The thing about unlikeable characters 

We’ve all read a character who makes all the wrong choices who makes you want to throw the book across the room. For me that character is Emma Woodhouse she’s very frustrating but I liked her arc even if I kept telling her what to do and what not to. And getting annoyed when she didn’t listen. I didn’t like Emma half the time yet I liked the plot which was all caused by her actions. This brings me to this question do you have to like the protagonist? I think that as long as you enjoy getting frustrated by them. And as long as they actually change by the end of the book then I can enjoy a book without liking the main character.

The important thing is that the characters aren’t flat that their complex. You don’t necessarily have to like their actions or think their good people just understand them. No matter how unlikable the protagonist is you should be able to understand why they do the things they do and hopefully sympathize with them. I used to think that in order for me to love a character I had to relate to them but that’s definitely not true. I can’t relate to most of my favorite characters. I can’t relate to any of the characters in Six of Crows yet I think their all great and Kaz is a good example of an unlikable character. I’ve seen a few reviews of Six of Crows were the reviewer seemed to think that liking Kaz meant you agreed with the awful things he does. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people think that likeking a character means you condone their actions. 

I think Snape is a good character but I don’t like him he’s a wonderfully written character but he does some awful things. He’s certainly not the kind of guy you’d name your kid after. Liking a character doesn’t mean you condone their actions loving a villain doesn’t mean you think their right. So why should liking a very flawed character like Snape or Kaz mean you think they were in the right.

Okay back to the main point of this discussion I like characters who are very obviously flawed I think their more interesting and realistic. They have some of the best development or at least should it’s annoying when a character is almost completely unchanged by the end of the book. The characters who makes mistakes have to learn from them the thing is all their mistakes and flaws make them feel more real. I do have to like the character it’s just that I like unlikable characters as in characters who are hard to like or who I have a love hate relationship with. I do also love characters who are good people so I don’t know that there’s one quality that makes a character my favorite, other than being well written of course.

How do you feel about unlikeable characters?

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10 thoughts on “The thing about unlikeable characters 

  1. I completely agree that there’s a difference between an unlikeable/unrelatable character vs a poorly written one. As I sometimes say, I don’t have to like who a character is as a person in order to like him as a character. Though sometimes it’s hard to like a character if I don’t like his actions. So often the two coincide. But they definitely don’t always have to, especially I also like legitimately flawed characters!

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  2. A certain unlikeable character for me is mare barrow from glass sword. I feel that her personality ruined the book for me since she was constantly talking about how important she was and didn’t even care when those she “loved” died! Characters who annoy me make me annoyed at the book itself, which I hate feeling because I always like appreciating a book despite its flaws!

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    1. I haven’t read that, I understand what you’re saying though for me there’s a line. As long as a character only annoys me to a certain degree then their okay. But if I don’t like the characters than it’s hard to fully appreciate the book.

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  3. The character of Emma Woodhouse was what made me DNF Emma a few years ago when I tried to read it. She annoyed me so much. However I want to give it another read because I have heard good things about the book and I’m determined to properly finish all of Austen’s works (Emma is the last one, as there’s no way I’ll pick Mansfield Park up again). Keeping on the topic of Austen, she created some characters I don’t like but even if they’re just side/secondary characters, their prospective books are still some of my favourites, because their personalities are what often drove the story and the actions of the main characters.

    I do often though find it hard to enjoy a book if I don’t like the characters, and there’s nothing in the story to explain their motives or reason for being. Then in that case it then depends on how they’re written and developed
    because that can make a huge difference to how they’re portrayed. A current example for me is Juliette from Shatter Me. The combination of the writing style, the portrayal of her character, and also the audiobook narrator made her annoying.

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    1. Liking characters is something that’s important to me, I prefer character driven books and you definitely at least need to understand the characters that’s really important. I started Mansfield Park but am having trouble finishing it’s the last one of her books I have to read. I like all of Austen’s other books, hopefully you like Emma more on your second try. I appreciate all of Austen’s characters for the fact that their actions drive the story, that doesn’t mean that I love all of them though. There’s a few that are annoying most of them happen to be in Emma the secondary characters were more annoying to me then Emma.

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  4. I totally feel you with Throne of Glass! I hateeee Aelin and Rowan so much but I like the other characters and the stories hahaha it’s hard though to enjoy the book when the MC irritates you :’) though for me unlikeable characters doesn’t equal anti-heroes. Kaz, and the rest of his crews are morally gray anti heroes but I still find them likeable. All the characters from Vicious by V.E. Schwab are probably villains but I still managed to find the villains I root for and hate hahaha and Snape… yes omg ‘he’s certainly not the kind of guy you’d name your kid after’ so I don’t know why the heck would Harry named her son Albus SEVERUS hahaha 😛 great post!

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