Also known as: characters I love which other people love to hate
This may be the trickiest prompt I’ve ever done? Obviously this will be a super subjective list and your mileage may vary, standard cautions, etc & etc. Except for Dolores Umbridge, who we can all agree is virulent bullying toad slime wrapped in sickly pink cardigans, there isn’t really a ‘universally hated’ book character that I know of. I’ll do my best with anti-heroes and obnoxious characters who I like, in a way, in spite of themselves.
Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, George RR Martin
She is ruthless, remorseless, and insanely self-centered. Also, a pretty crappy mother. What I like about Cersei is how unapologetic she is about all of it. She is a boss ass bitch and I have to respect that, even as I wish she would grow just a teeny bit of a conscience.
Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, George RR Martin
Let’s just say the redemptive arc his character goes through in the show is 100% SE Approved and here’s to hoping he’ll also be redeemed by the end of the books. He is caught in pretty much the worst toxic spiral ever and even though he wanders around causing mayhem and murder, I kinda want to wrap him in a fuzzy blanket and free therapy sessions for the rest of his life. And EVERYONE SHOULD REALIZE what a treasure Tyrion is, okay, not just his brother.
Isabella Swan from Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
Unhealthy, co-dependent, and emotionally abusive relationship poster child, yes. I will totally grant you there are problems with these books. I still like Bella, annoyingly passive demeanor and all. By very end of the very last book her character arc was going into a much more protective, powerful, and badass direction which I thoroughly enjoyed and really wish would have showed up about three books earlier.
Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
He is so adorably oblivious to anything resembling shame, poor man. I like how he gives Charlotte Lucas options and is easy for her to manage invisibly which, I think, was the defining characteristic of a good husband in Regency era England.
Cousin Elliot from Persuasion, Jane Austen
Self-serving, spoiled, and weak-spined as a poisoned jellyfish, Cousin Elliot is the driving force behind most of the plot of Persuasion and for that I adore him. The appreciative look he gives Anne at Lyme is what pokes Captain Wentworth into acknowledging how pretty she is. His pursuit of Anne in Bath is what forces Wentworth to get in there first and admit how resentful and idiotic he’s been acting. YAS, Cousin Elliot. You push that plot, my little schemer.
Lothaire from Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark
Lothaire is an irritating, selfish, murderous, exasperating, scheming, slightly (okay, very) psychotic vampire. Fate has to pretty much hold him up by the heels and swat his ass several times for him to even begin understanding that he might have found his fated mate. Oblivious, obnoxious, and snarky for days. He annoys everyone he meets, okay, and I love his snarky ass just as much as Elly does by the end of their book.
Declan Chase from Dreams of a Dark Warrior, Kresley Cole
Yep, I went there. I am team Declan. This is a bold stance, and controversial in the IAD word. I understand why. The things he does as the leader of Torture Island™ are completely reprehensible and deserve no excuses. But he’s also the most damaged cinnamon roll in the history of Kresley Cole damaged heroes, and THAT is saying something. I think she does enough to redeem him in his book, I really do.