I’ve been in the habit lately of binge watching The Originals after my kids are asleep. I can’t help but root for Klaus Mikaelson. He’s hot, that accent is irresistible, and I love the way he breaks.
He does despicable things. He hurts people, he kills people, he’s selfish and he thinks only of his wants and his pain. He’s like a spoiled king-boy that believes he is never wrong and expects to always get his way. He is paranoid, quick to strike and less quick to forgive those who slight him.
He acts the way he does because he is an element of his upbringing, and it’s all he knows.
And yet…Klaus is by far my favorite. He displays acts of humanity that humble his character. He can be selfless and kind. Sure, he can be a murderous asshole intent on making everyone else as miserable as he is — but there’s something lurking beneath it all, a desire to be good. A desire to see the goodness in those around him, a desire to rise above his circumstances and be better.
This isn’t the first time I’ve fallen for the bad guy, for the antagonist. It happened in Vampire Diaries (with Damon Salvatore), Gossip Girls (with Chuck Bass), and a billion other television shows I really don’t want to list for fear of looking like I never go outside (I do go outside, I promise).
I am drawn to these characters because they are imperfect. They do the things that we all wish we could do — get revenge, take something we want that isn’t ours, do something brash and outrageous on the off chance it’ll make us happy.
When they do do good, it takes effort for them. It’s a sacrifice that they willingly make, even if it goes against everything they’re supposed to be. They act cold and inhumane, untouchable and impenetrable, but they are not.
A lot of the time, I’m left wondering if they are the ones who truly feel the most out of everyone.
They are the richest characters, the ones that grow the most. They are full of surprises and twists and thousands upon thousands of different, complex layers. Unraveling all those layers to see who they truly are beneath it all is the best part of reading (or watching) the story.
I don’t like the cookie-cutter perfect couple that never disagrees and never hurts one another because to me…that isn’t believable. People are too complex to never inflict pain, even unintentionally. There has to be torment and anguish to hold my attention, because I love to see how people overcome that torment and anguish.