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New Poll - Antagonist Alignment
This week's poll was suggested by Crowned_Cumber. We did a similar poll half a year ago for protagonists, so this time it's all about the antagonist.

You can submit poll ideas here

Previous Poll Results:
Question: Does the morality of the author affect your enjoyment / consumption of their work?
No - votes: 1496 (55.9%)
Yes - votes: 1178 (44.1%)
There were 2674 total votes.
The poll ended: December 25th 2021

Pretty even split down the middle.

And Merry Christmas!
Posted by lambchopsil on 
December 25th 2:38pm
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» HikaruYami on December 25th, 2021, 3:21pm

Merry christmas to you too, dude.

Anyway, I didn't expect this to be the plurality but I picked Neutral Evil. (edit: well the poll was super new when I was drafting this comment; when I voted, neutral evil was the plurality, now after posting it, lawful evil is the plurality)

Lawful evil antagonist usually result in overly frustrating tales where the main character at some point has to confront the unlawfulness of their own resistance (or else it's lawful good vs lawful evil which is a battle of... bureaucracy??). Not every "protagonist vs kingdom" conflict is actually a battle against lawful evil, to be clear. The usual trope is that they attained power by underhanded means (like murdering the previous king) which is *not* a lawful action.

Chaotic Evil antagonists can be fun (and I expected them to be winning here), but ironically (considering the name) they tend to be a bit predictable, since there are a limited number of purely selfish goals you can enumerate in a given setting.

Neutral evil just gives you more freedom when writing the character, since they can operate both inside and outside of the rules.

That's my preference for a single villain, but One Piece actually set up dual villains: one lawful evil (marines/WG) and one chaotic evil (blackbeard), and that works fucking fantastically. You don't need a neutral evil villain if you already have both chaotic and lawful evil villains.

I'm well aware of decent chaotic neutral and lawful neutral "antagonists". The former is just an agent of destruction with no desires or sense of morality, the latter is a bureaucrat impeding progress because the rules say so.

People voting for lawful good must think Miles Edgeworth is the single best antagonist Japan has ever put out

People voting for neutral good must have reeeeeally been rooting for Light in Death Note, since L is basically the epitome of a neutral-good "antagonist" (he operates well both inside and outside the law so he can't really be considered lawful or chaotic).

People voting for chaotic good must really love the "very confused but well-intentioned opponent gets won over by the protagonist after a long fight" trope.

I'm curious what examples people have for true-neutral antagonists. I can't think of a good example at all.


» residentgrigo on December 25th, 2021, 3:32pm

Lawful evil is Darth Vader so why improve on perfection? Having a good guy as the antagonist can be cool too but such works aren´t the norm. Even in the current anti-hero trend in the US.

A final word on author morality. Steve Ditko walked away from his co-creation Spider-man, who burst out of the gate as a success, due to refusing to draw issue 39. That issue reveals that the Green Goblin is Norman Osborn. His objectivist moral convictions went against the reveal that a crazed terrorist could be a leader of capital. Those might as well be the highest form of citizen under Ayan Rand´s worldview. He refuted that reason years later (Stan Lee over credited himself in the 60s and so Ditko´s plot contributions to outright plots were overshadowed) but we know for a fact that Ditko fought against the Goblin reveal. Drawing for the paycheck ain´t Steve Ditko. Especially if you read his truly insane creator-owned work. The point of the art of an actual artist, and let's be honest there are the only ones worth following long term, is why they continue to go on. Any industry is dominated by work for hire so Ditko´s aren´t the norm but you have to respect such a baller move.

Why Steve Ditko Quit:


» VawX on December 25th, 2021, 8:10pm

There are so many scenarios that could make a good antagonist great mmm...
Some of my favourite antagonist are Chaotic Evil (Kefka, Joker) but a lot of time they're just too bland because they're just doing chaos but with shitty backstory mmm..

For now I choose Neutral Good, which is kinda rare but usually the reason why they become the antagonist is because they logically think that they're right mmm...
This type of antagonist can somehow create interesting plot where it's hard to choose who to root between the protagonist or the antagonist because both of them can be right mmm...
The downside is that the story need to be really strong or else the antagonist will just very flat (like rival type antagonist) mmm...


» Trimutius on December 26th, 2021, 3:55am

Lawful evil makes for best antagonists somehow...


» Sugarshark on December 26th, 2021, 10:24pm

anyone who is better than me at everything would antagonize me to no end


» Bog Initiate on December 29th, 2021, 10:29pm

Lawful evil antagonists are the hardest to beat and the ones that pose a real true threat. They're fun as well since they have to be quite smart and entertaining. Just as residentgrigo said, it's perfection. There's no better way to make a protagonist's life hard.