Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Five of the Most Annoying Characters in Fiction

Which fictional characters could you really, really do without?

Here is my list:

  • Sarah Woodruff in John Fowles' French Lieutenant's Woman. In real life, no man would be attracted to a glum girl who moped about the place. Men prefer cheerful women.

  • James Bond. This is a guy who has a PhD in Smugness, and is also an incredibly inept spy. Discovering a beautiful, naked blonde in his bed in a Russian hotel, and getting in with her without it crossing his mind it might be a trap of some kind?

  • Little Em'ly. One of Dickins' few failings was an inability to depict good, innocent young women. Also Little Nell, Little Dorrit, little Beth from Little Women - indeed, any fictional female described as 'little'. (I must declare an interest here, being tall myself).

  • Jonathan Harker in Dracula. Boy, is this man tedious. It's a wonder anyone got beyond the first page of the novel, where Harker describes the dish he had for supper, asks the waiter what it is called, and decides he must get the recipe. Far from riveting.

  • Fanny Price, the heroine of Mansfield Park. Jane Austen never wrote a bad book, but does anyone like Fanny? So shrinking and mouse-like, while all the time privately judging and disapproving of everyone.

I'll stop there for now. This list may be continued in a later post...


  1. I scarfed up every Ian Fleming book. Along with Miss Moneypenny, I loved James Bond. I wanted to be soooo cool just like him. I was a teenager--gangly, geeky, & dumb in the 1960s and he was Sean Connery--swave and deboner.

  2. Ah, Sean Connery - a different matter. He's got those warm eyes. Mark you, he was gangly and geeky-looking when he was young.

    Were you my 2,000th visitor?

  3. Dunno. I don't see your stat counter. Did you hide it? Or is it hidden in plain view?

  4. It's in plain view on the side bar, or should be...

  5. Does 2006 get a prize?

    Personally, I think Pip in Great Expectations, is a bit of a moron.

    Lot's wife is pretty dumb, too.

    As for Sarah in Fowler's book, I am surprised on a fairly regular basis with the sorts of folk, both men and women, who seem to be attractive to the opposite sex in spite of themselves. I'm not so sure rational judgment factors in too often. We see what we want to see.

    Most of the Elves in LOTR are just a tad on the insufferable side.

  6. Don't talk to me about elves. Or LOTR for that matter.

    NOT ENOUGH (or indeed any) JOKES.

  7. Hi Lexi,
    I noticed your post on Norm's blog and realized it had to be you, the YWO Lexi.
    Your "must do without" list is rather odd.
    You say... "In real life, no man would be attracted to a glum girl who moped about the place."
    I hate to disagree with you but glum girls get ALL the action. Did you ever see 'Elvira Madigan' or 'The Invisible Circus'?
    I rest my case.
    There are real life examples but I digress since we're talking fiction.
    As for James Bond, WHO in the world can do without him? He's one hot tamale!
    Take care and cool rocking horses girl!

  8. Lovely to hear from you, Fiona!

    It seems like ages ago that we were strangely locked into reviewing each other's work on YWO.

    I guess I'm in the minority re Bond, James Bond.

    You're not doing ABNA, are you?

  9. No! I like Sarah Woodruff I think she's a great character. And I say hurrah for glum women!

    I am a glum woman at times and I'm proud of it. Relentlessly cheerful people are dull. Give me someoneone with turmoil in their heart. Far more interesting.

    Mind you, I'm not so keen on one of Fowles's other heroines. Miranda in the Collector. I like the book but grr at times I wanted to give that girlie a slap.

  10. Oh good, I'm being controversial!

    Not only do I not like Sarah Woodruff, but I think John Fowles is a grossly over-rated writer.

    Especially 'The Magus'.

    So there.

  11. OOh! Fight!

    I like The Magus. So knickers to you. Though it is a bit pretentious. But I read it in my youth and loved it muchly at the time.

    I can't stand Elizabeth Bennett, though.

    *Runs away*

  12. Now that IS controversial.

    You do well to run.

  13. Gee, my goal is to become a grossly overrated writer.

  14. I just want to be gross. Keep trying and keep coming up just a wee bit short.

    Not like Elizabeth Bennett? Sorry, can't see that at all. She's a keeper if ever there was one. What is the name of the actress who played her in the BBC (seen here on A&E) production of a decade back or so? She was the ultimate Elizabeth B. in my opinion.

    As for James Bond, I have never made it through one of Mr. Fleming's books, but taken strictly as a movie character, as long as Bond=Connery, we are talking about one of the great characters of all time. Corny and miles away from politically correct, but if little girls dream of being princesses, this is the equivalent for not so little guys.

  15. James Bond was luckier than he deserved, being played by Sean Connery.

    Sneak preview of one of the next five; Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Men were enchanted by her soft voice which made them lean towards her. In real life, 'Sorry, what was that? No, still can't quite'll think me a bit deaf, but can you repeat it louder?'

    All evening...

  16. Hi Lexi,
    you've started a great thread here, though I am gnashing my teeth over the James Bond stuff (LOL).
    No I am not doing ABNA. Wot is it when it's at home?
    Timber Beast, you jave my permission to become a grossly overpaid writer anytime!

  17. Fiona, I see you have not been studying my blog with the attention it deserves. Be warned, I shall be giving a test shortly.

    ABNA is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I've put Trav in for it.

  18. Jennifer Ehle, that's the supreme Ms. Bennett. Just came to me as I sat down for lunch. Didn't have to Google er nothin'.


    If you REALLY want to squander some time, meander over to my online journal. Lexi has a link here. And yes, it is an online journal, not a b____. I will not attach the b word to my writing, no matter how banal or silly it may be. It is a matter of principle. Or something akin to it.

  19. I love your list! what a great idea.
    I shall be checking my characters more carefully from now on.

    I can't have any glum girls or over-the-top hero.;-)

    All the best, Lexi