I recently finished reading Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, which is a psychological thriller that examines the darkest side of human nature. And my extreme hate for the antagonist got me thinking about all of the other literary characters that I completely despise.* Most were intentionally written to be vile and get under your skin, but I know there will probably be a few unpopular opinions on this list! So, here are ten of my “most hated” literary characters!
- Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) – A sadistic headmistress who takes immense joy in finding ways to torture the children left in her care, Miss Trunchbull might have been the first literary character I truly despised.
- The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) – Winter without Christmas? What an absolute witch. And don’t forget she also took away all happiness and hope and turns her enemies to stone.
- Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series) – Utter revulsion is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of the immensely insufferable toad that is Dolores Umbridge. The pure evil that runs through her veins is hardly masked by her perfectly pink wardrobe and terrifyingly girlish voice.
- Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) – Manipulative and abusive, I like to describe Heathcliff as a tyrannical jerk. And his mutually destructive relationship with Catherine reflects a kind of obsessive love that really gets under my skin.
- Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby) – I wouldn’t consider any of the characters in The Great Gatsby to be a shining example of humanity, but Daisy Buchanan is ahead of the pack when it comes to being the worst. She’s the epitome of shallowness, and every time I read a bit of her dialogue, it was like nails on a chalkboard.
- Bob Ewell (To Kill A Mockingbird) – I think we can all agree that Bob Ewell is a racist asshole: it’s heavily implied he sexually abuses his daughter; he spends all of his government relief money on alcohol…not on his 8 children who need to be taken care of; he falsely accuses Tom Robinson of raping his daughter simply because he is black; and, he gloats about Tom’s death.
- Bella Swan (Twilight series) – My first big issue is that Bella is so whiny! It’s ridiculous. The second (bigger) issue is her relationship with Edward. It’s a terribly unhealthy, co-dependent, emotionally abusive relationship covered in glitter and sold as romantic.
- William Hamleigh (Pillars of the Earth) – William Hamleigh is an arrogant, selfish creep with an unnatural relationship with his mother. But that’s not all! He’s also a rapist and an attempted murderer .
- President Coin (The Hunger Games series) – It takes a truly evil person to give someone hope and then tear it away. By hiding her true intentions, President Coin hid her true nature, but she proves to be just a merciless and power hungry as her counterpart (President Snow).
- Jack Angel (Behind Closed Doors) – the newest addition to my list, Jack Angel is a monster. And he’s the most terrifying kind of monster, the kind that no one ever suspects. His wife describes him best when she says “it’s a shame he’s such a sadistic bastard, because he has wonderful manners.”
Question of the Week: Which literary characters would you add to this list?
*Just because I hate a character doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book. Sometimes the truly evil characters are what makes a book so great!