Praise Odin it’s Wednesday and the worst of the week is probably over with. Probably. Shit, I certainly hope it’s over with at this point. Also, I realize that all of the types of villains I’ve featured so far are power-hungry. That shouldn’t be particularly surprising. This post feels even more ridiculous since the writing process involved in it has now spanned the entire day and I’m still only on the introduction. Bonus points because I at least managed to start organizing my living room, and I trimmed my beard for the first time without completely shitting it up. Please don’t judge me too harshly for that last bit, as this is my first real attempt at not being perpetually baby-faced. Right. So, moving on.
Today’s all about the Power-Hungry Subordinate. These are the bad guys waiting for the right time to make their move, stepping out of someone else’s shadow in hopes of casting a far greater one of their own. That’s not to say all villains classified as this type are working for other ne’er-do-wells, however. Some of the best-known Power-Hungry Subordinates find themselves trapped answering to a horribly cheerful, aggressively positive force of good. Such a dreadful fate. I wanted to try arguing these sneaky minions find themselves on a mission to overthrow a Tyrant, but I fear I might be venturing dangerously far into the realm of wishful thinking.
As with other types of villains, they can be pitiable. The Power-Hungry Subordinate seems to have a greater capacity for being sympathetic figures as they are typically in situations that have driven them to extremes, even if they do have broken moral compasses to begin with. I’ll get to that a bit more in one of the examples, though.
These villains are especially prone to manipulating others into doing their dirty-work for them, as they are so used to being on the receiving end of orders they aren’t always okay with completing. As such, they try to compensate by controlling others in the way they feel they are being controlled, which doesn’t always go so well in the end (especially if/when they are found out by their superiors).
Examples, as it is now late and I am tired:
Jafar (Aladdin) –
Yes, I’ma aware he qualifies for the all-powerful sorcerer post, but that only became true once he made one of his wishes and so I say to you no. There should also be some unspoken rule that no one holding the office of Grand Vizier should be trusted because even the title sounds sneaky and untrustworthy. Jafar’s quest for ultimate power starts off with him wanting the lamp so he can presumably become sultan. Once he gets the lamp, he gains all of the power he wants, is tricked into wishing for more power, and then effectively screws himself over. The problem is that he was subservient for so long that when he had the chance to grab at more power, well, he jumped at it. In Jafar’s defense: the Sultan of Agrabah did behave like he had the mind of a child a great deal, so Jafar probably had to deal with a lot of really ridiculous nonsense in his day-to-day life. That said, Jafar was a creepy, manipulative bastard, and he ultimately got what he deserved.
Kil’jaeden (World of Warcraft) –
Sargeras’ right-hand man and one of the most powerful forces in the Burning Legion, Kil’jaeden is kind of a jackass. Mere mention of his name strikes fear into enemies and allies alike, and he acts as the leader of the Burning Legion in Sargeras’ absence. Based on his encounter with heroes at the Sunwell, it becomes clear he doesn’t really enjoy answering to Sargeras when he could be scorching the life from countless planets on his own terms. That said, he obviously ends up biting off more than he can chew when he gets his ass handed to him at the Sunwell, but he doesn’t end up dying. Yet. I imagine once word gets back to Sargeras about the kind of dumbassery Kil’jaeden has gotten into and all of the less-flattering remarks he’s made…well, he’ll probably be begging for the sweet release of death.
Noteworthy mention goes to Archimonde, who also seemed to think he could take on Azeroth and its denizens in the name of the Burning Legion. He sure ****ed that up.