The trouble is, if he shows up to threaten your protagonists over and over again, but never actually manages to kill them, it's only a matter of time before his menace begins to wear off.
So how do you make sure that your villain remains credible as a threat, without going so far as to murder your protagonist?
And all the while, having a very good reason NOT to kill the protagonists, whether out of practicality or simply because the hero is too much fun.
That's what makes for a long-running villain who never loses their danger cred.
Naraku from InuYasha. Scorpius from Farscape. The Joker from Batman. All antagonists who managed to be menacing no matter how many times they lost, because they didn't need to kill the protagonist in order to pose a threat, and they themselves were either hard to finish off, or fighting a hero who flatly refused to put an end to them.
That's one thing I definitely like about the antagonist in Heroic Lies. He doesn't need to kill the protagonist, and he's got a very good reason for not doing so. But that doesn't stop him from causing damage, and being a very real threat to the people at the center of the story.
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