Oct 22, 2021

Let's Discuss: Morally Gray Villains vs Villains


What prompted today's discussion was when I received a special edition book box that had an item that was directly related to the villain of the story. And I found, I didn't care for it, as I didn't like this villain. Which then had me thinking how do we get to the point where we like our villains? Sure some are morally grey, but others are straight up villainous!

Morally Gray Villains vs Villains

So there's always that villain that will pop up who's actions are questionable. Are they truly villainous? Sure they might be self-serving at times, but in the end...are they really that bad? One character that comes to mine is Jagger from Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series. Yes, he wasn't a hero whatsoever. In fact, I think he was the nemesis to Allie. But we all know how he turned out in the end. He wasn't a prince by any means but he didn't reign evil supreme either.

I'd bring up Leigh Bardugo's The Darkling...but yeah. He's a whole other bag! So many people fall on one side of the love him or kill him stance.

Then you have your villains like Rachel Vincent's Malone, yeah, I'm going totally old school here. Many of you might not have read her Werecats series, it was awesome by the way and it was the catalyst that had this blog come into creation! Hence my choice! Malone was a downright evil and vindictive character. There was zero redeeming qualities about this guy. I just hated him.

But I don't understand when you have a character that is so deplorable...why would you make a specific item of that character? Memorializing them so to speak. I don't know. I know all readers have their different tastes when it comes to books and even the characters within those books. I mean, I remember seeing great divisions when it came a handful of "teams" in YA books. Which guy will the heroine choose...because it was always a girl with two guys she had to pick between. So I guess I can see some readers loving that heinous villain. I just don't.

To me, when you have that downright evil villain with no redeeming qualities...I just don't like them. I want to see them get their comeuppance in the books. I don't necessarily want to have merch that basically shows a kind of pride in representing the series.


What are your thoughts when it comes to the true villains of the story vs the morally gray villains who might not actually be villains at all?

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