Characters We Love (to Hate) and Hate (to Love)

July 9, 2019 by Jenna | Books, Features

Today’s post is inspired by this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, which is a character freebie. We decided to go with “characters we hate that we love” but Aila also included some characters that she loves to hate as a bonus!

Jenna’s characters she hates that she loves

Carden from The Folk of the Air trilogy

Gosh, Carden gives me such whiplash. I want to hate him so badly because of how mean he is to Jude but Holly Black also makes me constantly question his motives… and then I start seeing him as a good guy, but nope, he’s not. It’s honestly just annoying how much I like him.

Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series

Okay so I am firmly in the camp that Snape is an absolute douchebag who tormented Harry for years and years because he was snubbed by Lily and bullied by James when he was younger. I think the way he acted throughout the series was pretty inexcusable but it’s hard not to also like him because of how complex his character was. I don’t think Snape is a hero like many others think but I also have a soft spot for him.

Julian Blackthorn from The Dark Artifices trilogy

It’s pretty rare that I don’t like a main male protagonist from Cassie’s Shadowhunter books but I didn’t love Julian’s manipulative ways. At the same time, I really did admire the lengths he would go to to protect his family and Emma so I can’t help but also love him. Not everyone can be a Will Herondale so I guess Julian Blackthorn is okay.

Arin from The Winner’s Trilogy

Man, I really freaking love Arin. The romance between Arin and Kestrel in this series is A+++ but I hate that I love him so much because of everything that went down in The Winner’s Crime and The Winner’s Kiss! I won’t spoil it for anyone (because I love this series and would recommend it until the day I die) but he was honestly infuriating.

Mayor Prentiss from the Chaos Walking trilogy

This is a controversial one because Mayor Prentiss is the most villainous of villains. Maybe this is a testament to Patrick Ness’s amazing writing but Mayor Prentiss was such a well fleshed out and complex character that I found myself also loving his character. Or perhaps I hate him so much that I’m now confused about whether I hate him or love him. It’s a fine line, they say!

Jeann’s characters she hates that she loves

Lila Bard from the Shades of Magic trilogy

When I first read A Darker Shade of Magic a few years ago, one thing I noticed about the infamous Lila Bard is that she unapologetically likes to say she’s “not like other girls”. But after re-reading the series, that’s something that drew me to her – her cockiness, confidence and bravado sets her apart.

Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows duology

But Jeann, isn’t Kaz like your fave? Yes that may be the case, but he’s ruthless, he’s cold, calculating and he’s actually kind of an asshole that will never admit that he cares. I like how he knows he doesn’t have to please everyone and his aim isn’t to be liked – it’s to be a leader and he does it flawlessly.

A.I.D.A.N from the Illuminae Files trilogy

In the same vein, AIDAN is such an interesting character because he IS flawed and I kind of love that about him. He’s an A.I. that observes and copies human behaviour in order to manipulate them. But then you realise that somewhere in that amount of code and wiring, there’s actually a part of him that cares. And that’s actually kind of scary, when you think about it.

Victor Vale from Vicious

Ahhh, good old Victor. He’ll never do anything that isn’t for his own personal gain and the only reason why he keeps people around is because they’re useful to him. Ruthless and selfish is probably the best way to describe Victor, but that’s what we love about him.

Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series

Forever hating how Ron robbed us of our OTP Harry x Hermione. Ron is undoubtedly annoying, but he’s also one third of Harry Potter’s friendship squad. Without Ron, Harry Potter wouldn’t be the same.

Aila’s characters she loves to hate

Carden from the Folk of the Air trilogy

So I’m technically not caught up with Book 2 yet, but The Cruel Prince left me underwhelmed. Y’all out here be romanticizing Carden when he is a Bully with a capital B. A book can have dark elements and an anti-hero, fine, whatever, but you need a REASON for this character to behave the way he does. Carden acts like my guy friends from college: childish. For a well-written anti-hero who is well-deserved of a romanticization of his character, see: Hugh from Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews.

Rhys from A Court of Mist and Fury

HAHA to be quite honest, I don’t even remember his character when I read A Court of Thorns and Roses (is that the name of book 1? I can’t even be bothered to search it up) but I know how problematic his and Feyre’s relationship can be. I see readers over-analyzing Feyre’s relationships between him and the other dude and I’m like… y’all it’s not that deep. Maas just needed some dark, brooding, not-white-passing, tall, buff dude to fulfill her smut fantasies. So. Both Feyre and him are on the list.

Any character that a white author tries to pass as POC but really is just an afterthought

See: that horse main character from Red Queen

(Omg, I remembered her name – it’s Mare, because female horses are mares. Aight I’m done.)

Note: I acknowledge that a lot of my reasoning comes from ignorance of the series bc lbr, I forgot a lot of what I read since it’s been years, but I still stand with my reasoning because these are the main parts of why I actively avoid each series.

Did any of our character picks make your list?

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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7 responses to “Characters We Love (to Hate) and Hate (to Love)

  1. Ahh I have complex relationships with so many characters too. But sometimes I LIKE a character just for being sheerly good at being bad?! Like omg Cardan is the absolute worst and I somehow love him for it. Same with all the characters in Schwab’s Villains series!! KAZ IS TERRIBLE and yet I do like him for it. Lila freaking scars me, but in a good way.

  2. Great list! Cardan is usually the kind of character I would hate, but I do actually really like him. He is undoubtedly a bully, but I think I find him so compelling because he’s a fae, not a human, and therefore I can’t judge him by human standards. He’s still trash, but I love how he and Jude are two sides of the same coin. He’s like a car crash – I don’t want to watch, but I can’t look away.

    I think Snape is the perfect example of someone who’s an excellent character, but not an excellent person. I think he’s a brilliant character and the series wouldn’t be the same without him, but as a person he’s kind of the worst.
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