Write, Story

Good Words: Antiheroes & Antivillains

Antiheroes and Antivillains. One of these terms I’m sure you’ve heard before. We’ve discussed antiheroes many times in the podcasts and hangouts we’ve recorded over the years. But what about the other term, antivillains?

Before this discussion, I had never come across the term “antivillain” before Evan brought it up for this discussion. It’s a turn phrase that I really love.  Playing with literary terms and meanings is one of the reasons I love studying literature and storytelling. Often, it’s in the turning upside down of expectations where we learn the most about our favorite stories and characters.


Antiheroes are often missing the traditional characteristics of a hero or behave in ways that we don’t consider heroic but often do so in order to serve a greater good. One of the classic Antiheroes is Robin Hood.


An antivillain is much like an antihero: acts in a way contrary to a traditional villain. Sometimes they do so in service of a greater good but often it is with selfish motivations.

To Discuss

Are you fond of Antiheroes and Antivillains? Do you like heroes who push against traditional roles or conform to them? Have you heard of the term Antivillains? Let us know in the comments.

Tune in next time for more Good Words!

Regina & Evan

2 thoughts on “Good Words: Antiheroes & Antivillains”

  1. It was the weirdest experience being a fan of “Dexter,” a serial killer who sort of fights crime. It plays out the idea of vigilante in a really weird way.
    I also enjoyed a CBS show in 2002 called “Hack.” David Morse played a grisly, dishonored cop who now drives a cab. Despite wanting to stay to himself and out of other people’s business, he ends up the anti-hero in a lot of feel-good stories.
    The anti-hero or villain is so much easier to identify with. No one is pure evil but no one is pure good, either. It’s more attainable.

  2. That’s a really great observation, Rhonda. I think one of the things I love the most about antiheroes is that feeling that I’m actually the antihero of my own life. (And often my own anti-villain as well!) I know we’ve talked about Superman as being a character neither of us relates to and I think that’s one of the biggest issues with his character. His “goodness” and perfection as a hero leaves little room for complexity. Messy is so much more fun!

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