Delivery Fangirl [6]: Tragic Backstory Does Not Excuse Villainy

Delivery Fangirl is an original blog feature on The Devil Orders Takeout, featuring questions from my favourite books and movies, preferred headcanons, and the importance of diversity.

All girls want bad boys. Right? RIGHT?

Erm, no.

Aimee Meester has written a post about the issue of the bad boy love interest. Let me make this clear first, though: it's okay to like these "bad boy" characters, despite their problematic portrayal. It's absolutely okay to acknowledge they are hot and charismatic (because that's how they are portrayed) so long as you don't gloss over the issues which Aimee discusses amazingly.

That's sort of where fandom, un-abbrv. fanatic domain, tends to slip.

Repeat after me: tragic backstory does not excuse villainy. Tragic backstory does not excuse villainy.

As a writer, I love to explore backstory. I'm really heavy on the nurture side of the nature vs nurture debate. I think that backstory, and by extension motivation, is a great way of deepening characterisation. And I love it when characters in media I consume are similarly justified in their actions. Villains I can understand are the best kind of villains.

However, many fandoms take these (often hugely attractive) "bad boy" characters and justify their immoral actions on basis of their tragic backstory. And while backstory can explain villainous actions, I don't believe it can excuse villainy.

Example no. 1: Loki (of the MCU)

I don't think there's anyone who embodies this phenomenon better than Loki. He appears to be our classic world dominator, but he is also jaw-droppingly gorgeous. And with all the issues of adoption and Odin's A+ parenting, it's quite clear what set him on his villainous path.

And a significant portion of the fandom desperately wants him to be on the good side. (Me, I prefer him as a villain, but that's because I'm me.) Unfortunately, fanfiction often redeems him too easily, pseudo-incesty relationship with Thor optional.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. A quick reminder of what Loki has done:
  • let Frost Giants in during Thor's coronation (and this was before knowing he was adopted)
  • set a Destroyer on Thor and his friends and the civilians of Puente Antiguo
  • froze the awesome Heimdall
  • brainwashed the awesome Hawkeye
  • sort-of killed the awesome Coulson
  • set a Chitauri army on Earth
  • did gods know what to Odin and took his throne
Loki may be the God of Mischief, but his MCU personality revels in villainy and chaos and murder, not simple mischief. And being adopted, and kept as a diplomatic bargaining chip, and years of bullying — that calls for therapy, not mass murder.

Example No. 2: Anakin Skywalker (spoilers for prequels)

I'm gonna be honest here, I prefer Ewan McGregor. x
So, let's take a look at Anakin's backstory. He spent nine years in slavery, never saw his mum after that, forced to keep his marriage a secret, and probably did feel restrained by the stagnating Jedi Council. I don't deny all of that.

But instead of, I don't know, talking to the Council, yelling at Obi-Wan, or even just eloping with Padme, he decides to go ahead and destroy the Jedi Order. And he didn't just lash out against the Masters.

If you say that the Jedi's treatment were responsible for Anakin's fall, you also say that every single Jedi (give or take a few) deserved to be murdered for it.

I get that the Emperor is a powerful Sith. I don't get that the Anakin Skywalker who chafed against the Jedi's every rule suddenly became the Darth Vader who carried out the Emperor's every command. And that is why Anakin apologists will have to do without my vote.

I always thought he was cooler as Darth Vader, anyways.

Example No. 3: Snape (spoilers for the series)

*rubs hands* And I suppose this part will be the most controversial. And yes, I know that book!Snape is not exactly attractive, but Alan Rickman is, 99% of the fandom has watched the movies, and this is an issue with fandom, not readership.

I once got into an intense Twitter debate about whether Snape truly loved Lily Evans. I maintain that he harboured genuine feelings for her, but the last time I checked, love doesn't mean joining the enemy organisation of your supposed beloved, sort-of pleading for her life from a pretty obvious psychopath, and spending the next two decades being actively abusive towards supposed beloved's child.

Like, I seriously hope Lily hits him very, very hard in the afterlife for being such a jerk.

Again, bullying and rejection call for therapy. It does not call for joining a suspiciously KKK-ish organisation. That said, I do suspect Snape may be a decent teacher. The really really good teachers are never nice, to be honest.

Not that we'll ever know, because the series follows Harry Potter and where Harry Potter goes, education does not happen.

Counter-example: Littlefinger (spoilers for his plotline in the series)

In many ways, Littlefinger is very similar to Snape. We're never sure whose side he's on, he loved a red-haired gorgeous badass lady who married someone else, he was trusted by some protagonists (*cough*NedStark*cough*), and he ends up protecting said lady's child in a very twisted way.

Littlefinger is also very clearly a villain in the way Snape never was. Even if Aidan Gillen is quite charismatic in his portrayal of Petyr Baelish.

Despite their similarities, they are still very different characters with different roles in different books. But pretty much the whole fandom is united in that Littlefinger has to go, and this, I think, is why ASOIAF marked me so much as a reader. Love doesn't conquer all; some monsters are made and not born.

What are your thoughts on gorgeous villains with tragic backstories? Have you ever fangirled over them? Be honest, now.

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  1. At least for me, tragic backstories never excuse a bad guy, but like you said at the very beginning, they explain a bad guy, and that always makes me so excited. Like, it could be these four people you mentioned (I KNOW ALL OF THEM *fist pump*) or it could be someone like Batman's Joker who is undeniably evil, or Prince Humperdinck or even a Disney villain—what really makes me interested is WHY they do the things they do even though the things they do are still wrong. Sometimes they think they are morally justified (I'd categorize Anakin and Snape in that category) and sometimes they are just surfing that evil wave (which I'd argue is closer to Loki) (note: who knows why Petyr Baelish does anything?).

    That being said, I think ALL of your arguments are right. Okay, scratch that. You say Loki "did gods know what to Odin and took his throne" but I guess since that was the very last scene of the very last time we've seen Loki it's hard to say? Because I always interpreted that Odin had to take like a bathroom break or something and Loki was like "Well even though I am evil I will do something nice for Thor and also it will probably make Odin mad so score one for me." But it could be sinister, too. I guess, on that one, I feel like we don't know yet, so we should keep our eyes open.

    The rest of the things you listed—and Snape, especially Snape, thank you for doing Snape, I hate that people love Snape so much—are completely spot-on, in my opinion. Admittedly, Anakin had a touch of destiny screw up his life, so on, so forth, but overall, no. Tragic backstories do not excuse villains.

    That does not mean I cannot fangirl over them incessantly. <3

    1. Oh yeah, I think that to some extent every villain has to have a motivation other than "do evil things to the hero" in some way. It could be that they just don't see a problem, but then I need to claw open their head and see all the maggots. But the maggots don't mean that they don't bear responsibility for what they're doing, unless they're literal maggots and I'm looking at a zombie's brain and in that case I should really stop looking and also stop ranting here.

      Littlefinger is just confusing, which probably means his Westeros domination plan is succeeding.

      Eh, true, I'm not sure how to view that scene. We'll see in Ragnarok, I guess. And I like Snape as well, but I like him evil, not the redemption fics I see everywhere. *huffs* Fangirling is fine, really, so long as you're aware of the issues and don't trample over them.


    Odin's A+ parenting hahaha Yes, yes, yes, fiiiiiiiiine. So maybe Loki's actions are NOT OKAY. But puppy eyes can be confusing, okay? I blame Hiddleston.

    Seriously though, I LOVE this post, and I absolutely agree. Especially about Snape. It's NOT okay to bully children, especially when you're in a position of power over them. And it's not like he "just" bullied Harry and you can "excuse" it with his hatred of Harry's father - he also bullies Neville and favors his house over others (though I guess the Slytherins could use a bit of a break after everyone hating them out of principle). Yes, his actions are sort of understandable considering the way he grew up, and yes, he has a VERY stressful job as a spy and constantly endangered his own life, but it doesn't excuse everything. I'm torn on whether he would be a good teacher - on the one hand it definitely seemed like he knew his stuff, but on the other hand he didn't really have the pedagogical skills needed to actually TEACH CHILDREN. Grrrr. I'm also fairly sceptical when it comes to his love for Lily, because while they did actually have a past together, he barely knew her as an adult (or teenager, I guess, since she didn't get to be very old). If someone who knew me when I was 13 said and who I haven't been close with in years said they loved me I'd be just a tiiiiiiny bit doubtful. I'm such a different person now than I was then, that it'd be a bit of a stretch.

    Then again, I can't really talk. I love stories that redeem Draco, but at least he was a teenager in a difficult situation when he was being an asshole and not an adult over 30. Also, Tom Felton is pretty rad. Um.

    Getting back to Loki (because why not), I loved how they used his character in Thor 2. I like chaotic neutral characters that pick and choose sides based on the situation over anything else, and I feel like they went more in that direction with him than in the other two movies. I loved that he was on Thor's side again for a short while (and all the brotherly bickering - hilarious), but that doesn't mean that he'll be on his side next time.

    With Anakin it's really just kind of inexcusable. I mean I get it, you're in pain - but did you really NEED to murder all those children? And, you know, EVERYONE. You're right, Darth Vader is much cooler. Even if he is totally whipped.

    1. I forgot Bealish! And may I briefly say that I also know all characters and am also proud of myself? :D

      He didn't exactly "protect" Sansa, but he certainly is hard to read sometimes. He kind of makes me shudder, but he's certainly an interesting character and much more dangerous than I thought at first.

      In general, I think the villains that you UNDERSTAND, but whose actions you can't really excuse are the best.

      But mainly I just love people, who are ambiguous and who COULD be the villain if they took one step in the wrong direction, but who could also turn out to be on the "good" side. I ESPECIALLY love villains who are only villains because of the circumstances of the story. For example, if you told Age of Ultron from someone else's story, Tony might be the villain and the twins might be the heroes, who had tragic things happen to them and then struggled to find their place in the world. Oh, I'd also argue Snape isn't really a villain in HP, but more of an ambiguous character (but I still don't really like him).

    2. Oh my goodness, thank you SO MUCH for your super detailed comment because it really made my day.

      Oh, I'm the hugest Loki fangirl too. It's just that I realise it's not okay for us to gloss over his crimes, and in fact acknowledge that he is doing something wrong. (I do love villain!Loki so much more than redeemed!Loki.) That's not to say there aren't good redemption fics out there -- there are, and that goes for Snape too. But so often we of the fandom just toss out everything for our fangirling, and sometimes that's not okay.

      Well, Baelish did help Sansa escape from the Lannisters, and book!Littlefinger did not make a REALLY STUPID MISTAKE that TV!Littlefinger did. *glares at D&D* sansa stark for queen 2k15

      Oh yeah, morally ambiguous heroes are better than morally ambiguous villains almost always. I mean, we can take pleasure in reading about all-out villains like Sidious and Umbridge, but Canon Sues are just sad.

  3. Fabulous, fabulous post. I agree 100%. It's common in movies, and epidemic in YA novels. Just because a character is beautiful, doesn't make them worthwhile. We like to point it out about female characters, I think, but guys often slip under our radars.
    Tolkien has a lovely bit in the Silmarillion, when Sauron was first solidifying his influence. He deceives the elves into helping him make the ring, and it works because he is wise, and BEAUTIFUL.
    Again, awesome post!

    1. Oh yeah, several YA novels are suffering from this issue -- the meh ones and even the ones everyone rave about. (Fortunately, the book blogs out there keep us straight.) Oh yeah, I hadn't even noticed my list was all male! Great point there -- true, beautiful women can be utterly horrible people, but so can beautiful men and ugly women and ugly men and so-so men and women and everyone in between or off the psectrum. *nodnod*

      OH YES THAT WAS GLORIOUS. I did love the Silmarillion. Thanks for dropping by, Rebekah!

  4. oooh, this post. I like.

    I have to admit, I love a good villain. BUT. I love a villain who isn't portrayed as a villain. I believe in antagonists. Books where people are outright evil just annoy me. (Erm, I promise my book deals with this better SOON. Gah.>_<) Like I hate Little Finger so so much, but I think he's complex and interesting and he wants things so he goes and gets them. He's also a sick creep, but yeah. I do love tragic backstories and bad boys, but I like REASONS. I like them to not be 100% evil hearted.

    And I hate Snape. IF YOU ARE A BULLY THERE IS ZERO REDEMPTION. I especially hate how he's cruel/unfair to children. That's age discrimination. Erghhhhhh.

    1. awk, thank you.

      Oh, yeah. Basically all my so-called villains become "antagonists" at a point. (My "heroes" were always only "protagonists".) And ahaha, yeah, I just emailed you my comments but don't freak about the Maestro. Littlefinger is a really fabulous character but he is not a fabulous person and I would run away if I see him. Reasons are great, but they're not excuses, you get me?

      I really can't believe Dumbledore gave him a teaching post? I mean sure he can be the lab tech and he'd probably be fantastic at it, but if you want him to be a teacher please pack him off to one of those places where you learn to educate people without being mean.

  5. THIS THIS THIS A THOUSAND TIMES THIS. I'm extremely glad you mentioned Snape because so many people like him and I just...what? I'm very skeptical of this "love" of his in the first place...and basically everything everyone else has said. There's no excuse for some things, even if they "had a good reason" or whatever they hit you with later. I want to appreciate a villain as a villain, not be made to feel sorry for them. Excellent post.

    1. THANK YOU AIMEE (for bringing this up in the first place and your very kind words) I do like Snape, I admit, and I'm not against a good Snape-centric fic. I have even been known to peripherally enjoy Lily/Snape works, but those were the ones that acknowledged he was an absolutely git. Non-villain antagonists are made by the actions of a morally ambiguous character, not villains with an excuse.

  6. WHAT AN AMAZING POST ALYSSA, I honestly think I can just stop right there because this post is amazeballs.

    I think the only villain that I truly appreciated was The Joker, because he's so darn twisted and his backstory has led him to that position. I don't find him hot, but I can appreciate his character a whole lot more because I love the way he's written.

    With the villains you've provided though, I can't say all that much about them because I never did once fangirl over them. I hated Snape, and even with his sob story at the end, I couldn't help but maintain a small portion of hate because of his hateful actions towards Harry and co. Seriously, what kind of behaviour was that, especially from a teacher ugh. My friend actually loved him and believed in him all the way through, which, good for her - but at the end of the day, he was still a bully. He knows what it was like to be bullied and therefore should not repeat this on others.

    Loki is definitely charming, but honestly I find more annoying than fangirl-worthy haha.

    Brilliant post Alyssa!


      The Joker is really fun. I mean I would not fangirl over him like I do Loki, but I would just be like 'OMG THAT WAS MINDBENDING MAKE THAT EXPLODE AGAIN' because dangit, he is well-written.

      I liked Snape sort of? I mean, I sympathised with him, but I reread the past books and it was still "what a jerk" for me. I do admire his part in the fight against Voldemort, but I can't admire his character. Just: therapy. not Death Eaters.

  7. Oh my god I LOVE THIS POST. And also agreed on all of your choices of characters, I do not understand Loki or Snape love. I mean, I love the actors that play them, but the fictional people themselves? They are all kind of horrid and require therapy. Some readers seem to cast them in a really positive light and while I can understand wanting their redemptions, forgetting about the awful things they did is exactly the kind of selective reading I find grating. Same with Draco Malfoy, to a lesser degree, because he never committed any grave sins - but how fangirls have spun a dark, broody hero out of a spoiled brat astounds me.

    1. THANK YOU AENTEE. I do fangirl over Loki, but I do not think he's good or anything approaching that -- quite the opposite, I fangirl over him because he's a villain and he is better than so many of the heroes. (not all of them, though.) The real issue is what you said about positifying (making up words there, haha) them -- redemption fics are possible but they should not be EASY. The painful ones can work.

      Draco ... eh. I do admire the Malfoys' dedication to one another and I do believe at some point Draco would've started trying to make amends. So I'm not against second-gen semi-nice Draco fics, but only semi. He is still a Slytherin.

  8. You did a really great job of drawing the line. By that I mean, backstories are important to understand, even sympathise with a villain, but it's not an excuse for their actions. When you said that, I was like YEP. Explains villains perfectly. :)

    I love all of the above characters (except for Littlefinger who I'm not familiar with) as villains. The fact that Anakin went desperate out of love for Padme and suffered the loss of his mother is no excuse to whip out your lightsaber and murder people. Also, he hurt Padme, the very person he was obsessed with protecting. Shows how far gone he was.

    On the other hand, Snape's backstory didn't really make me pity him. All I saw was a "aw, I'm stuck in the friendzone" boy who chased after Lily even though she said no multiple times. And he took his jealousy for James out on Harry. Boo hoo. NOT. :') The sympathy is real.

    This kind of makes me think that Matryoshka will be one heck of a masterpiece, because you seem to understand your villains pretty well!

    1. Thank you, Jo! When writing backstory, I think it's important to remember the story starts before page one and that should reflect on page one onwards, but you cannot ignore the actions on the pages in favour of the story before.

      Yeah, Anakin just wasn't very convincing in his act. Vader, though, Vader was good. And YES. I wasn't familiar with the concept of friendzone then (I was thirteen and in an all girls school) but now I'm just like "DO NOT APPROACH ME FOR I CARRY A LONG POKEY STICK." I sympathise. I do not pity.

      Aww, thank you! To be honest, there are no real villains in Matryoshka -- only antagonists.

  9. Noooooooo I guessed Loki was going to an example but noooooo. I love him in all his bad-boy-ness.

    I have to agree though, tragic backstory doesn't excuse bad behaviour, although it defiantly causes it. Only a very, very, very small percentage of humans act 'evilly' because they can. There is nearly always a reason, and I think that's the interesting part :)

    1. Hey, it's cool! I fangirl over Loki too -- but really, the fact you say you love him in his bad-boy-ness probably means you're fine. I mean, people who love him as their marshmallow and misunderstood child are in the danger zone, but if you love him for his wildly chaotic and evil acts? WELCOME TO THE CLUB. And yeah, the villains or antagonists with their reasons are the best.

  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH. This post is the best. It irritates me so much when people excuse people's actions with "Well, they had a tragic past." (And at the risk of being murdered in my sleep, I have to say I feel this way about Elsa, too.) I mean, REAL LIFE MURDERERS AND THIEVES sometimes have tragic backgrounds, and they still have to come to justice. I think it's really unhealthy that so many people seem to be letting "hot"-ness influence their opinion of people's characters.

    That being said, I do like Loki-- as a villain.

    1. Ooh, Elsa. I'm not sure what to say about her. On one hand, I guess there is the fact that her freezing Arendelle was unintentional, and she's like seventeen, which I suppose is why Disney didn't make her suffer real consequences of her actions. But she definitely was excused from her actions a great deal.

      Villain!Loki is the best. *nods*

  11. I read the first part of your post and immediately thought of Snape. SO GLAD YOU MENTIONED SNAPE. I know he's not exactly a villain, but he's awful. I always hated that people let him off the hook for all of his bad deeds(really, Dumbledore?) because of his heroic actions. I get that he's "changed" but his past doesn't excuse his bullying behavior(especially what's directed towards Harry). I was steaming in the third book when he wanted to let Sirius Black(a man he knew COULD have been innocent) die because he felt he had been mistreated by Sirius in the past. Talk about petty.

    I just...really don't like Snape. I don't care if he loved Lily.

    Ok, rant over. Totally agree with you on this post.

    1. Eh, he was really the obvious person to debate, even if other people might disagree. Dumbledore was clearly an idiot -- I mean, it takes more to make a teacher than Order of the Phoenix membership and intelligence. Oh yeah, he was a downright bully, and yeah, I get why he's mean, but that doesn't mean I can ignore it.

      I don't think he truly loved Lily -- I mean, IMO it was obsession more than anything else. It could've played out so much better as a friendship.

  12. I am with you on this! I mean, yes, I DO like to know what led the bad guy down the bad guy path, but I totally don't want the backstory to be a big old excuse to let some easy-on-the-eyes-but-also-the-devil character wreak havoc. Basically, no, I have never fangirled over the bad guy (well okay, maybe once, kind of. With Warner, from Shatter Me? But I think that was kind of different? Maybe not, maybe I am the one making excuses!)

    I just wonder how we'd all feel if the jerk in question was unattractive and not charismatic. Would he then just be the evil guy, NOT the evil guy that everyone looooves? Probably! Which is my whole problem with it. It's like you take this physically unappealing person, and everyone thinks he should rot in hell- which hey, he probably should, don't get me wrong! But then you take the EXACT same actions from a ridiculously attractive person, and BAM- fangirls galore! UGH basically what I am saying is, I agree with you. They all need therapy. And stop loving jerks, everyone ;)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. Thank you, Shannon! Backstory really helps to explain a villain's motivations, but it doesn't make him less evil or anything. I've never read Shatter Me, but I don't think fangirling isn't a huge issue -- it's not acknowledging their immoral actions.

      Oh yeah, definitely the hotness factor plays into it. Although now that you mention it, A Song of Ice And Fire has another subversion for this: Sandor Clegane. He's like super burned and ugly but the fandom keeps shipping him with Sansa Stark? I mean he's a killer if not a murderer and I'm just like NOOOOO. Therapy with cookies is clearly the way to go.

  13. I totally agree! Tragic backstories are reasons and explanations, but not excuses. And everyone you mentioned should've gone through some kind of therapy rather than joining the Dark Side, mass murdering, and being genuine jerks to everyone.

    THAT SAID.... I actually kinda adore all of these people, lol. I like who they were before they became monsters, and I enjoy exploring the possibilities of who they could've been had they not turned, and even redemption for them after they do. They /are/ misunderstood, but they aren't /just/ misunderstood. They're also evil, and that can't really be excused by anything.


    1. Mmmhmm, clearly there need to be more fictional therapists who actually do their job. And YES to "misunderstood" but not "just misunderstood". Tragic backstory acting as the explanation for immoral behaviour means that you can also consider the more huamnised part of the villain which didn't derive from the backstory. *nodnod*

      Thanks for dropping by, Alexa!

  14. I admit that I have always (and will always) love Loki. He is one of my favorite villains. My love for villains probably stems from the fact that I love seeing hero's and 'happy endings' get smashed to pieces. (I have a tiny preference for evil in fiction.) However, though I highly enjoy Loki's psychotic acts and vindictiveness, I can't say I ever excused his actions because of his backstory. Just because a character had a crappy life does not mean they are allowed to go around making other life's crappy. Great post!

    1. It's okay, I do too. And TRAGIC ENDINGS FOR THE WIN. Although ... I really prefer it when so-called heroes are turned into villains and get their "happy endings" that way. If you have a preference for evil in fiction, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE. And yeah, just because you enjoy him smashing out people's brains, does not mean we should admire it XD

      Thanks for dropping by, Sara!

  15. I must say, I do love a good villain. I have been known to love the villains more than the heroes occasionally...But at the same time, for me, the tragic backstory mostly makes them a stronger character. I don't like to excuse their behaviour, even while I'm sitting there rather enjoying the evil that is Loki trying to take over the world. Villains are villains for a reason peoples! I don't even excuse my own villain's evil acts because of their backstory.

    1. OCCASIONALLY. HA. I love them more than the heroes ALL THE TIME. And mmhmm, backstory and motivations are really really important to an all-out villain especially, but what's the point if you de-villify them?

  16. SOMEONE SAID IT, FINALLY. I hate Snape with a fiery, burning passion. Mostly because of poor Neville. But also, yep, that slight slip-up of joining the Death Eaters.

    Although I do love Loki.

    1. CLEARLY NEVILLE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. I'm like dying for a good ChosenOne!Neville fanfiction. And yep, I'm guilty of that too ;P

  17. This is excellent and so interesting, Alyssa. You and I both really like investigating what evil in characters tends to be, I'm thinking, because it can be so diverse and there can be so many reasons and understandings- unique comprehensions- but I think I'm with you on the fact it's not excusable because of a history. Snape did terrible things. So did James, his bullying of Snape leaves me kind of sickened, and the fact he was never held accountable for it frustrates me to no end. Anakin, it feels like he was redeemed in the end far too painlessly. I mean (spoiler) he died, but he was forgiven for the countless deaths he had caused and the horrors he had commanded by Luke. I do like the character of Vadar and Anakin, but I don't think what he did was okay or forgivable. Same with Phantom, I guess. They can still be complex characters, but the bad they do can't really be forgotten.
    Also: spot on with Alan Rickman.

    1. Thank you, Romi! (And also for commenting on so many posts in the same streak -- I hope you're enjoying the takeout around here!)

      And yes, while backstory is a wonderful exploration of evil, it cannot be an excuse. Nope. And seriously, I don't get the Marauder love. Sure, Lupin was fab, but the others had their flaws too. Anakin -- yeah. Although there are some great Vader redemption fics out there that deal with all the weight of those issues, so that's good.

      PS: OMG, his waist is so wonderful. Sorry, I'll shut up now.

  18. THIS. ALL OF THIS. I'm so happy someone finally said it - although I will fully admit to swooning over my fair share of gorgeous villains, it's incredibly important that we remember that their lovely faces don't at all make up for the horrible deeds they've done. I do believe Snape is probably the most controversial out of the ones you've listed here, but I will never ever forgive him for the things he did to Neville (and the others, too, but if I'm being 100% honest - mostly Neville).

    I feel like that specific case is a bit of a feminist issue as well, if you'll forgive me for going slightly off topic - a lot of Snape supporters state that he was in love with Lily until the very end and therefore she was obligated to love him back, which, if you'll excuse my French, is utter bullshit. Lily had no obligation whatsoever to take Snape back, especially after the whole "joining the Death Eaters" thing. She was probably wise to get away from him while she could, actually.

    But anyway, back to the matter at hand: gorgeous post! Thank you so much for saying this so beautifully, as always. <3

    (Although, I must say, I am SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU for not including Moriarty. I mean. Honestly. Andrew Scott would be appalled. ;))

    1. *ticks off life achievement: has impressed Topaz* YAYYY. And yeah, swooning is okay, so long as we don't forgive and forget too easily. And pfft, clearly Neville is the important one. NO ONE ELSE IS. (Oh wait, no, there's McGonagall.)

      Oh yeah, that's so true. I haven't seen the must-love-him-back bit necessarily, although the issue of the friendzone -- SERIOUSLY? This guy is not friends with her. No, no, no. Lily, run away and start a Muggleborn support group with Flitwick or someone.

      Eh, well, the fandom does acknowledge Moriarty is evil. Or at least in the fics I've read ... besides, he doesn't really have a huge backstory. Sherlock might fit, though, seeing as how much of a jerk he's been ;P


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