1. Lisa says:

    Yes. Good points here. There is something to be said about the villain who is an archetype or who embodies an idea that should be destroyed. And I agree, too, that whatever happens to the villain must serve the story above all.

    • kevincneece says:

      Thanks, Lisa! Really, everything must serve the story above all. The villain (if there is one) is just one of many aspects of a narrative that must be held to that standard.

  2. I think the thing that struck me most is that the offer of redemption is vital, but not necessarily redemption. I thought that was more true to life anyway, so it seems like the perfect answer to the dilemma.


    • kevincneece says:

      You’re right that it’s more true to life, Becky. I rewrote a church sketch once that was a metaphor for a Christian leading another person to faith in Christ. I liked the metaphor they used, but it was done badly, so I restructured the whole thing so the Christian made a much more compelling and realistic case for faith. Then, just to rebel even further against the churchiness of the thing, I had the person decline the metaphorical Christian’s offer. It was a proud moment for me as a writer and I think helped deliver the message that, even when we share the gospel well, people aren’t always converted. BUT it’s still worth telling the story well and as accurately as we can. A hero who offers a villain redemption but is declined is a similar demonstration of faithfulness against all odds.

    • Audie says:

      Sometimes it can be vital. Gandalf giving Saruman one last chance after the ents defeated him does in a way serve to show how far Saruman had fallen from what he was. On the other hand, such an offer was never made to Sauron or any of the black riders, at least in the LotR stories, though it might have been made some time before they went so far that they couldn’t be brought back.

What do you think?