Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Love-to-hate characters

In books, there are characters you love, hate . . . and love to hate.

For instance, you hate Voldemort and Count Olaf. Because they're the bad guys. It's what you do: hate them. You don't really take any particular pleasure in hating them, but you do, because they're so evil and garlic-in-their-soul-y.

There's another type of bad guy: the type that you love to hate. You hate them almost worse than the "main" bad guy, but they are such genius characters that you can't help loving them a little tiny bit, too. The book just wouldn't be the same without them.

Esme Squalor is a good example of the love-to-hate character. She's horrid, cruel, and scary. She's also ridiculous, funny, and altogether interesting to read about. I love her "I'm the city's third most important financial adviser" schpeel and her "in" worries. Aqueous martinis or parsley soda, anyone? She's a hoot.

Professor Umbridge is an even better example. She's devious, full of malice, and so hateful that it's hard to keep from pounding your copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when she performs another cruel act towards Harry and Co. Yet at the same time she's a wonderful character, and you know that the fifth book wouldn't have been the same without her. I love Umbridge, while hating her with the deepest loathing.

So, who are some of your favorite love-to-hate characters?

15 comments:

actinggal said...

Great Post!! You took up all the good characters.....:D


ummmm...I'll get back to you on that one. :D

Nancy said...

Snape, for sure.

Plus, by the last book, Olaf moved from hate hate hate to "love to hate."

Nellie Oleson.

Captain Hook.

The Grinch.

Erin said...

I definitely agree with Snape! And The Grinch...

The only one I have to differ with is Olaf. Yes, we got a peep at a "different side" of him in the last book, but remembering how horrible he was to the children in the previous 12 books didn't really make me feel any differently towards him. He was still a hate hate hate character, for me at least. :)

Christine said...

I love Lucius Malfoy like that. And Snape.

Erin said...

Thanks, Christine! Which reminds me,
Draco Malfoy is definitely love-to-hate.

Sookie said...

Okay here goes:

James (from Twilight)
I definitely agree with the Snape thing, he's one of my favorites
And from A Series of Unfortunate Events:
Nero the Violinist
Or Aunt Josephine (though I'm not sure if she counts)

Erin said...

Thanks for the great additions, Sookie! And I think Aunt Josephine counts, since you kind of hate her, but kind of love her....

Camille said...

Charlie Bone's great aunts, Venitia, Lucretia, and Eustacia,and his nasty Grandma Bone. Rotten old biddies!

Polka Dotted Pickles said...

Garlic in their soul-y. I'm so stealing that one. :)

Vivian said...

Erin, This is a wonderful post. It certainly gives me something to think about. I don't think I've read a book with such love to hate vile characters in awhile. Hmmm.

Deborah said...

i totally agree about umbridge. i hate her with a passion. have you heard the audio version of OOTP? jim dale's portrayal of her just makes my skin want to crawl.

Erin said...

Thanks for the great additions, everyone! And Pickles, it does make a great catch-phrase, doesn't it? ;)

Liz said...

Aunts Spiker and Sponge from James and the Giant Peach.

Love to hate; love to squish.

Erin said...

Ooh, definitely, Liz!

Sonja said...

Oh definitely Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge! And all the adults in Matilda too, except Miss Honey of course. And who could forget the Durseley's, whom I think must have been inspired in some way by Roald Dahl's love-to-hateable characters.