It’s Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s theme is the top ten most frustrating literary characters! I have encountered quite a few in my time, so hopefully coming up with ten won’t be hard!
Of course, some of these are frustrating in the sense that I hate them and wish they didn’t exist, but others (like Frodo Baggins) are frustrating and I love them still, so keep that in mind as you read.
Even Kate Winslet couldn’t make Marianne tolerable to me. Sense and Sensibility is my least favorite Austen book specifically because it contains Marianne Dashwood in it. Worse is the fact that it also includes Colonel Brandon, who is quite possibly my favorite Austen creation (yeah, I know, “not Darcy!? GASP!”). But I can’t stand Marianne enough to reread for Col. Brandon. It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy.
2. Lavender Brown, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
I know she was meant to be the stereotypical overclingy teenage girlfriend but that’s also exactly what makes her so frustrating. “Won-won.” Ugh.
3. Hope Adams, Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series
This stupid character is the reason I am stuck in this series. Armstrong’s WotO series is one in which the narrator changes from book to book, and I was on a roll until suddenly, I was seeing everything from Hope’s POV. I seriously haven’t been able to move through Personal Demon in this series. I got stuck about three or four years ago, at this point. I probably just have to start over with the whole series if I want to barrel through these doldrums and get to the books afterward, where I hear some of my favorite narrators make comebacks.
4. Bella Swan, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series
There is nothing about Bella Swan that isn’t frustrating. She literally cannot picture a life without Edward in it, so after she meets him her life is defined solely by how well she is revolving around him like some kind of pathetic, clingy moon rock around an uninhabitable ice planet. She actually says multiple times in the course of the series that she doesn’t see the point of going to college or making friends or anything else because her goal in life is to become a vampire and frolic around in the Washington wilderness with her sparkly precious boyfriend. Gag me.
5. Kai, Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars
He is frustrating, yes, but in the most fantastic way (READ THIS BOOK).
6. Robert Langdon, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons
This man is just too freaking put together, he’s completely unrealistic. It’s frustrating because if if he was more realistic, these books might be a bit more tolerable — but as it is, you’ve got Mr. I’ve Got All the Answers walking around and explaining everything to everyone around him, with clever little winks and nods while he does it. There’s a reason I pictured Jeff Goldblum as Langdon when I read the books initially, and it’s because Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm is exactly this guy, but in brown tweed instead of black leather.
7. Angel, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer
OK so technically he’s a TV character, but they wrote novelizations, so I’m going there. Angel was such a freaking party pooper! I’m still really peeved at him for the way he talked down to Buffy during their breakup. Just say “I’m a selfish knob,” don’t put it all on her like, “You deserve better than me, you need to live these normal teenage things,” as if it’s not exactly the worst thing to say to the girl who has been picked by cosmic powers that be to be the CHOSEN ONE. “She alone in all the world” isn’t exactly followed by “…will get to do all those normal things she’d love to do all the time if not for having to save the world every fifteen minutes.”
8. King Haggard, Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn
“I hate myself and the world I live in so I’m going to ruin life for all the pretty unicorns, they are mine, mine, MINE, I refuse to share them with ANYONE, and I will not rest until I HAVE THEM ALL, and even that won’t make me happy, because my heart is a shriveled raisin.” Someone never got birthday cake as a kid.
9. Voldemort, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
You know, for someone who is supposed to be the big, bad supervillain of a seven-book series, he’s awfully bland. there are worse villains in this story by far. Nearly everyone at the Ministry of Magic during book 5 is a horrible, corrupt, Muggle-hating drone, and Umbridge is the worst of everyone by far. So while you’ve got Voldemort swanning about trying to kill Harry Potter (which, granted, is pretty uncool of him), it’s the people around him and the people who support him who are truly terrifying. Which is great, great storytelling on Rowling’s part, but it makes Voldemort not so much scary and evil as it makes him kind of sad and one-dimensional.
10. Frodo Baggins, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
He’s literally a walking, moping hanger for the ring. Everyone around him, down to the background elves and orcs that he meets along the way, is more interesting than he is. I mean, we get a little bit of Frodo here and there during his long, arduous, seemingly-never-ending travails through The Two Towers and The Return of the King with Sam, but there’s a reason everyone in the history of reading things for funsies thinks the Sam and Frodo parts of these books are the dull parts, and that reason is Frodo.