Why Do We Love the Bad Guys So Much?

Eric Northman. Damon Salvatore. Do I have your attention? Maybe these will help.

Aah. Okay, that is all.

No. Wait! Not really. I just got a little distracted for a moment there. *wipes drool from chin* This is why I should wait to insert pictures until after I’ve written the post.

Okay, really, I do have a reason for bringing your attention to these hawties and for the same reason I posted the passage I did for this week’s Teaser Tuesday. Which I’ll get to in a moment.

But first…why these two?

Because I have a new lust. Let me explain.

Since True Blood’s season finale, I’ve felt a little void in my life, just as I do at the end of every season. Eric Northman is a very big part of that void. See, when I started writing, I’d given up pretty much all TV, realizing how much more I enjoy imagining and creating my own stories than mindlessly watching someone else’s. But TB (and Eric) has me hooked and what’s an hour a week, 13 weeks out of the year?

When the season ends, I realize just how much I enjoy that indulgence and wonder, with all the work I do, what’s an hour or two a week every week of the year? With everyone switching their objects of affection from Eric the viking vampire to Damon the southern vampire, I’ve decided to allow myself that hour and give The Vampire Diaries another go.

We’ve seen the first season but it was so long ago, we had to watch it again. We just started the second season, so please don’t give anything away. Anyway, I’ve found a new lust. I’m enjoying my time with Damon just as much as I enjoy my time with Eric. Even The Man and The Herd like Eric and Damon (almost) as much as I do.

Which got me to thinking. What is it about these two? They’re arrogant, self-serving bastards. And they’re bad. Very, very bad. They do horrible things. They have no (or at least little) regard for human life. So why do we love them so much?

I think it’s because they’re so bad. They say and do things we only wish we could do when someone ticks us off or does us wrong. We all have moments when we don’t want to care about others’ feelings. When we wish we could just mouth off something snarky that makes everyone’s jaws drop. Or, even better, just push the a-hole off the roof. But we do care, so we suppress those feelings and handle our issues like responsible adults. And we chuckle when Eric or Damon do get to do those things.

We love their total disregard for others because we know it’s just fiction. Of course we’d feel differently if they were all real. But that’s what movies, shows and books do for us: provide an escape. They give us situations we can relate to but with characters who behave in ways we never would or could…but sometimes secretly want to.

So we love Eric and Damon, their fantastic lines and all their badness, as well as other similar characters. Such as my Jordan in Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella.

This week’s Teaser Tuesday gave you a hint to what Jordan’s like. I’m not saying he’s as great as Eric and Damon because there might be one thing he lacks that they don’t: if we look through their tough exteriors, Eric and Damon do have redeeming qualities. As for Jordan – that will be for you to decide.

What do you think makes us fall for Eric and Damon? Do you agree or do you have other ideas?

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5 Responses to Why Do We Love the Bad Guys So Much?

  1. Brenda Drake says:

    Okay, it took me several minutes to move past the pictures. I do love me some bad boys – had a few in real life. They’re the forbidden fruit and so delicious. Great post! <3

  2. April says:

    Well, I don’t watch those shows (but maybe I SHOULD!!!), but I know what you mean. You know who I love? He’s not hot, but I love him anyway. He’s a lying, cheating mobster – Tony Soprano.

    And of course, I love Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, though he’s a bastard who hides his crazy wife.

  3. Heather says:

    Now I’m dying to read more about Jordan! I must agree, I think part of us loves them because they do the things we can~or would~not. They act on impulses we suppress and they speak their minds. I will always love the anti-hero because of their depth and conflict.

  4. Aravis says:

    I don’t watch either of those shows, but I know what you mean. I think you’re right: they do the things that we dream about, sometimes in a very funny way. I like them less when they’re messing with characters I’m attached to, but I agree that there’s often something redeeming about them. Characters that are completely evil through and through sometimes come across as one dimensional and boring. Lately, however, the trend is to write those gray areas into the characters, and it really adds to the overall story.

    There is also the classic reason for loving the bad boy: so many women want to change them. In real life this is often a futile endeavor, but fiction occasionally lets us get away with it. :0)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am a sucker for Damon Salvatore. While I haven’t watched or read anything from Sookie Stackhouse or True Blood, I’m all about the bad boys…because for me, they aren’t always ALL bad. At least Damon isn’t. I love watching a character develop, and I love watching the bad boys have some redeeming qualities. I think that’s what makes them so catching/compelling. How did they come to be so bad-ass? What or who is their weakness? For me, these are the types of things that keep me coming back for more! I think that V’lane from Karen Moning’s Fever series is the same way, as well as the Unseelie King and Darroc Masters. I can’t wait for the Soul Savers Novella by the way! And I am counting down the months until Devotion is released!

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.