In another continuous attempt to make something out of really awkward letters, I’m going to thread in an example of today’s theme and go off on a tangent.
Xykon is a villain in Rich Burlew’s award-winning Order of the Stick, a fantasy webcomic based on tabletop roleplaying and genre conventions. It’s also really good if you’re into any of those things or interesting storytelling. So why am I writing a post about a specific character from a webcomic and why this particular one? Is it because of the limited topics you can write with X? Maybe. However, the character raises some interesting points.
He’s not just another stereotypical villain: he’s an extremely stereotypical villain. Xykon is a lich – an undead skeletal spellcaster brought back to life through a twisted ritual and who keeps his soul stored in a phylactery (the original term for a Horcrux). He can’t do a deep booming maniacal laugh because he has no lungs. Instead of setting up his most dangerous traps and minions at the entrance to his lair, he puts the weakest ones first and makes them more powerful. Why? Boredom.
As the story progresses (no plot spoilers, by the way) he fits the role of a villain in darker ways. Xykon is a villain who suffers from a weakness that a lot of successful fictional villains benefit from – faith. I don’t mean faith in something in a religious context, his faith in magic is without hesitation. A villain, nay a person that focuses on one aspect of their power and sticks to it is an effective part of any story simply because it builds character. If they have a pet that they lose, it represents the remnants of their humanity disappearing. Complete faith in fire magic? A weakness to make the situations they present the protagonists with possible to conquer.
Next week, Y. That’ll be fun.