Whom Do You Think Are Literatures Most Unlikable Fictional Characters

BAYLOR

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And what makes them so unlikable? This topic covers all genres?
 
Thomas Covenant without doubt. He winges, and self-pities the whole way through the series of books he is the 'hero' in.
 
Nevare Burvelle. For the reasons listed above.

(I detested detested the MC from the Amber books so much I couldn't finish even one of them, but apparently lots of people think he's awesome so...)
 
Nevare Burvelle. For the reasons listed above.

(I detested detested the MC from the Amber books so much I couldn't finish even one of them, but apparently lots of people think he's awesome so...)

Did anyone else get hungry reading those books?

Covenant is hard to take... I tried a re-read of the first book in hopes I would get back into it and finish the series but I couldn't...maybe in another ten years, when I am older and more complainy..ha

Have to think harder on my personal unlikable
 
I'm with Marvin for the whingeing Thomas Covenant.

Also, Joffrey Baratheon from GoT for his obnoxious arrogance.

Carcer from Night Watch is a cold murderer and I found it disturbing how much I wanted this fictional character brought to justice.

Blanco from Maddaddam is another psychotic nutjob whom I wanted to be ejected from the page to stop myself feeling jittery whenever he was mentioned.
 
Holden Caulfield Catcher in the Rye - same reasons given for Thomas Covenant
Bilbo Baggins - I found him bland unlikeable and unable to bond with. Frodo similarly.
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille - he was supposed to be unpleasant and in that Patrick Suskind has excelled.
Becky Sharp - Vanity Fair same as for Grenouille
Michael Henchard - see Becky Sharp

I am currently struggling with Inspector George Gently - after the TV series - the stories are good but the main character is so bland I am struggling to like him.
 
Wilkie Collins The Moonstone The character Miss Clack , who is a spinster and a religious bigot.
 
I actually almost admired Becky Sharp -- admittedly I wouldn't want to associate with her for any length of time, and she was reprehensible in all she did, but she used her brains and looks to survive in a society which intended that all women should be kept in their place. (Oddly, I despised Rebecca, of the du Maurier book, whose moral outlook was little worse, perhaps because I felt more sympathy for her victims in that case, plus she did have other options to make her way in the world.)

Despite her religiosity, I felt a bit sorry for Miss Clack of The Moonstone since I felt she was also trapped, and any intelligence and vigour was warped by the society around her. (And, as a by the by, although the "spinster" is accurate, it is more than a little disheartening to see it used as a term of disparagement.)

Mr Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre -- hypocritical bigot with the deaths of half-starved children on his hands, though not on his conscience
 
(I detested detested the MC from the Amber books so much I couldn't finish even one of them, but apparently lots of people think he's awesome so...)

I didn't mind him on the first read about ten years ago, but when I tried to re-read them recently I came to despise his self-congratulatory, let-me-buy-you-a-drink-while-I-tell-you-this-great-story up-his-own-arseness. One trembles with dread to imagine the kind of dating ad he would write.

On the other hand, I never had any problem with Thomas Covenant.
 
Despite Donaldson's obvious wish to initially present Nick Succurso in the role of dashing hero in the first book of the Gap series, only to have him change to the villain as the series progressed, I despised him from the first moment.
With all the other characters Donaldson acheived his design to have them each pass through periods of being a hero or a villain, gaining or losing my respect at different times.
For Nick I had nothing but loathing from the word go.

As for Covenant, he did some pretty awful things, but nearly always managed to retain my sympathy or, at the very least, my hope of his salvation.
As someone who spends too much time regretting my own past mistakes, I felt I could understand what he was going through.
 
Nurse Ratched form One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. What a horrible character! Louise Fletcher in the film of the novel is impressive in her hatability also.
 
Nurse Ratched form One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. What a horrible character! Louise Fletcher in the film of the novel is impressive in her hatability also.

Good one, in terms of the movie. I haven't read the book because I unfortunately came across the movie first and it put me off. How would you say they relate? I can't help but think that so much of it must be internal that the book would be better than the movie, but I don't know.

(To tie it into SF, Fletcher also played Kai Winn on DS9 where she played a more complex but usually equally hate-able character.)

Oh, topic. Well, there's two different things going on here. We can hate a character by intention in which case it's an accomplishment on the part of the author or we can hate a character in a way the author might not have intended, in which case it's likely a failure.

The most recent extremely despicable characters I've come across are Bella Lind and the even worse Svetlana Barseghian in Alastair Reynolds' otherwise pretty darned good Pushing Ice. They basically ruin the book. Both are basically incompetent and inconsistent and Bella is a masochist and Svetlana is a sadist. Bella's contemptible but Svetlana is gratuitously evil. Yet Bella is supposed to be a sort of "hero" and Svetlana is supposed to be forgivable.

Another epic fail (in my tiny, tiny minority opinion, but with some good company) is Ender Wiggin from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game which isn't (IMO) a particularly good book anyway. Norman Spinrad brilliantly analyzes some of it (but his essay doesn't seem to be online) and John Kessel covers most of the rest of it.

As far as characters who are intentionally and successfully unlikeable, I know there are some but I don't usually care for that sort of thing and can't think of good examples, unless maybe Dostoevsky's Raskolnikovs and Underground Men and such.
 
Oh add Edward Rochester to my list. (Jane Eyre). He marries a woman for her money then imprisons her in the attic when he returns to England and tries it on with the governess whom he tries to coerce into marrying him.
 
Obadia Slope from The Barchester Chronicles Anthony Trollope
Bill Sykes Oliver Twist
 
Oh add Edward Rochester to my list. (Jane Eyre). He marries a woman for her money then imprisons her in the attic when he returns to England and tries it on with the governess whom he tries to coerce into marrying him.

We must have read different books. I remember no coercion (as I recall, Jane was only too happy to marry him), and as for imprisoning Bertha in the attic, considering the alternatives for a violent lunatic, that was a kindness.

But I will agree that his plan to trick Jane into a bigamous marriage was selfish and despicable.

I actually almost admired Becky Sharp -- admittedly I wouldn't want to associate with her for any length of time, and she was reprehensible in all she did, but she used her brains and looks to survive in a society which intended that all women should be kept in their place.

Mr Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre -- hypocritical bigot with the deaths of half-starved children on his hands, though not on his conscience

I agree with you on both counts.


Also I would propose Steerpike in the Gormenghast trilogy, Josiah Bounderby in Hard Times, Wackford Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby and a host of other Dickens villains.
 
Holden Caulfield, he never stops moaning and being dreary.
Jude the Obscure. Never, ever again. Ditto Father Time - life is simply far too short.
Linton Earnshaw. All right, not his fault but, yeurggh.
Catelyn Stark. One miserable woman.

Edit- I don't like miserable so and so's apparently. I have never, and will never, read Thomas Covenant. Ever.
 
Holden Caulfield, he never stops moaning and being dreary.

Edit- I don't like miserable so and so's apparently. I have never, and will never, read Thomas Covenant. Ever.
Now I'm a bit of a sucker for moaning dreariness as it happens. I tend to warm to a whinger (in books, though certainly not in life). I liked Caulfield (as far as I can remember, it was a long time ago I read it), and similarly I liked Covenant. They come across as very human to me.

I've been trying to think of characters I hate - along J-Sun's two different definitions, and can't come up with any I hate that I'm supposed not to. As to characters you hate and you're supposed to - a literary success - there are dozens. Baron Harkonnen in Dune springs to mind.
 
We must have read different books. I remember no coercion (as I recall, Jane was only too happy to marry him), and as for imprisoning Bertha in the attic, considering the alternatives for a violent lunatic, that was a kindness.

But I will agree that his plan to trick Jane into a bigamous marriage was selfish and despicable.

Assuming she was a violent lunatic... more than one man of his era imprisoned a wife once he had her money. Her cries could have been of misery and even her attempt to burn Jane could have been jealousy.

And for me the coercion was the trickery involved. He had the money to whisk her abroad but chose not to.

It is entirely personal but the way he treated Jane suggested a man who could not be trusted.
 
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