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Author Topic: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?  (Read 11290 times)

Offline jwest

Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« on: December 30, 2011, 04:32:36 PM »
I'm always curious about characters in books and how people think of them. Some people's favorite characters are another person's most hated!

So I'm wondering: who is your favorite character in a book? Your most hated? (in fantasy, or other genres)

And why?

Is it the hero or the sidekick? Or is it a villain you just love to hate!

I have a few I have to list here:

Roland of Gilead (the gunslinger) - Stephen King's The Dark Tower series...why? Because he is pure awesomeness!

Agent Pendergast from the Preston and Child Books. The guy is so calm, cool and collected. I love the way his mind works.

And Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. He was so loyal and just would not quit.

Let's hear some of yours!

Best wishes,
James

Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 06:07:58 PM »
Funnily enough, two of your favourites set my teeth on edge. Pendergast is a pale and irritating Holmes rip-off and Samwise is a fawning, lickspittle, forelock tugging class traitor; a Wormtongue for the designated good guys, a mini Mouth of Sauron. ;D Like you said, one person's meat is another person's poison. :P

My favourites include, but are not limited to:

Allan Quartermain from H. Rider Haggard's adventure novels - I cut my teeth on pulp adventure novels, so Qurtermain looms large. The yardstick I measure a lot of modern heroes by.

Monza Murcatto from Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold - More of an anti-heroine, really, but one of my favourite characters of recent years.

Sam Vimes from the City Watch strand of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels- Distilled essence of copper.

Geneviève Dieudonné from Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series - An actual heroine, this time. Capable, smart, emotional without being prone to silly decisions based on going squishy over a bloke, almost perfect so far as female heroines go.

The Gray Mouser, from Fritz Leiber's Fafrhd and The Gray Mouser stories - The prototype of the rogue-like hero in modern fantasy stories (Conan was too good in combat to really fit the type, despite his rogue-like attitudes). Being of smallish stature, relaxed attitudes towards mercantile 'ownership' of goods and inclined to fighting dirty myself, I worshipped the Gray Mouser from the first time I read about him as a youngster. Right up until the day I matured enough to stop nicking things and getting into fights, he was the template I modelled myself after.

There are lots of others, of course; I'm just noting the first few who came to mind.
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Offline graveyardhag

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 10:26:43 PM »
I also love Sam Vimes. There are other characters within the Discworld I really enjoy reading about too. Mainly Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. Tiffany Aching.
Shallan from Brandan Sanderson's The Way of Kings.
Penryn from Angelfall by Susan Ee. She was great, no whiny little pity party for this girl!

Characters I hated are a little harder, though there is one I don't even need to think about:
Mac from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. I hate this stupid girl with a passion. The Fever series is actually a really good story, completely ruined by a petulant, irritating, childish main character. It should not take 5 books for your main character to show growth! I may as well add in:
Barrons from the same series. He is hundreds (thousands?) of years old, and is acting in exactly the same manner as 22 year old Mac. AAAARRRGGGGHHHHH! Thankfully, it only takes 4(!) books to show some changes with him.
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Offline Gothos

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 11:06:38 PM »
Its always easier to think of characters you liked rather than hated. Usually I'll hate them but as the story progresses I'll come to understand them a little better. My favourites though woulkd have to be,

Durzo Blint from the Night Angel Trilogy,

Anomander Rake and Whiskeyjack from the Malazan series

and Hoid from Brandon Sanderson's cosmer.

Mat Cauthon from the Wheel of Time, by far the most enjoyable character ever. Jordan hit the nail on the head when he wrote Mat into existence, he is the perfect character. I don't see how anybody could dislike him.

A good example of characters I hated at first but then grew to love are mostly in the Wheel of Time series. Nynaeve was one I hated the first time around but once you understand her a little she grows on you. Egwene is one of those characters I've never liked, although I don't mind reading her POV chapters.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2011, 06:51:23 AM »
I have lots, but one that often sticks out for me is Jaime Lannister from ASoIaF. I started out hating him with a passion in AGoT, and then Martin gave him this incredible journey in ASoS and I wound up being firmly in his camp cheering him on.
And from my youth Snufkin out of the Moomin books. I think I liked him every bit as much as Moomintroll himself did.
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I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2011, 10:12:07 AM »
Joe Abercrombie, George RR Martin and Pratchett are my favourite writers of characters.  So many fantastic characters, Glokta the crippled torturer, Arya and Death all spring to mind. 
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Offline Nyki Blatchley

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2011, 10:05:55 PM »
The Gray Mouser, from Fritz Leiber's Fafrhd and The Gray Mouser stories - The prototype of the rogue-like hero in modern fantasy stories (Conan was too good in combat to really fit the type, despite his rogue-like attitudes). Being of smallish stature, relaxed attitudes towards mercantile 'ownership' of goods and inclined to fighting dirty myself, I worshipped the Gray Mouser from the first time I read about him as a youngster. Right up until the day I matured enough to stop nicking things and getting into fights, he was the template I modelled myself after.


I love both Fafhrd and the Mouser, but I'd say the prototype of the rogue-like hero is Cabell's Jurgen, twenty-odd years earlier.  He's another favourite.

Valentine (aka White Crow) and Casaubon from several of Mary Gentle's books - beautifully matched and contrasting.

Moorcock's Jherek Carnelian - not one of his best-known characters, but I love his blend of sophistication and innocence.

Not fantasy, but Iain Banks's Isis Whit, for much the same reasons.

Kane, from Karl Edward Wagner's 70s series. An intriguing anti-hero, who's sometimes the hero, sometimes the villain, usually in between.

And yes, I love Sam Gamgee too - sorry, Funky

Offline W4nderer

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 02:15:34 AM »
Favorite is Kvothe from NotW.
Hated would probably be either Ambrose Jakis from the same book, or Prince Calder from some of Abercrombie's books.

Offline JoshuaPSimon

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 02:29:43 AM »
All-time favorite is Croaker from The Black Company series.

Least favorite is Jonathon Strange from Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 02:31:20 AM »
I've been trying to think of a most hated character, and I'm having trouble, because if I take a strong dislike to a villain or a character behaving abhorrently then the author has done their job. I tend to think of most hated character as one that is written badly or behaves unbelievably which is what makes me dislike them.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Nyki Blatchley

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 06:25:07 PM »
I'd agree completely with that distinction - a despicable character can easily be a favourite.  I can't think of any I hate, because I tend to forget books I dislike, and a character that awful would normally make me dislike the book.

Offline Bane of Kings

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 07:25:43 PM »
Favourite Characters:

Kylar Stern - The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
Arlen Bales - The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
Asher - The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
Max, up to Book 5 - Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson
Sherlock Holmes - Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle
Ibram Gaunt - Gaunt's Ghosts Series by Dan Abnett
Brin Milo - Gaunt's Ghosts Series by Dan Abnett
Harry Dresden - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Least Favourite Characters:

Dylan - Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson
Max Book 6 and onwards - Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson

I'll probably think of more later, this is by no means a definitive list.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 11:15:59 AM by Bane of Kings »

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 09:05:08 PM »
Agreeing with various people along the way, I love Stephen King's Roland Deschain, Terry Pratchett's Sam Vimes, and Robert Jordan's Mat Cauthon. Also Robin Hobb's Fitz and the Fool (I can't choose between them!).

I HATE Raymond E. Feist's Tal, of his Conclave of Shadows trilogy. His only character flaw, seemingly, is that he is arrogant BECAUSE HE IS SO FLAWLESS AT EVERYTHING ELSE! Ohmygoodness, it's so utterly irritating... which is really not good when he's supposed to be the one you root for! Sorry, Fiest, but no way.

Wow, I read those books years ago and it still annoys me to think about it!  :-\
 

Offline LeifGSNotae

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Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2012, 04:17:36 AM »
I've always been a fan of Lukien from the Eyes of God series (soon to be rechristened, from what I am to understand). There were moments I could identify with him and his loss was certainly humanizing.

As far as hate, I can't really say. There were some that were underwhelming. There were some that were pointless. I can't think of any off the top of my head (I suppose that is a fate worse than hating; at least when you hate them, you remember them).

Offline MTMaenpaa

Re: Favorite or Most Hated Book Character?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2012, 07:17:31 AM »
I like most of the previously mentioned favorites, but I note a few names missing.

Corwin of Amber, of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber.  Cool and calculating, but showing great growth over the course of the epic.  A great swashbuckling demigod coupled with Zelazny's love of godhood and philosophy.

Vladimir Taltos (and Loiosh), of Steven Brust's Draegaera novels.  Human assassin, practitioner of witchcraft and occasionally sorcery in a world of near-immortal elves that aren't elves.  Plus he has a sarcastic psychic lizard for a familiar.

Hard to hate characters though, if they have been written well.  There are characters that certainly inspire great dislike, disdain, etc... but as said above, that means the author has done their job.
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