Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 year ago

What makes a character too unlikeable to you, or makes an otherwise unlikeable character likeable?

If a character does something horrible at the start of a book, does that make you dislike them all the way through, or does your opinion change?

10 Answers

  • Lily
    Lv 5
    1 year ago

    It doesn't make me hate the character right away, but it makes me wonder why he did it. If the author explains that later on in the book or series all the events that lead the character to become that way, then I start to sympathize with them because they feel more human to me, and all human beings make mistakes. If the character seeks redemption, then I love them.

    However, if they remain horrible throughout the entire book and the author provides no explanation as to why they are the way they are, then that is a boring character if someone is evil for the sake of being evil, then no, I would not like them. Even if the character had a mental illness I would be able to better understand their actions and behaviors.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 year ago

    What makes a character likable to me? Hmmm...

    They have to be competent. Either in a skill or capable of learning and adapting.

    One who isn't a stereotypical cliche with cliche conflicts like which buy should I choose.


    a good sense of humour not matter what

  • 1 year ago

    check this out; it is a song about two-thieves, yet it seems like a really good song.

    it tells a good story where the anti-hero wins, but at the same time, glorifies violence and theft. so, here you are making your heroes, the bad guys.

    does the movie, " the high plains drifter" tell this same story; the bad guy is badder then the bad.

    Source(s): "take the money and run" steve miller band
  • Marli
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Readers don't have to like characters but, for a good story, they should want to know what happens to them. Are they punished? Do they repent? Were they misunderstood? Did they do bad for a good reason?

    Readers likely like characters who are like them and dislike characters who aren't. Liberals are suspicious of conservatives. Native borns are suspicious of immigrants, particularly immigrants who are different than themselves. Some stories confirm that prejudice. Others challenge it.

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  • 1 year ago

    Let's take Jaimie Lannister as an example. We meet him as he shoves Brandon Stark out of a window, breaking his spine and crippling him for life. Yet later on he responds favorably to Brienne of Tarth and becomes semi-honorable. Never likable, but his character developed in a believable way.

  • 1 year ago

    What makes me dislike a character is bad writing. I dislike characters who are missing a personality or complexity; who are all good or all bad (lack nuance); who are passive instead of active; who lack internal conflict or an understandable/believable motive for their actions; things like that. 

    So it’s not so much what they do that turns me off a character, it is how they are written and how the story is told.

  • 1 year ago

    But is it necessary to 'like' a character? Can't you enjoy a book otherwise?

    I recently read 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by the late John Kennedy Toole. The main character is loathsome, utterly selfish, cruel to his mother, and there was no hint of any kind of 'redemption',  but I thought the book was brilliant all the same.

  • 1 year ago

    It is a common theme to have a character make a bad decision or do a morally questionable or even terrible or cowardly action and then have them redeem themselves throughout the story.  Usually we find that it was the character's upbringing or environment or training or peers or special condition (e.g.,  mental illness, possession, or super power) that pushes them to act a certain way, but they have pains of regret after doing it.  Through a combination of soul searching, a new environment, new interactions with other characters, new information, forgiveness, or conflicts of interest they begin to redeem themselves.

    In general stories are best when the characters are imperfect.

  • joedlh
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    I almost put down a book where the main character raped a woman in the first 50 pages. Yet I wanted to see if the author was going to go the redemption route. I was never at ease with the character and found little to admire in him.

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Obviously the reader's opinion of a character is going to depend on how the author writes him. A character could do something horrific at the outset but be presented, by a talented author, as very complex. He might develop in such a way as to make him attractive, regardless of his initial behavior.

    Good authors know how to do this well. Not-so-good authors tend to create rather one-dimensional characters who are all good or all bad. Such characters aren't very interesting.

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