My Take | Hate-able Heroes

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.

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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!


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Lila @ Hardcover Haven

Lila is a twenty-something college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

7 thoughts on “My Take | Hate-able Heroes”

  1. I don’t know if I’d call them heroes, but I’ve met several main characters that I’ve hated. The first that comes to mind is the girl from The Trouble with Destiny. I think she was written the way she was to show she learned she wasn’t as perfect as she thought maybe. I just couldn’t stand her.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I absolutely hated the main characters in Fates & Furies. Like, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to like Lotto but I’m not entirely sure I was meant to hate all the characters. They were just so……entitled & unpleasant & really not nice people. Hate may be a strong word, but it is the only way to describe my feelings for those characters.

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  3. I have only felt strongly about this with one character (who most people like, too!) and they annoyed the hell out of me. It was because their flaw was being rash and doing something regardless of consequence, or even thinking about the consequences. I understood it was a “flaw” as well, but it continuously happened. The character can grow and learn from their mistakes though! UGH. If it weren’t for the other characters in the book, who were amazing, and the awesome plot, I would’ve put that series down after the first book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oo, now I’m so curious to know which book and which character you’re referring to. Hmmm…I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how unlikeable the lead character in The Red Queen was. Am I close? Do I get a hint?

    Liked by 1 person

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