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The baddies. The mad scientists, the corrupt executives, the evil witches and wizards, the corrupt politicians, the mortal aspects of pure evil, and, more often than not, the people (or otherwise) that instigate the conflict and the story.
Despite how one is supposed to cheer for the hero to succeed, there has always been a long standing interest in the villains. Some are renowned for their intelligence and cunning Evil Plan, others are awe-inspiring with simply how evil they can be, and yet others are respected because of their determination. No matter how many times the hero kicks in the door and stops their plans, they're always back at it soon enough, with another dark scheme to further their evil goals. On the other hand, not all villains can achieve that secret admiration.
It is said a hero is only as good as their rivals. Thus, a good story has to have a well-written villain, somebody that earns respect. After all, what is a hero without a villain to challenge them? This.
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