I remember the time when I used to fall firmly on the side of the 'heroes'. The 'white hats'. You know - before. Before I started sympathizing with the villain. Before I started finding them fascinating. Before I started actually liking them - sometimes more than the hero.
The question is, where would the story be without a good villain? There's this saying: villains act; heroes react.
In most stories, villains are the driving force behind - well - everything. Where would the Beast be without the villain? (Okay, that might not be the best example…) He surely wouldn't have met Beauty, though! How about Cinderella without the Evil Stepmother? Probably never even wanted to go to the ball.
One of my favorite things about retellings is how the villains can change. Maybe they were irredeemable in the original - but now they're a big teddy bear. (But shh. They still don't want it to get out.) Or, now they're the love interest. (Scarlet, anyone?)
While the heroes get their (much needed, usually) character development, the villains get a chance to show what they're truly made of too. Maybe they're as irredeemably evil as they first appeared. Maybe they have a history, a past (a Freudian Excuse, if you will). Maybe they are simply misunderstood (and face it, they generally are).
For a tv show that does villains right, check out Once Upon A Time. Sure, all their villains start out delightfully villainous, but after time, character development and the advent (sometimes) of their own true love, they start looking a lot more like people and a lot less like 'evil villains'.
It's easy enough for me to say why I started liking villains in all stories (so much more interesting and, dare I say, cool than the heroes) but in fairy tales, it's a little different. A lot of the villains in fairy tales, at least the Disney versions that I've seen, are female - and they are so much more gutsy and proactive than the damsels that are our 'heroines'.
Villains: Are they all that bad? Article in The Washington Post has some interesting things to say about this.
Want to find out which fairy tale villain you are? (And, honestly now, who doesn't want to know?) Check out this fun, quick little quiz over at quizsocial. Which Fairy Tale Villain Are You? (Me? I was The Big Bad Wolf. ;))