The most smackable characters in literature!

Right now I’m reading  the wonderful All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith, an English literature professor who, curious about how Jane Austen’s works would translate elsewhere, takes a year-long sabbatical to travel around certain South American countries and discuss them with readers there. The inspiration for the trip came when she realised that out of all the novels she taught, Jane Austen’s were the ones that her students got most passionate about, often getting into heated debates about who the ‘most smackable’ characters in the novels were.

That got me thinking because for all the many, many kick ass literary characters we all know and love, there are an equal amount of characters that we really would just want to smack upside the head! I’m sure there are a few names springing to mind for all of you right now so take a look at the top culprits for me and see if your literary arch-nemeses show up!

1. Lydia Bennett, Pride and Prejudice – Where to start with Lydia? Self-absorbed, shallow, thoughtless and a few fries short of a Happy Meal to boot, she always makes me roll my eyes and get riled up, no matter how many times I read it. She doesn’t for a minute stop to think what she’s putting her family through when she runs off with Wickham, it doesn’t seem to bother her that he was close with Lizzy for a while, and she genuinely doesn’t seem to have a clue that Wickham is a total player! Lydia thinks of no one but herself and is totally obsessed with the small, shallow things in life and her own concerns. Thank goodness Lizzy and Jane have Darcy and Bingley to compensate for having to put up with her as a sister!

2. Bella Swan, Twilight –  I probably should have put Bella first actually because I really, really, really want just want to smack her! It doesn’t seem to bother her that Edward has essentially been stalking her, breaking into her room and watching her sleep for months. Really, Bella?? And when he leaves in New Moon, does she wallow in self-pity for a while with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and cry on her friend’s shoulder like we all would before possibly getting it on with a certain hot werewolf? No, she takes it to a whole other level, first just curling up in the woods and needing to be rescued, then spiralling into major depression with nightmares, alienating her friends, and finally deciding to engage in death defying experiences like jumping off a cliff just to see hallucinatory versions of him?? WTF! Seriously?!!!

3. Joffrey Baratheon, Game of Thrones – If ever there was a cruel, spoiled, vindictive little shit that you are praying with every page you read will meet a sticky end, it’s Joffrey. As a child of an incestuous brother/sister couple and raised by a family obviously modelled on the Borgias, I suppose it’s hardly surprising how he turned out but. But as his cruelty gets worse until even his mother can’t control him, you just can’t help wishing someone would do us all a favour and shove him off a cliff or something! Whether this happens or not I won’t say in case some of you haven’t read it but if you give it a try I guarantee that Joffrey getting bumped off will be one of the most frequent wishes you’ll have when you’re reading!

4. Mr Elton, Emma –  A lot of people will think Mr Collins from Pride and Prejudice might be the more annoying twat here but for me that honour has to go to Mr Elton. How dare you and that snotty little wife of yours snub poor Harriet like that at the dance! Who do you think you are, Mr Elton?! Luckily my favourite of all the Austen men, Mr Knightley, is there to save the day but it would still be extremely satisfying to open up Emma one day to discover that Mr Elton has been shunned from all polite society and he and that wife of his are forced to live a lonely, cold existence in the middle of nowhere, destined never to see another ball again!

5. Rita Skeeter, Harry Potter –  I could have included Draco Malfoy here but I went with Rita purely for all those horrible articles she wrote about our friends at Hogwarts, those annoying Quick Quotes Quill and her habit of always ‘buzzing’ around where she shouldn’t be! Harry and Co have enough to be dealing with without the likes of you, Rita!

What do you think of my top 5?

Who do you think are the most annoying characters in literature?

21 thoughts on “The most smackable characters in literature!

  1. Top 5 Characters I’d smack? definitely Bella your reasons justify mine. Katniss, but only in the mocking jay. Jace, (from the mortal instruments series) his whole “I want you but I’m all wrong for you get away from me, why aren’t you with me ?” attitude pisses me off every time I read the books “sigh” but I keep coming back. Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) its not that I hate him its just he’s so stupidly naive when it comes to Daisy I want to smack him into realizing it! Mrs. Bennet (P&P) only a few chapters into the book and I do understand where she’s coming from but really she is one of the most silly, air-headed women…
    Wow I never realized I needed to vent this! Thanks for the post 🙂

    • It is very cathartic having a rant about annoying characters! Happy to help! 🙂 Gatsby was a possible contender for the post as well – if I had to read him say ‘Old sport’ one more time…And it is annoying he doesn’t see the truth about Daisy! Mrs Bennet is definitely annoying but she means well!

  2. I love this idea! I haven’t read most of those books but although I hated Rita Skeeter I think I’d save my slap for Umbridge.

    The name that really sprang to mind is Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera. He spend half the book whining because the love of his life has married someone else and the other half sleeping with every woman in sight (several from a duboius standpoint legally) and declaring himself a great romantic. He then shows up at the funeral of his lost love’s husband to propose marriage. He drove me insane!

    Alec D’Urberville from Tess of the D’Urbervilles has got my plam itching at the moment though, I wouldn’t mind sending a right hook his way.

    • Umbridge was a contender as well but she just made my skin crawl too much to even get close enough for a slap! Ah Florentino was annoying in Love in the Time of Cholera! I don’t think he knows what being a great romantic actually means!

      It’s been so long since I read Tess I can’t remember Alex. I spent most of that book thinking ‘Seriously?? Hasn’t she suffered enough?’ One thing after another for poor Tess!

      • That’s a fair point!

        Florentino was the least romantic person I can imagine! His idea of romance was interpreting every little thing as being a sign of undying love. Deluded much?!

        Alec was the cause of most of that misery but you are so right. I finished it this morning and I was gutted that she doesn’t get her happy ever after, she really would have deserved it 😦

      • He was definitely the poster child for a delusional person! I think Hardy really could’ve eased up on poor Tess after all she’d been through and given her some sort of happiness! So sad! 😦

  3. Mrs de Winter is, without a doubt, the most infuriating, fatalistic character I have ever encountered 🙂 This book sounds absolutely fab. I’m trying to mix up my reading and not always stick strictly to fiction these days so it sound like a winner for my TBR list.

    • Oh yeah, she really is a total pain in the ass! I’m trying to do the same with my reading and this book was a great one to add in there. Really easy to read, great descriptions of the places and a really great cast of people in it! You’ll love it! 🙂

    • Thanks, and I will definitely let you know if I find a way to smack fictional characters!

      Thank you so much for the nomination!! 🙂 I’ve only been blogging for a few weeks so that is very unexpected and much appreciated! It’s going to be tough narrowing down my nominations to 7 people so might take me a few days to post but I’ll get there!

  4. Pingback: What about religion? | Austen's Guide to Happiness

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