T5W: most unlikeable characters (July 27)

This is my very first T5W post! I did post a couple of videos doing T5W months ago on my BookTube channel, but I decided to continue writing them on WordPress instead, since I have no time to film and edit videos these days.

Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now being run by Thoughts on Tomes ! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining!

July 27th: Most Unlikeable Characters

note: These are characters who aren’t intentionally unlikeable, so no villains…

Whenever I encounter an unlikeable character, it tends to influence my reading experience a lot. If I can’t stand the main character, I will probably not enjoy the book so much. Here are the first five unlikeable characters I could think of, and why I don’t like them:

Let’s start with an unpopular opinion: I can’t stand Tyrion Lannister from A song of Ice and Fire. I watched the show before I read the books and didn’t hate him then. But, while reading the books, I noticed how problematic he was and how they tried to erase that in the adaptation.

He gets himself in trouble and then tries to save himself by the promise of gold. Which he didn’t earn himself, it’s his father’s money. He rapes his ‘girlfriend’ (a sex worker who he pays) in her sleep, slaps her, drugs his own sister and calls her terrible names (and still dares to complain that she hates him!), demands his new wife, who’s only thirteen years old, not to cover herself up when he wants to have sex with her…

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. In the books, he’s horrible, yet the show wants us to feel bad for him. In A Storm of Swords , he ends up in a cell. He has a desk, window seat, proper breakfast, he can have guests whenever he wants… Yet again, the TV show tried to make us feel bad for him, since his cell there looked entirely different. I realise that my problem isn’t the book, but the adaptation, but they go hand in hand. Most of the people who read the books, have watched the show, and vice versa. A lot of people love Tyrion because of the TV show, but they forget what he’s like in the source material. Tyrion doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

Last year, I had to read A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for my English course in college. I rated it two stars, but looking back, I didn’t like anything about it. The characters are very problematic. Especially the character named Martin, a middle aged breakfast TV show host who had sex with a fifteen year old girl. His ‘mistake’ cost him his marriage and job and he had to go to prison. Martin, however, feels no remorse for what he has done. These quotes show why I couldn’t stand the character:

“I was imprisoned a) due to entrapment, and b) because society’s attitudes to teenage sexuality are outmoded.” – Last time I checked, he was imprisoned because he raped a fifteen year old girl. It’s rape, because you can’t expect a girl of that age to make more sound decisions than a middle aged man. He should have know better. It’s not the girl’s fault. She didn’t entice him.

“I have come to the conclusion that no one who earns more than, say, seventy-five thousand pounds a year should never be sent to jail, because the punishment will always be more severe than the crime. You should just have to see a therapist, or give some money to charity, or something.” – Don’t do the crime if you can’t handle the consequences.

“A few years ago, Cindy joined one of those dreadful reading groups, where unhappy, repressed middle-class lesbians talk for five minutes about some novel they don’t understand, and then spend the rest of the evening moaning about how dreadful men are.” – Well, this is just plain sexism. This is not only offensive to women who enjoy reading, but also to lesbians.

I could come up with many more examples of why I hate this character. When we discussed this novel in class, I was the only one who felt this way. The others agreed with Martin and didn’t consider him a pedophile. I am shocked with society’s behaviour towards rape victims. I don’t care that this girl allegedly wanted to have sex with him or it would have been legal if she had been one hundred days older.Fifteen year old girls should not be expected to be more responsible than men twice their age!

I also didn’t love JJ and Maureen, but my main problem was Martin. Check out my Goodreads review if you want to know more of my thoughts on this novel.

I consider myself a feminist and prefer books that feature a female protagonist. Yet, I’ve encountered many female leads in Young Adult who have the same traits. Unfortunately, traits I don’t like. Characters that come to mind are Juliette Ferrars from the Shatter Me trilogy, Cleo from the Falling Kingdoms series and Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments. I could easily include Adelina from The Young Elites and Celaena from Throne of Glass as well, but let’s focus on the first three ladies I’ve mentioned:

When I first read Shatter Me, I loved it. But then I read Unravel Me and Ignite Me… Juliette, the main character, ruined the series for me. There was no plot, beside her constant whining about her unfair life and love-life. She made everything much more complicated than it had to be. She kept secrets from everyone, kept on “accidentally” injuring people… In the final book, she finally embraces her gift, which made her unbelievable arrogant!

I won’t continue the Falling Kingdoms series, partially because of Cleo. She has absurd double standards: she hates someone because they want revenge, while later on in the first book, she wants revenge herself! She didn’t mind murder when she was the one getting saved. I wish she would save herself. It became clear to me early on that Cleo was going to have multiple love interests and I wish that wasn’t the case. Women can be strong without having a man. Women are capable of saving themselves.

Another series I couldn’t finish because of the leading lady is The Mortal Instruments. Clary Fray also needed to be saved on multiple occasions and couldn’t stop complaining. When Clary meets Isabelle, she instantly dislikes her. Why can’t girls be friends? Why do authors feel the need to put them against each other? Clary was jealous of Isabelle’s interest in Simon, but she had no right. She never showed interest in him and when others were rude to her ‘best friend’, she didn’t defend him. Unfortunately, I have already bought every book in The Mortal Instruments series. Still, I won’t finish it. I dislike Clary too much and since she’s the protagonist, it would be torture to continue reading it.

Check out my reviews of the books mentioned above:

A Game of Thrones (★★★★☆)

A Clash of Kings (★★★★☆)

A Storm of Swords review (★★★★★)

A Long Way Down (★★☆☆☆)

Falling Kingdoms (★★★★☆)

Shatter Me (★★★★★)

Unravel Me (★★☆☆☆)

Ignite Me (★★☆☆☆)

City of Bones review (★★★☆☆)


3 thoughts on “T5W: most unlikeable characters (July 27)

  1. myinfinitereadinglist says:

    Despite my immense love for Juliette, I would have to agree with your points there. You left our Celaena on your list, but she definitely landed on mine. 🙂

    I’m surprised about Tyrion though. I’ve only read the first book from a Song of Ice and Fire, so I haven’t seen a lot of that. I only really know Tyrion from the TV show. And you’re right, he’s so easy to sympathize for on the tv series.


    Liked by 1 person

    • romweasley says:

      I easily could have added Celaena to the list as well, but the others bother me more 😉

      Well, it’s a very unpopular opinion that I don’t like Tyrion, even amongst those who have read the books. I’m just not a fan of him. To me, he keeps doing the same thing over and over again; even though he thinks he’s so cunning. Like, I don’t think Peter Dinklage deserved the Emmy nomination for season 6. Tyrion has done nothing of importance, besides mainly holding speeches about drinking wine… I’m just tired of his character (but, like I’ve said, it’s an unpopular opinion).

      Liked by 1 person

      • myinfinitereadinglist says:

        And I respect that opinion so much. I actually didn’t think of it that way, to be honest. Now that you mentioned it, I’m curious to read the next books and find out for myself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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