Unfavorable Characters-And Why I Like Them

So I was talking with some of my friends the other night about books, hospital of course, hospital because that’s seriously what we do ALL the time (I’m looking at you, Tatiana, Sylvia, Paulina, Megan and Gabby) and we started talking about City of Bones because Paulina is reading it for the first time. (I know, right? Sigh, at least she’s reading it now! Haha) She had already kind of started liking different characters and we were talking about that and I mentioned that my favorite TMI character, besides Jace Wayland (because we all know how I get about Jace Wayland) is Alec Lightwood.

And that started a discussion on the likability of Alec. I seemed to be the only person that really actually liked him. For the most part, there were negative comments about Alec. Its not that they didn’t like him; they just weren’t particularly fond of him. They said he was pompous, and mean and things like that. And they aren’t really wrong. But…I love Alec, and probably for those reasons. And I usually get a sort of incredulous reaction when I express how much I really love Alec.

That’s not really the first time that’s happened either. I tend to like characters that aren’t always the most favorable of characters. I love Alec Lightwood. My favorite HP character is Ron Weasley. I like James Potter, as well. Jessamine Lovelace from TID? Yeah, I liked her too. I liked Pippa Cross in A Great and Terrible Beauty and I actually really like Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones (from what I know so far…). I also really like Draco Malfoy as well.

I also tend to get a lot of gasps and surprised looks when I say I don’t like a particular character, or that I’m not as obsessed with them as most people are. Like Severus Snape…I don’t like him, sorry. I don’t like him the way the fandom does. I think Alan Rickman is awesome but I’m just not a huge fan. Same with Dobby; that guy is SOOOO annoying, I can’t even handle it. I like Simon Lewis in TMI but I felt he was kind of a stereotypical character and I am not obsessed with him like most of the TMI fandom is. And so on.

So I started to think, why is it that I tend to like the characters that most people don’t pick as their favorite? Why do I tend to be very apathetic toward characters that people go insane over? I really started to think this over. And I came up with some reasons.

They are more realistic. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter. I love Hermione Granger and Jace Wayland and all of these characters but a lot of times, they aren’t the most realistic of characters. Now, don’t jump down my throat just yet. What I’m saying is, they are realistic, but they aren’t the MOST realistic characters of the novel. I prefer characters like Ron, Alec, Draco, James, Jessamine because I believe they tend to represent human nature a lot more than maybe we are aware of or what we want to admit.

Take Ron Weasley as an example.

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I think people like him for the most part, as part of the trio, but I don’t think people are overly fond of him. I know a ton of people who will bad mouth him to the end of time, and they usually bring up the way he acted with Harry in Goblet of Fire when his name is chosen, and then also in Deathly Hallows, when he leaves Hermione and Harry. And I can understand where they are coming from. You can sort of be frustrated and angry with Ron and the way he acts.

However, I think the way he reacts is the most realistic reaction of all of them. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are all extraordinary characters, and they’re all wonderful, brave, fantastic characters. But come on, let’s be real. How many of us, actual seventeen/eighteen year olds would make the kind of sacrifices that they did? I mean, I’m sure there would be a good amount. I know that you tend to surprise yourself when put under extreme circumstances, but let’s face it, teenagers aren’t always prepared for these kind of situations. I think the fact that Ron is tired and hungry and irritable and frustrated is completely normal and expected. I would be. I don’t know how I would be if I was put in the kind of situations that they are. And when it comes to Goblet of Fire? We are all victims to the green monster of envy and jealousy and I think that Ron being angry at Harry is normal. I think its realistic. I think that its the most realistic and genuine reaction, in both of those situations.

They are more relatable. 

Again, don’t all start attacking me. Its not that I don’t think that these other characters aren’t relatable because they are! They totally are. There’s a reason they are the main characters and the ones that people remember. They are completely relatable. But I tend to find those disliked characters a little more relatable.

Let’s talk about Alec Lightwood for a moment.

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What I’ve seemed to notice about those who tend not to like Alec is that he’s pompous, proud, he’s irrational and emotional, and he can be mean, and he does something INCREDIBLY stupid in City of Lost Souls.  I’m not denying that; definitely not. But I can relate to Alec Lightwood so much, more so than probably any of the characters in that book because he is so REAL. He’s eighteen years old, and he’s gay, and he can’t really bring himself to admit that. Its hard enough for someone to come out as a normal teenager and even harder in a conservative, tight knit society that the Shadowhunters have created. Then he has Magnus and I think a lot of his growth in his self-esteem is hanging on that relationship. I think he feels more confident when he has Magnus‘s love.

And yes, obviously Magnus is an immortal being and has previous relationships and love in the past. We do know that, and I know that it is possible for you to love more than one person in your life. But again, Alec is not a very self-confident person and I’m sure hearing about Magnus’s previous loves, and coming face to face with one as manipulative as Camille has to be SO hard on him and his self-esteem. It doesn’t help that Magnus is very close-mouthed about his past. I know he thinks he’s doing Alec a favor by sparing him from details of a past that isn’t important anymore but I think it makes Alec feel worse, and it makes him have crazy, insecure thoughts because he’s insecure. I also think that he comes across as pompous and mean because of his insecurities, to cover up how he’s really feeling.

I know exactly how that feels. I know how scary it can be to come out to people; I know it was for me. I know what it is like to be so unbelievably insecure and lacking of confidence in yourself that you sabotage your relationship because again, I’ve been there. I’ve had the sort of insecurities that Alec does and if you’re already an emotional person, the way Alec is, you’re going to do things that are irrational. I think Alec is a very real and relatable character. I feel like people try to pretend that we don’t have insecurities like that, the ones that make us do those kinds of things, that make us do BAD, mean, or hurtful things. I think its realistic to have a character like Alec who is emotional and irrational and impulsive and making the wrong decisions and making mistakes and messing things up because we all do these sort of things. We all do the wrong things all the time, because we’re human and Alec is a very human character, which is why I love him so much.

They’re a lot like me?

Okay, I don’t mean this in a way to feel sorry for myself or any of that but I’m a book worm. And sure, that’s super cool now. Everyone seems to be reading now but for most of my life, especially through middle school and high school, I was teased hugely for spending most of my time with my nose in a book. And I’m kind of an intense person. I am emotional, impulsive, sometimes irrational and I just FEEL so much, you know? I’ve always been like that. And I’m a person that has never had a ton of friends all at one time. I’ve been unpopular.

So maybe I understand and connect with these characters more than the others because of their unpopularity? I understand their motives, I understand that their loneliness can sometimes make them do stupid things, or come across stupid.

Take Jessamine for instance, from The Infernal Devices. She’s lonely; she doesn’t fit in with the Shadowhunters and doesn’t feel that same pull, the same calling as the rest of them do. She wants to be normal, wants to have a normal life, to marry and have children and escape the life that she doesn’t belong to, not really. And yeah, she betrays people and she’s not a very nice person. But I can understand her motivations and I can understand why she did the things she did. I understand wanting something so badly that she was willing to do anything for that.

This also makes me think of Pippa Cross in A Great and Terrible Beauty, who is often called annoying, spoiled, impulsive, irrational, etc. I completely understand Pippa. She’s powerless, in ever way that she can be powerless. She is absolutely beautiful (okay, so that one isn’t exactly relatable haha) and she’s a tool her parents are using to get out of their debt. She isn’t valued for her mind, for the things she thinks, for her dreams and her wishes. She’s insecure and that makes her biting, mean, a bully. They say bullies tend to be incredibly insecure people. I think Pippa is afraid of not being heard, of being looked over and not feeling important. I know how that feels. I think she also feels like, even though she’s beautiful, she’s constantly in the shadow of Felicity because Felicity is clever and charming and dynamic. I DEFINITELY can understand that because I tend to find friends who are more outgoing and dynamic and more well-liked than I am. Which brings me to my last point.

I understand these characters.

When you really come and put all of these characters, it boils down to I understand them, and understanding them makes them more real, more natural and more genuine. I understand their motives and their emotions and why they make the decisions the do.

I understand Alec. I understand that he is insecure and that he’s impulsive and he’s a teenager with raging emotions and it makes him irrational. I understand the mistakes one can make when they have that kind of personality and those kind of insecure thoughts. Like I said, been there, done that. I’ve made incredibly stupid decisions like Alec, sabotaged my friendships and relationships.

I understand Jessamine, wanting something so badly that you would do anything for it, even hurt those who have only your best interests at heart because you are so focused on that goal that its so hard to pay attention to something else.

I understand Ron Weasley, because I know what its like to be in others’ shadows and to feel like you’re constantly second best to someone else. I know that I could probably not handle a situation like being on the run, trying to take on the biggest villain of all time as well as Hermione and Harry. I would probably be like Ron, I would feel discouraged and hungry and angry and frustrated and hopeless. I would.

I understand Draco Malfoy, who I believe is a product of his environment, a kid who only knows what his father has taught him and I believe that he eventually realizes what he has done is wrong. I believe he is a kid that makes the wrong decisions but changes things before he and his conscience and his soul can be lost forever to evil. I feel sorry for him, and I have fantasies that he became a better and happier person after the war, after he comes to terms with the mistakes that he made and learned from them.

I also understand Cersei Lannister. Okay, not the whole, I’m in love with my brother thing because that’s kind of gross. But I understand that she was basically forced to marry someone that she didn’t love and that she was used, abused and disrespected and that would make any self-respecting woman angry. And all she wants to do is protect her children. Sure, she doesn’t quite go about it in the BEST way possible but I do understand. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Cersei was scorned BIG time and I can understand her anger, her need for…revenge and to get what she feels she has earned.

Lastly, I also like James Potter, and besides just the fact that he’s Harry’s dad and without him, we wouldn’t have Harry. I think he was a great man and a great person. I think he had a big head, and was pompous and spoiled and a bully when he was a child because of the environment he grew up in, where he was spoiled and adored by his parents. But I don’t think he was a terrible person and I think he grew up to be a great man, who learned from his mistakes and changed who he was, and became the man that everyone talked about to  Harry.

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So okay, maybe you don’t agree with me. Maybe you still think I’m crazy and I like the weirdest characters and what is wrong with you and all of that and that’s okay! I have read blog posts and articles about those characters that I don’t like, like Snape, and I’ve understood but I haven’t agreed and I’m sure you have done the same.

But that’s just the way I feel. I like those secondary characters that not as many people like. I like those underdog characters that don’t always make the right decisions or say the right things because they are the most real to me, and they are the characters that jump off the page to me.

I am not a perfect person, and I’m okay with that. I come to terms with myself and my personality more and more each day but I’ve been insecure and emotional and impulsive and stupid and annoying and I’ve been mean and I’ve been prideful. So I understand these characters and I understand that sometimes you do the wrong things and say the wrong things and you’re not liked and you lose friends and boyfriends and loved ones and you’re not popular and you’re alone. I recognize that.

I think that so many of these popular characters go through the same things. I do believe that, but I do believe that they tend to do these things in a way that can be admired, or make them to be a struggling hero or a martyr or that sort of thing. I think they often times end up making the right decisions and that they have these redeeming qualities that are more obvious than their flaws. I think these other characters, their flaws are more obvious than their good qualities because their flaws cause problems in the stories.

But I see these characters for their good and their bad and I saw their genuineness and I love them for that. So I’ll stick to liking those characters that may not be as popular as the others. Even if I have to continually defend them, because I like them for a reason, for many reasons, and that’s all that matters right? These characters are real to me, and therefore feel like real friends to me, real people that I know.

So what do you think? What are some characters that you like that some people don’t really agree with? As always, share in the comments. I love to hear from you guys!

11 thoughts on “Unfavorable Characters-And Why I Like Them”

  1. Hey! I like Alec. But that’s might also be because I pretty much love all LGBT characters, no matter what! lol

    I really like Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones, and he seems to be looked down on by a lot of people. Yes, he’s kind of a creeper, but he’s so good at playing the game! I love how cunning he is. He may be kind of disgusting, but he is one of the most interesting characters to watch.

    1. You’re literally the first person that I’ve met that loves Alec. I feel like people like Malec but they don’t actually particularly like Alec and I adore him!

      Also I’ve never heard of anyone liking Peter before…like…ever haha. But I like it. It’s awesome

  2. I LOVE Alec and Jessamine. I thought I was alone in the world.

    Sara. This is a great entry because it is true. Some book readers tend to not like the characters that are most like them. I have done as much damage as Alec due to my insane ability to sabatoge relationships. My high school career was terrible because I hid who I was. Alec behaves like many kids in the “closet” do. He’s putting up such a strong front when he’s really just a scared little boy wanting someone to ask are you ok.

    Thank you for this blog. :)

  3. I loved reading this! I completely agree with you about Ron -I love him. Actually, Harry is the one that always annoyed me. People think Ron was angst-y? REALLY?! From what I remember Harry definitely had his “emo” phase, too, lol. I might be weird in that I tend to like the main character in books the least.

    I’ve finally started reading City of Bones…when does Alec get introduced? I’m very intrigued after reading this…

    A lot of people don’t like Rebekah on The Vampire Diaries, but she’s one of my favorite characters. No wonder she always relapses into her bad girl ways…as soon as she starts to be vulnerable and trust someone, they stab her in the back (sometimes literally).

    1. I completely agree with you, shaina. I think people forget about Harry’s angst stage because he’s the hero and the protagonist so people see that more as a bump in the road of his hard journey and they don’t make those excuses for Ron.

      I am so glad you are reading City of bones :) Alec appears in the first chapter.

      I would agree with you on the Rebekah from TVD. I haven’t finished all of this last season but what I’ve watched so far…I think she’s a great character and I completely understand her and her motives and I don’t think she gets enough credit. That’s a good one b

  4. I liked Pippa was well — even though I don’t think I’d necessarily want to be her friend. Rebekah started off as very one dimensional in TVD, but she was the stand out character of season 4 for me. The mark of my favorite character is usually what character is most fully realized within that author’s world. Also, is anyone really likable from GoT? :)

    1. I loved Pippa. I don’t think she would have been my friend either but I understood her. I don’t think she was a very good friend but I liked her as a character, I thought she was so real. Rebekah didn’t have much until four, I agree with you on that one, but again, I liked her. And I don’t necessarily LIKE Cersei haha, I just like her character and I watch the show a lot for her and her development, to see what happens with her. I also SUPER love Lena Headey so that helps haha

  5. My favorite HP character is James, and my favorite trio member is Ron, and I don’t really like Snape. I get that James and the others were mean to him, but that doesn’t make it okay for him to bully a child.

    Anyway. James is probably a favorite because I had a good friend who he reminded me of (who I happen to be dating now, so I might have a type). He was a stupid teenager, but he’s a good man. Ron is a normal teenage boy in a sea of abnormality. Harry may sometimes seem more noble, but he’s had less to give up. He doesn’t know what it’s like to leave your family to save the world.

    I haven’t gotten as involved with TID series (I’m only two books in), but I like Alec. He seems like the sort of guy I’d be friends with, which may make me a bit odd.

  6. One of the most realistic characters in Harry Potter was Ron Weasley I’d say. I can understand his character and I adore him. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s my favorite character from the series. Also, most people seem to hate James Potter for almost no real reason. And I do not like Snape. I admire his bravery but that doesn’t make me like him.
    I find Alec a little ‘meh’. Don’t get me wrong, I can almost see why he does whatever he does but he just doesn’t…. you know..I just don’t find him very striking.
    Jessamine. NO. Although there’s nothing wrong with the development of the character itself. I guess most girls in those times were interested only in being pretty and getting married and having babies and stuff. But I hate that.
    Who’s your favorite in Game of Thrones though? I think most of the characters were real enough and I seem to understand most of them although that still doesn’t make me like most of them. When it comes to Cersei Lannister..I hate that B****! Yes I get the need to prove herself and how she was treated differently because she was a girl and stuff..but she is stupid and vicious and her only redeeming quality is that she loves her children. I could go on but it’s supposed to be a comment, not a blog..xD
    Also, Christina was a pretty believable character in the Divergent series.

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