Which antagonists deserve their own book and which do not?

When Suzanne Collins announced that her new book would follow President Snow, the antagonist of the original Hunger Game series, there was uproar from select fans who had no trouble expressing their distaste for a prequel story that followed this character.

However, there are books that follow villains or antagonists that people enjoy without fail – Game of Thrones has a huge cast of people that you wouldn’t call ‘good’ necessarily, Vicious by V.E. Shwab protagonist is a ‘villain’. Dexter and Breaking Bad were highly popular television series following characters that, in anyone else’s story, would be the antagonist.

What is it about an antagonist, a villain, that encourages an audience to want to hear their story? What is about the antagonist that has audiences not wanting to hear their story?

I would argue its to do with how they became a villain themselves. Is it the world? Is it a privilege that has afforded them a certain belief system? Is it because the character is attractive?

  • Really interesting topic! I love v. e. schwab's "Villains" book. Victor is a fascinating antihero. I would say characters like Walter White fit into the antihero model as well. Remember that antagonist have specific story level specifications that they have to meet. Their role in a story is different than that of anti-hero. – Sean Gadus 4 years ago
  • No character is evil for the sake of being evil. Everyone has their own motivations and reasoning, albeit sometimes flawed, behind the choices they make and the actions they take. Antagonists are often times more interesting than the altruistic heroes of most stories and it is due to this that makes them enticing to learn more about. Explore character motivation. You'll find that each antagonist probably started out with good intentions and were the heroes of their own stories before something forces their hand. Think of Walter White, started out so that he could support his family and his power corrupted him. – FarPlanet 4 years ago

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