Persuasive villains

I’ve seen many a book or film in which a deranged villain spends most of one of the final scenes explaining his master plan to the hero (or heroine) and then proceeds to try and persuade them to join up with him, the “Turn to the dark side Luke” syndrome. In all the examples I’ve seen or read the villain’s scheme is sufficiently dastardly or insane that our protagonist turns them down and proceeds to step B (the thwart).

Does anyone know of piece of fiction in which the bad guy actually succeeds in talking the good guy round to his way of thinking? The only near example I can think of is a certain famous comic book series (which I have no desire to spoil if you haven’t read) but that doesn’t really count because the villain has already succeeded by the time the exposition takes place. I’m also interested in any examples of this type of thing where you thought the villain actually made a good logical case for their actions.

In Howard the Duck, the villain convinces Beverly to marry him.

In The Rock, the villain’s scheme is actually pretty honorable, but he doesn’t convince the heroes to join him (since the means were so bad).

Sleeper? I was thinking about that, since the villain, TAO, is such a master manipulator. As long as he can talk, he can get inside people’s heads and twist them to his will.

Well, in certain computer games, like Fallout, or Knights of the Old Republic, you can join the villian. However, I’m not sure if those count because of the interactivity invovled

The most obvious recent example I can think of is Anakin Skywalker giving himself over to the Dark Side after having been sweet-talked by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith.

Does it have to be near the end of the piece? Because I’d count the twin seduction scenes in Rocky Horror. Frank talks both Brad and Janet into giving it up. And of course at the end they’re all cavorting around but I put that more on being Medusaed and De-Medusaed.

In the final Silence of the Lambs movie, Hannibal Lector convinces Clarisse Starling to join forces with him, after it is found out that she was being manipulated by her boss.

Milton’s Paradise Lost Book I, Satan makes a darn persuasive argument for his rebellion.

While Milton’s intent was to justify the ways of God to man, old Satan with his
’The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’

’Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven’
comes off much better than the pious ramblings from Heaven.

It’s been years since I’ve seen that movie. What was the goal again?

Force the govt into giving better retirement benefits and to acknowledge men lost in special forces ops.

You beat me to it, but I was going to spell Dr.Lecter’s name correctly.
I would point out that he convinces her by chemicals and brain washing (for lack of a better term) in the novel, not in the film. She was not manipulated by her boss, Jack Crawford, but persecuted by the Paul Krendler (I believe from the Justice Department) whose brain they eat.


And it’s* Clarice.* :slight_smile:

I think he’s referring to:


Right, enigmatic?

Yes, I wasn’t quite sure how to make the spoiler tags and I really didn’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t read it.

I think convincing arguments are rare especially in film because there is a drive toward black and white morality and the hero is usually deliberately faced with with an argument which is obviously too twisted to be seriously considered, I’m a little suprised though the idea doesn’t seem to be more common in literature, I would of thought that leaving the reader wondering what they would have done in the same place is a great ending for a book.

*He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. *
Not an individual villain, exactly, and the persuasion was far from gentle, but still…

Richard III., that cunning bastard, actually manages to convince Lady Anne, wife of Edward the Fifth who Richard offed (among others) to marry him. A very persuasive fellow, that Richard.

Knives and Legato were pretty compelling in Trigun.

[spoiler]The latter managed to convince Vash that killing him was the only way to save Meryl and Millie from being killed by the zombie villagers, after Vash having lived for over a century without killing his opponents.

Also, both managed to force Vash into using the Angel arm, and Knives used his abilities to screw with the heads of the crew of Project Seeds.[/spoiler]

Their abilities seemed to be based at least partly on some kind of mind control, though, so I don’t know if they count.

And in FF7, you might say that Sephiroth…

[spoiler]…manipulated Cloud into doubting his identity, which led to him giving Sephiroth the Dark Materia.

Then there was the part right before he impaled Aeris where cloud was making like he was about to do the deed himself, but I don’t really remember what was going on there, exactly.[/spoiler]

In TOS: Space Seed, Khan convinced Marla McGivers to betray Kirk and help him take over the ship. Then again, you might say she was predisposed anyway.

Yeah, you gotta admit. Those genocidal war criminals are SEXY!

Every time I watch that, I ask “So, if they had gone back to 1939, would she have fallen in love with Hitler?” Maybe she thinks Pol Pot was a hunk? How about milosevich?

I guess enough Chemistry and some people will overlook anything.

In the new episode of Battlestar Galatica, Sexbot Six has Dr. Balter eating out of the palm of her hand(among other things). He doesn’t even question what she tells him anymore, even though she’s entirely in his head.

But then again, he never seemed to be particulary strong willed and the destruction of civilization and his guilt in getting caught has gone a long way towards destablizing him.(Though I suspect the simulated sex has something to do with it as well).