A to Z Challenge – K

K

My theme for the A to Z challenge is Villain Archetypes.

Yes, 26 descriptions of some of your favorite villains of literature, TV, and movies.

April 13 – K is for King-Maker

This archetype is essentially a puppet master, pulling strings and weaving narrative to put another person in a position of power. Not always a king, this villain can be working to place a CEO, President, Chancellor, Military commander, or any person in a key strategic leadership position. Never one for the limelight, a King-Maker wants to place these particular people in power positions in order to exert their influence covertly. He’s the quintessential “Man Behind the Curtain” and unseen force (sometimes known to the protagonist…and sometimes not) that may act as the main antagonist, or at least steering antagonistic forces against the hero(es).

This character is never redeemable. Often the folks he manipulates wind up realizing the malign influence of the King-Maker, and will punish the villain by becoming an anti-hero and working against him, or in some cases punishing him/her in the extreme if the unwitting leader is significantly stronger than the King-Maker. These villains can be insidious political villains with aspirations for positions they could never reach, and therefore chose to rule through proxy. A classical example of a King-Maker is a spouse or lover that tries to push their significant other beyond their ambition and works covertly to put the wheels in motion in order to advance their own standing by association. A third common portrayal, similiar to the first, is a man or woman who desires to shape policy or institute change, but lacks the capability.

Not typically a physically powerful character, a King-Maker is supremely intelligent, ambitious, and manipulative. They hatch elaborate plans to put their desired candidates into power, and then maliciously leverage anything and everything they can to hold their influence. Ruthless and uncouth, a King-Maker usually puts on a facade of sophistication, wisdom, and even altruism to hide his true nature. This makes them particularly insidious villains, and definitely some of the easiest to hate.

Famous King-Makers:

  • Frank Underwood (House of Cards)
  • Varys the Spider…and pretty much everyone else (Game of Thrones)
  • Lady Macbeth
  • Cassius (Julius Caesar)
  • Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood)
  • Cardinal Rrichelieu (The Three Musketeers)
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9 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – K

  1. Oh, archetypes! So glad I randomly clicked on your blog instead of proceeding in an orderly manner down the list from my own name. I’m going to have to go back and read your earlier entries too–but that might have to wait until the challenge ends.

    A good real life example of a King Maker would be Rasputin–or perhaps by now the reality is distorted enough to be considered fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. hmmmm… I’ve only gotten halfway through the third season of “House of Cards,” but I think that Claire is an interesting king-maker(ish) character, in that she’s interested (at least in that season) of furthering her own political career through her husband’s rise.

    great post. 🙂 can’t wait to see the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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