Villians are probably my favorite characters to write. From the way they speak down to their approach to any given situation, villains bring a careless attitude to them. One of my favorite villains, Niklaus "Klaus" Mikaelson of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, checks off every box when it comes to the type of villains I want to create.
When creating antagonists, I don't want my audience to hate the villain because you're supposed to. You can dislike them with every fiber of your being, but I want you to empathize with my bad guy. I want you to understand the heartache and struggle that they've been through. I also want to you secretly love their wickedness as they perform their evil deeds.
I believe there are two classes of villains: the inherently evil kind and the misunderstood/flawed kind. Sometimes, the lines can blur, but you can tell which is which. Klaus is the flawed villain, but his actions are reprehensibly evil all for the sake of protecting his family. Klaus's backstory attributes to why he is the way he is. It isn't a trait he wishes to have, but it gets the point across.
The moment Klaus was born, his father, Mikael hated him. There is no definitive reason. Mikael just disliked his son. Klaus was tormented and abused by his father, which got worse when it was discovered that Klaus wasn't Mikael's son. As the affair comes to light, Esther, his mother, is forced to damper his werewolf side as to not make him more powerful than he already is (she placed an immortal spell on her family, making them the first vampires).
The cruelty and torture Klaus withstood for centuries from his father and the betrayal of his mother hiding his true identity and suppressing his wolf side with magic created wrath within him that many people feared, including his siblings, who were often left daggered if they interfered with his plans or life. He is a character who often feels abandoned and alone. He craves companionship but finds it to be a weakness.
When watching Klaus deliver unimaginable punishments he believes people deserve, you see the pleasure under his devilish smirk. He justifies this as a necessary evil to protect his family and interests. You also see how broken and scared he is when his enemies gain the upper hand. The emotions and complexities of what makes Klaus the villain you can't help but like is the acting done by Joseph Morgan.
As vindictive as he is, there is a nice, charming, redeeming side to Klaus and Joseph Morgan does a great job of making the audience empathize and feel for the character. You sort of have to look at Klaus as a rehabilitated puppy. Behind all that aggression and teeth, there is a sensitive, loving beast. This quality comes out when his daughter Hope is born.
As stated before, Klaus saw love as a weakness, but Hope brought out a sweetness and gentleness that was long forgotten in him. She loves her father unconditionally and doesn't judge him. Because of this, Klaus devotes himself to being a better person for his daughter.
The villain tends to always hold all the power. They're stronger. They're faster. There isn't a boundary they wouldn't cross to reach their goal. The ability to kill them is difficult. This ultimately makes them fearful opponents.
Klaus is an original vampire and an original hybrid. That makes him dangerous. The only weapon that can kill him is a White Oak stake. Unlike his siblings, he can't be immobilized by the Silver White Oak Ash Daggers due to his hybrid status. Also, because he's a hybrid, Klaus can kill any vampire with his venomous bite.
What makes a villain delectable is their style. Their swagger. The delivery of their lines. They exude what it means to be a badass. Joseph Morgan, hands down portrays Klaus with such poetry in the way he speaks. Every time Klaus walks into a room, he commands attention. He has those dark blue-green eyes where one minute he stares with care and, the next, it's cold. His smirk applauds the silly attempt of a threat from his enemies. His attire is casual and dark, but when the occasion calls for it he plays perfect date. Klaus is the brooding, bad boy.
When creating villains, I want them to be memorable. I want them to be the person that makes you wonder, "What messed up plan are they going to conjure up next?" If you end up rooting for the villain, great. I want you to feel a connection with that character and see them evolve or devolve based on their choices. So when building your antagonist, think of your favorite in a story you've read or watched and draw inspirations from those characters.