Hello, I’m trying to plan out my series Villain’s (SV) backstory in the form of a two-parter and I’m running into an issue where his Want/Need doesn’t exactly line up with the thematic question.
Plotwise, the idea is that the SVstarts out as a good guy, and he and his friend (who doesn’t turn evil) are hidden as spies in a city with the express goal of trying to bring down a tyrant. However at the start of the book the SV’s essentially in the same place that Anakin Skywalker is; quite skilled at what he does, but thinks he’s being held back and not being given the recognition he deserves or the approval he wants (he and his friend are more or less a knight’s squires, with said knight also present but too injured to help with operations). They are teaming up with a local resistance conspiracy to try and overthrow the tyrant; if the SV can pull this off successfully, he can expect to return home to all the approval he longs for. However, the situation deteriorates and the SV’s morals erode to the point where he is able and willing to achieve the goal of slaying the tyrant at the cost of sacrificing his allies in the conspiracy (not yet his friend; that’d be in the follow-up when his duplicity becomes undone). Thus, what the SV wants is to “Achieve the mission by any means necessary” as the plot goal.
From a thematic standpoint, however, one of the things I want to show is that man does evil not because he lacks education or resources, but that man is evil because he willingly rejects God (see Rom 1:20-21). Thus, while the SV does grow desperate, his friend still presents God’s way as a viable opportunity. However if I were to phrase the thematic question of the book as “Why is man evil?”, then I can’t think of a Lie that the villain would come to embrace at the end. Do I need to rethink my plot goal? Or the thematic question, whether by narrowing it down or by pushing back “Why is man evil” to a situation where the SV is given an opportunity to repent but refuses to?
Do you want the Lie the villain believes to answer the question “Why is man evil?”? It sounds like the SV comes to believe “accomplishing the mission/winning praise is more important than the lives of my allies”, which could show that evil comes from misaligning one’s own priorities with God’s priorities.
Or you could phrase the Lie as “I know better than my friend” (who represents God’s truth, right?) and identify pride as the root of evil.