In my story, I wanted to play with the idea of the protagonist taking a hero-to-villain arc, and the antagonist taking a villain-to-hero arc, with the POV's switching to make the previous antagonist into the protagonist/deurotagonist either half-way through the story, or in a second book. Would this be too confusing for the readers, and if so, is there any solution to make it easier to follow, and not seem contrived?

I apologize if this is a poor question, as this is my first question on the website and I haven't read much yet to feel the waters of what's expected outside of the tour guidelines.

  • As with anything in writing, as long as you do it well, it’s okay. Dec 22, 2020 at 18:19
  • To clarify, why do you feel there is a need to keep the POV on a 'hero'? Is that just how the story has to work, is there a stylistic reason, or what?
    – Weckar E.
    Dec 28, 2020 at 5:14
  • @WeckarE. I apologize for the late reply, but the POV will not remain strictly on the hero, it was just a coincidence and it feels a bit half-baked and contrived to say that an entire character arc for a villain-to-hero arc 'happened in the background'. The story has to have the first main character as the main POV since it introduces you to the world and helps you meet major characters that the antagonist will not meet until much later on, and the POV has to switch to the villain-turned-hero since you have to understand their change in behavior and to build up suspense for the climax. (1/2)
    – Jay
    Jan 2, 2021 at 19:44
  • @WeckarE. (2/2) I apologize if this isn't what you were asking for, since your question confuses me a bit, but I hoped I managed to clarify something.
    – Jay
    Jan 2, 2021 at 19:45
  • So by the end, both will function as POV characters?
    – Weckar E.
    Jan 3, 2021 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


It sounds like an interesting idea. Usually with something of this sort, there's no answer possible based just on the concept, it's all about the execution.

I don't think there's necessarily anything confusing about it. In this case, I think the key challenge will be to a) build sympathy for the initial hero AND then successfully shift those sympathies to the original villain.

It sounds like a book I'd be interested in, if it were done well.


I agree with Chirs Sunami, it's all about the execution. I think the main point of confusion will be the POV and role switch. To fix this, I would do something similar to the Kane chronicles when the POV switches. The Kane chronicles uses a different chapter when the POV switches and makes it very clear who the POV is by listing their name on the chapter page. This should fix the POV switching.

For the role switching, this will probably be 100% character development, which, TBH, I'm not that good at. You'll want the changes to be subtle, and caused by something so they don't suddenly become evil(or good) for no apparent reason. As for what would cause these changes, I think a good bet would probably be either change their world view or do some very dramatic event that changes them(friend dies?).

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