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13 Literary Protagonists you Love to Hate

We all have those literary characters that we just love, without them life just wouldn’t be the same. However, there are also those characters we just love to hate. Sometimes a book just wouldn’t be the same without their presence and sometimes they irritate us so much we can’t even face reading the book because of them. For me it was Holden Caulfield from J. D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I got so annoyed with Holden that every time I picked up the book I had to put it back down again. You’ll be pleased to know that I did finish the book and I do really like it, but it was my first experience of a main protagonist that I absolutely hated.

When one of our reading addicts suggested this poll, I immediately thought of Holden. I wasn’t the only one either, but their were plenty of other suggestions too. So here they are the 13 protagonists you hated (even though you might have enjoyed the book).

Bella Swan

Coming in with 27 votes the protagonist you hated the most was Bella Swan from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. It is worth noting that Edward Cullen also received 5 votes!

Twilight Saga (US)
Twilight Saga (UK)

Scarlett O’Hara

In second place is Scarlett O’Hara from Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind. Frankly, a lot of you didn’t give a damn about her.

Gone with the Wind (US)
Gone with the Wind (UK)

Holden Caulfield (17 votes)

Happy to see I’m not alone with this one. In joint second place with 17 votes is Salinger’s petulant boy; Holden Caulfield.

The Catcher in the Rye (US)
The Catcher in the Rye (UK)

Catherine Earnshaw

Reaching a withering height in our poll comes Catherine, but don’t worry Heathcliff joins her with almost as many votes.

Wuthering Heights (US)
Wuthering Heights (UK)

Katniss Everdeen

I must admit I was shocked to see Katniss find her way onto this list, but many of you found her to be self-centred and selfish.

Hunger Games Trilogy (US)
Hunger Games Trilogy (UK)

Amy Dunne

Gone Girl seems to bring out a love or hate reaction from its readers, so there is little surprise that Amazing Amy found her way onto our list with 12 votes. Nick from the book also managed to pick up 4 votes.

Clary Fray

Many of you may have enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series, but Clary was a different story, with some of you finding her a weak female character.

Anastasia Steele

Not really a surprising inclusion on our list of most hated protagonists. Many of you didn’t just hate Anastasia but hated the entire 50 Shades of Grey trilogy too!

Tris Prior

Divergent is a series that gets referred to quite often on Reading Addicts. This time it’s for Tris prior a protagonist that you love to hate.

Christian Grey

Christian Grey gets whipped on this poll. Barely behind Anastasia with 7 votes.

Harry Potter

A shock entry with Harry Potter. Although our polls wouldn’t be the same without a Harry Potter entry, I somehow feel that Voldemort may be behind this one.

Thomas Covenant

Many of you had half a hand in putting Thomas Covenant on the list. It’s not unbelievable that the protagonist from the Thomas Covenant Chronicles made it onto the list, but many you conceded that Stephen R Donaldson probably wrote


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  • trish says:

    For me the one that comes to mind is Anita Blake, she was an excellent character for about the first 5-6ish books, then she just becomes a terrible charecter, repetitive, whiney, and insecure. It doesn’t even fit with the way she was in the beginning. Completely ruined the series for me.

  • Abigail Cordell says:

    I am very shocked myself, with some of these responses. I am a huge Potterhead, Initiate, and Tribute, and I don’t see peoples issues with said charachters form these books. I mean, I can see why Katniss, kind of, but Tris and Harry? If any of you people who voted for them can explain, I am happy to read why, and I won’t judge due to your opinion.
    The protagonist I hate, is probably Dolores Umbridge. Why, because “… U is for Umbridge sucks…”

  • Melissa says:

    Did no one suggest Sookie Stackhouse? I loved the books when they started but by the end I just wanted to smack the crap out of her. She was so whiny and wishy-washy. Accept your gift, pick a man, and get out of freaking dodge already. The fact that she ended up with Sam whom she swore was firmly in the friend-zone and stayed in the town she was dying to get out of was terribly disappointing.

  • DonB says:

    Griffin, from H.G. Wells’ The Invusible Man was rather unlikable, in fact, unlikable practically from the start.

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