5 Tragic Antagonists You Shouldn’t Feel Sympathy For

Avast! Spoilers Ahead!

On occasion, we find ourselves watching or reading about antagonists (a.k.a. “bad guys”) who are far more fun than the heroes they’re struggling against. This isn’t a bad thing, far from it. The better the enemy, the better the hero is reflected through their struggle to vanquish evil. Now sometimes, sometimes, an antagonist receives far more sympathy from the general public than they really deserve. To each their own, but here’s a little list of some bad guys who we think may receive a bit more pity than they are owed.

 

5. Dr. Gaius Baltar (Battlestar Galactica 2004 Series)

Alright, so this character was immediately different from his original incarnation. Gone was the mustache-twirling villainy of the original Count Baltar and his intentional destruction of the 12 Colonies of Man. Instead, the reboot presents us with a cyber genius who was merely selling state secrets for money, tech support and (mostly) sex. We are constantly shown through the series that Baltar never meant for any of this to happen and that he feels an immense amount of regret and guilt for his actions. Does he deserve our sympathy? Maybe.

That is, until you factor in that he got about 50 billion people killed and rendered 12 planets completely unsustainable for life because of a naked Tricia Helfer.

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This isn’t someone you hug and cry with. Baltar deserved the airlock more than any other human character on the series. He almost doomed humanity for sex, and yet who’s one of the characters who’s just chilling with the survivors who make it to Earth 2? He starts crying about being raised as a farmer, or becoming a farmer or something. However, don’t let those crocodile tears fool you. Gaius Baltar deserves no sympathy from you.

Oh, and as an additional bonus at the end, he still got to bang a sexbot. So really, no sympathy at all.

 

4. Darth Vader (Original Trilogy)

So you’ve probably noticed that “original trilogy” tag up there. There’s a reason for that. The prequels suck, and by their nature will automatically remove any sympathy you might have had for the Dark Lord of the Sith. So allow me, if you will, to take you back to a time before the prequel trilogy, a time when Darth Vader becoming more machine than man was left to our imagination. What did we know of Vader? Essentially he betrayed, hunted down and murdered every last Jedi. Bad-fucking-ass is what it was, and considering their weapons of choice it seemed rather obvious as to how he lost so many body parts.

Now jump to the Return of the Jedi, and you’ve got a Vader who’s son is trying to reach him and convince us all that he is more than just an asthmatic killing machine/space wizard. Luke believes that somewhere underneath all of the circuits and battle scars there is still a good man. Now, Luke has to be continually pummeled with evil lightning before his father is able to find this person, but he does come through to save his son and then promptly dies after giving a little speech. Fin.

I get it. Vader did something heroic at the end. He redeemed himself. Should we feel bad for him though?

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Remember Alderaan? Or rather do you remember the heated leadership discussion leading up to its end? That’s because it never happened. Vader doesn’t talk about how it might be wrong to blow up planets. He called such an ability out as a party trick compared to The Force, but clearly he had no issue with the act. Then, he choked a bitch named Motti for implying that blowing up a planet was a pretty big deal and for insulting his religion. That’s not really relevant, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Vader later went on to hunt down and torture his son’s friends in an attempt to draw Luke out (with no remorse) and then oversaw the activation of a second planet killing space station. The guy was “meh” about planetcide, torture and murder, did something nice, looked sad and died. Then he became one with The Force and we can only assume got to be happy forever. He is not deserving of your sympathy.

 

3. Loki (Film Version)

If that last one didn’t make your blood boil, then perhaps this bit will let the hate flow through you. First things first: the cinematic version of Loki is great. There’s no denying that. By the time he makes it to Earth in The Avengers, he’s the charismatic villain that we need in a comic book movie. He is, of course, Hulk-spanked in due time for his actions and sent off to space jail, which is also what we need of a comic book movie villain. However, throughout Thor: The Dark World (and quite a bit in Thor), Loki is complaining about what a raw deal he’s been given. And, you might feel inclined to sympathize with the poor abandoned dwarf-Frost Giant. Don’t.

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Odin actually calls Loki out pretty well on his crap in the second Thor flick. Loki was left to die on a rock in the snow, and instead the leader of his people’s worst enemy adopts him, gives him a home in a palace in the freaking clouds, a mother who loves him completely unconditionally (even after he tries to conquer the Earth!), a brother who loves him conditionally (to the point of being stabbed), and he’s upset because his life was somehow hard? Oh, he also seemed to have a bunch of friends until he betrayed all of them. But he’s upset because he doesn’t get to be a king? What. did he really think he was going to rule after his boss (that sketchy guy working for Thanos) took over Earth with the Chitauri? Loki deserves praise for being a great bad guy, but no sympathy for being adopted into royalty.

 

2. Jamie Lannister

Season 3 of Game of Thrones was good. Really good. And one of the characters who really broke out and had the most growth was, without a doubt, Jamie Lannister. He lost a hand, fought a bear and tearfully told a story about saving the kingdom by betraying his oath.

Stop. Right there, just stop.

Do not start feeling sympathy for Jamie. I don’t care if he’s crying in a bath tub. Almost everything going wrong in Westeros at the moment is directly his fault and it’s not because he’s the Kingslayer. No, most of the problems facing the realm are the result of him plowing his twin sister for years. That, and throwing children off of buildings – but that was also the result of him following through on the first act. Ned Stark getting the Sean Bean treatment? The Red Wedding? Joffrey? Each and every one of these horrible things are the result of his inability to keep it in his pants when his sister was around. I will concede that he does seem to be the only one who’s ever been nice to Tyrion in his family, and he is actively trying to resolve the issues that his dick created. He is also coming dangerously close to flipping from an antagonist to a protagonist and this current season might just cement that.

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However, when he cries, just remember that all of the miseries that most of the other characters that you like are enduring are the result of his twisted sex life. Send your sympathies to The Wall.

 

1. Severus Snape

Years ago, I had a roommate who worked at Borders. Also, just so we’re all clear with what I’m referring to, there used to be a bookstore chain called “Borders”. One day, sometime after the initial release of Deathly Hallows, she came home with a bunch stickers the store had left over that looked like this:

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She was very much in the “Trust Snape” category, whereas I was more in the “Snape is a Damn Creeper” category. Sadly, they didn’t carry that sticker.

My reasoning? Well, during the last bit of the series we discover that Snape had been friends with Harry’s mother (Lily) since they were children, and that he’d been in love with her since about that same time. Awwwwww.

No. Don’t be lured in by his sad magical tale. Here are some facts surrounding Snape.

First, he made friends with a bad crowd (because of bullying) then he joined the Magical Nazis (Magicazis?) as a result. The Magicazi grand plan was to take over the magical world, crush all who stood before them and wipe out the humans (or something like that). Snape’s personal conflict came when he found out that Lily, who he’d never gotten over since the age of 10, was at the top of the kill list. Note that she was already on the Magicazi kill list because she was a member of an organization dedicated to fighting their evil leader (Snake Hitler). Now she happened to be at the top because she had a prophecy baby. Basically, Snape shouldn’t have been too shocked, especially considering that he must have known that killing other innocent people was part of the plan for world domination, unless there was some sort of “hugging-it-out” spell that only the Dark Masters of Magic knew.

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Oh! And don’t let me forget the part where he suggested directly to Snake Hitler that he should just kill off his former bully and infant child (Harry) but leave the object of his obsession alone. Again, baby murder was “OK” in his book. He was still a bit worried though, so he went and switched sides to become a double agent. Once again, this was all because of his longtime love (obsession, really) who was never that into him. But then she dies, badly, leaving behind a child who has her eyes. This one prerequisite being good enough for government (Ministry of Magic) work ultimately convinces Snape that he should stay on the good guys side. Also for revenge, I guess.

As the story goes on the sequence of events culminate in Snape’s death at the hands of Snake Hitler and MegaPython (a SyFy Original Movie) for control of the super-wand. In his final moments, Snape is happy because he gets to see the eyes of the 10-year-old girl he never got over in the face of her 17-year-old son. Like I said, creeper. Severus Snape being “friend-zoned” may have saved the world, but please don’t give him your sympathy for it.

Want to add to this list? Have a beef with us? Leave a comment below or follow us on Facebook. We’re always ready for your compliments or condemnations!

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James

What can I say? I still own betamax tapes of the Original Trilogy recorded off the TV, I was ecstatic when Wolverine's real name was revealed to be "James", thoroughly enjoy Xbox achievements (while knowing full well they're meaningless) and I refuse to believe in Ben Affleck being a decent Batman. So really, I don't think I'm a geek. I just read comics, argue sci-fi movie castings, play video games and occasionally join in a group costume for cons…wait a minute...

4 Comments

  1. I think Snape is an incredible character. I really do, he’s dynamic and interesting and there’s more to him than meets the eye. But you didn’t even mention another one of the things that makes me totally lack sympathy for him – the fact that he outright bullies students to the point where a bogart, you know – shape shifters that take on the appearance of their opponents worst fear, became him during another teacher’s class. We don’t need history or backstory to think Snape is vile. We don’t need what happened outside the 7 years of the HP books. We only needs what happened from 1991 – 1998 to know he’s not a nice person. He also gave another student, our young Mr. Potter, even worse treatment than he gave the average student because he looked like the man who got the girl he wanted. Sure, he might have saved the kids life a couple times as well, for the girl…not even for the fact that he’d be saving a child’s life, but that doesn’t negate years of punishments that far outweighed the crimes they were given for.

    I have so much Snape rage. Because I just always wanted him to be a better person, deep down. Instead…we’re met with selfishness and an obsession 40 years old by the time the man died himself. :/

    Reply
    • Well I was trying to keep it short, but you make an excellent point! Snape bullies children and not just the one that he can’t stand. It didn’t even seem like it was a Mr. Miyagi style of teach either. You know the type, kids think that they’ve been duped only to discover that they have learned valuable skills. No, he just gave them nightmares.
      He is a complex character throughout most of the series, but then he’s just kind of oversimplified at the end.

      Reply
  2. In Snape’s defence though – what we learn of his back story (very unhappy home life with constant fighting, no friends because you know – wizarding children seem to be home schooled – otherwise they would know much more about muggles and have no need for muggle studies) It is understandable that he would welcome any form of friendship or acceptance, even from bad people.

    Because of this he never learns how to interact with people in a way that is not based on fear or power plays.

    Like Harry Hogwarts is the first place he feels he belongs. He has Wizarding friends and is respected for what he can do. Unfortuneatly the people he falls in with are very, very bad people and the “good” guys aren’t as good or perfect as Harry imagined them to be.

    Also James Potter and Sirus Black are raging douchey bullies. Just because they are “good” doesn’t mean they are perfect. In fact a bit you’ve seem to skipped over is that Sirius almost had Snape murdered for a prank.

    I’d say the good guys are just as bad as the bad guys during their school years. How could Snape be expected to want to save the man that bullied and humiliated him throughout his entire school life, who also caused him to lose the love of his life?

    How could he not look at Harry and see James jerk Potter staring back at him?

    Sure, Harry has the same defiance and strong will about him, but he is tempered with his mothers sense of right and wrong, of justice and fairness. Harry has a moral compass and was not a spoilt only child of rich older parents.

    You should feel sorry for Snape (unlike Voldemort) because he never really stood a chance at being able to be good. All his chances to turn good were not really suitable choices – choose Gryffindor but be with bullies James and Sirius who will never respect him or treat him well.

    The only people who accepted him in Slytherin were the worst of the worst. Why would he risk rejection an losing his current friends to find non evil Slytherins?

    The people who turn out good make his life a misery – they started picking on him first and not the other way round. Why would he join them once the war started?

    Any chance he had to turn good was snatched away from him before he could really choose.

    Voldemort decided to go evil. He could have gone another way.

    James and Sirus could have been good without being obnoxious, bullying jerks but they get let off with all their teenage bullying because they chose the side of good? I’m calling out a double standard there.

    Reply
  3. While you make some good points, I would like to note that at the end of everything all decisions that Snape made were were his own, bullied or not. He, and he alone is responsible for joining a team of murdering-wanna-be world conquers, and making the personal suggestion that Voldemort kill a baby in place of it’s mother. And all of that was before he became a teacher and picked on children, well into his 30’s, who were NOT Harry Potter.

    Now at no point did I suggest that you forgive James, Lupin or Sirus, they were rude bullies. They made stupid, childish decisions. They were also children. And they screwed up. Again, I’m not suggesting that you forgive them, but through that same line of understanding remember that Snape had one real friendship in the world that he, and nobody else, destroyed in a moment of rage. His fault, it may have been childish as well, but he too was a bully when push came to shove. Does he deserve forgiveness for hurting Lily more in one moment than through years of possible bullying? If he does then is it because he feels true remorse over making a mistake? If so, I’m calling a double standard there. James never caused Snape to lose Lily. Lily was never Snapes to begin with.

    I do have to disagree with you over the point of Harry being “tempered” by his mother’s sense of right or wrong. She died when he was a little over a year old, that’s not exactly a enough time potty train, let alone establish a deeply held core set of values. Rather, Harry was more likely tempered through being a neglected and abused child by the family that he grew up with. Very much like Snape if you think about it. But Harry always tried to be good to others, which tended to shock a lot of the magical world.

    Reply

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