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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I was a kid, I've had the habit of listening to the villain's side of things, not necessarily with sympathy, but with the intention of trying to understand why they think the way they think and act the way they act. I've never been able to just see them as evil and root for the hero to defeat them, no matter how over-the-top bad the writer makes them out to be. If anything, excessive attempts to show them as 'bad' only reinforces the attempts to understand them. I want to know how they tick, why they act the way they do, what they get out of it and so forth.

Sympathy for the devil, I guess? Curious to know if it's an 'INFP' thing or a 'me' thing.
 

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This is definitely an INFP thing, you see the good in everyone all the time. I sympathize with the bad guys too, but more because I like to solve puzzles.
 

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I find many other INFPs I know as well as myself doing the same thing. I guess INFPs are just naturally inquisitive and like to try to understand everything about how people work, including trying to understand their feelings and motives. I mean, I try to analyze a villain's true motives to see if they have a valid reason to feel a certain way about the protagonist. I am aspiring to be a fantasy writer, and analyzing the behavior and motives of villains in other literary works has helped me learn how to create villains and describe their motives (mainly for power, bloodlust, and just plain immoral evil).

My writing experiences aside, I just think that overall INFPs are inquisitive, sympathetic, and seek to understand people and their intrinsic natures above all else.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What made me think of this was that, for the first time, I decided to sit down and read the Harry Potter books a little while back.

When they were first being released, the amount of hype surrounding them was so immense that it was kind of a turn-off for me. I didn't want to rush off and read something because 'everyone else was reading it', and without that hype I would not have even heard of or been interested in a kids series about wizards and witches, so I just ignored the whole thing. And ignoring it continued long after the hype had died down, such that I never saw any of the movies and couldn't have really told you anything about the series beyond a few names from it.

Yet, at bottom, I enjoy a good fantasy series and seeing such enthusiasm suggests something was there. So I've bitten the bullet and started reading.

A funny thing, though. When I was teaching in Taiwan, my students told me I looked like Harry Potter, with the brown hair and the round glasses and so forth. And I was amused to find out that canonically Harry Potter and I nearly share a birthday: both born in the Summer of 1980, but me somewhat earlier. If I had been born in Britain, and if there really a big wizard's school thereabouts, we'd have been in the same classes.

So now that I've finally sat down and decided to read the things (just started the second book), I've kind of half-consciously gone into it thinking 'what would I have done in our humble protagonist's shoes at his age?'

And it seems an awful lot of my answers revolve around 'I'd have done more to try to figure out why my antagonists are acting the way they're acting.' I'd have asked Professor Snape if he had some issue with me I could try and resolve, to see if I could change so he wouldn't dislike me so much. I'd have been more tactful with Malfoy, even as he was being a belligerent ass, trying to see if there was some way I could be a positive influence on him. And so forth.

And already it kind of bugs me how neatly Gryffindor and Slytherin are being associated with 'good' and 'evil', respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I see slytherin more as cunny than evil
Ideally, that would be the case. But so far, Slytherin just seems to be characterized as 'the asshole house.' Like the team full of rich kids all dressed in black uniforms that inevitably gets the crap kicked out of them by the team of ragtag misfits in every kid's sports movie ever.

Or like the wizard version of Cobra Kai.

 

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yea exctally the douchey cunny preppy white kids who think their entitled to everything cause their dads are rich or their of high class families
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yea exctally the douchey cunny preppy white kids who think their entitled to everything cause their dads are rich or their of high class families
Right, and I'm only through with the first book so this is likely to change substantially as the targeted age group shoots up over the course of the series, but as I was reading I kept thinking about another kid's series that was popular outside of its demographic: Avatar the Last Airbender.

The initial setup of that series seems to mirror this same routine. The Fire Nation are bad and Team Avatar and friends are good. Yet it wastes no time in offering up Fire Nation characters who are actually quite sympathetic and have perfectly understandable reasons for behaving the way they behave, while offering up a number of 'allies' who are opposed to the Fire Nation and yet highly unsympathetic. I can't overstate how much I loved that.

In short, I'm hoping to see some exploration of why people in Slytherin think and act the way they do, a chance to see things from their point of view and discover that beneath the veneer of douchebag behavior some of them are actually quite decent people who just have a different perspective on things than the heroes.
 

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I always empathize with villains, but not so much the cartoony kind mentioned above. They tend to lack the spiritual elasticity that flesh and blood human beings have for me when the character's are so cut out to fill a role. But in real life I always always empathize with the "villain", and so that naturally spills over to art. I think some of it has to do with feeling like a misunderstood outsider in every day life, and expecting to be hated by others most of the time, whether I have good reason to or not. Also that it's easy to imagine myself as another that's simply "lost it's way".
 

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I think about 80% of the time I feel bad for the villain when he loses or gets killed off. Only because most villains I don't see as purely evil and hell, sometimes even through their terrible acts I see the charm in them and can sympathize with that.
 

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All the time! Sympathy and empathy aren't the same thing, and I think morality is often treated very superficially in media. Villains are people and deserve the same amount of thought and respect than other characters.
 

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Not at all. As a matter of fact, whatever the opposite of *empathize* is...

((( unempathetic? )))

...that is me toward villains.

I wish to see them squashed and killed, destroyed and stopped --- to have the rug pulled out, from under them. I don't like seeing the villain win. It seems I do not have patience toward their bad decisions. I do not find myself romanticizing them. I think it's a good/bad thing with me? I actually hate them.

Count me out.
 
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