Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Characters Everyone Loves (That I Can't Stand)

You'll have to excuse the necessary-for-length hyperbole that I put in the title--this would probably more accurately be entitled: Five Character That Most People Seem to Love, Enjoy, or Look Upon Favorably (That I Can't Stand).

This was an idea I was working on shortly after my Five Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths list, mostly due to the Harry Potter books. When choosing a character (and the runners-up) from Harry Potter, I immediately thought of Dobby. Mostly, I thought of Dobby and then rolled my eyes. I knew a ton of people who were crushed by his death, while I pretty much rejoiced. When Gab commented that Dobby was on her list, I knew I needed to put out this list. And so I begin where I should, with:

1. Dobby

I recently picked up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again. I thought it was strange that it had been so long since I had read the book--I usually re-read the Harry Potter books a couple times a year (it only takes me about three night to get through one book). I don't think I've read Chamber of Secrets since the first Deathly Hallows movie was released. Once I started reading the book again, though, I remembered why it's been a while since I picked it up--I can't stand Dobby. Chamber of Secrets would be my second or third favorite book if it wasn't for Dobby. I just found the character annoying, and thought that everything would have gone pretty much the same way (if not better) if he had just stayed home (except for, you know, that whole Malfoy-slavery thing). His speech patterns annoyed me, the way he tried to help but failed miserably annoyed me, and his constant self-flagellation annoyed me. I may have felt bad for him the first couple of times (it was so long ago I don't remember), but it quickly became more annoying that pity-evoking. It probably doesn't help that most of the characters typically look at him as a nuisance, as well. In short, I can't stand Dobby, and I was glad when he was finally gone.

2. Severus Snape (Harry Potter)

Oh, Snape, you're so sassy.
People like Severus Snape for two reasons: they love that he's a jerk, or they think he's adorable and a soft-hearted teddy bear after learning about his love for Lily Potter. Either way, I think that this affection for Snape is misplaced. And this isn't so much because he's an asshole--I love plenty of characters that are jerks--but because of the direction of his assholery (made-up words for the win). This guy's just a straight-up bully toward children. He derides them for their intelligence (or lack thereof), makes disparaging remarks about their physical appearances, and even threatens them. And some of these kids are as young as eleven! I'm not the biggest fan of kids, in general, but it still begs the question: What's remarkable about a grown man who has to be cruel to children?

3. Ashley Williams (Mass Effect)

Miranda seems to be a popular character in this type of list, but since I haven't played past the original Mass Effect yet, she hasn't made my list. Ashley Williams--a soldier in the first game and a member of Shepard's squad--has, though. I really haven't read anything negative about Ashley before, which kind of surprises me. I've basically stopped putting her on my squad, despite the fact that I originally thought that she was a pretty bad-ass character. Since meeting her, though, she's begun to rub me the wrong way. Pretty much everything she says is bitchy, she's constantly complaining about things, and I think she might be a little bit racist. So while everyone else seems to like her, I've been avoiding her.

4. Spider-man

You always have to say something, Spider-man.
Spider-man in the movies has his own problems, but I'm talking about the character as he is in the comic books. I have a fairly irrational hatred of Spider-man, I'd admit it. My dislike toward Superman is inherently more understandable, but even I have a hard time articulating why I don't like Spider-man. I guess his characterization just rubs me the wrong way--every time he opens his mouth and is supposed to be funny, I find him obnoxious and annoying. He's probably the reason I grew up to be a DC girl instead of a Marvel fan. The first comics I read were X-Men (and I still enjoy X-Men), and then I moved on to Spider-man. I promptly put it down after a couple of issues and moved on to the Bat Family. X-Men remain the only Marvel comics I read, save a few universe-wide story lines that I'll pick up once they're published as graphic novels or collections.

5. Robert Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Sure, he was a good friend to Ned Stark and sure, you have to feel bad for people when they get murdered, but Robert Baratheon has few good qualities and many bad qualities. As they say in the books, the only thing he had going for him as king was that he wasn't the Mad King. Robert is a drunk and, according to Cersei's recollections, was often sexually violent in these drunken states. Sure, there's no spousal abuse back in Westeros, but what he does to her definitely qualifies. I'm certainly not a fan of Cersei, at all, you don't have to put someone else in her place to realize that this is not a desirable quality in a person. Secondly, Robert condones--and even orders--the murder of children. He's so vengeful that Ned Stark believed that he would kill Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen for their mother's wrongs, which is why he warns Cersei and tells her to take the children and leave (keep in mind that Joffrey, despite being a douchebag, was only twelve). He's also a negligent father (to his "legitimate" and illegitimate children alike) and an extremely negligent ruler. All he does is eat, drink, and have sex. Most people just shrug, affectionately writing Robert Baratheon off as Ned's drunk buddy, but I think he deserves more criticism than he gets.

Do you think I missed anyone? Or that I'm completely off-base with my opinions on a character? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Wait, people like Robert? Well shoot...

    Also, Quicksilver is gonna be in 'Days of Future Past,' WEEEEEEEE!

  2. He certainly has a vocal support group--on Tumblr, at least. Of course, that may not be saying much--Walder Frey even he fans and staunch defenders on Tumblr.