Friday, January 8, 2016

Pet The Dog

I was in a conversation with a friend earlier in which she brought up that some people say Hitler wasn't too bad because he gave money to German Shepherd breed rescues.

Hitler loved his dogs. Specifically, he loved his German Shepherds. Which has given us the writerly term "pet the dog."

A "Pet the dog" is a scene where a villain shows his or her human side, often by showing them being affectionate to an animal, a child, or their romantic partner. The scenes between Snow and his granddaughter in The Hunger Games movies are one example.

The point is to make your villain more complicated and more human. To give them some kind of a redeeming quality. Of course, not all villains have this or need it, but if you want to make your audience sympathize a little more with the antagonist (or make them uncomfortable), a "pet the dog" is a good way to do it.