Yeah, and why not?
They all seem to be fighting for a cause.
Here’s a striking example from personal experience:
From a different P.O.V, Thomas Harris’ famous character, Hannibal Lecter would have been a formidable villain.
I had the misfortune, or whatever you might call it of reading ‘Hannibal’ first before any of the other books in the series. I ended up disappointed when Dr. Hannibal was not caught or gutted (not necessarily in that order) at the end of the story.
I was rooting for Clarice Starling and completely ignorant the whole time of the fact that Dr. Hannibal was the main character of the book while Agent Starling was tagging along for the ride! Imagine the surprise when Hannibal annihilated everything in his path and successfully kidnapped the FBI agent (Starling) assigned to his case.
The most fearful villains are the ones amped up with a reason for their actions. Morality issues are added boosts for these ‘bad guys’. Most of them believe their actions are for the good of humanity.
When you arm a villain with feelings and concrete emotions and throw in a bit of history in the mix, the reader either despairs for the hero of the story or falls in love with the ‘bad guy(s)’.
Villains do not understand why people hate or fear them. Many are driven beyond the lip of sanity because of the way people react(ed) toward them. You might need to remember this when you create villains for your story.
Making your villain(s) formidable and lovable involves giving them:
1. A history
2. A cause to live or die for
3. Concrete emotions–may involve making them fall in love, probably with somebody who doesn’t know who they really are. (This makes your reader see them as humans and as people going through rough times.)
Of course, your heroes do not always have human or superhuman enemies but when they do have ‘em remember your villain is the next guy’s hero.
Love them or lose your readers!
Keep your pen bleeding!