Most hated SFF characters

We'll only go back two decades or so, because we have to draw the line somewhere. . .

Feel free to offer your two cents in the comment section. Here's my Top 5:

1- Sansa Stark (George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire): God knows that GRRM has created a number of memorable characters in ASOIAF. But Sansa, not the sharpest tool in the shed at the best of times, is probably the lamest in the entire series. The good thing about GRRM is that you never know when he might kill any of his major characters. So you might think that the odds are in my favor that Sansa will meet her demise before the end of the series, right? Wrong. I'm willing to bet that Sansa survives through everything, so she's in it for the long haul. Moreover, and that's the scary part, I'm beginning to fear that she might be the one who kills the character based on me that GRRM inserted into A Dance With Dragons for losing our football bet. Can you imagine!?! Killed by Sansa! =( GRRM hates the Dallas Cowboys and he's aware that I'm not too fond of Sansa, so I wouldn't put it past him to come up with a scheme like that!

2- Briony Eddon (Tad Williams' Shadowmarch series): A whiny royal brat who somehow manages to get more annoying with each new chapter she's in. Her importance in Shadowplay nearly killed the novel for me, as I was forced to go through her sections and not skip through them. Just a notch under Sansa as far as I'm concerned. Like GRRM, Tad Williams has created a host of great characters in the past. Don't know what happened with this one. . .

3- Zarine "Faile" Bashere (Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time): Dumbass female character whose only purpose in the series is to get kidnapped or fall into any other kind of trouble so that Perrin can rescue her. Perrin remained an interesting character until he met her and fell in love with her. Now he's about as lame as she is, what with him spending hundreds of pages of his narrative trying to find ways to save her sorry ass.

4- Cadsuane Melaidhrin (Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time): An all-knowing Aes Sedai Wonderwoman who came out of left field in the middle of the series. Annoying from the very start, she somehow became more irritating with each new chapter she's appeared in. And with Rand's pussyfooting ways around women, well of course she's still around. And with Jordan's inability to kill off a single major or secondary character where the forces of good are concerned, you know she's going to make it and piss off the world for years following the Last Battle. The Semirhage spanking scene in The Gathering Storm was simply too much. . .

5- Prince Regal (Robin Hobb's The Farseer): I've seldom hated a character quite as much as I despised Prince Regal. I wanted him to die so badly for everything he did in that trilogy. But Hobb isn't GRRM or Steven Erikson, when you know that some people will get what's coming. I'm not going to spoil it for readers who haven't given this wonderful series a shot yet, but suffice to say that Prince Regal deserves a LOT more than what he got. . .

59 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Sansa was awesome in A Feast for Crows

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind seeing the Mhybe or Felisin on that list.

Blodeuedd said...

Hm, how come so many women made it there *gives the evil eye*

Though of course the most hated character I know is a women, Daenerys Taeg whatever *grinds teeth*

Then there is Elaida, and yes prince Regal, Miranda from Feist's books and the list goes on

Pedro Q. said...

Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever) - I know enough people who didn't read these wonderful series because of the hero himself.

Nyneave (or just about any Aes Sedai in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time) - Braid-pulling? Waste of time in the series? No more, please...

Scabandari Bloodeye (Stephen Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen) - Treacherous, murderer and leads his own people to believe he was the victim? Also, nobody messes with Rake's family. ;)

Mallick Rel (Stephen Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen) - For the annihilation of the Chain of Dogs and other despicable acts against the Empire, that led him to power.

Jon Snow (George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire) - Because I suspect GRRM likes this annoying character so much he won't get him killed... or will he?!

Adrian Lankford said...

I'm going to go with a television sff character. Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine.

He was a supposed master at Klingon martial arts and tough as nails to boot. But...he got beat up almost everytime they encountered a bad guy (With the exception of the one episode where he fought the Jem Hadar as a POW).


Anonymous said...

I had to post a comment because I thought I was the ONLY one who dislikes Sansa Stark!!! Thank you, I am not alone now ;)

I adore George R. R. Martin & his writing as it takes an extraordinary writing ability to inspire such a visceral feeling about a fictional character!!!

Anonymous said...

Some people might read something into the fact that 4 of these 5 characters are female. Not me though. Nope.

Unknown said...

Some people might read something into the fact that 4 of these 5 characters are female.

That there's a lot of men writing genre fiction who don't know how to write a likable female character?

Just a thought... (and I hate Sansa too) and from Book 1 wanted her to DIAF.

Mad Hatter Review said...

Seems like this would have been more appropriately labeled as Most Hated SFF Female Characters except for your last entry.

I would have agreed with you on Sansa early on, but I think she's developed nicely and still has plenty more to do.

Now my most disliked character is also a GRRM. No matter how hard George has tried I just don't care about Brienne even with all she is put through and overcome. I just find her dull and want to get through her chapters as quickly as possible.

machinery said...

a weird list.
the plastic, adolescent characters of wheel of time and the real life character of soiaf.

thus, comparison is fundementaly lacking.

Unknown said...

What, no Terry Goodkind characters made the list?

G said...

There are plenty of male characters that I hate and many of them are key protagonists:

I found Ran al'Thor to be a character that is absolutely annoying to the point of setting the book down.

Thomas Covanent is also a dreadfully dull character at times who continually provides me with reasons to hate.

Unknown said...

Most of the characters here are indeed from authors I love, but who I (in my opinion as a female) feel don't quite get how to write women.

Honestly, sometimes I wonder if they would just write the female's perspective as if they were writing from a male perspective, aka with no vastly different neurological process, they wouldn't do a bit better.

Unknown said...

I can't comment 2 or 5 since I have yet to read those series.

I disagree about Sansa a little. I do agree that as a character she's annoying but I find that seeing some of the story from the viewpoint of a character like her (someone who feels completely powerless and accepts her fate, etc) adds a lot to the story. If we always read from the POV of characters that fight through barriers and take control we wouldn't get a complete picture of the world.

I could not agree more about Faile. Perrin was my second favorite right behind Mat until he actually marries Faile. As soon as his story became long descriptions of him moping about not being able to rescue her I started speed reading through those sections as quickly as possible.

I also agree about Cadsuane but I guess I don't find her annoying enough to be truly memorable.

Anonymous said...

I've come to like Sansa a lot as the the books have gone on. She started horrible, but I like how her arc's progressing. She's more interesting than Jon Snow, who's yet another boy hero I can't really relate to, although I hope GRRM has something better planned for him in future. Jon Snow doesn't require any character growth, whereas Sansa does.

Can't believe Richard Cypher's not on the list. He's more annoying than an orchestra of vuvuzelas.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason everyone hates Sansa so much is because she is a POV, and you are in her head for quite a bit of the story. Who wants to hear the inner thoughts of a 12 year old girl? Imagine how much (more) you would detest Joffrey, if he was a POV?!? I think GRRM did an amazing job of fleshing out the character, even if I want someone to walk up, slap her in the face, and let her know life isnt a fairytale...

oh wait...

Anonymous said...

That there's a lot of men writing genre fiction who don't know how to write a likable female character?

Just a thought... (and I hate Sansa too) and from Book 1 wanted her to DIAF.

Well, that's certainly a valid point, but I could easily come up with a number of male characters who are far more anoying than Briony or Cadsuane.
But yeah, Sansa definately deserves top spot in the list. I mean, damn.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a list. All those chars merely annoy me.

Off the top of my head, mine is--

1) Kallor (MBoTF)
2) Laseen (MBoTF)
3) Conphas (PoN)
4) Elaida (WoT)
5) Mallick Rel or Bidithal(MBoTF)

I understand the distaste for Cadsuane but Rand could have and should have stomped her into a mudhole long ago. Seriously, if I were Rand I'd have gone Age of Legends on the White Tower after the Aes Sedai schism and killed every Red Ajah member still inside.

Joshua said...

1. Kylar Stern - I know I'm in the minority but I'm not a huge fan of the Night Angel series, lots of inconsistencies which I could overlook if I actually wanted to see the main character succeed. Almost every minor character in those books were better. Solon, Dorian, Logen, etc....far more interesting.

2. Brienne - Ok as a minor character but awful with her on POVs in Feast of Crows.

3. Mocker - Dread Empire series. I love Cook and even like this series but I had to dredge through his POVs knowing I'd eventually get more Ragnar.

Those are the three I can think of off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

oh, how often i wanted Sansa to die a horrible, gruesome death. But at the end of AFFC i started to like her. a little bit.

Another really annoying character? Alain from "Crown of Stars". Started off ok, but in the end i couldn't read a single page with this whiny jesus knockoff.



Anonymous said...

Would laugh my arse off if it was Sansa Stark that killed off your character Pat!!!

Unknown said...

I can't stand Sansa either, but I adore Jon Snow.

Anonymous said...

I hear you on the Cadsuanne front, all time most hated Bitch on my list.

Opal said...

Oh no, not Sansa -- there are lots of real girls like this, and I thought GRRM did a very nice job of writing her sympathetically. There are women and girls whose main skill is to please others, especially men -- I've met them, haven't you? Sansa is a girl who finds herself in a wholly hostile environment, and her only strength (so far) is "being a nice girl." She recognizes that and tries to use it to survive, but she's a young girl, around 12 years old(?), so of course she is manipulated by the scheming, nasty people around her. I would bet that GRRM has some interesting character development planned for her. I certainly don't hate her. What -- did you expect her to kiss Sandor Clegane and ride off with him? You need a little compassion here.

On the other hand, I wholly agree with you regarding any Robert Jordan female character, I find almost all of them unbearable, some far worse than others.

Kat said...

Bah. I like Sansa.

I may be the only one on here who dislike Anasurimbor Kellhus (Bakker), but I have enough hate for him (and not love to hate) that it should be enough to propel him onto any list.

Agree with Regal Farseer though. That was one case where I wanted an ending that was more black and white, and more drawn out, after 3 books of frustration. Since I know you're a Stieg Larsson fan, something like the plotline of Dr. Teleborian, where as a reader you finally get to go, "Yes!!"

Jim Shannon said...

I'm surprised nobody mentioned this but the worst sff character in my hate vocabulary would have to be Jar Jar from Star Wars.

Patrick said...

For the record, I don't hate Sansa because I feel she's not a well-drawn, threedimensional character. GRRM did as good a job portraying her than he did with his other POV characters. I just don't like her.

Regarding 4 of the Top 5 being female characters, it's just the way it is. I was debating posting a Top 10, with Richard Rahl and Mallick Rel in there. But Kahlan would have been in there as well, and a few other characters I was juggling with were females. So 7/10 instead of 4/5 doesn't make a whole lot of difference in the end...

And considering how much I enjoy well-defined and genuine female characters, coming from both male and female authors, I don't understand why anyone who's been reading the Hotlist for a while could even insinuate that I have a bias...

As far as Sansa killing me in ADwD, think about it: What a sweet revenge on GRRM's part!

Anubis said...

Kat wrote:

"I may be the only one on here who dislike Anasurimbor Kellhus (Bakker), but I have enough hate for him (and not love to hate) that it should be enough to propel him onto any list."

I don't like him either. That's why (among other things) in the end I prefer Martin to Bakker: It doesn't seem likely that Bakker will kill off that schmock Kellhus very soon. In Martin, there always is a chance.

Nothing personal, but I would guess that one of the most hated characters among fantasy readers in Germany (from where I write) would be Simon Mooncalf.

Shawn said...

I think a key thing to highlight is WHY the character is hated. Is is hatred for a badly written, annoying, pointless, etc character, or is it hatred because the author wants us to hate them?

For example, I too cannot stand Kellhus, and in fact stopped reading that series due to my distaste of that character, and I'm fairly certain I'm supposed to think he's awesome and badass and all that good stuff. So here it's an example of a character that's just badly conceived/written.

On the other hand, while I find Sansa terribly annoying and childish, I believe that Martin WANTS me to find her childish and annoying. So while I "hate" her, I hate her by author design, and not through a fault of the writing.

Along these lines, Mallick Rel (who appears oddly often in these comments for a tertiary character) seems to fall in the same boat as Sansa. Erikson clearly wants us to hate him, and...mission accomplished.

Faile? Faile just sucks.

Anonymous said...

yeah, just make one line be "Any Aes Sedai" but I'd put Egwene leading the pack (not counting Faille in here). It would be harder to find likable, believable Aes Sedai.

Ellestra said...

I'm not sure if that's the list for the characters we hate the most or the ones we find most boring and irritating.

If you mean hate then Mallick Rel and Bidithal will be at the top.

If just annoying then Rand will be one of the first on the list. He's the main reason I don't care about WoT as I used too.

Richard Rahl would be on both.

For me none of yours would make the top of either of those lists and from other mentioned here Deanerys and Felisin are actually among my favourites. De gustibus non est disputandum I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The women in Jordan's books can't help it--he's almost incapable of writing a woman who doesn't conform to one goddamned sexist stereotype or another. And those stereotypes? They are very. Very. Irritating.

amysrevenge said...

Faile was on my list too, right up until the Prologue for The Gathering Storm. Now she's not on the list any more.

Brett said...

If it was only the first book in ASOIAF, I'd agree with you about Sansa. She seems to have gotten the same sort of spoiled sheltering that Joffrey got in King's Landing (except that Sansa isn't a psychopath). As is, I think she's doing pretty good considering her background.

Perrin remained an interesting character until he met her and fell in love with her. Now he's about as lame as she is, what with him spending hundreds of pages of his narrative trying to find ways to save her sorry ass.

I agree. Faile was my least favorite viewpoint character in the entire series, and I hated the fact that she was basically a Designated Love Interest for Perrin. Why must every young viewpoint character have a love interest*?

*Although that's probably like asking why every viewpoint character has to have sex in a Turtledove novel.

An all-knowing Aes Sedai Wonderwoman who came out of left field in the middle of the series.

I think he brought her in to bitch-slap Nynaeve and replace Moiraine.

Anonymous said...

I find Sansa's mother to be much worse. I've never hated a character as much as her.

Patrick said...


It's not about these characters being badly conceived or not well-written. I just hate them. Period. =)

Brett said...

There's no reason why it can't be both, Patrick. :D

For the record, I dislike Cersei Lannister, but I think she's a well-developed character, and I enjoy reading her sections in AFFC.

On the other hand, I disliked Faile (which I will always pronounce as "FAIL", not "Faw-eel"), and I thought she was an irritating, annoying character that was unpleasant to read.

Baptiste said...

I'd like to add Jeff Baker from Peter Hamilton's Misspent Youth. I've hated that man with a passion throughout the book for his callous actions toward his son and the way he deals with them. (Misspent Youth was a disappointing book all in all).
Otherwise, well, as many here, any and all women Aes Sedai in WoT. With a special mention for Nynaeve and Elaida.

Tree Frog said...

One could argue that Robert Stanek belongs on this list.

That creepy liar is so despicable for his time- and money-wasting selfishness.

paran said...

1) Mallick Rel - just want him to spend and eternity as a chained up slave girl to Ryllandras on otataral. Asshat.

2)Tie: Regal - so wanted him to suffer for so much of that series./Catelyn - sooo stupid, but thinking she's soo clever.

3) Robin Hobb's lead character in Soldier's Son. Pain, angst, depression, ugghh.. really hated that whole series.

4) Cadsuane - for some reason, no one just ups and tells her to F-off! Seriously, how hard is it to ignore someone???

5)Bayaz - loved, but HATED too. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOIRS

He just f-ed everyone! Dark Lord style f-ed everyone and walked away with the prize!


Kallor was #1 until Toll... Covenant was somewhat despicable, but not hated. Kellhus was seriously awesome in a really scary, alien way.

Anonymous said...

As for GRRM's POV characters, I like a lot most of them. Sansa may be irritating, but since she is so 3D, I can't really hate her. I have more problems with conventional hero boys like Jon or total bores like Sam.

I guess it's the blandness what makes me hate a character.

So here's my list (in a random order):
Anasurimbor Kellhus
Any Twilight character
Jar Jar Binks
"Ani" Skywalker
Any of the WoT main characters save Mat


RobB said...

Decent choices Pat, but I'll argue against two:

Sansa - I despised her initially, but GRRM has been pulling an admirable heel/face turn with her (not unlike Malta Vestrit in Hobb's Liveship books). So while she is annoying, she has been growing out of that initial prattling. I began feeling sympathy for her, and even liking her.

Briony have you read the third Shadowmarch novel yet? Briony comes more into her own as a strong character who doesn't whine quite so much.

Anonymous said...

A character I hated was Anne Dare from The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone. I just couldn't stand her, all the way to the end.

Anonymous said...

As a one of the many people who suffered through the truly terrible Terry Goodkind novels, God knows why I subjected myself to that, it surprises me that so few people have mentioned Richard Rahl, and that no one at all has mentioned Gratch.

Gratch is such a pathetic and poorly conceived character that he may actually be the most annoying character ever put on paper.

Even Mr. Goodkind himself must have picked up on this because he basically wrote Gratch out of the series. This is probably the only good decision associated with the entire Sword of Truth series.

Chris said...

This is a real "hate" list, not a "love to hate" one.

- Kelhus (Bakker): he knows what you like to have for breakfast just by looking at you. Oooh... spooky.
I hate him all the more that I like almost everything else in Bakker's books.
(Also, yay for not being alone in this!)

- Richard (Goodkind): he will massacre you but it will be for your own good

- Ruin (Sanderson): he's not too bad in himself (though a bit Dumb Evil at times), but the concept behind is just terrible

- Thomas Covenant: he's a recordman, I hated him after 50 pages

- the Pannion Seer, Bidithal, Triban Gnol (Erikson), but this falls into the "well done, author!" category

I find most of the Aes Sedai ridiculous (too bad, they were badass in the first book or two) but I don't hate them.

I was annoyed by the Mhybe but I don't hate her ; Felisin I actually began to like after two re-reads. Same with Sansa and whiners in general: they can annoy me to great lengths but I rarely hate them.

Anonymous said...

In order of hate:

1. Theon Greyjoy. What a weasel.

2. Leesha in The Desert Spear (Peter Brett). I actually liked her in The Warded Man though.

3. Elaida. Very happy about what happened to her in the last book.

4. Cadsuane. She really needs to be smacked.

5. Cersei. I just wanted her to die.

little red reviewer said...

Sansa? really? but she's so perfectly pityable and pathetic. I don't love her, but I'm not a hater either.

Briony Eddon - pretty much wrecked that entire series for me. She annoying the living crap out of me.

Regal - as I just finished reading Assassin's Aprentice this morning, I couldn't agree more! the first words out of my mouth when I finished were "Regal needs to die!! slowly! after they've cut off all his fingers and toes and started on the larger bits!"

Droidprogrammer said...

Fantastic Post!

I actually liked Jon Snow, and Mocker....

I would like to add Polgara, from the Belgariad etc written by David Eddings.

King Emin, from the Twilight Reign written by Tom Lloyd

Adie, written by Terry Goodkind

Theo, Night runner series by Lynn Flewelling

"Bob" The skull from the Dresden files, written by Jim Butcher

Anonymous said...

Do they have to be from books? If not, I nominate Minmei.

I'll also second (third? fourth?) Kellhus - ubermensch characters really get on my nerves...

Nathaniel Katz said...

"Along these lines, Mallick Rel (who appears oddly often in these comments for a tertiary character) seems to fall in the same boat as Sansa. Erikson clearly wants us to hate him, and...mission accomplished."

But I don't hate him because

[massive, MASSIVE SPOILERS coming up]

he killed Laseen, orchestrated the rebellion, etc. I hate him because he's a buffoon who we've been told is a genius, yet have been shown NOTHING to support that. He's a clever manipulator who's placed himself against most of my interests, yes, but what I really can't stand is the fact that he accomplishes what he wants by virtue of everyone around him becoming an imbecile when he walks on stage.

tomas said...

Dude, anyone who's read Feast for Crows should be totally in love with Sansa. Sorry, but she is THE Stark. She's using her brains finally. Have you thought of how many ways her story arc can go? How powerful she's going to be based as she is in the one area of Westeros at full-strength? How much she misses her family? The SHITSTORM she's going to unleash when she finally unravels everything that Littlefinger did to the Starks?

Ooh Boy.

Anonymous said...

Minmei was very annoying in the English and Spanish dubs of Robotech, but if you watch the original Macross, she's all right. After watching the original I forgot that I hated her.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about Briony...God what a little self-righteous, pretentious and self-pitying character she was. I say "was" because I gave up after the first book. Hated her and the little people - can't remember what they were called - who were equally annoying.

I didn't really find Regal irritating - I thought he was a magnificent villain, and I hated him, but wasn't irritated by him. I was irritated more by Fitz himself. He's just so, so slow. I don't mean he's a badly-written character, because he's not - he's just stupid and short-sighted and too inclined to wallow in his own misery, sit around angsting about things rather than do anything about them. As a reader it was insanely annoying waiting for him to catch up with everyone else...and the way he treats the Fool is just horrible. Poor Fool. Now he was a kickass character!

You should do a positive one of these, with your favourite characters D: would be fun.

Anonymous said...

Again, Kellhus from Bakker's Prince of Nothing. I hated all those scenes where people talked about how special he is and how much they love them. Practically ruined the series for me.

Josh said...

Richard Rahl - SoT was the first fantasy series I ever started reading, and I loved it, until Richard became so self-righteous. It got so bad in later books that every time I saw him starting into one of his 3 page robotic speeches I started skimming to get past his dialog.

Leesha in The Desert Spear - I agree with another poster here, liked her in the 1st book, hated her in the 2nd. Not sure I'd say I hated her character, but I didn't like the direction she evolved from one book to the next. Although her mom was a much more easily heatable character.

Mace Blackhail from Sword of Shadows series - I realize this was a character I was SUPPOSED to hate, and it worked. I've never had such a instant, visceral hatred for any character I've come across.

All the women in all the Sara Douglass novels who get viciously raped, then eventually fall in love with their rapist. This was pretty much a continual theme after each and every rape. I set one of the books down in disgust after one particular scene where the woman was told to choose between her family or the rapist -- after her continued contact with him. She "obviously" went off with her rapist, basically saying "I'm sorry" to her family as she vanished. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

MrLoopie said...

Fitz and Thomas Covenant - both needed to grow a pair. I personally wanted to beat the crap out of them for being such wusses.

Anonymous said...

Sansa's totally interesting. She was a spoiled, naive child in the early books, but it's pretty obvious that she's going to grow up, and fast.

Unknown said...

Totally disagree about Briony Eddon in the Shadowmarch novels. She's my favorite character. Now, if you'd listed her whiny, sullen, bratty twin... then I'd agree. He's the worst main character Tad Williams has ever created!

Unknown said...

RICHARD RAHL. im not even sure why i finished reading those books.. i guess i just cant stop something halfway through... that character was so annoying to read..