Top Ten Characters I don’t get

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  The blog hop features lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to connect with bloggers who love the books you do.

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This week’s theme is Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get.  I don’t have ten — I usually don’t seem to manage a complete list — but here’s what I have.

Katniss Everdeen in Mockingjay, by Susan Collins – not the first two books, only the last one. The book really annoyed me because it was such a massive downer. Yes, War Is Hell, but Collins beats over the head with the moral of the story, and then she beats us some more.  By the end of the series, I felt that Katniss was utterly beaten down and devastated.  That was understandable considering everything she lived through, but still … a little bit of positivity would’ve lessened the depression the book engendered.  She grudgingly agreed to have a child only because Peeta wanted it, and some people felt that demonstrated her transformation into a hopeful person.  Not me.  There was so much emphasis on grudgingly that by the end, I didn’t like Katniss.

Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy.  My, I’m picking on this series, aren’t I? Sorry about that – I quite enjoyed the first two books.  Peeta, though, is kind of a nothing character.  He’s nice, yes, but that’s all he is; he has nothing he needs to learn, he’s unchanged by all the horrors he endures, and he’s the epitome of a cardboard character.  Katniss should’ve gone for Gale. He had some meat on his bones.

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Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Watson was an admirable character, brave, sometimes heroic, and smart enough to be not only a doctor but the first person narrator in all but four of the Holmes tales.  Yet he never learned.  Despite observing Holmes’ methods over and over again, he never became anything beyond a foil for the main character.  I can see why Doyle wrote him like this, but still … duh!

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Lazarus Long in Robert Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.  Lazarus started out pretty interesting in Methuselah’s Children, and he burst into spectacular psychological life in Time Enough for Love, perhaps Heinlein’s best.  But like the mythological Pygmalion, Heinlein fell in love with his own creation and turned Lazarus into some sort of a Superman who is the only one who’s ever been born that could possibly save humankind from itself. Sheesh – enough already!

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Bella Swan in Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer.  I called Peeta a cardboard character, but at least he’s nice. Bella, though, is not only made of cardboard, she’s whiny, self-centered, vain, perhaps mentally unstable.  She loves Edward because he’s hot — and that’s the only reason.  Granted, I am NOT Meyer’s target audience, but why oh why did Bella become so eagerly read?  Sorry, but I simply don’t get it.

Sophia Stanton-Lacy in The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer. Yes, the book is obscure, but it illustrates a kind of character that comes up from time to time. Sophy is scheming, mendacious, manipulative, arrogant, deceitful, controlling, etc. She no sooner comes to stay with her aunt and uncle than she decides she knows what’s best for everyone. She decides who Cousin Cecila’s beau should be and breaks up her Cousin Charles’s engagement so she can marry him herself — and we’re supposed to love her for it. Jane Austen’s Emma features a similar conniver, but we love her because she fails so spectacularly. Sophy, however, succeeds. If you knew a person like this in real life, you’d want to shoot her — and any jury in the world would rule it justifiable homicide.

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What about you? Are there any well known characters that you just don’t get or don’t like?  Tell us about it in a comment. And be sure to check out fascinating top tens by other bloggers.

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16 comments

  1. Reading so many of these TTT’s it seems like Bella is an overwhelming pick for hated character. I suppose people read those books for the other characters? Maybe?

    1. Not being a teenage girl, I honestly don’t know why the books are so popular. I read one, just to see what the big deal was, but this series is no Harry Potter; it seems to have nothing for adults.

  2. curiousdaisy · · Reply

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesnt get Katniss. Happy reading! https://ireadboooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/characters-that-annoy-the-hell-out-of-me/

    1. For the most part, I did like Katniss, but I just didn’t get how she ended up. I guess I’m not alone.

  3. Bella also made my list. I can’t stand her!
    My TTT.

    1. There seems to be a lot of that sentiment going around.

  4. I had Katniss and Bella on my list, too. I just didn’t understand why either of them was a compelling character.

  5. I completely agree with you about Katniss in the last book. Mockingjay destroyed a lot of good things that the rest of the series had going for it, including it’s main character!

    My TTT.

    1. And the third book is the one they split into two movies. Milking as much money out of the franchise as they could, I guess.

  6. The only thing I’ve ever read about Bella that makes sense is this–she’s cardboard so the tween readers can put themselves in her place. But I’m not fond of her, either.

    1. That, and she’s in an intriguing situation, being able to express her budding sexuality in safety … if that word even makes any sense with a vampire! She throws herself at the handsome hunk, but he’s the one who draws the boundaries.

  7. Peeta and Katniss. ARGH. That’s the saddest love team I have read and written. Until now, I’m still rooting for Gale. 😄

    1. You”re STILL rooting for them, even though the series is over? Might be time to let this one go…

      1. Haha. Kidding. Yeah. It’s time to move on. 🙂

  8. I really loved The Hunger Games when I first read it a few years ago, but I suspect my opinions would be different if I read it now. I agree with you that it could have had a better ending!

    1. I enjoyed the first two books a lot, though I did feel book three didn’t live up to its predecessors.

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