7 Hints and tips on what it takes to write about a character readers will love to hate.
The archetypical villain, dastardly and devious, comes from the pantomime stage. When writing Fantasy we need to look for an antagonist who will keep our readers hooked. The villain needs therefore, to have some redeeming aspects of their character.
Remember that average bad guys don’t see themselves as evil. They have purpose and although their means and actions might be malevolent, their intentions can be purely selfish. As long as your villain can justify their behaviour, seeing their actions as logical and working towards a certain goal, they can still be frightening and threatening but their character can also sustain some empathy and interest in the reader. A villain like Hannibal Lector can be more disturbing because he sees his behaviour as rational. ( although he's not from Fantasy, he's a recognisable character with a creepy habit that he thinks is justifiable.)
A strong motive can give the most dastardly villain some credibility.