Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Top Ten Wednesday (TTW) - Characters I could not stand

Inevitably, good stories and novels have characters who rub our skin the wrong way. Paradoxically, this talks well of the writer as it means that he/she was capable of strongly bringing to life strong personalities even if the readers could not stand them.
Not all unpopular characters are the villain in the narration. Lastly, it is a matter of personal taste. I particularly do not like senseless or unscrupulous ones… and then there are those that no matter what they do or say I just cannot bring myself to enjoy.
As always the order is only numeric and not by level of dislike.

1. Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Dolores Umbridge was one of the few characters that I disliked as soon as she appeared in the story. Starting with her physical appearance and ending with her malicious personality. Even as a write this post, I feel as if someone is scratching the blackboard with nails…

2. Nils Bjurman – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 

Nils Bjurman is the typical man who would take advantage not only of a woman but of a defenseless individual. He also had so much anger stored inside that it inevitably came out in the worst possible way. I imagined him drooling like those mad people or animals that cannot contain themselves. I could not help the strong desire to hit him or kill him.

3. Bella – Twilight Saga.

When Bella met Edward that first day at school she thought he was one of the most handsome guys. She could not help wondering why he would fall for her. I can understand that any teenager would feel this way at the beginning but not for such a long time. Bella felt inferior to Edward. Also, Bella gave Jacob mixed signals about her feelings for him. My friend L warned me about it; I just did not think it would be at that level. I had to take several deep breaths while reading the story.

4. Nadine Karros – The Litigators.

Nadine Karros was the litigator lawyer hired to fight the class lawsuit presented against Nadine’s client, a powerful pharmaceutical company. She embodied that rare breed of women who have it all: she was beautiful, successful, rich, and to make matters worse, fit… I think I need to say no more.

5. Amina Mazid – The Newlyweds.

Amina married an American man to escape her native Bangladesh. What bothered me was the fact that the reasons for the marriage were not clear for him – he thought Amina was in love with him. For this reason I could not connect with Amina. It was almost impossible to feel sorry for her and her family. Maybe it did not help that I did not like the book that much either.

6. Vladimir Girshkin – The Russian Debutante’s Handbook.

Vladimir was a mama’s boy who was tired with his life, his work, even with his girlfriend. He was never able to stand up to his mother. Even when he decided to do something rash and go to Eastern Europe to help a gangster setup an illegal scheme he could not escape his lukewarm manner of acting in life. It was easier to be on the gangster side than on Vladimir’s.

7. Margaret Beaufort – The Red Queen.

Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII king of England, cruelly fought for his son’s throne. She did not rest until her son was put on the throne, and did not spare the life of anyone, including young boys, that could be obstacles to her mission… and all the while praying to the Virgin Mary for the life of those she loved.

8. Andrew – Little Bee.

I have to admit that my dislike for this character is somewhat ambivalent. Andrew was comfortable in his English lifestyle, apathetic to his wife’s struggles and desires. In an effort to reignite their marriage, Andrew and Sarah, his wife, went to Nigeria where they first encountered Little Bee. At that moment both Sarah and Andrew were in front of a very real life situation. Sarah did what she thought was best while Andrew could not shake off the status quo.

9. Stephen – Eat Pray Love.

I know Stephen is not a character in the traditional sense of the word as he is someone who exists in real life. His behavior is fitted for a novel, though. It was especially disturbing and annoying when he referred to himself in the third person. When a kid does it, it is cute; when an adult does it, it is creepy.

10. Florentino Ariza – Love in the Time of Cholera.

Florentino Ariza is the quintessential character who is stuck in the same time and place pursuing an illusion and an impossible love. In modern times he would be the incarnation of a man with an avoidant attachment style – nothing more noncommittal than to fall in love with someone in a difficult situation to correspond that love. Tenacity is a good quality, but at some point one has to move on, and walk on a different path. In my friend K’s words “Dude, move on!” 

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