Let’s Talk About Crowley

Photo credit: drkold on Flickr
So it’s nearly Halloween, and as tends to happen every year I’ve come to realize I hadn’t really posted anything Halloween-y this month. But as Writability has had several Halloweens, I’ve already posted about writing fears (debunked), rounded up my excellent villains posts, and talked about scary books. Which has left me all month trying to answer to annual question of “what will I post about around Halloween?”

I was coming up empty until last night when, starting Season 10 of Supernatural, it occurred to me that what was become one of my favorite characters is most definitely a villain.

So let’s talk about Crowley.

For those of you who do not watch Supernatural (and if you don’t—why not?), here is a brief, mostly non-spoilery rundown: Crowley is introduced as a crossroads demon (a demon who makes deals with people, usually to give them something they really want in exchange for their soul ten years later), who gleefully maneuvers a homophobic man into kissing him (crossroads demons seal all of their deals with a kiss). From there, over the course of many seasons, he gradually moves up (or down?) the demon hierarchy until he becomes a very important person of evilness.

Crowley does some pretty despicable things throughout his time on the show, including kidnapping and torturing people—some of which are characters we like, double-crossing the protagonists several times over, and manipulating just about everyone all to serve his own interests. On paper, Crowley is not a character to gravitate towards.

But on the other hand, he also has some…shall we say endearing traits? For example, his nonchalant attitude, the way he nicknames Sam “Moose” and Dean “Squirrel” (I don’t know why, but I can’t hate it), his never-ending sarcasm and dry British humor, the way he’s always one step ahead (have I mentioned lately I love smart villains?) and let’s not forget that along the way, he does actually help the protagonists…who then go ahead and try to kill him anyway many times, because he’s a demon. And evil. So.

On top of that, Crowley also has one trait that really stuck out to me most: he never breaks his contracts. Does he create loopholes? Absolutely. But he keeps to his word down to the letter. I won’t go as far to say that he’s honorable, but there’s something to be said for a character that keeps to their word.

So basically, what I’m saying here is as evil of a character as Crowley is, he has depth. He’s not one-sided—something that really comes into play when spoilery things happen in Seasons 8 and 9 and, I’m assuming, 10. By now, at the beginning of Season 10, I can no longer deny that he’s grown on me as a character, and for reasons I won’t get into because spoilers, he’s even become sympathetic.

It will probably not surprise you to hear that I really enjoy writing (and reading, and watching) multi-dimensional, and when possible, sympathetic, villains. Because for me, at least, while I do occasionally enjoy villains who are indisputably one-sidedly evil, the ones that surprise me with other sides of their personalities and even force me to like them (because, curse them, sometimes they have moments that are so damn likable) are frequently the ones that stick with me long after they meet their demise.

Assuming they meet their demise at all, that is…

Do you enjoy multi-dimensional villains? Who are some of your favorites?

Twitter-sized bites:
How do you make villains likable? @Ava_Jae analyzes one of SPN's most popular villains, Crowley, to answer. (Click to tweet)  
Like layered villains? @Ava_Jae talks about her favorite SPN villain Crowley and explores what makes him likable. (Click to tweet)

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