characters who reverse images of good and evil

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 18 04:49:52 EST 2004


>Can you help me think of characters who are reversals of the common 
ideal
>images of good and evil?  I have a student who is interested in writing 
a
>thesis on the Harry Potter books, and he is particularly interested in
>how characters in the books who appear to be villainous turn out to be
>"good", and vice versa.

Though it's not a book, I feel I *have* to mention the Mozart opera The 
Magic Flute, because it is such an old example and such a very good one. 
Beautiful queen sends out handsome prince to save princess from evil wizard 
– then wizard turns out to be good and queen evil and destructive. I mean, 
yeah, there's some pretty nasty sexism, but the plot twist is still cool.

That old man in Neil Gaiman's American Gods (what was his name again?) was 
an evil character who seemed to be good, and he has made me wary of sweet 
little towns forever, so thank you very much for *that*. *mutters*

If playing with stereotypes counts, I would also mention Gaiman's and 
Pratchett's Good Omens and Diana's The Dark Lord of Derkholm - both the 
Antichrist and the Dark Lord are *supposed* to be evil, after all. (And from 
that perspective, there are quite a few "nice devil" stories.)

And though it only really shows if one knows the myth, Eight Days of Luke 
does portray the villain (Loki) as more sympathetic than the heroes (the 
rest of the gods).

In a non-fantasy genre, Agatha Christie's books are for obvious reasons full 
of villains that seem to be nice people and nice people who seem to be 
villains...

Katta

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