The Romantic Villain

Your writer is an aromantic asexual, but I didn’t know that was a thing in high school. I was endlessly baffled by why even my most like-minded friends had so many more feelings than me, and why they made such blindly stupid decisions because of them. The issue, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t getting the girl. It’s getting along with the girl.

“Oh, they’re really making me mad lately. They never pay attention, they never call, they look at this one classmate all the time–“

“Then why are you dating? You aren’t even friends. Get the awful obligatory library blowjob out of the way and break up.”

“You just don’t understand love.”

And yet I seem to be the only one who’s noticed how many romantic cliches in writing can shape up into seriously great villain origin stories. Hear me out.

Romantic Villain I: I Have You Now, My Pretty

If I see even one character who should be someone’s fated enemy but somehow is just too pretty to kill, I am out. Reading time is over, kids, get the Atari.

…Unless, of course, we actually have a psychotic villain protagonist on our hands, who becomes so obsessed with their unwitting love interest they systematically wipe out both sides of whatever fated conflict is going on. They have a name like Vlastimila, Lenore, or Eamon. Hell yeah.

Romantic Villain II: Visible Morality

A beautiful character turns out to be evil. So physical beauty is superficial, and real beauty is on the inside. Got the moral. Oh, but wait–earlier or maybe shortly after, we learn the female protagonist (she’s usually female) has really been beautiful all along. One of these things did not need to have a point made out of it.

Unless…this is actually foreshadowing, for the wild twist ending where she becomes the real villain of the story!

Romantic Villain III: Cover Girl

Does anyone remember that weird stint in the early 2000s where it was standard procedure to have female hero characters approached by inevitable love interests be complete assholes for no reason but still narratively portrayed as “good” and “charming” and “fragile?” I sure do.

Well, what if she was really possessed by a demon? A powerful one, lying in wait to unleash it on the Hero Faction? Or even better, she had some sort of glamour or charm, making her seem reasonable and appealing? That would explain it.

Romantic Villain IV: Special Eyes

Love Interest has amazing eyes. I mean, these are just to most profound eyes anybody’s ever seen. They’re an impossible color (like blue, but way better), and they’re just so amazing. Every time Protagonist is in the same room, they cannot stop staring at them. God, they’re so amazing.

Finally, Protagonist just can’t help themself. They snap, cut out Love Interest’s eyes, and crystallize them for their collection. (FYI, I’m keeping this character concept. Hands off.)

Aromantic Hero

Hero confesses to Love Interest. Love Interest politely explains they are aromantic and can’t reciprocate. They then become great friends for the rest of the story, fight evil together without taking a paragraph to talk about each others’ stunning good looks, and I get the good, wholesome, positively-portrayed asexual aromantic I’ve always wanted.

You see what I mean? Get those romantic cliches outta here. Every hero needs a villain, but not every hero needs a love interest.

2 thoughts on “The Romantic Villain

  1. I’m upset you’ve claimed the crystallized eye collection. That is disturbing and brilliant.

    I’ve always wanted to do an aro romance story where at the end, instead of proposing, the protagonist gets on one knee and asks “Won’t you be my neighbor.” And then they buy a duplex together.

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