So, "Sympathetic Villain". What's up with the name of this blog anyway? I'll be honest, it came to me in a flash and I went with it. I thought about it afterward and decided that it was more appropriate than I first thought. The sympathetic villain, in my mind, is one of the most interesting and compelling characters in Western culture. An example:
Satan: Until John Milton, Satan was a bugbear used to frighten Christian children and adults into behaving "properly." After Paradise Lost and Mick Jagger, Satan became something else, something much more interesting and (strangely) sympathetic.
The Story as I See It
You're Lucifer, Bearer of Light, beloved of the creator god, and a shining example (literally) of angeldom. One day, Dad makes something new, hyper-evolved chimpanzees, which are currently flinging their own poo, but Dad thinks they have potential. Dad is so taken with his new toys that he decides his firstborn, the angels, should bow down to mankind. Your older brother Michael, Sword of Heaven, is the first one to kowtow to the poo-flingers. After all, Dad said to do it. Dad says fly, Michael asks "To which Celestial Sphere?" You think about it, get pissed off, and decide maybe Dad's not all he's cracked up to be. Maybe the Board of Directors needs to put in a new CEO. You throw out some seditious memes to your buds, some other angels you are pretty sure are grumbling over the direction the Boss is taking the company. You eventually gather a third of the entire Host to your banner and you go for it. You are up against an omnipotent, omniscient being that knew all of your plans already and was completely prepared for your little anarchist rebellion, and not surprisingly, you lose. You and your rebels are cast into the Pit (you weren't wondering why there was a Pit sitting around unused?) and you decide it is "better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." Then you spend the next 4004 years plotting how to show up the poo-flinging humans in front of Dad.
Byron sympathized with Satan, Jagger sympathized with him, and I'm pretty sure Eric Kripke and Ben Edlund of Supernatural have a soft spot for Old Nick too. I know I do. In the story of the War in Heaven, I am on the side of the angels, the Fallen Angels.
P.S. My intention is to profile and examine villains of all stripes, from literature, film, culture, etc., but will also be using this as a personal blog for self-expression of various kinds. So don't be surprised to find my attempt at mythological cinquains, or a serial story, or just a plain old web rant, gracing the "pages." Do offer suggestions for other villains you consider sympathetic, so I don't always have to come up with my own ideas.