This post was inspired by a book review I read for City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. For those of you who haven’t read it, Jace is the bad-boy love interest who kicks ass, takes names, and is occasionally prone to fits of extreme melodrama. In the review, the reviewer explained that they could barely get through the book because of how much they hated Jace. They thought he was rude, controlling, and a terrible match for the protagonist. I, on the other hand, think he’s delightfully witty and — while at times in need of a sharp whack to the head — an all-around decent guy.
This brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from my mother: Different people are different.
It always baffles me that people can hate something I hold so dear. Thus, I posit this question: When is “bad” too bad?
The problem with this question is that everyone has a different definition of where “too bad” falls on the badness spectrum. I, for example, have a very high tolerance for some “bad” acts, and a low tolerance for others. I love reading about bad boys who have horrible, twisted, sordid pasts … so long as they’ve reformed and are trying to make amends. One of my favourite characters of all time is Anakin Skywalker — who, if you recall, did terrible things ranging from killing his own master to slaughtering dozens of Jedi younglings. And possibly causing his wife to kill herself? I never really understood that sub plot. Anyway, I’m totally cool with his various evil actions because I tend to forgive bad boys in books as long as they eventually seek redemption.
Others have a slightly lower tolerance for badness. I have a friend who, whenever a main character does something even remotely unkind, will get frustrated, say “That’s not pleasant”, and search for something else to read or watch.
What do you think? What’s that tipping point for you, where you say, “Okay, this character is now irredeemable to me”?
“BAD” ACTIVITY TIME!
List these characters in order of “badness”: (explanations are welcome and encouraged)
- Severus Snape (Harry Potter)
- Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars)
- Gollum (Lord of the Rings)
- Christian Grey (50 Shades)
- Edward Cullen (Twilight)
- President Snow (Hunger Games)
Unrelated video of the day:
Prepare to have your mind boggled by the insanity.
Unrelated image of the day: