Ultimate Guide to Villains and Antagonists: Supernatural Forces of Evil – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

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Ultimate Guide to Villains and Antagonists: Supernatural Forces of Evil

Demons.

Dementors.

The Crimson King.

These names speak of one thing: supernatural forces dedicated to doing evil. Soulless, radiating evil and despair, these creatures are villains hell-bent on death, destruction, and chaos. Whatever their end goal—the eradication of all mankind, tormenting humans, or wanton savagery—their supernatural abilities make them absolutely terrifying and a force to be reckoned with.

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Supernatural Forces of Evil: The Origin

For as long as humans have existed, there have been whispered tales of forces of evil. From East Asian Preta to the Judeo-Christian demon the to the Celtic Wraith to the Old Norse Draugr, these are the creatures used to warn of the dangers of immorality, greed, cowardice, and general wrongdoing.

These supernatural forces of evil can manifest in so many ways it’s impossible to describe them all. Every story has a new take on the same ancient concepts, presenting them in a way that is unique and offers a challenge to the hero. Ultimately, however, they are driven by motives typically considered “evil” by our modern ethics and morality, and thus they are the villains of their stories.

These evil beings are created to tap into three of our greatest fears:

Fear of the dark/unknown. Since the beginning of time, the “darkness” has always concealed threats, predators, and enemies. From a young age, primitive mankind learned to fear what hid in the shadows of night.  To this day, many people still fear the dark and what they cannot see. That fear of the unknown plays tricks on the mind and conjures images of horrible, twisted creatures intent on doing us harm. While this instinct once kept us safe and sheltered in ancient times, it is still a driving force behind much of our modern actions.

Fear of loss of autonomy. Many supernatural beings have the abilities to warp your mind, direct your dreams, or even seize control of your body. This taps into the primal fear of loss of autonomy, or a loss of control over your actions and thoughts. We shiver at the idea of being possessed by demons, ghosts, or other dark souls.

Fear of loss of self. Many of these supernatural forces of evil have no souls, and their ultimate goal is to prey on those who do. In many cases, they actually steal the souls or men or destroy them, turning humans into other soulless creatures of evil.

Fear of loss of self or a part of oneself is one of the five primal fears, and it’s what makes these soulless creatures so terrifying. Losing your soul is so much more final than losing a limb. After all, your soul is “the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc.” To many religions, a soul is a requisite for entrance into Paradise/Heaven/Valhalla/etc. This is the greatest form of loss of self, which is why these supernatural forces of evil prove such effective threats to our wellbeing.

In stories:

Whether operating alone or in endless armies of evil, these supernatural creatures can be a world-shattering threat:

  • Ghosts, demons, wraiths, ghouls, and hundreds more similar creatures have existed in mythology as far back as the Ancient Sumerians.
  • The Dementors from Harry Potter sucked the souls from their victims, leaving them in a state “considerably worse than death”.
  • Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street is a dream-demon that attacks and kills victim in their most vulnerable state: their sleep.

These creatures of evil may the primary or a secondary threat to the protagonist, but either way, they typically tend to be very difficult to deal with thanks to their supernatural abilities and forms.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice dissection of supernatural evil entities!

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