This Week's Prompt:
"Top Ten Mean Girls In Books (all those snotty, annoying girls that you just want to punch)"
Hmmm. Stereotypical "Mean Girls"? Who are impressive or iconic enough to make a Top Ten List? They don't tend to come up much in the genres I read... Besides, for me to want to punch a character, they usually have to be a lot more evil, cruel and (most of all) powerful than is generally encompassed by the term "Mean Girl".
I need to take a moment here and break down this archetype. Such a character is usually: female, pretty, cruel about shallow concerns, set against the protagonist, manipulative, snarky, sarcastic or just bitchy, often considered popular. She takes pleasure in putting others down. She is usually not in a position of ultimate power, or out to conquer the world; she generally just wants to help herself out.
Hmmm... Off the top of my head:
1: Classic: Cinderella's Stepsisters are one of the earliest examples of this type I can think of, though they're not exactly developed characters.
2: However, in The Stepsister Scheme, Cindy's stepsister Charlotte is given a name, backstory, borrowed magic and a vicious motivation, and she's impressively cruel.
3: The mean girls in Carrie come to mind, although they didn't make enough of an impression for me to remember any names or personal characteristics.
4: Stella Vatta (Vatta's War) is a shallow girl who makes good. She starts out a catty, flirtatious young woman with a history of strife with her cousin Kylara (she was the mean one in their relationship), but after she has to stand in loco parentis to a young relative, she finds the internal strength and smarts to lead the rebuilding of her family's business empire (while Ky, the main character, is off fighting pirates). She's using her people manipulation skills for the good of the clan.
5: There's a scattering of voluptuous flunkies and bitchy minor characters throughout the Anita Blake series that might qualify, but I think the Big Bads, while often cruel and petty, are too powerful to come under this heading.
Alright, it's time to expand the definition a smidge. The following are Magnificent Bitches: (You may not like them, but you've gotta admire their style.)
6: Kitiara Uth Matar (Dragonlance) Half the time she's a hard-ass warrior woman, and half the time she's manipulating every male she runs across with her sex appeal and devious smarts. Okay, usually both at once.
7: Cavilo (The Vor Game) runs her outfit of interstellar mercenaries with a level of sophisticated manipulation that the other characters can't help but admire, even as she destroys their plans and backstabs everyone in sight. "You know Cavilo?...Face like an angel, mind like a rabid mongoose?"
8: Emma Frost (X-Men Comics) aka The White Queen. In her early days, Emma was one of the nastiest telepaths the X-Men tangled with, and a trainer of young supervillains. Now she's one of the good guys, but that just means she can use her scathing wit to cut down the main characters in person. Her proteges, the Stepford Cuckoos, are classic Mean Girls in turn.
I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones, but that's what I've got for now. Who did I forget?