I made a mistake in last week's blog. Remember how I said that Where the Clouds Catch Fire would be available on Amazon Kindle for only $.99 on St. Patrick's Day? Well, due to a technical difficulty (or my failure to read Amazon's terms and conditions, I'm not quite sure which), Where the Clouds Catch Fire will be available on Kindle for FREE. No shipping and handling. No charge at all.
I recently saw How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World in theaters. Twice, actually. I enjoyed it both times, and I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it again. In my opinion, it's much better than the second movie, and almost (if not) as good as the first. I've been hooked on the series ever since my friend got me hooked on it when I was...my gosh, probably ten or eleven.
I remember the first time she told me about the film. "What kind of name is Hiccup?" I thought. "And what's the deal with Toothless? He has teeth."My perspective changed once I saw the movie. It was amazing. In fact, all three movies, all the short films (except "Dawn of the Dragon Racers," I didn't really enjoy that one) and all the TV series have been wonderfully scripted, acted, and animated, with a great musical score to boot.
I only have one problem with the second movie.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon 2 as much as anyone else did. The animation was cutting-edge, and the scenes where Hiccup's parents were together brought so much heart and emotion into the film. My main problem is the villain.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie, or haven't seen it in a while, Drago Bludvist is the main antagonist of the film. He believes that he alone can control dragons, and he uses them as weapons of destruction. But...why? He says that dragons destroyed his home, killed his family, and took his arm when he was a boy. It makes sense that he'd want to kill all dragons, or maybe imprison and torture them if he's the kind of sadistic maniac the film makes him out to be, but...building an army comprised of his worst nightmares? That's a stretch. And I hoped DreamWorks would have a villain a bit more original than a Viking Hitler bent on world domination.
It's a good lesson for us writers: motivation is key. Yes, some people are bent on world domination, but most aren't. Characters should always want something for a clear and valid reason. They should have something at stake; a certain prize they win or stand to lose forever.
For example, in Where the Clouds Catch Fire, protagonist Alynn McNeil has moved twenty-three times in the past four years. When St. Anne's Monastery becomes her home, she'd rather die than lose it. And, if she doesn't die, she'll be sold into slavery--the worst fate of all in Alynn's mind, as she'd watched Vikings kidnap her mother for the slave trade.
Villains have to have even more believable motivations. The antagonist of Where the Clouds Catch Fire, the Norse warlord Konar the Mad, believes that St. Anne's Monastery is filled with riches and smart young men (the kind that make the best slaves). As a slave trader himself, he's looking forward to making vast sums of money.
Even Grimmel the Grisly, the villain of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has a decent motivation. He "lives for the hunt," as one character puts it. I'm a Texan. There are multiple taxidermized animals at our local Walmart. I know that hunters take their hobby seriously. Throw in a hint of sadism and/or narcissism and you've got a pretty strong villain with a clear goal: kill things for the fun of it.
Who is your favorite movie villain? And what do you think of the How to Train Your Dragon series? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.