Converting a villain to a hero, can it really be done? My knee jerk answer is 'heck, no!' Why would we want to love the bad guy when there are so many good guys out there? Would you ever trust them to not turn back to the bad side? But on further consideration, what makes a better hero than a reformed, or semi-reformed, man? What could be a greater love story than to be the one woman who inspired epic love in a villain? Let’s talk about some of the best villains turned hero:
Sebastian St. Vincent, Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, was introduced in It Happened One Autumn, where he proceeded to kidnap his best friend’s fiancée. It was a measure of desperation, but nothing more than what everyone expected from the reprobate. He really needed a bride and would go to any lengths to acquire one.
“Because I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.”
When we next see him in Devil in Winter, Evie has agreed to marry him. Evie takes the rake and slowly, gently turns him into a new man. He becomes such a memorable hero that he is often listed by readers as one of Lisa Kleypas’s favorite heroes.
Murmuring her name, he brought her hand to his face and nuzzled ardently into her palm, his lips brushing the warm circlet of her gold wedding band. “My love is upon you,” he whispered... and she knew then that she had won.
Lothaire, Lothaire by Kresley Cole
Lothaire has his story in book 12 of the Immortals After Dark series and for 12 books, we knew him as The Enemy of Old. He will do anything to find his Bride and unite the Horde. But when he finally does find his Bride he can’t possibly believe she is a mere human, it has to be the evil deity inhabiting her body.
“Imagine my abject disappointment in you, female. Lothaire the Enemy of Old—the most feared vampire alive, the son of one king and grandson of another—paired with a mortal? Much less a mortal of no distinction. I’m given to understand that your people are worse than peasants.”
Ms. Cole pulls no punches with Lothaire. He is brutal, cold, and imposes his will on Ellie. He even puts her in prison for five years as a means to control her. But he has finally met his match and when he falls, he falls hard.
“When she absently worried her bottom lip with one of her adorable little fangs, he sighed.
The Enemy of Old fucking sighed.
Dear gods, it’d finally happened to him.
Then his own fangs sharpened. I will kill anyone who tries to take this feeling away from me.”
Kaleb Krycheck, Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Kaleb Krycheck is a man with immeasurable power. He was the protégé of Santano Enrique, a man we know as a brutal serial killer. He rose to the council ranks with much blood on his hands and he is feared and respected by some of the most powerful Psy there are. He is Psy. He has no feelings, he knows no empathy and he has no loyalty. Except for one woman. She is the one person who has the power to keep him from destroying the race.
“Tell me you aren’t evil.” Please.
Kaleb’s thumbs moved against her temples. “I’m sorry.”
Shaking her head in a mute refusal to accept what he was trying to tell her, she lifted trembling fingers to his jaw. “What have you done?”
“Too much that can never be undone.”
The wonderful thing about Kaleb is though while we watch him struggle with emotion in no way does he all of the sudden become a good man. But he is a man worthy of being called a hero. Ms. Singh writes him so perfectly that somehow we are able to look past what he has done and only focus on the man he will be for his mate.
It was the greatest of ironies that the only person who had ever held him as if he mattered was the one person who did not need to hold him at all. If Sahara called, he would come.
Anne Stuart is also excellent at turning the villain into the hero. Her Ice series is full of anti-heroes who are one step away from being the villain. Each one of her heroes is a man of questionable morals and a loyalty only to completing the mission.
Do you know of some other villains that have become heroes?