Below you are about to encounter fourteen of the most annoying book characters I have ever come across. And this is a list I cut down a lot. I will be writing several posts along the lines of “Characters Who” annoy me/ I feel sorry for/ develop the best/ were misunderstood etc. – but today we are taking a look at just fourteen characters who really got under my skin…
- Arya Stark, A Game of Thrones- I know that a lot of people love Arya’s story line on the shows, but I’m only in the second book and I roll my eyes whenever her chapters pop up. I just haven’t clicked with her character. Strangely, I find Sansa a character whose chapters are easier to read, and where more seems to happen (but more on this in another ‘book characters’ post). Arya’s chapters, and character itself, seem a bit repetitive, and strangely predictable. There doesn’t seem to have been too much character growth so far. Perhaps as I get further through the books she’ll grow on me a little more.
- The March Sisters, Little Women- In another league entirely from the above, we have the March sisters. At first, I thought it was just Amy March that annoyed me. But then I realised Meg did. And Beth. And Jo too. Although I would recommend you give the book a read a least once- I did quite enjoy it at the time- I simply find all of the characters irritating. Beth is too virtuous and perfect, Jo is too hasty and rash, Amy is so vain and pathetic, and Meg is just too calm and collected. Not one of the sisters grew as a character for me, and the whole story was just a bit twee.
- Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby- The first male character of the list. I know that a lot of people’s issues with Nick stem from his whimsical narrative, and portrayal of Gatsby’s love for Daisy- he romanticises this relationship, and Gatsby’s life nearly as much a Gatsby himself. This isn’t my issue. I happen to quite like his style. What I cannot stand is that Nick is such a bystander. He just goes along with whatever is happening- be it Gatsby’s plan, Tom’s plan, or Daisy’s.
- Bernard Marx, Brave New World- One word: hypocrite. Bernard desperately wants to be alone, away from a society where everyone is in someone else’s company 24/7. He thinks he sees the shallowness of the society he lives in- but in the end he pretty much begs to be allowed to stay in this society (which hasn’t changed at all). If anything, Bernard is a character who is irritating, but also interesting. He wants to get one up on those he feels have wronged him, and I felt for a while that he would be a hero figure in the novel. Turns out he was too busy feeling sorry for himself to do that. Irritating, but intentionally so.
- Mole, The Wind in the Willows- Mole is just a weedy, wet character. For most of the book I simply wished that he would grow a pair, and stop relying on other characters to do things for him.
- Fanny Price, Mansfield Park- Fanny is another character like the above. She is too meek, and mild, and doesn’t voice her own opinion enough. However, like Bernard Marx, I feel this is an intentional irritation. Because when she does use her voice, you then know that she means it. Which is, during the proposal from Henry Crawford, key to the novel itself, and the other character’s development.
- Cathy Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights- I kind of love to hate Cathy. She irritates me because she’s so irresponsible and hedonistic. She wrecks a few people’s lives, turns down the love of a man who actually adores her for one who, yes, does really love her, but also uses their mutual love to torture her and later her own daughter. I have mixed feelings on Cathy and Wuthering Heights. I feel like her and Heathcliff are highly romantic. But I do just wish that she’d get over him and move on (if you’re wondering why Heathcliffe isn’t in this post, he’s already holding a spot in what I’m considering calling my ‘nastiest book characters’ or maybe even ‘characters I feel sorry for’. The internal conflict I’m going through on this one guys…)
- Buttercup , The Princess Bride- Spoilt brat. I have to say, I am not a fan of female characters who simply stand around waiting to be saved, barking orders at other characters.
- Alaska , Looking for Alaska- On the other hand, I am also not a fan of female characters who embody the romanticised “tortured/ broken hot girl” ideal. Alaska- much as I enjoyed this book- is one of those.
- Piggy, Lord of the Flies- I know that Piggy is supposed to be the voice of reason in the novel. But at times I felt extremely irritated by his annoying whine of ‘I got the conch’. I was just at the point of wishing he wasn’t around, when Jack and his hunters murdered him. I then felt awful for wishing he wasn’t in the novel, and kind of missed him, and the guidance he offered Ralph. Which irritated me even more.
- Lilly & Michael Moscovitz, The Princess Diaries- A blast from the past here. I read every single one of these books, and through out ALL of them, the two siblings irritated me. Lilly was too pushy and arrogant. Michael was, also, too pushy. I felt as if neither were good for Mia. In the end though, I have to admit, all three grew as characters: Lilly and Michael toned it down a bit, and Mia finally became a little more assertive.
- Toad, The Wind in the Willows- The opposite of Mole. Toad is another intentionally irritating character. He is selfish, and acts without thinking of anything but his own gratification. I wish he’d never escaped from prison.
- Bella Swan, Twilight Saga- I could not write this post without mentioning Bella Swan. She is whiny, her choices are incredibly frustrating, she is completely 2D, caters to numerous romantic novel tropes, she would rather chase a boy than be with her friends- and then let said boy tell her exactly what to do. I cannot stand her, and Kristen Stewart made the situation even worse.
- Claudio, Much Ado About Nothing- Though technically you could claim that Shakespeare’s play is not a book, I am including Claudio in this. Because at several points when reading this play- and then watching the DVD- I had a strong desire to punch him in the face. His treatment of Hero, his stupidity in falling for the trick that Don Jon sets up, and his lack of questioning that the woman he loves so much could engage in an affair, were irritating enough for him to be included in this list.