Characters We Love and Loathe, by Deb Eleanor

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownOne of the highest compliments I get talking to readers of The Weird Sisters is when they say something like, “The characters were so real!” or “Character X is just like me!” (though usually they use the name of the character and don’t call them Character X).

I love that, and I love “the shock of recognition” when I see a character that’s so very real, or so like me – it makes me trust and care about the story that much more. And that goes for fiction and non-fiction.

But what about wonderful characters who don’t seem real, or aren’t like us?

Take Scarlett O’Hara, for example. She is a capital-G, capital-C Great Character. She’s got loads of personality, rules every scene she’s in, and you’ll desperately want to know what happens to her at every page turn.

But she’s not, to be truthful, a very realistic character, and if she is realistic – well….and I say this as a great fan of Gone With the Wind…she’s kind of a horrible person.

And I love her anyway.

Can you think of other characters – real or fictional – in books, movies, or television that you both love and hate at the same time?

17 Replies to “Characters We Love and Loathe, by Deb Eleanor”

  1. Eleanor, I loved the fact that when I read your book, I felt like a piece of me was in each one of the sisters. Was that what you intended for readers to think?

    As for characters that I love to hate…Dolores Umbridge, Ursula, and The Wicked Witch of the West. Hmmm….I just realized they are all female!

    1. I’d like to say yes, but I was really just writing out different parts of myself. I will say that I’m relieved that other people find those little parts in themselves as well! Thank you!

      Oooh, Dolores Umbridge – she was a great one! So infuriating!

    1. You’re the second person to mention Hannibal Lecter – he is definitely a good one! I would describe my feeling towards him more as love and then hatred of myself for loving him, because, ewww.

      Couldn’t make it through Seven (too much ick), but pretty much everything Kevin Spacey does is wonderful, so I’ll take your word for it!

    2. Loved Seven – so intense – then again I cheered through Pulp Fiction while 8 months pregnant with Mia (not named for Mia in the movie!) Also adored the Denzel Washington movie with Angelina Jolie and Queen Latifah – The Bone Collector. Not a big fan of Disney movies, the Mom always dies. 😉

  2. The two I was going to say have already been mentioned — Snape and Hannibal Lector. And, of course, I’m totally with you on Scarlett.

    Funny thing is, there are real-life people that affect me the same way — they both attract me and repel me. David Bowie, for one. Mick Jagger. Tim Roth (actor on the TV series “Lie To Me”). It’s the oddest sensation whenever I see them. The push and pull, the wobble between like and dislike. Whatever it is about them, it’s strangely compelling.

    1. Huh…I’m going to have to think on whether I have real-life people like that. Maybe a few of my exes….

      In thinking about this, I guess my relationship with Scarlett is actually ‘hate to love’ – I adore her, but I don’t want to!

  3. I remember as a kid feeling that way about so many of the “bad” characters in children’s lit/film/TV.

    I mean, who didn’t love to loathe Veruca Salt or Nellie Olsen? Spoiled rotten and proud of it, they were fascinating!

    1. I always kind of preferred the “bad” characters – there was (and is) nothing I hate more than someone who’s too perfect. This is why I think asking people “Which character from Little Women would you be?” is a great test of character. Anyone who says Beth instead of Jo is just not the kind of person I want to know!

    1. Hmm…I think Snape is winning. Is that because Elise primed us yesterday with her HP post, or because he is just so interesting?

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