Why are villains so much more exciting compared to heroes? They have backstories and depth, character and intense imaginations. Most importantly, they are flawed, which makes them all the more human. They are selfish, greedy, morally corrupt beings but perhaps they were not always this way. It is remarkable to see how the world shaped them to be who they are. Perhaps fictional villains are merely exaggerated versions of humans? Take a look at Cruella de Vil; sure you may not find people skinning dogs for their coats but how does that differ from selling mink coats, leather handbags or ostrich hide jackets?
Sometimes the bad guys have completely valid intentions but are just misunderstood. Today, I shall attempt to decipher the villain’s version of events and how isolated they are in their intentions.
1. Sharpay Evans
If New York could be personified, she would be in the form of Sharpay Evans. Maybe it was the way she dazzled and shone, always managing to be in the spotlight. Maybe it was the way she was the embodiment of theatre; in its campiness and glamour. Maybe it was her aspirations, her vivacity, and the fire within her, that made me liken her to the City of Lights.
Above all, it was Sharpay’s ability to dream that resonated the most with me. Strip off the layers of bubblegum-pink couture, peel away the swathes of self-confidence worn like a fur coat and you’ll find that she was just a dreamer. She knew her place in this world, more so than any other high schooler at East High. She knew she was meant to be on the big, big stage of Broadway, amidst the glittering stars and lights- and she worked for it.
Sharpay twirled and pranced and shimmied her way down the yellow brick road that would eventually lead her to Broadway’s glimmering doorstep. But oh! Little Miss Can’t-Make-Up-Her-Mind (a.k.a Gabriella) and Mr Popular-Jock (Troy) show up to thwart Sharpay’s carefully laid out plans. This irksome pair was late for the initial audition, lacked stage experience and performed a positively underwhelming rendition of ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’. Let us compare this to the 17 school productions under Sharpay’s pink leather belt, her meticulously choreographed dance routine and her equally talented partner and twin, Ryan. The scales were tipped so far in Sharpay’s favour, it was practically a vertical line. It was charming really, how woefully blind to reality Gabriella and Troy were.
Troyella’s performances were dull and unremarkable. Meanwhile, Sharpay and Ryan made themselves unforgettable with each performance getting exponentially better- and that is the true nature of show business.
In each movie, it was clearly shown how Sharpay was meant to be an adversary against Troyella when all she did was try to make her dreams come true. She was openly mocked by the rest of East High for having monumental goals and being bold enough to chase after them. But that’s reality. People aren’t going to give you opportunities because you have a “budding romance”. Real-life requires talent, dedication and passion, all of which Sharpay possesses. In the end, Sharpay was left behind while the other East High students traipsed off to stellar universities. In what world does Troy Bolton get accepted into Juilliard? Sharpay poured her heart and soul into her work, all to have her opportunity snatched out from under her nose by the indecisive Troy?
These foolish movies perpetuate the idea that hard work does not equate to dreams coming true. Sharpay deserved the fame and glory (which they did try to redeem her in the less-popular Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.)
The idea of Glee was loosely based on High School Musical and it is my opinion that Rachel Berry is Sharpay Evans done right, as controversial as that may be.
2. Severus Snape
For years, there have been countless debates on whether Snape from the Harry Potter fandom is good or evil. I shall not answer that question but rather, offer a perspective from the “villain’s” (because it has been widely speculated that Snape was a villain) point of view. The truth is, the world is much too complex to be simply divided into good and evil, and Snape falls somewhere along that thread. He is neither wholly good nor purely evil.
Firstly, consider Snape’s upbringing. He came from a poor, abusive family which resulted in him keeping to himself, mostly. The only lights in his life were magic and Lily Evans. Unfortunately, his unwavering passion for both resulted in a great divide later in his life as his interest in the Dark Arts heavily affected his relationship with Lily.
Lily Evans was Snape’s only true friend throughout his life. He loved her like no other but unfortunately, it was rather one-sided as Lily didn’t reciprocate his feelings.
I shall not glorify the obsession with a person but Snape’s love for Lily was a beautiful thing which inadvertently saved the wizarding world. Lily was the only splash of colour in Snape’s rather obsidian life. If he was darkness, then she was light. A Patronus is derived from one’s happiest memories, and even during his darkest days- Lily was the one who gave him light, literally and figuratively. Maybe some part of Snape knew that Lily could never be truly happy living in the shadows. So he watched as she fell in love with his enemy, as she started a family. Perhaps that was enough for Snape, to see her being happy even if it wasn’t with him. But even after all that time his love for her never died. He concealed it like a wounded animal, where it snarled and lashed out at the others who came after Lily.
Next, consider the bullying he endured from James Potter. James Potter’s only redeeming quality was that he fought against Voldemort because he really is quite a terrible person, in my opinion. He came from an affluent family which made him arrogant and targeted poor Snape because of his friendship with Lily. Snape’s worst memory was James depantsing him, which reveals the sort of person James truly was.
In Snape’s case, he had a reason for the way he turned out to be. Take a block of wood, chip at it mercilessly and you’ll find it covered in dents, bruises and scars. James never suffered the misfortunes of Snape, yet he still turned out to be a vile being.
Perhaps Snape isn’t a good person, but he did try to do good things and isn’t that enough?. He endured the suspicious glares of the DeathEaters and the untrusting gazes of teachers and students. He was isolated, never fully trusted by either side. Yet, he still worked against the enemy, keeping up his facade. Severus Snape deserved so much better.
3. Miranda Priestly
Reader, have you listened to “The Man” by Taylor Swift? It’s about how a male leader would be lauded and considered “complex” and “cool” and an “alpha type” while a woman would be seen as starchy, rigid and rude.
I feel that this applies to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, a fictional fashion magazine. Miranda probably had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously as a boss and as a woman. One doesn’t get to her position without exuding some form of perfectionism. She also had to deal with the fact that fashion is considered a trivial and frivolous pursuit. But the articulate manner in which she delivered her cerulean sweater monologue showed her passion and seriousness for fashion. Because she had a point; fashion is everything. It’s a form of expressionism and personality; it’s a lifestyle. It speaks volumes where words are unable to. It is no wonder she had little respect for Andy, who thought she was above fashion.
Perhaps Miranda was a tad demanding, but she was preparing Andy to face the real world. She didn’t want excuses; she expected results. She moulded Andy to fit her potential. Andy began to dress better, snatch opportunities and take herself more seriously.
Miranda knew what she wanted and who she was. Frankly, I don’t believe people would paint Miranda as a Devil if she were a man.
So these are the villains, in all their nefarious glory. What do you think now?
Have their fates been warranted?
Did they deserve what happened to them?
Would you call them a villain now?