Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

Happy Tuesday and Happy Kansas Day! Today, I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


The theme for today is “Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever.” I’m not sure if these are really the “most frustrating characters ever”, but they are characters that bothered me for various reasons. In most of these cases I didn’t even dislike the character, but was frustrated by lack of character development. In other cases I think I was supposed to be bothered by the character. Regardless of the reasons, the top ten (that I could think of this morning) are shown below.

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever:

1. Fanny Price from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Fanny is one of my least favorite Austen heroines. I didn’t dislike her, but I did find her lack of inaction frustrating. She’s polite, proper, and passive to a fault. As opposed to many of Austen’s other heriones (Emma, Elizabeth etc), Fanny lets things just happen to her and doesn’t take any action in response.

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Don’t hate me, but this one had to make the list. Yes, yes I know Katniss is strong and a survivor. Yes I know she had to overcome many things, and succeeded despite all the odds. But she is also one of the most emotionally dead characters I have ever read. There were so many times I wanted to know what Katniss was thinking or feeling–other than the somewhat perfunctory emotions given to her. She’s a great character for sure, but I think she’d be a much stronger (and more complete) character if she were given more emotional intelligence.

3. Dexter Mayhew from One Day by David Nicholls

Generally I had a love/hate relationship with this novel–especially this character. You get the feeling early on that Dex could do great things if he wanted to but he doesn’t. It’s also clear that he is in love with Emma, is blind to it, and generally takes her and her friendship for granted. He does redeem himself by the end of the novel but boy is it painful getting to that resolution.

4. Amelia Sedley from Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

It’s not that I disliked Amelia, but she did frustrate me. Mostly because she doesn’t do ANYTHING. She lets people treat her badly and does little to change her situation.

5. Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are many times throughout this long and heavy book where you really want to like Raskolnikov–he gives his money to a destitute family and tries to help out other friends  in need. But then there is the fact that he committed a heinous crime and is trying to get away with it. I realize he is supposed to be a study in contradictions,  but for most of the book he frustrated me because he was constantly fighting his “better angels.” I got the sense he didn’t really want to do the awful things he does, but he does them anyway.

6. Javert from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Ah Javert. He is so devoted to his job that he is blinded to his own desires and  instincts. He was frustrating to me because it seemed as though he really wanted to let Jean Valjean off the hook several times throughout the book, but his sense of duty compels him to keep searching and persecuting.

7. Pretty much any character from Wuthering Heights from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters or make myself really care what happened to them. I was sort of having a rough semester when I read this book, so maybe I should give it (and the characters) another try.

8. Bella Swan from The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

I feel like little to no explanation is needed for this one.

9. Ashley Wilkes from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

He served honorably in the Civil War. That’s about the best that I think can be said for Ashley. He had an awesome and devoted wife whom he could never really be unfaithful to but not really faithful to either. He also toyed with Scarlet’s affections–seriously man just tell her no! Although on the surface he appears to be the perfect southern gentleman, I think he is one of the weaker characters in the novel.

10. Carmen Lowell from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares

It’s not that I disliked Carmen, but she was by far my least favorite of the four friends. I just could never connect with her–even though I did a lot of theater growing up (which was her passion). She has a big heart and always wants the best for her friends, but I thought she was sort of self-absorbed. And really dense when it came to her personal life–especially men.


What are some of the most frustrating characters to you?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rory O'Connor
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 15:59:02

    Bella is on my list with almost the exact same description and I really wonder how Wuthering Heights is so beloved when everyone is so vile.. A character from Gone With the Wind made my list as well (Scarlett). Fanny doesn’t bother me the way Emma and Mrs. Bennett do…


    • exlibrisheather
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:50:02

      I saw several people put Emma on their list today, and I can understand that. I think you are the only one I’ve seen with Mrs. Bennett, but when I thought about it I realized you were 100% right. I’ve really wondered “what I was missing” from WH for a long time. Some people love that book so much, and I really did not..I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂


  2. Danica Page @Taking it One Page at a Time
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:21:03

    I totally agree with you about Raskolnikov. He was so frustrating and yet I still love the books. I had a hard time connecting with Carmen, even though she was the writer and I’m a writer. Ashley and Bella are definitely frustrating.

    I actually haven’t read Mansfield Park yet, but I’ve heard it’s not Austen’s best. Thanks for sharing.

    Here’s mine

    ~Danica Page@Taking it One Page at a Time


  3. Heather@ The Flyleaf Review
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 17:04:49

    YES! Great list, love all the classic literature examples. I’ve seen Scarlett on a few lists but not Ashley, and yes, he was so unbelievably frustrating. Scarlett was no saint, but Ashley sure could lead a girl on. Mellie was too good for him…

    And although I love Wuthering Heights, yes, Cathy and Heathcliffe made my list too. Never have two people been more perfect for each other. If only they hadn’t made everyone else’s life miserable as well. 🙂

    My TTT


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