Why is it that no one ever tells a story from the “villain’s” point of view?
Have you ever noticed that the stories never tell us why the bad guy is bad?
He just is.
No justification, no account of his history, no back-story to tell us what led him to the point he is in the tale. He’s just bad. And that’s that.
Now, let’s take a look at the pretty princess, locked up in the tower, sad and lonely, waiting for prince charming to come and save her from the clutches of her evil step mother, whisking her away on his white horse and marrying her with a glass slipper. Because naturally what would complete her happiness, what would make her whole and give her life meaning, would be marrying the prince, going to live in his huge castle, having 10 kids and living happily ever after as his queen.
Or something like that, anyway.
I wasn’t really paying attention; I never much cared for that part of the stories. The endings always seemed disappointing, like there was no real justice done.
I’ve always had this deep, unexplainable compassion for the villains in fairy tales. I felt sorry for them, I sympathized with them, I even tried to justify their despicable actions. While all the other (normal) kids concentrated on the damsels in distress, up in their high towers, and the knights in shining armor who had shown up out of nowhere as saviors to kill the dragon guarding the tower, I sat there wondering why the fire-breathing dragon was so bad. There had to be a reason the wicked witch was so mean.
Could it be that the bad guy of the story was not always a bad guy? Could it be that once they were good, pure of heart, one that loved the world and everyone around them, but something happened to them, so traumatic and devastating, something that made them want revenge on those who harmed them, on the world?
Everyone hated the bad guy no one cared what happened to them in the end. So I’d love them. No one else did, so I took it upon myself to be the friend of the villains of the stories, to try to give them, at least in my mind, absolution for their deeds. I couldn’t quite swallow that someone could be so hateful, for no reason at all. Nor could I accept that any creature was born evil.
I’m a grown woman and I still can’t digest the idea. Fairy tales are no longer fairy tales; they’re real life. The princesses and damsels, the fairies and the knights have changed as well, but stayed the same just to seem mind-numbingly boring still; though I won’t get into that here. Because, even in real life, it’s the villains, the ones whose stories are never told, who continue to intrigue me. I still love them just a little bit more.
Justice finally came for me and all my beloved villains in the world of fairy tales decades later. Maleficent, my favorite wicked witch, from my favorite fairy tale, finally got a voice; and absolution. A justification, one that suited me as an adult as well as it would have even when I was a child. You see, this evil witch had a story, and a reason. I’ll give you one guess. Yup, you got it; Love. True love.
We adore the whole notion that love conquers all and it’s the source of all good and happiness, yet we always seem to overlook the fact that it is also the cause of so much evil and malevolence. It cuts as often as it heals, it brings destruction as completely as it does salvation. It has the ability to freeze the earth, just as it does to set it on fire. It’s a reckoning; the one thing all people have, can give in abundance, and long to receive, and it’s as dangerous as any weapon. It’s how we choose to use it that determines the outcome.
It was love that made Maleficent evil, just as, ultimately, it was love that saved her. A different kind albeit, but still love.
So before you rush to call that woman a cold bitch with no feeling and no emotion, take a second and think about it; maybe once, once upon a time, in some fairy tale of her own, she felt a little too much. Maybe she loved too much, so much, that when she fell, it shattered her and all her feelings to pieces. Maybe, just maybe, all she needs is help putting them back together again.
It sometimes seems ridiculous to always love the villains of the stories and maybe I was wrong, maybe there are people in this world who are malicious and hateful with no good reason. I don’t know. I do know one thing, though.
Even the wicked witches of this world have been in love. They just were never loved back.