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The Hero vs The Villain

When consuming television media, do you find yourself gravitating more towards the hero or the villain? To whom do you more relate and why? What are your criteria for determining who you’re rooting for? This is an extremely subjective question, but often stories are not presented in nuanced ways that fully do justice to all the sides.

A good example is the "Karate Kid" franchise. The first three movies are set up to tell a one sided story following Danny, and until recently, that story has gone unquestioned. With the inception of Cobra Kai" lends more dimensionality to the narrative; it shows how the rivalry between Danny and Johnny still exists, but has changed, and allows for a more nuanced understanding of the story as a whole.

I suppose what I’m asking is how do you determine whether the hero is actually "good" and the villain actually "bad"? Do you hold heroes and villains to the same standards? How, and why?

  • this topic may benefit from being opened up to matters of broader philosophical stances. like who are the bad guys in Star Wars, the Light side or Dark side wielders? Jedi or Sith? Can Dark siders be good guys? Jedi can certainly be bad guys (dark Jedi), as has been seen in legends. Another potential would be analysis from the intuitive background info, and putting one's self in the "villains" shoes. For example, was Sharpei a true villain in High School Musical? her attitude was bad and mean spirited, objectively, but she had the right to be angry, self-conscious and confused that her adeptness she trained her whole life for (theater performance) was suddenly under harsh question. A true "hero" would step up to the challenge graciously, but would a true human? probably not. – adhyuki 1 year ago
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  • I think this is a really good topic and one that I've been thinking a lot about myself. I think it's really important to look at the character's past as well as their environment, as that would help us understand what makes one a hero and the other a villain. I think it would be useful to look at this topic through a more psychological perspective in order to put yourself in a character's shoes and analyze their past. – dashatsymbalyuk 12 months ago
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