|Meet Morpheus, aka His Royal Mothiness|
1. He has wings.
Granted, there are lots of faerie stories where the bad boy has wings. But the way Morpheus “got” his wings is a bit different. Not to mention he uses them for more than flying. At any given point in the story they might become: a shield, a cape, a weapon, shade from the sun, and lastly and most fun, a means of seduction. Hee
2. He thinks he’s a rock star. Could be because he bears a stunning resemblance to a smokin’ cult phenom: Brandon Lee’s The Crow, or because his wardrobe and swagger is inspired by Jareth from The Labyrinth. Maybe it's both.
Whatever the case, he has no self-esteem issues. In fact, he’s downright arrogant and narcissistic at times. But it only makes him more loveable; just ask him. ;)
3. He has unique quirks. For one, he collects moths by the thousands. Not only living ones, but moth corpses to embellish his hats. Which leads to his fashion obsessions. Morpheus, despite his obvious masculinity, is a bit effeminate in his retro-renaissance fashion choices. He’ll take a crushed velvet suit with lacy cuffs over a pair of jeans and t-shirt any day (thank you Jareth). Here’s an example of something he might wear on a casual afternoon strolling around Wonderland:
Amadeus, eat your heart out.
4. He dabbles in dreams.
This characteristic actually inspired his name … well, there’s one other contributing factor, but you’ll have to read the book to discover it. Heh. The Morpheus in Greek mythology is the god of dreams and has the ability to take any human form and appear in someone’s sleep. His true semblance is that of a winged daemon. All the more reason for my bad boy to have wings.
5. He has a hidden soft spot for the heroine. It makes an appearance from time to time, but he tries to cover it up with self-adulation and snarky remarks aimed at the heroine's best friend/secret crush, leading back to point #2:
7. He has fears. The most important thing in the world to Morpheus (other than Wonderland itself) is his freedom. Nothing terrifies him more than being bound and powerless. This is something he has in common with the heroine, Alyssa, which makes their relationship all the more complex, especially when her freedom threatens his own.
I've found in books I read that the layered villains/antagonists -- the ones with a variation of ingredients -- are the most affecting. Maybe because when they’re humanized and given relatable motivations and fears, I’m taken to that place of personal introspection … where I question if I were in a similar situation, would I take on the same characteristics and make the same choices? Often, I even start rooting for those antagonists in spite of my disdain for their actions, hoping that they’ll somehow redeem themselves in the end.
Have you given your antagonist any redeemable characteristics? Any personal quirks to intrigue or inspire the reader’s sympathies? The best books not only have fully developed heroes/heroines, but antagonists too. Because who wants a dessert buffet loaded with nothing but stale sugar cookies?
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great rest of the week!