Have you ever encountered a villain who you just hated? One who only cares about himself (or herself), who has no real loyalties and will sell out his friends, or even his master? One who treats people as means to an end, and will use whatever means necessary to achieve those ends? Chances are, that villain is a Neutral Evil.
From magnificent bastards to dirty cowards, from card carrying villains to seductresses and bounty hunters, this character alignment can take many different shapes and forms. The one thing they have in common, however, is that they’ll do just about anything to further their own evil ends–including pitting the other villains against themselves. Like the Chaotic Neutral, the Neutral Evil always looks out for #1–though entirely out of pure selfishness, as opposed to a love for free will and individuality.
A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.
Of all the alignments, Neutral Evil can be the most dangerous because characters with this alignment have no qualms about doing whatever needs to be done to achieve their evil goals. However, characters with this alignment also tend not to become evil overlords, because they backstab each other too much and don’t have what it takes to run a large organization. Within their limited spheres of influence, however, they can be deadly.
There are a lot of Neutral Evils who I love to hate, but Lucy van Pelt from Peanuts is definitely near the top of the list. Saruman is another one, though he’s less of a magnificent bastard than Sephiroth (Why did you have to kill Aeris? WHY???). And of all the Neutral Evils, Voldemort is probably the most ambitious.
In my own works, my favorite Neutral Evil would have to be Shira from Desert Stars. Man, I hated her so much…once I got her character down, it was a real joy to write. From Bringing Stella Home / Sholpan, Borta is definitely a Neutral Evil. Qasar leans more to the lawful side, while Gazan leans to the chaotic, but Borta is squarely neutral–and she’s vicious. Genesis Earth and Star Wanderers, however, are generally feel-good stories, so they don’t really have anyone with this character alignment.