Warning: If you have been living under a rock since 1987, there may be spoilers.
For weeks now, I have been intending to have Zep finish up her Firelands' dailies on the Molten Front, and complete Leyara's Locket. It's not that "she" needs anything from there, or gear, but that if I could have three wishes in WoW one would be that I could switch from Draenei to Night Elf without the race change fee, in a click and flick of a button. Alas, I cannot, and the locket is the next best thing.
But, there is something else. I have always felt empathy toward that sad, lost family. And today, Harpy's Nest posted this wonderful post about Staghelm.
To get at the core of a villain, it's all about choices.
But what makes a good villain? To me, it's about potential redemption.
Consider the robotic villain in No Country for Old Men, or Halloween: those villains are paradoxically static and terrifying because of their lack of depth. Their complete void of human empathy or narrative makes them simply killing machines. And though those are vastly different examples of horror genres, my response to the villains is the same. It really isn't about them.
To me, a "good" villain shows the audience that one moment when they had potential for redemption, when their humanity tripped them up, and their emotional losses took control. Static villains are only in it for some purpose that no one can claim resembles any part of being a human. It is pure sin. (Yawn.)
When thinking about this on my walk today, I thought of Voldermort, the ultimate villain in recent literature. And my theories on the "good" villain came to light: I don't really care that Voldemort dies. It is extremely anti-climatic. Harry looks around, and every one is kind of, well, shell-shocked. But the one we thought was the villain, and some may argue is/was, Snape, turns out wasn't such a bad guy after all. He did it all for love, too. Just like Harry.
Now, in Azeroth, I think what left folks somewhat in yawn-mode was the fact that Deathwing had none of these redemptive qualities. But, man oh man, Arthas sure did. And so does Garrosh. I realize Blizzard doesn't want to do the big, grand-scale epic sort of narratives anymore, but I cannot help but suspect that they can't get away from it, either, and nor should they. The protagonist needs the antagonist, no question about it. And so do we.