1. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Characters you dislike

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Chinspinner, Jan 12, 2015.

    I was just wondering what character's people actively dislike. I don't mean antagonists or intentionally unpleasant characters, I mean characters (or archetypes) who are supposed to be relatable or interesting, or likeable but aren't.

    My example, and the character archetype I can't stand, are the too perfect, unstoppable, testosterone ridden male leads you get in bad action books/ films. They have some smart-ass reply to everything, they speak several languages, they are expert combatants, they have no shortcomings... they are also insufferably smug, slightly ridiculous, very camp and ultimately incredibly tedious. They strike me as a very adolescent concept of an alpha male and always appear like some absurd compensation for the (always, I think) male author's short-comings- like the personification of a phallus- a running, fighting, all-action knob.

    Examples are James Bond and Jack Reacher.

    EDIT: bloody rogue apostrophe in the title I can't get rid of.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Similar to yours, actually - I can't stand alpha males in romance novels. The guys who know what the woman wants better than the woman herself, etc.

    They make me hate the male character for being an asshole, and hate the female character for falling in love with such a tool.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Here are some of the character types I dislike in fiction:

    (1) The stereotypical disabled kid whose only purpose in life is to use his/her disability to inspire the non-disabled characters and to teach us all a lesson about tolerance. The disabled community finds this very offensive as it implies that their disabilities is all they are, they're not humans who just so happen to have disabilities. Some guilty characters: Tiny Tim and the blind old man from Frankenstein.

    (2) The 'magical negro'/'noble savage'. Basically a black person or a Native American has magical powers and teaches the white hero life lessons. It's not that they're a magical mentor figure who just so happens to be black/Native. It's that them being a magical minority is all they are. Another way to put it is this: Look at the first example, but instead of the character being disabled, the character is a person of the minority.

    (3) The token bully and the token evil relatives/caretakers. I know they're supposed to be the antagonists and all, but there are well-done examples and those that just seem flat and dull, like they're only there to flare up the drama and conflict.

    (4) The Chosen One™ whom the prophecy foretold would come and save the world. He/she knows everything, and everyone likes him/her. If they don't, they're obviously bad and should be punished in hilarious ways.
     
  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Number four describes how many popular characters ?
     
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Too damned many to count. I prefer characters who win by the skin of their teeth, thank you. Characters who seem to have the easy road because Fate itself demanded success are boring to me.
     
  6. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    Characters, especially protagonists, whom all the other characters just absolutely adore and fall all over themselves to worship- for no apparent reason whatsoever. Especially, as @Link the Writer mentioned, whenever anyone doesn't fawn over them is immediately branded as a bad person.
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    But actually think about some of these characters: -
    • Luke Skywalker- whinny bitch.
    • Frodo Baggins- whinny bitch.
    • Neo- monumental cock with a stupid name. Collossal twat.
    • Harry Potter- whinny bitch.
    • I could go on...
    One exception- Ash Williams- bloody brilliant.
     
  8. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah this bugs me. I used to know a guy like this at uni, his name was Ben but he called himself Benga, and he dressed like John Lennon and spoke with a mock Liverpudlian accent even though he was from the West Country. He had basically just created this persona for himself- this weird fragile construct that had become his entire veneer of a personality.

    We were all young and naive, and everyone liked him. Until one day my mate Ben (another Ben) just said "that Benga is a bit of a tool isn't he?", and it was like opening the release valve on a dam. The response was many different versions of "thank God someone finally said it!"

    In reality this is what would happen with the character you describe.
     
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  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never read a romance novel, other than one by Barbara Cartland when bored one day- I genuinely think it took half an hour cover to cover.

    However, I have heard from a few people about 50 Shades, where the male lead is apparently very much like this, and the book has the added bonus of being almost unreadable.
     
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  10. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    50 shades was terribly written, with such a cliche plot. It basically kept your interest using the shock value... However, I enjoyed reading it when I had nothing better to do (and the entire series). After a while of reading these insane character portrayals, by the end you're rooting for them to actually make it together. After all, who else would marry these freaks?

    SPOILER FOR 50 SHADES:
    And I also feel terrible for their children. Seriously, who uses a whip on a pregnant woman?
     
  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    W.....t.....f
     
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  12. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was going to search on the web to see if that is a thing... but frankly I don't really want to know (or want the search associated with me if Big Brother is watching).
     
  13. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are.

    JUST KIDDING, BIG BROTHER....
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yeah, gonna have to echo your sentiments there.

    What the actual [expletive]?
     
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  15. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    This wins hands down as my least favorite plot element. Look, I know that some great works have used it in the past, but I just despise this trope.

    I'm not sure what other media people on these forums enjoy, but speaking as someone who enjoys a lot videogames, I find the use of the chosen one plotline is very over used. It seems every time I finish the prologue some old man/spirit/god will show up to inform me that I'm the chosen one, foretold in some prophecy to find the some number of McGuffins in order to slay the evil _____ and save the realm of ____. It's the absolute nadir of videogame stories in a medium that's often regarded to be just above high quality porn in its writing quality.
     
  16. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know, why can't I just be a soldier in an army that witnesses an unfolding drama? Why am I always the chosen one? Why do game-makers think this is necessary? Or maybe it is, maybe a video game that does not constantly stroke the player's ego would be shunned? I dunno.
     
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  17. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I would say laziness is a big factor. If the protagonist is the chosen one then you don't need to come up with an interesting reason for the character to take up the sword against whatever cliché is terrorising the land. Instead, you can just declared it their destiny to save the realm and boot them out the door to forge a magical sword or collect some artefact. The plot basically writes itself.

    The the ego stroking is probably also a big part of it, which is partly why I also dislike it when your character begins the story as the most badass person in the room. It always just feels like the game is trying too hard to make me feel like a big man.
     
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  18. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    The final book ends with Christian and Ana sitting in their backyard with one of their kids running around, and she's quite heavily pregnant with their second. It flashbacks to the night before where they were having sex and he was smacking her with the tassled whip thing. I'm not too educated on BDSM violent tools...
     
  19. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I didn't like Florentino in Love in the Time of Cholera. He got worse throughout the book. But, since that book's a piece of literature, I'm sure I'm missing something. :)
     
  20. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anna Karenina is hands down the worst character I've ever read.
     
  21. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    I didn't like Florentino, either. But I think the only character I've ever really hated in a book was St. John in Jane Eyre.
     
  22. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    An all-too perfect, man-eating, super pretty action babe and/or the female equivalent of the perfect alpha soldier dude. Since I don't like this character, understandably I've never finished a novel with such characters but worst offenders that I know of are:
    Kendra Pacelli of Freehold, Honor Harrington, Torin Kerr, Kris Longknife, that chick from Paradox novel series that I tried to read, can't recall her name right now, and sometimes Mercy Thompson. Ok, it's possible they were redeemed later, that they aren't as annoying as I thought they were, but I'm not gonna waste my time reading up until that point. I've read a few Mercy Thompson novels but what bugged me was the author's lack of knowledge about hand-to-hand combat, her illusions of how karate works, and the fact that every guy was crushing on Mercy who was supposedly not pretty and quite hefty in size (as in musclebound). I liked that she was described as muscular and owned a gun (instead of some weird Buffy logic that you shouldn't use firearms to fight monsters), but guys (and gals) can be pretty shitty about that yet it was never shown.

    The problem with these characters is mainly their inability to fail. They just win, win, win, and win, and when they lose, it turns out they ultimately won. They're God's gifts to men, their flaws are shallow or don't make sense or stop making sense at some point, or simply the author has not done their homework and they lose me on the first page when the badass mercenary doesn't even know the word "magazine".

    I don't like the male equivalent of this either if he reads like a fake but is supposed to be truly badass. That's why Andy McNab's and Chris Ryan's alpha males are fun to read about; the authors know their shit. Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim ticks me off because he's supposed to know his shit, but doesn't -- 'cause the author didn't do his homework.

    Fixed it.
     
  23. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    Nail on the head. James Bond has always irked me. Back in the summer I read a "who-dun-it" murder mystery titled 'The Killing Fields' by John Sandford. I got to the climax before I realized the main character was perfect. Rich, dresses well, attractive , always has a grin which no human with a vagina can possibly ignore, smart, outgoing and popular. He was insufferable! Talk about the perfect man with no flaws (his only flaw seemed to be he was once divorced...the only flaw I could find and hardly one at all). And this book received great reviews.

    This list should also include any character written by Brad Thor. He seems to write his characters falling down drunk, having pounded one too many Natty Lights at a frat party.
     
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  24. Lancie
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    James Bond is basically a psychopath who happens to be on the right side.

    The thing I hate most are 2d villains with no real meat to them. They are evil. They want to destroy (occasionally rule) the world, see everything burn and kill everyone who gets in the way. They have been created just to be antagonists. It's a bit dull. Where do they plan on living once they destroy the world? How will they fill their days?

    By the same token, the opposing 'hero' is good just because, and will save everyone and everyone will like them, as people have said before.
     
  25. Okon
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    @Link the Writer, I couldn't agree more. I hate the #4's because it is their circumstances that make them grand, instead of their choices. The protag is told, from beginning to end, that it's her destiny to defeat Captain Dragon. The decision is already made for her, and people are always nudging her along on the path to victory.

    I prefer it when she is the one telling everyone else that she will kill the Big Bad, as in, it's simply an ambition that sprung into her mind. That way, self doubt an actual frigging person can relate to is present. Who could not root for that character?
     

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