Dear Literary Villain: The Truth Is…

Dear Literary Villain,

 How could you? I was simply trying to enjoy the top novel on my TBR pile (it’s gotten a bit out of hand), and there you appear—a dark blot on the crisp, white page. Surely the clean, descriptive writing of my favorite author would have been absolutely flawless if it weren’t for you. I mean, after all, aren’t books supposed to transport you in time and space, lead you to try new things, and leave you with an overall enjoyable experience?

Not so, it seems. For you, Dear Villain, have spoiled the story entirely. Your manipulative, divisive actions have put my protagonist in quite a predicament. Truly. You insist on making it increasingly difficult for my favorite character to find a happy place in this newfound story world, and I may be so inclined as to close the volume altogether. I hope you’re satisfied with yourself.

 Sincerely,

Discontented Reader

***

Do you ever feel this way? I know I do. I’m not one of those people that enjoys the pain and suffering of the characters I love. I want to see a happy ending, and I just can’t take the pain and heartache!  There. I said it. It seems like every time I get attached to a main character in a brand new novel, the villain makes his way onto the page; and all I want to do is skip to the next triumphant moment for my girl.

Really. Villains. Who needs them?

*Wouldn’t Lucy be better off if there was no White Witch?

*Couldn’t Scout be happier if there were no Bob Ewell?

*What would Sarah’s life look like if Duke had never named her Angel?

*Where would Adele von Braun be if she had never crossed paths with the Third Reich?

*How free could Nym be if she were never sold to Adora?

*Would Carrington Hale be content with her status in life if there were no Isaac Knight?

*What could have happened if Havah never answered the compliment of a serpent?

Havah.

Serpent.

Eve.

Now it’s starting to make sense to me. Do you see it too? Villains are always going to be there. There’s always going to be evil in the world—real or literary—but in the dark, the light shines brighter. In the midst of evil, the truth is easier to see. I love this truth that prevails in Christian fiction—God’s Word and God’s people always win over the enemy. Yes, we may lose a few battles, but God always wins the war.

 In the process, every main character becomes stronger, more determined, and dearer to our hearts. It’s like that Scripture that says,

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” 

(Romans 12:9b, BibleGateway.com)

I love, love, love my evil-fighting, truth-bearing main characters (even if it takes them a few chapters to find the right path). They make me love them even more when they’re up against an enemy—it makes the story deeper and the truth shine brighter.

So guess what, Literary Villain?

The truth is, I love to hate you!

Now, how about you? What characters do you love more because they had to face an enemy? What stories do you love most because of the light shining against the darkness? Let us know in the comments below!

  

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