I’ve been re-reading the Wheel of Time series in anticipation of the final book which is due out early next year. When I add that to my thoughts about villains lately, I couldn’ t resist talking about one of my favorite bad guys…err girls.
Lanfear, Daughter of the Night.
Sounds creepy, doesn’t it? One of the things I love about Robert Jordan is the complexity of his bad guys. Yes, some are just plain evil and want to rule the world. But the most prominent bad guys have serious issues. Lanfear is no different.
The big bad guy of the Wheel of Time series is The Dark One (a Satan type character – I’ll talk more on religion in fantasy next week), but he’s locked up in a pit, so we don’t see him much. The real villains are thirteen powerful individuals, known as the Forsaken. They were also locked up with The Dark One, but as he’s slowly breaking free of his pit, all of them are loosed. Lanfear is one of them.
Originally, she was a good guy…err gal. She was involved in a romantic relationship with the hero of the story (Lews Therin), but their disagreements caused her to defect to the evil side. Their disagreements revolved around her lust for power and prestige. So, she’s a jilted lover with power-hungry issues. No biggie, right?
Well, when she breaks free of her prison, she does some very interesting thing. She helps the hero. Yet with every bit of help, she lays the temptation of their ruling the world together. Like Vadar did with Luke, she mentions that together they’d be strong enough to destroy the Dark One. When the hero refuses, she ties him up (magically), and he asks if she’s going to kill him. Her response is priceless.
“Kill you?” she spat incredulously. “Kill you! I mean to have you, forever. You were mine long before that pale-haired milksop stole you. Before she ever saw you. You loved me!”
The hero’s reply is equally priceless. “And you loved power!”
Lanfear’s goals and motivation create the most interesting conflicts for our hero because half the time the reader isn’t sure who’s side she’s on. Even the other Forsaken don’t trust her. Which makes her very tricksie I can’t give away the ending because we don’t know it yet. In one of the last scenes of the latest book, our hero dreams about her being harmed by The Dark One for the help she’s given the hero. Yet, it’s pretty clear to me it’s a trap. I guess I’ll find out in a few months.
So, who are some others villains that didn’t always look like villains in their story? Or maybe you have a different take on Lanfear? Let me know!