Is it possible for there to be a story of a villain on a rampage only told in his perspective and his victims? Near the beginning, he defeats the only characters brave enough to stand up against him. I was thinking it might work since you won't get attached to the heroes, now dead, but again, he's a villain. So, my question is: is possible to write from an antagonist's point of view?

  • 5
    Note that "protagonist" and "hero" are not the same thing. The protagonist is just the main character; they don't have to be a hero.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 17, 2021 at 20:51
  • Well, then yes, I meant protagonist Apr 1, 2021 at 22:39

3 Answers 3


The protagonist is the entity that the story happens to and then later the entity that takes control of the story (for good or evil). They may be a more or less good guy or a rat bastard. But they are the focus of the story.

I used the word entity because it is possible that the protagonist is not human. It could be a spaceship, an AI, an intelligent slime mold, or an entire city. The key is that the protagonist is the focus of the story. The protagonist is the entrance into the story as a whole. The protagonist is the focus of the reader's attention, and perhaps is a placeholder for the reader's wants and desires. Without the protagonist, the reader has no hook to hold them to the story. They throw up their hands and ask plaintively, does anyone know what this story is about.

The best stories allow the reader to engage with the journey of the protagonist. The protagonist may well be a villain but they must be an engaging villain. It would be nice to see them get their just desserts at the end of the story but that is not necessary. The worst protagonist is a Dudley DoGood that is profoundly unflawed and stunningly boring.

Now it is possible to write almost anything and perhaps find an audience (limited in size) that will read the story and get something out of it. The decision about the protagonist is really part of a greater decision about who you want as your audience. It is their expectations that you must address rather than your own.


A matter of Definitions:

You get into a murky realm when you start saying "protagonist" and counter that to "villain." I read a book series called The Messiah Stone, in which the protagonist is completely amoral, and it's fun watching them chase after the artifact in the book with amoral dedication. It's got great action, problems to solve, global consequences, you name it.

But you don't need to know how it ends to guess that anything bad happening to the protagonist doesn't leave you all that upset. You care about him achieving the goal because it's interesting, but you don't care what happens to HIM. That's because he's a despicable murdering scumbag who slaughters the righteous and the wicked alike. A character like that getting his come-uppance is a perfectly satisfying way for a story to end.

I think it's safe to say that Hannibal Lector was the protagonist of the movie Hannibal (sorry, never read the book). I can't think of many people who wouldn't describe him as evil, and likely a villain. Is he a two-dimensional handwashing supervillain? No. But those kind of characters aren't INTERESTING.

The protagonist is primarily the main character, so unless you aren't going to have a main character, you can't really have no protagonist (although a protagonist could take other forms). You could MAYBE have a central character who is working against the apparent goals of the story, telling it from the villain's perspective, and watching all their carefully laid plans crumble at the last second. But that is still a protagonist, just a bad one getting what they deserve at the end.


It is possible, but be careful

Basically, "Can you tell a story without a protagonist" is not the same thing as "Should you write a story without a protagonist"


Is it possible to have a story without a protagonist?


It's done all the time, just do some quick googles to find examples of this.

Normally, it's a smaller setting with less action, a larger scope with more characters, or everyone is bad and good, etc.

But... here's the catch

a villain on a rampage only told in his perspective and his victims

That, you shouldn't do. Normally stories without protagonists also don't have antagonists.

It's no fun if the villain has no resistance, and gets to do whatever he wants.

Maybe, the villain could have some sort of internal battle to provide some interest to the reader, but even with a different sort of conflict, I'm afraid you would lose readers.

The story would be pointless, we know what's going to happen in the next chapter: another kingdom took over, victim murdered, millions stolen. Funny enough, that is more boring than even the smallest plots.

Think about it like this:
It would be like a mystery, but knowing who did it from the beginning, and there was no police or detective so the murder just got to openly talk about his crimes.

Even the most die-hard readers would abandon a pointless book.

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