raisindot wrote: Penfold wrote:
I personally find the concepts behind Sir Terry's villains more scary than the individual villains themselves.
Agree with you. Other than Vorbis, and maybe Wolfgang in several parts. I can't really think of a villain who is consistently 'scary' throughout an entire a DW book. Even the Cunning Man is more of an 'effect' than anything else, since he only physically shows up at the end of the book and has no lines.
Powerful villains, funny villains, annoying villains, boring villains, complex villains yes, but "scary' is hard to find. Maybe that's to Pterry's credit that for the most part, he refuses to give in to the old school version of the totally menacing, diabolically laughing villain and instead created adversaries who were the way they were because of their upbringing or culture, rather than simply a desire for power.
Excellent points. He does take the trouble to humanise many of his villains doesn't he - to get inside their skins? They are just people (or gods, or dwarves, or whatever) like the rest of us who happen to do bad stuff.
There is a very interesting thread in Small Gods (and in many other DW books but that is the one that springs to mind for me) about people fighting evil running the risk of becoming just as bad as the evil they are fighting against - Sergeant Simony is the one singled out but Urn and even Brutha are also at risk of it. But the strange thing is despite Pterry's awareness of this he still makes it clear that people like Vorbis, Mr Pin, Reacher Gilt etc. are still accountable for the consequences of their actions.
And of course the struggle of Vimes against his inner Beast is a big part of his character development. His answer to this seems to be to make sure everything is done by the book rather than dispensing arbitrary justice as Vimes the beast would - e.g. with Carcer in Night Watch. And Carcer is NASTY and doesn't have much to recommend him from what I recall of reading the book for the first time earlier this year.
Your comment about the diversity of villains is interesting. I think of Cosmo in Making Money who I think has to be one of the most incompetent villains in DW because he's handicapped by his irrational obsession with mirroring Vetinari. But he still does some real evil in amongst the insanity and is clearly a villain.
Again, in Men at Arms d'Eath and Cruces both do very bad things, especially Cruces, but there is the question of whether it is really them or whether something else (the gonnne) has taken them over.
This is one of those eternal debates that I don't think has any final answer - good and evil, free will and responsibility etc. etc. Good to know they have the same problems in fantasy worlds!