Lists, Reviews

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate: Top Ten Irritating Literary Characters

Disclosure: I’m rarely profane in my posts. However, today is an exception. If you’re likely to be offended by the use of an inappropriate four letter word there are two options: skip today’s list or read the list, glossing over Travis Maddox.


Do you ever get frustrated by characters in a book?  I generally try not to get to irritated by fictional people (there are enough real ones to keep me busy), but there are certain characters that I have little love for, though I rarely keep track.  This week’s top ten list , the most annoying characters EVER (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish), required me to come up with some semblance of a list. Most of these characters are from books I enjoy, save said character.

In no particular order, except number one really is number one:

10. This spot is reserved for any character who is guilty of the following: saying cray-cray, amazeballs,  or trying to pass of irregardless as an actual word. Common usage cannot will irregardless into acceptance (it’s important to note that my spell check says it’s correct – it’s not). To prove I’m not overly punctilious (or the world’s biggest pedant), I’ll admit to using the phrase “whatevs, dude” on more than one occasion. And admitting to the likelihood of their being one or more grammatical (or spelling) errors in this post.

9. Pollyanna (Pollyanna). That sort of optimism goes against the underpinnings of my personality. If you try to change my perspective, I’ll be forced to point out that you are, in fact, likely in denial about yours.

8. Angel Clare (Tess of the d’Urbervilles). If you’re 95% an intractable, sanctimonious prig…

7. Mrs. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). Stop talking, stop talking now.

6. Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind). Possibly the only time a single character has been the primary reason I refuse to finish a book…

5. Emma Woodhouse (Emma). I am stealing this (with credit) from Just Book Reading. Emma is annoying, spoiled, frivolous, nosy, gossiping, inconsiderate, manipulative, and self-centered.

4. Catherine & Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights). How a book can be so beloved when all the characters are detestable baffles me…

3. Edward Fairfax Rochester (Jane Eyre). I love Jane Eyre, I truly do. But Mr. Rochester is a cross-dressing, manipulative, lying, selfish, attempted polygamist. That being said, I forgive him and consider Jane a lucky woman.

2. Travis Maddox (Beautiful Disaster). Hi, I’m Travis. I’m in love with my best friend PIGEON (I named her that myself). However, when I get mad at her, I bring girls home from the bar and have a threesome outside her bedroom door. Then, a few weeks later I tell her I fucking love her and all is forgiven. Why would you tell someone (for the FIRST time) that “I fucking love you”? I don’t want to hear that. You could switch a couple of those words around and I might appreciate that sentiment (sorry, I couldn’t resist – I promise it won’t get any more obscene than that). Realistically though, if that statement were to come out of my mouth there would be a “with” somewhere in that sentence. And while I admire the versatility of the word fuck (how many words can so easily alter their part of speech from adjective, verb, adverb, noun, to interjection), when juxtaposing the word’s indiscriminate use with Travis’s temper – it’s all leads to irritation. However, it is important to note that there’s only 62 more days until Walking Disaster! The only explanation I can offer – I’m a reading masochist.

1. Bella Swan (Twilight). What can I say that hasn’t already been said?

So there you have it – ten characters that annoy me. Who annoys you? And please someone agree with me that Pigeon/Pidge is a terrible nickname…

Image: ComicVine

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  • Space Station Mir

    I couldn’t agree more with Emma, Scarlett, and Mrs. Bennet. And I honestly don’t like Rochester, I thought you were with me till I read the last part!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Maybe it’s because I love the Toby Stephen’s Jane Eyre? After watching that, Mr. Rochester just seems so pained and full of humanity that I can’t help but love him. I also like the idea of a man pining away for me despite the fact I’m poor, plain, obscure and little.

  • Lianne @

    Emma and Catherine (and I guess to an extent Heathcliff–didn’t specifically mention him at the start) made it on my list this week too. Didn’t mention her but I agree re: Bella Swan.

    It’s been a while since I read Jane Eyre but that’s true re: his behaviour. Was scratching my head a bit though, is the “cross dressing” but a reference with the fortune teller? Unless Rochester has a past time that I failed to register, lol

    Here’s my list of 10 irritating/frustrating characters =)

    • Rory O’Connor

      Yep, solely a reference to his dressing up like a gypsy lady. I adore him though, faults and all.

  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    It’s good when you get sweary Rory 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      Ha, thanks! If only people appreciated my bad puns and jokes, my life would be complete.

    • tlongford

      Sweary. Did you just make that up? I love it!

  • Danica Page@Taking it One Page at a Time

    Great list. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing. I definitely agree with you on nearly all of these and the rest are solely because I haven’t read them.

    Here’s mine

    ~Danica Page @Taking it One Page at a Time

    • Rory O’Connor

      I’ll check it out, thanks!

  • Jessica

    Great list! I agree that Pigeon/Pidge is a terrible nickname. It annoyed me and I was about to throw the book against the wall, but I kept going. Hopefully we’ll get a full explanation to the nickname in Walking Disaster.

    • Rory O’Connor

      That book defies explanation, I love it, but I hate it. I could never be with anyone like Travis, yet I kept turning the pages. Abby nearly qualified for this list as well, how can one girl be so dense!?

  • Sarah Says Read

    I totally agree with Catherine, even though I still love Wuthering Heights. I can’t stand her. And also yes to Bella, obvs. Good list!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks! The appeal of Wuthering Heights is lost on me, unless used as a guide of how not to behave towards friends, family, and lovers.

  • Liesel

    Great list! I couldn’t stand Scarlet either. I know what you mean about Wuthering Heights characters, but I still love the story. I think sometimes the point of having flawed, frustrating characters is to show people what NOT to do. 😀 Bella has never bothered me as much as she does most people, but I love the art work above with her, Hermione, and Daenerys. Great stuff! 😀
    My TTT. Happy Tuesday! 😀

    • Rory O’Connor

      Bella irritates me, but she wouldn’t make my most hated list – I could probably fill my most hated list with characters exclusively from A Song of Ice and Fire series.

      I view Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights similarly, both full of unlikable characters…

  • tarynwanderer

    Your list cracked me up. Sometimes, you just have to swear! 🙂 I’m not familiar with Beautiful Disaster, but based off of your description, I would have found Travis infuriating too. And I cannot believe I missed a chance to include Bella on my list…what was I thinking?! (I guess I just find her more straight-up annoying, rather than frustrating. I can still LIKE frustrating characters, at least.)

    Thanks for sharing your choices! You can find my TTT over at bookwanderer.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I rarely include Bella on lists because she is either revered or reviled in the book blogging world – have to avoid such drama. However, it was just to easy to include her on this list – it’s too perfect an opportunity to pass up.

  • Lisa

    Haven’t read the book, but I’d agree that Pigeon is a stupid nickname. I never liked Wuthering Heights — can’t believe I forgot to include Catherine on my list! Nice choices! Bella is sure getting a workout today. 🙂

    My TTT

    • Rory O’Connor

      She is, it seems to be very love/hate. I thought she was fine in the first book, but that second book there is just so much whining and moping! You could safely include any character from Wuthering Heights, they just make such terrible, frustrating decisions.

  • Words for Worms

    Hahahahaha this is FANTASTIC! Mrs. Bennet and Emma. Angel FREAKING Clare! The entire cast of Wuthering Heights. And yes, yes, yes to Rochester. Especially since despite his flaws, Jane’s a lucky lady. Awesome.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thank you! Mr. Rochester is my romantic hero (along with John Thornton), I’d marry him any day. I know Tess of the d’Ubervilles is on of Hardy’s classic works, but it’s far from my favorite (that would be Return of the Native).

  • Quinn

    LOL. Seriously Mrs. Bennet, just stop talking! Particularly about your poor nerves.

    I definitely feel you about Mr. Rochester. I have a love/hate relationship with him.

    Travis made my list as well. But I’m also totally going to read Walking Disaster!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Maybe Travis will improve in Walking Disaster? Part of my issues were that I could not imagine what he was thinking when he pulled some of that stuff.

      I love Mr. Rochester, but he definitely needs to earn it (which he does in the end). He is my Mr. Darcy.

  • West Virginia Red (@wvredreads)

    I thought about just listing Bella ten times. 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      Hey, I’d read that list!

      And I would be satisfied every. single. time.

  • exlibrisheather

    Bhahaha your list resembles mine. I like your #10 though–good point and nice touch! I’m also really glad to see the Wuthering Heights nod…I so desperately wanted to like that book but I just couldn’t. I also can’t think of one character in it I really liked.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks, it took restraint not to include awesomesauce on it, solely because I know so many bloggers love that word. It just grates on my nerves.

      I know that Wuthering Heights is considered the masterpiece of the Bronte sisters, but it’s not for me!

  • matthewledrew

    Man, tons of hate on Bella. I couldn’t say she frustrated me because I didn’t read the books. If she frustrated you in the first book, what would compel you to read more? Lol

    • Rory O’Connor

      Actually, the first book was fine. I’m rather ambivalent towards it. The second book was what did me in. At the time they were released, I was working as a public librarian and it was part of my job to keep track of the hugely successful novels and be able to (hopefully) talk about them intelligently with patrons. The easiest way to do that way to do that was to read the books.

      I’ve since moved on to a science research library and I’m a much happier person. 🙂

  • picturemereading

    Seriously I love your posts, they make me laugh and I totally agree with your list..and I get what you mean about my Mr. R even though I loves him..he really is a jerk..and without his redemption at the end he so does not deserve him LOL I am SO glad I am not the only one who finds Travis really annoying and frustrating..Pigeon is the most crappy nickname for a girl you supposedly like ever.

    • picturemereading

      he so does not deserve Jane LOL TYPO!!!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Beautiful Disaster is the literary equivalent of some obnoxious, addictive substance that is so terrible for you, but yet you can’t stay away. That being said, I’m looking forward to Walking Disaster and I’m sure I my frustration levels with reach an all time high.

      I love Mr. Rochester, he’s my favorite romantic hero. However, I always picture him looking like Viggo Mortenson or Timothy Olyphant and I don’t think that’s quite what Ms. Bronte intended. I, however, look just like Jane (insofar as a person can resemble a fictional character), so it’s only natural that I need a Mr. Rochester.

  • Vicky Hooper

    LOL, ‘irregardless’. *eye twitch* I am SO with you on that one. But I actually quite like ‘amazeballs’. *runs and hides*

    Emma and Cathy are on my list too! And, of course, Bella. Love your list! 🙂

    Here’s my Top Ten.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Amazeballs is forgivable if used in an irreverent manner. However, if you tell me that you love Jane Eyre because it is so amazeballs – I will hunt you down.

      Only kidding, of course.

  • Zo

    Oooh..Mrs. Bennett is a good one. I think you say it perfectly! I think Lydia is annoying too.

  • justbookreading

    Oh Bella is worthy of the numbet 1 spot. I’m willing to hand over Emma for Bella any day! Scarlett O’Hara is another annoyance but she didn’t stop me from reading, and mostly enjoying, Gone With the Wind.

  • tlongford

    Agree with Mrs. Bennett and Emma. Must read Beautiful Disaster. Hmm. So you don’t like irregardless, eh? How do you feel about nonetheless and inasmuch?

    • Rory O’Connor

      They don’t bother me and I’ve used both. I don’t consider them non-words the same way I do irregardless.

      And I don’t know that I can recommend Beautiful Disaster, there are so many issues with that book – doesn’t mean I didn’t find it riveting. Maybe comparable to a natural disaster, awful to watch but fascinating nonetheless…?

  • softdrink

    I hear ya on #4. The characters in that book are so awful I can’t believe it’s a classic!

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