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TV Tropes: Affably Evil/Faux Affably Evil

Tweet of the Day: Smuggler’s Rest


A villain being nice? Kind of runs contrary to what a villain is supposed to be. Villains are supposed to be treacherous, murderous, sadistic bastards, not help little old ladies with their groceries. Yet this lot is willing to conquer the world, kick dogs, and torture millions in pursuit of their goals. So they are evil yet… well you might just run into the Affably Evil/Faux Affably Evil villain.

I put these two tropes together because it is very difficult to tell the difference between someone who is genuinely nice but still capable of doing horrendous things and the psychopath who learns to pass themselves off as socially well adjusted as a survival mechanism. Either way, it makes for a terrifying villain, one without the clear markers we come to expect of a bad guy.  It is also realistic. Bad guys, for the most part, don’t consider themselves to be in the wrong. So why would they act like it? And unless they wield absolute power within their sphere of influence (have a large well armed family/clan in a rural setting, be the absolute monarch of a kingdom, or be the CEO of a business) a villain will not solely rely on violence to get what they want. Diplomacy is often required when the villain is not in a position to seize what they want or simply it may be their preferred modus operandi. Why take by force what others are willing to surrender? And niceness (see psychopath above) may well be the best defense in social setting. Treat people well and they are more likely to defend you or even fight for you. Act the part of a well mannered person and no one will suspect the axe murderer of the week of being Ms. Jenny’s stalker. That makes the villain all the more terrifying and dangerous.

Sure, go ahead and make your naked bullies and tempestuous tyrants, but never forget the villain that is willing and able to hide a iron fist in a velvet glove.


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