Top Ten Most Hated Literary Characters

We saw this list of the 50 Most Hated Characters in Literary History and thought it was a brilliant idea, though we didn’t necessarily agree with some of their picks. So we (Amie, Kristen, and Jose) decided to come up with a list of our own, mostly sticking to villains (with one exception). If we hate them, it means the author did their job well and created a nasty character that got under our skin. Here is our top ten list:

Draco Malfoy – The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Amie: So all the Malfoys belong on this list but I chose Draco because his ass-hattery was pretty consistent throughout the whole series. His meddling lead to Dumbledore’s death and I still haven’t quite forgiven him. Also, he always crossed the line with his insults. He teased Harry for being an orphan, Ron for being poor, Hagrid for being expelled, and Hermione for being a “mud blood”.

Mr. Wickham – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Amie: Only two things make me happy when I think of Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham. First, he got a life sentence married to the annoying and childish Lydia. Secondly, his preference for 14-year-old girls would have gotten him a life sentence in jail if he were alive today.

The White Witch (Jadis) – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
Amie: To this day I still don’t know what Turkish Delight is but I’ve always wanted to try it after the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe used it to gain Edmund’s trust. I remember being terrified of her as a kid when I read that bit about her turning all her prisoners to stone and making Narnia in perpetual winter…with no Christmas! She was even scarier in The Magician’s Nephew when she went postal on the whole town.

Waleran Bigod – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Amie: There were several good villains in Pillars of the Earth, the obvious choice probably being William Hamleigh, but I chose Waleran because he hid behind his cloth while William was open about his evilness. Waleran hid in the shadows and plotted with the Hamleighs, which not only made him evil but also a coward.

Florentino Ariza – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Kristen: Floretino falls in love at first sight with teenage Fermina, and thus begins a lifetime of stalking her and man-whoring around with hundreds of other women, never forming a lasting relationship because Fermina is the only one for him. After 50 years and over 600 women, he shows up at her husband’s funeral and claims to be a “virgin” since he never loved anyone else but Fermina. I guess in Florentino’s warped, lovesick mind he’s a virgin, but the whole thing just made me sick.

Marisa Coulter – His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Kristen: With a manipulative, cruel mother like Mrs. Coulter, I wouldn’t say Lyra lucked out in the parent department. The woman kidnaps children to perform horrifying experiments on them. She eventually redeems herself, but I spent most of the trilogy hating her and her creepy golden monkey.

Dolores Umbridge – The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Kristen: Voldemort might be the darkest wizard that ever lived, but it’s Dolores Umbridge who gives me nightmares. Behind her fluffy pink sweater and simpering exterior is a racist, sadistic witch who has no problem abusing her position of power.

Saruman – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J R R Tolkien
Jose: Sauron is the main villain of the entire trilogy, but Saruman tries to out evil him in so many ways. First, he imprisons Gandalf to try to get the Ring for himself. Then he decides that he needs to create an Orc army to get the Ring from Frodo, and not just regular Orcs – he creates his own blend of Orcs. After being defeated, he doesn’t just go away, he goes to the Shire and tries to destroy it before being finally stopped. The man is just pure, pure evil.

Voldemort – The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Jose: Saruman might be evil, but he’s a small cuddly kitten when compared to Voldemort. What makes him so hated is that he utterly and completely wants to destroy everything that is good in the world. He killed at will those who tried to oppose him or failed him. He practiced dark magic to try to become more powerful and immortal (I mean seriously, who drinks unicorn blood?). Throughout it all Voldemort had no redeeming qualities, only pure total evil.

President Snow – The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Jose: You’re already evil and hated when your government’s key accomplishment is an annual contest pitting 24 kids to fight to the death. President Snow kicks it up a notch by making Katniss solely accountable for the rebellion brewing in Panem, and threatening her with death if she even appears to be anything less than supportive of Snow. As a final evil touch, he’s described as smelling of blood and roses – definitely a sign you’re a villain.

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