Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.
This week, we get to indulge our inner harpies and rant about frustrating characters!
1. Katniss in “Mockingjay.” Okay, that’s the end of my list.
2. Katherine Howard in “The Boleyn Inheritance.” To be fair, Katherine is supposed to be annoying – she’s a fifteen-year-old ninny married to a king and too excited about all the pretty new clothes she gets to worry about her own neck. But the rest of the book was annoying, too, and Katherine’s whiny narration did not help anything.
3. Adam Trask from “East of Eden.” Much of the pain and sorrow in the book comes about because Adam is so blind to Kate’s evil – but he gets major points for learning from it and still choosing to forgive, hence freeing future generations from her legacy of hatred.
4. Quentin in “The Magicians.” He was less of a jerk in the sequel, but in the first book, wow, he was the most self-centered, whiny, sex-starved prick you’ll ever read about.
5. Gollum. I know he’s all symbolic of the grip of sin and the Ring’s potential ability to destroy Frodo’s life, but I cannot stand him. When I read “The Two Towers,” I usually skip the second half because I know how Gollum ultimately nearly ruins everything, and the entire time I’m silently willing Sam to just stab him already and save Frodo from having a finger bit off.
6. Bernard Marx in “A Brave New World” for not following through on his character development arc. I think Huxley tried to have two contrasting character arcs, with Bernard beginning as a misfit and malcontent, but losing motivation and winding up just like everyone else while his dashing friend became the rebel hero. It came across as Bernard just fading from the pages, letting his girlfriend possibly get beaten to death in a mob. Instead of the feelings of loss and sadness I think Huxley intended the reader to feel, I just felt…meh.
7. Ethan Wate in “Beautiful Creatures.” The book itself was enjoyable, despite Ethan’s continued insistence on loving a girl who comes near to killing him just by kissing him. As in, his heart stops. He’s literally dead for a few minutes. Because she kissed him. And this happens more than once. But he can’t give her up. I don’t have much patience for lovers who don’t use common sense (see also: “Shakespeare in Love,” “The Virgin’s Lover,” “Twilight,” and “Romeo & Juliet.”)
8. Skeeter in “The Help” undertakes the admirable challenge to try to heal racism in her hometown, but for every instance of being constructive, there’s at least two in which she draws impossible parallels between her life and her black writing partners. Sorry, but going through a bad breakup is not the same as living as a black woman in the South in the 60s.
9. Kelsier in “Mistborn.” To be fair, I’m only about a quarter of the way through this book, but I already want to slap Brandon Sanderson for saying “Kelsier smiled” approximately every paragraph. And that’s not really Kelsier’s fault – I kind of envision him as Flynn Rider from “Tangled,” which is extremely entertaining – but still. Obnoxious writing.
10. Akiva in the “Smoke & Bone” books. Again, only partway through the sequel, but Akiva really needs to either stop feeling sorry for himself, or take action. Yes, basically every terrible thing that has happened in these books is his fault in some way, but his constant mopey self-loathing is only fun to read about if you’re under eighteen. Everyone else wants him to do something about it.
How about you? Which characters irritate you the most? How much of it was their fault and how much was just the result of crummy writing?