There are characters in books that you just love no matter what, so much so you wish they were real and could be your BFF. Then there are characters in books that you absolutely loathe, so much so that you didn't realize you had the capability to hate someone, let alone someone fictional, that much. There are characters that I have hated right off the bat, and then there are characters where my hatred slowly built up as I read the book.
If you're a book lover, then chances are you've hated (and loved) plenty of characters in your lifetime. There are characters who are natural villains. There are characters who are easy to hate. There are character who dig at you on a more personal level. There are characters who send you spiraling into a raging cesspool of hatred. I often have a love-hate relationship with evil characters, mostly because they're often enough some of the most interesting characters in the story, but even I'll admit that some of these characters are completely past redemption.
There are awful characters, and then there are wickedly awful ones. Here are 15 exceptionally dreadful characters from beloved books whom I will always hate:
1. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Dolores Umbridge is easily one of the worst literary characters — and fictional teachers — of all time. Not only was she straight up abusive, but she was controlling, commanding, and evil. I'd rank her higher than Voldemort on the villains of Harry Potter list, to be honest.
2. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda by Roald Dahl
Speaking of terrible fictional teachers, Miss Trunchbull from Matilda is pretty high up on that list as well. She locked her students up in a death-trap closet, swung them around by their pigtails, forced them to eat an excruciating large cake — and perhaps worst of all — made her students feel dumb. This sadistic woman was the worst.
3. Humbert Humbert from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
It doesn't take much to hate a middle-aged man lusting after an innocent 12-year-old girl. And while Nabokov wrote some gorgeous prose, he could never pen a metaphor or simile lovely enough to make me like Humbert Humbert.
4. Cholly Breedlove from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
A man who repeatedly rapes his own daughter deserves to be hated. Morrison created a terrifying monster who seemed all-too-real. He's a villain that makes us cringe every time his name is mentioned.
5. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Heathcliff is often romanticized by readers, but let's be real: his abusive and manipulative actions are not attractive in the least.
6. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden is an unreliable character for sure, and while some fans really enjoy his negative outlook on the world and constant nagging about how life isn't fair, I am not a big fan. He's interesting and well-written, but his attitude is seriously awful.
7. Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Bob Ewell, the racist asshole who frames the innocent Tom Robinson for raping his daughter, is deservedly one of the most hated book characters of all time.
8. Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Daisy Buchanan is beautiful, rich, and incredibly selfish. I never understood why Gatsby (and everyone else, honestly) wanted her so badly. She's a hollow character who desires one thing from others: attention. That's not admirable in the least.
9. Romeo Montague from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
Oh Romeo, why art thou such a prick, Romeo? Within the first few pages of this place, Romeo declares his undying love for one woman, leaves her behind, falls in love instantaneously with another girl, and falls headfirst into an ill-advised love affair. Yes, this love story is great and timeless and iconic, but Romeo is just a spontaneous teenager who maybe needs to stop and think before he jumps into things.
10. President Snow and President Coin from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
President Snow, the man who created The Hunger Games in order to assert his power over his people, is an easy villain to hate. But then there's President Coin, who seems like the good guy until her true intentions are revealed. She's a woman who will do anything — yep, anything — to get what she wants, and that mentality leads to so many deaths. Yeah, I hate them both.
11. Lady Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The first and only time I read Hemingway's classic, I discovered my hate for Lady Brett Ashley in the first few pages. This girl leads on a guy whose war wounds have made him impotent, then complains about how he can't please her and thus there's no possible way she could ever be with him. She's horrible.
12. Lydia and Kitty Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sometimes, little sisters can be annoying and lovable, and sometimes, little sisters can just be awful. Lydia's selfishness and lack of self-awareness and Kitty's vain personality made for two extremely unlikeable characters.
13. Joffrey Baratheon from A Song of Ice And Fire series by George R.R. Martin
Joffrey sure didn't have a great mother as a role model, but that doesn't excuse his abusive tricks and sadistic personality. His death brought only joy — which is something that can only be of the demise of a truly loathsome character.
14. Old Nick from Room by Emma Donoghue
Old Nick kidnapped Ma, raped her, and forced her and Jack to live in a tiny Room for years. If that doesn't make him one of the worst fictional people of all time, his habit of coming in the middle of the night to abuse and rape Ma only makes it that much worse.
15. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
Yes, I loved Twilight as a teenager. But when I realized just how unhealthy Edward and Bella's relationship was, my love for the series quickly faded. Plus, Bella is super whiny, and Edward is super controlling. You would think that 100+ years of living would have taught him a lesson in healthy relationships...
Images: Warner Bros