(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.)
Nothing bugs me more than an irritating character. I deal with frustrating people in “real life”; the last thing I want to do is encounter them in my reading.
Dr. Diana Bishop
While I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, it drove me up the wall that Diana just kept getting more and more special. She’s the daughter of a Proctor and a Bishop—two families famous in the history of witchcraft—but that alone doesn’t warrant author Deborah Harkness continually making her more and more “special.” The trend continues in Shadow of Night, where—surprise, surprise—Diana gets even more special. I think it’s a cop-out on the part of the author.
I’m gonna get flamed for this one, but my enjoyment of Anne of Green Gables was hampered by its main character. Most of Anne’s problems were fairly juvenile, and brought upon her by her own impulsive actions, so I didn’t feel much sympathy. On the contrary, her daydreaming musings and constant prattling were off-putting. It’s a children’s series, though, and in general they don’t appeal to me.
I love The Secret Garden, but ooh I could slap the snot out of Colin Craven. It’s hard to feel sympathy for a kid who behaves the way he does. Same is true for Mary Lennox. Sour little creatures both, and I very much enjoyed seeing them grow out of it.
Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s satirical look at the traditional Gothic novel. I don’t dislike Catherine, but I spent most of the novel wanting to reach in and shake her until her teeth rattled. People who are that naive frustrate and worry me, and I was glad to see her mature throughout the novel.
Gods Behaving Badly was an incredible read, but I hate the way author Marie Phillips drew the character of the novel’s narrator, Artemis. Artemis is goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, virginity, young girls, and the bringing and relieving of disease in women.
But as I said in my review of the book:
Phillips’ Artemis is…a complete prude. She’s absolutely appalled by Aphrodite’s sexuality, and hates to hear people discuss sex. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but I keep coming back to the fact that it seems completely out of character. To me, Artemis is someone who would value sexuality, and understand its place within the world. She would understand that sex is an important part of the life cycle, and that the innocence of childhood must eventually give way to it. Every fiber of my being wants to scream about this, and how it’s perpetuating the idea that one has to either be for or against expressing sexuality. For the love of heaven, valuing virginity is not the same as hating sex.
It makes my Inner Feminist all kinds of irritated.
What do you think of my list? What characters frustrate you?
16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Most Frustrating Characters”
Oh my. Not liking Anne really might get you in trouble. Not with me, though. I love Anne but everyone is entitled to their opinion and I can see why her rashness could annoy.
It’s not so much her rashness that bugs me; after all, Laura in The Little House Books can be just as rash, but I love her character. I think in Anne’s case it has to do with her rambling. It’s very stream-of-consciousness, and I just can’t handle it. I don’t like kids much in real life, either. 🙂
It’s been such a long time since I last read The Secret Garden, but even as a kid I remember thinking that Mary complained too much! Also, I especially agree with your last point; I’ve personally never read the book, but if the character of Artemis were truly based off of her mythological counterpart, I should think she would have great respect for female sexuality.
Mary’s definitely a little complainer. Fortunately she’s only genuinely unpleasant right at the beginning.
Glad you agree about Artemis; I hate it that the author wrote her that way.
Anne Shirley never bothered me, but I can see how she would some.
I think the character that irks me the most is Bella Swan. I’m sure I’m not alone in that one! That said, I love me some Twilight, but Bella…ooh!
I saw Bella on several lists, and I agree with that addition. I enjoyed the Twilight series, but I wouldn’t call it great literature, and Bella certainly isn’t a character I think girls should emulate. I hate that she’s so passive.
I haven’t read any of those books but the characters sound like they deserve a spot on this list.
At least the books themselves are good (or even great)! It makes up for the characters being so frustrating.
I cannot believe how many people are listing Colin craven, lol. I guess he’s just a character I “love to hate” if that makes sense. His annoying ways make me laugh. Here’s Ours
I saw Bella on multiple lists, but I missed Colin. Glad to know I’m not alone, at least! He’s just so frustrating because you know he’s not sick, and he’s just using his fear as an excuse to be mean to people. You’re frustrated because you know he’s better than that. I like him much better when he stops being so scared and mad.
I’m not able to comment on your blog, but I’m in total agreement with you about Jake from The Last Werewolf. I don’t have any particular dislike for him, but I think that book just wasn’t any good. I won’t be picking up the sequel.
Nice choices! I hadn’t thought of A Discovery of Witches or Anne, but I definitely agree! Thanks for stopping by!
Glad to know someone else agrees about A Discovery of Witches. It’s a good series, but I’m really tired of Diana becoming increasingly special. It feels like Harkness is just setting us up to be disappointed when she magically escapes from an impossible situation because of her “special” characteristics. It’s lazy writing.
I haven’t read any of these books, but I’ll have to check them out and see what I think for my self.
Definitely check them out, Erica. The books themselves are great; I actually love all the books I mentioned. The characters are definitely frustrating, but that doesn’t at all mean that they ruin the books — in fact, sometimes a frustrating character makes the book better!
I definitely agree with Mary and Colin! It’s been years since I read The Secret Garden, but they both frustrated me something terrible!
Yea, they’re pretty rotten kids at the beginning of the novel. Fortunately Francis Hodgson Burnett knew better than to leave them that way, and used Mary and Colin’s maturing as a way to promote her belief in Christian Science. I’m so glad they turned out better than they started!