Saturday, January 21, 2006

Really Stupid Badguys

We have all read them. You know, The Evil Overlord Rules. Or if you have not read them, then you would do very well to do so. That is, especially if you intend to write a novel in which you will insert an evil character who fills the function of some sort of overlord. I am sorry to inform you that the author of a very popular series somehow forgot to read these important rules before setting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. That author is none other than J. K. Rowling the creator of one of the stupidest badguys ever: Lord Voldemort. Now I will tell you what I really think.

Voldemort broke innumerable Overlord Rules beginning in the first book. His greatest mistake is his propensity to explain his entire plan to Harry every time he meets up with him. This explanation always lasts several pages and wastes valuable readers' time. In the end, of course, it costs Voldemort a lot of unnecessary pain.

Another chronic problem of Voldemort's is his inability to estimate his enemies. He always thinks they're the stupid ones. You would think he would learn at some point because he keeps getting his plans messed up in the same way. I mean, he was the nincompoop who created his own worst enemy from the beginning. Furthermore, he assumes that he has the upper hand in every situation, thus verifying his own idiocy. It's as if he thinks that no one could possibly be smarter than him despite constant reminders that this is not, in fact, true. At the end of Year 2, Voldemort forgets that Pheonix tears can heal wounds. For crying out loud, a really old wizard with lots of schooling and he forgets something that obvious? I mean, even kids knew that! He did no research whatsoever into the types of magic that could put a halt to his activities. What kind of a badguy would forget the importance of comprehending his enemies? His stupidity often makes me wonder how Voldemort got as far as he did anyway. It could not have been on his own merit. Ah, it must be the contrivances of an author who forgot to read "The Evil Overlord Rules."

I confess that I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series. I read all six current books inside a month's time, so I get them confused a bit. But I did enjoy them. They are brain candy. Harry is a superb little hero. He's the chief reason to enjoy the books. I mean, the kid is surprisingly brave and nice and treats people well. He has a difficult time getting past his dislikes for people who hate him, but other than that, he's admirable. Voldemort on the other hand, is the downside to the books.

I believe that in writing a goodguy should always be more complex than a badguy. That is because in real life the good is most often more complex and interesting than the bad. The same goes for people. Good people have more depth and have often been through more trials, or have allowed those trials to turn them out in a different way than your ordinary criminal. They have a totally different attitude toward life that is a far more interesting study. However, in this case, I am not asking that the villain be complex. I just wish he were intelligent. Even semi-intelligent would do. An IQ of say, 60. That'd be fine. But he does not even have that! You know, the guy could have at least read Machiavelli's "The Prince." He does not have to have read "Discourses on Livy," just "The Prince." Everyone has heard of or read that. But no. It's better by far that Voldemort be so stupid as to make a mockery of even James Bond baddies.

At least the guy who plays him in the fourth movie did a decent job turning him into an almost James Bond worthy villain. I am sorry to say that I am not looking forward to more Voldemort scenes in the 7th book.

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