Ron the Death Eater is when an audience member hates a character so much they are willing to portray him as evil in story or artwork.
The most basic explanation is that somebody looks at a hero in a dark light by emphasizing their negative qualities. It's easy to forget that villains are also subject to this trope, as somebody can dismiss a Tragic Villain
's problems as Wangst
and want to send them to the gallows because they kicked a hundred dogs, even though they were forced to.
Common examples as to how a character can be demonized are as follows:
- The character isn't righteous, and has some poor traits. This could be a chequered past, having been a jerk at one point in the story, or even broke the law. These attributes can be amplified Up to Eleven to make a point, even if a Heel-Face Turn was obvious. In the villainous cases, any signs that they aren't proud of themselves can be undone simply because they still keep doing bad things. Some people aren't forgiving if a character shows self-awareness, yet continues doing evil.
- The character in question gets in the way of a romantic ship. As you can probably guess, this happens a lot. Most common actions include making the undesired part of a ship become an absolute jerk to the other half, if not outright villainizing that person, twisting his or her characterization far from what their normal characterization would be, for the purpose of forcing the other half to discover their new mate.
- The character did some horrible deed, yet in the mind of the viewer, got away with it without any retribution. This is made worse if the viewer believes that the victim was innocent or, if they did something wrong, that action was nowhere near as bad as the "punishment".
- Simply enough, somebody has to look bad because the Draco in Leather Pants needs to look good.
The problem with this trope is that the definition sounds simple, but the execution is critical. Anybody can make out a character to be even more wretched or stupid than what canon depicts them, but those are usually reserved for message board tirades. It requires somebody to go the extra step and write a fanfiction or any type of interaction that displays that character in a dark light. The trope's core mandates that a character be written horribly in the interest of telling a story, but because most fans of fiction prefer looking at characters or stories they like, this doesn't happen nowhere near as much as, say, Emperor Evulz eating ice cream at a piazza. Thereby, confusion is guaranteed to happen.
Any negative description of a character is simply exhibiting that the audience member doesn't like that character. To display true disdain lies in a manifesto in which everybody else in the show can't stand them.