Many stories need villains, and for the infamy of playing villain the scum, the fallen, and the led astray compete.
The scum are evil. They do what is wrong for no reason other than that it is wrong. They delight in pain and suffering, they hate joy, peace, and love. They wallow in darkness and filth. The only thing anyone wants for them is death. There is no hope or even desire for redemption. They are evil born and bred and there is no good thing in them.
They are not the fallen, for to fall one must have started high, and characters like these have crawled from below, not fallen from above. They come from darkness and unto darkness they will return.
The fallen are also evil. They also do what is wrong for wrongness’ sake. They too hate joy, peace and love and delight in pain and suffering.
But they are not like the scum. They do not come from darkness.
The fallen have tasted heaven and spit it out. They have seen light and, unsatisfied, tried to conquer it. Their pride is insurmountable, they want to be above the sky. They were not born evil. They were born with a love for beauty, but in their quest to find it they forgot what they were looking for and thought that beauty was in themselves. They want to sit on top of the world, but, since in goodness there is no High Seat for the selfish, they turned away from goodness, valuing themselves above all else.
The fallen were not always evil. But they are even further from the good they were born for than the scum are, because they chose to turn to darkness for their own ends.
The led astray are not evil. They may do the works of darkness but they do not love it. The led astray were trapped as children, ensnared by the fallen, enslaved by the scum. They are deceived into thinking darkness is light, tricked into thinking that evil is good, or frightened into doing wrong. They know not what they do. Or, if they know, they do that which they hate.
They were born in the light and covered by the shadows. They tried to choose right but failed and lost their way. They have been led astray, by others or even by themselves. But a part of them still longs for what they have lost.
Forgiveness is their only hope.
What difference does it make which kind of villain a story has? A lot of difference.
I would argue that it can define the story.
(To be continued)