[LMB] villains and a grammar question

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Fri May 17 14:19:47 BST 2013

Howard said:

> I'm not the biggest fan of villains.   

I think the whole point of villains is that we *don't* like them, though they can exercise a lot of fascination.  I love the archetype of the dark hero, which can skirt notions of villainy if not cross the line. (For instance, Magneto is one of my favourite Marvel characters.  Sometimes hero, sometimes villain.)

There are some Bujold villains I find fascinating.  And she has some villains in disguise - you read the book and think they aren't villains, but given another perspective, they would be.  (E.g., Shiv Arqua.)

> Lots of Lois' works don't really have a specific villain that we can see.    We don't see whomever 
> set up "Borders of Infinity".    

Ah!  Grammar question. And I hit this exact same construction in a movie I was watching yesterday.  Shouldn't it be "whoever" as "who" is the subject of the verb "set up" rather than object of the verb "see"?  Or am I wrong?  Or can it go either way?  Could someone explain to me what is correct usage here, and why?

> And her romantic comedies of course don't have villains.    

...Don't they?  I'd say they do.  Depends where you draw the line.  The tone isn't serious, but the villain is still a villain.

> We feel sorry for some villains.    That's wonderful.

Who are you thinking of?  I tend to think that if I feel sorry for the person, it isn't a villain.

> And some villains become allies.   Kind of.    Which happens with international affairs in our reality too.

You are thinking of Cetagandans?

> There is a danger when we turn villains into caricatures.     We're not in danger of voting for the Hitler we
> see in movies.   But that's not the Hitler the German people voted for.

In a fictional sense, that isn't dangerous.  In fiction, we can try out all the scenarios.


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