Guess who’s back, back, back! Back again-gain-gain? It’s meeeeee! You’re friendly neighborhood Lila, back at it again with the discussion posts! So what’s up today?
So I was reading a book recently whose main character I absolutely loathed. Straight up hated. See, the problem was, though, it wasn’t like I was reading about an antihero or the origin story of a villain. No. This character was meant to be the hero of the story, the proverbial “good guy” (or in this case, girl). And it made me wonder, “Was the author aiming for this? Was he/she trying to make the character this unlikable? Or was it just an accident?” But how on earth could an author accidentally make a character so unlikable?
So. I can actually see how an author could accidentally make a character unlikable. I mean, I’m no English major, but when I was in IB English, we learned how most heroes have some fatal flaw. Okay. I can get behind that. It makes the character more relatable, shows that they’re human. Alright. BUT. If that fatal flaw is something like rage or narcissism, the line between a flawed hero and a straight up unlikable one can get blurred real fast. And it happens. Trust me. I’ve seen it happen.
So how do we deal with these characters? Well, we could try loving them for who they are…Or not. We could also vehemently hate them (aren’t characters supposed to be perfect incarnations of humanity? AREN’T THEY?!?!!!). Or we could feel “meh” about them.
Me? I try to think about what the author was trying to do with the character. Were they trying to teach a lesson or tell a cautionary tale? If I think so, I try to look for what it is. Maybe it’s that pride and power corrupt or something silly, like don’t be clumsy while holding knives. Idk. You get my point, though. Look for the lesson.
But sometimes, that’s not enough. Sometimes I meet a hero who’s just so dang unlikable. You could say I’ve met my match. What to do then? I honestly can’t tell you.
Have you ever met a hate-able hero? What did you think of them? Do you think the author had a purpose for writing them that way? Tell me in the comments!