you defeat Azula?

Brian: Well, in the show, she was beaten by stripping away her friends and companions.

Philip: Uh-huh.

Brian: So I would befriend her friends and turn them against her. I’d defeat her with Friendship.

Philip: Astounding.

Brian: Right?

Philip: What would you say sets Azula apart from other villains?

Brian: Like I said, probably her ruthlessness. You don’t really know what she’s capable of doing. Kind of. Kind of you don’t know how far she’ll go. Or maybe, it’s that she’s willing to take that extra step that others wouldn’t. Like for example, in Season 1 of Avatar, the Big Bad was Admiral Zhao, and he was kind of a caricature. You never got the sense that he was going to do a huge amount of harm to the main characters. He was there as an antagonist, but he was just a playground bully.

Philip: Right, remember that this is a “kids” show on Nickelodeon.

Brian: Yeah. And then Azula comes a long and you can just kind of feel that this person means business, that she is a person to fear. She’s not typically a character you’d find in a “kids” show.

Philip: Do you think that a villain needs to be feared in order to be “classified” as a villain?

Brian: I don’t think it necessarily has to be fear. I think that’s how Azula did it. I think it’s anything that makes shit fall on the protagonist. And if you’re the cause of that, you’re a villain.

Philip: That’s hot.

Brian: Thanks.

Philip: Why are villains better than heroes!?

Brian: I see what you did there.

Philip: Heh.

Brian: Villains make a story?

Philip: Ooh, and heroes don’t?

Brian: Well. Well no, actually. There was a quote . . . something, something, happy people . . . happy people are happy in the same way, or something like that. It was Tolstoy or something ####### <—(He starts to mumble here and I’m not sure what he’s saying). Basically, happy people are boring.

Philip: I have one more question. Is “heroship” and “villainnessness” a matter of perspective? Because from Azula’s point of view, her dad, the Firelord was a hero, and the Avatar was the villain.

Brian: I’m not sure that was her thought process, though. I think she just delighted in being the bad guy.

Philip: What a gal.

HAIKU TIME:

A bright flash of light
Nature roars her dominance
Reclaiming her child

-Brian Pham, about Azula, from Avatar: The Last Airbender

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: “Azula” by lychi, on Deviantart.

Villainography: At All Times, In All Things

“The fact is that we have no way of knowing if the person who we think we are is at the core of our being. Are you a decent girl with the potential to someday become an evil monster, or are you an evil monster that thinks it’s a decent girl?”

“Wouldn’t I know which one I was?”

“Good God, no. The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.”
-Derek Landy, Death Bringer

Villainography is back! And this week I’m having a chat with ASV Staff Writer and BeepBoxer Tyler M Bauer (M for Mystery).

Wees-naw.

As I did with all the other interviewees, I gave them a couple days head start to get them really thinking about their answers. I asked them all the same preliminary question: “Who is your favorite villain?”

Continue reading Villainography: At All Times, In All Things

Villainography: For the Greater Good

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain . . .
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5

Hamlet, having just been told by the ghost of his father that his uncle, Claudius, killed the King and took his wife, is wrought by grief and anger. He grabs his “tables”–writing pads–to “set it down,” a reminder that anyone could be a villain. They may “smile”–appear to be good–but they are, in truth, under that thin veneer, villainous.

So how do you identify a villain? The last person to ask would be Hamlet, let me tell you, mommy issues aside. Dictionary.com defines the term “villain” as a “cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime,” which is a cruelly and maliciously lacking one-sentence definition for so broad a universal concept as The Villain.

But it got me thinking: what can be done to provide a better understanding of what villains are? Well, as my high school English teacher Mrs. Stegman (aaargh!) would no doubt insist: provide examples. To this end, I’ve rounded up the team at Always Sometimes Villains to talk, 1-on-1, about who their favorite villain is and why, so that we might further uncover the iceberg definition of a villain. First up: Staff Writer and Space Sunday columnist Jeremiah Holland.

Continue reading Villainography: For the Greater Good