I’ve never been the kind of person who’s drawn to the villain. I get the appeal–really, I do–but with a few exceptions I’m not interested in understanding the villain’s perspective. That’s not to say I don’t love a good motivation, nor that I don’t enjoy villains (someday I’ll write about how excellent Rita Skeeter is), only that I’m not overly fond of stories that seek to absolve a bad person of any wrongdoing by showing how they’re secretly wounded or actually worthy of my sympathy, not my scorn.
There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part I’m just not interested in the but-he’s-just-troubled serial killer, nor the didn’t-get-enough-attention-as-a-child abuser. We all have darkness to us, but that doesn’t absolve us of personal responsibility. The same is true of villains–they’re villainous not because of what they’ve endured, but because of what they’ve chosen to do. We can’t control our pasts, but we can certainly control our actions.
Villains are interesting, and having a multidimensional one is often the key to a great conflict. But maybe I’m just not good enough at forgiving to appreciate the stories where he was good all along, really, if only I’d just taken the time to get to know him.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(a.) from Latin scelus, wickedness
Asa is born with two crooked fingers, one on each hand, and her destiny is sealed before she wails with her first breath.
One crooked finger signifies wealth, two evil. She wears her evilness in front of everyone, and they treat her accordingly.
Most are fearful, some cruel. It isn’t until she gets older that she realizes the effect is much the same. By the time she’s grown, she has no time for it and moves from her city to one miles away, where people with crooked fingers run shops, shine shoes, and sell flowers to passerby with a smile.