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In my fantasy epic, the protagonist is a destined chosen one who will defeat the dark lord (at least that is what the sorcerer propaganda says.) About 3/4 into the story, he eventually meets the previous "chosen-one", who is now just a rogue mercenary who beats and kills people for money (or just for enjoyment.) At first he seems like that cool, edgy kind of character, only to subtly reveal that he is just an evil and malicious S.O.B.

For all of his crimes, atrocities, and acts:

  • He abuses his given magic powers for.
  • When he "rescues" a community, he ends up looting and pillaging them himself.
  • He could have ended the war, but did not to get money.
  • He has committed multiple war crimes (and never shows any remorse or guilt.)
  • He views his own party and friends as disposable pawns.
  • He attempts to physically and emotionally take advantage of the protagonist himself.
  • Though not directly revealed, it's implied he has committed some form of rape.
  • He has perverted fantasies; there are implications of bestiality, and he has committed voyeurism towards couples having sex.
  • Overall, he has little to no redeeming qualities, and at no point will he get a redemption (or even try.)

I am writing him to be the kind of character who, despite just being horrific and evil, is still likeable and entertaining.

For a character that is really evil like this, how could I write them so that they are still enjoyable in the story?

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Audiences love to hate villains when they are written well. Some examples of well-known and beloved villains are:

  • The Joker in his various incarnations from Batman
  • Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs
  • Gus Fring from Breaking Bad
  • Tywin Lanister from A Song of Ice and Fire

What makes a well-written villain?

  • They generate not just conflict but interesting conflict.
    • The methods they use surprise the audience by their originality, deviousness or shock them by how far the villain is willing to go.
    • Those methods generate interesting challenges for the "good guys" that push them to the limits of their abilities, demand hard choices from them and facilitate their character development.
  • They have an interesting personality with unique quirks.
  • They are multi-dimensional characters with backstories, motivations and goals. They don't just do evil for no reason. They do evil because they have a plausible goal they want to achieve. That goal is often derived from a moral system they use to justify their actions. Not necessarily a moral system any righteous or at least rational person would agree with. But one that is at least internally consistent.
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I will gamble with this answer :)

Very easy. Evil actions (sins in general) are very tempting and enjoyable or why do people commit them? Give the reader the taste of the forbidden fruits that some of these fruits (perhaps all of them) are yearned for in the deep silence of the readers. i.e. be very tempting about the taste of evil.

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