Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Problematic Characters

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers post on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.  

This Week's Topic is:
Problematic Faves -
Characters you don't want to love, but you can't help liking

Given recent events in the news, I'll bet a lot of us have been thinking about separating art from the artist and where to draw the line between forgivable behavior and deal breakers lately. Fictional characters are probably easier to forgive, in part because we get to see inside their heads and know if they have truly changed.

Here are some characters that behaved badly but have been forgiven by other characters and many of their readers. Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

5. Griffin in The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet
Griffin needs Cat to fulfill a prophesy and keep control of his kingdom but rather than explain all that and ask for her help, he kidnaps her and ties her to his side with a magical rope. And then (well, a book later) she marries him. Cat understands pretty early on that Griffin is just trying to save his people, but she makes him suffer for transgressions, at least for a little while.

4. Trent Kalamack in The Hollows by Kim Harrison
Rachel Morgan turns herself into a ferret to break into Trent's office. When he catches her, he keeps her in a cage like a pet. And then (about 12 books later) she marries him. I've re-read the series a few times and I always have moments of "I can't believe we like him now!" during the early books.

3. Ian in The Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
Ian kidnaps Cat, tries to kill her, and sexually harasses pretty much everyone. Thankfully, Cat is smart enough to marry Bones. Ian goes from charming villain to reluctant ally and soon, to leading man with his own series debuting next year.

2. The Dragon in Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Dragon takes seventeen year old girls as tribute every ten years for keeping the area around his tower safe. If that's not enough, he's a right bastard to Agnieszka from the get go and tries to make her conform to his idea of what a woman should be. I still love his curmudgeonly ass though.

1. Valek in the Study series by Maria V. Snyder
We first meet our beloved Ixian spymaster and assassin when he is giving Yelena the choice to become the Commander's food taster or to be put to death for her crimes. He then immediately poisons her because his training is apparently only for those who survive. He's kind of a bastard but you know I was rooting for him and Yelena to get together.

Who are your favorite problematic characters?


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