Top Ten Tuesday - Jerks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and The Bookish

This Weeks Prompt: Top Ten Jerks In Literature (all those jerky guys in books..those who truly WERE asshats and those who just acted like one but could be quite loveable) 

Hmmm. Doesn't seem quite fair to me to include too many loveable jerks only two weeks after the list of mean girls. I am defining jerks as: usually minor villains who enjoy the misfortunes of others, and aren't above rubbing it in. Petty cruelty is a hallmark of the jerk.

1: Raven (Chronicles of the Black Company, Glen Cook, review) Because occasionally doing the right thing or having reasons for being an arrogant criminal loner doesn't mean you're not a jerk, even according to the Black Comany's low standards.

2: Regin (The Novice, Trudi Canavan) is a straightforward stuck-up schoolyard jerk and tormentor to Sonea, the main character. He eventually grows out of it.

3: Byerly Vorrutyer (A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold) is a jerk for the forces of good... this week, anyway. A sophisticated young man with seemingly nothing to do but hang about the capital cadging drinks and flirting, he is cutting with a turn of phrase, and runs merciless verbal rings around anyone with the misfortune to catch his eye.

4: Most of the low-level villains in Harry Potter: Draco and his cronies, most of the run-of-the-mill Death Eaters, are just your standard annoying asshats with magic. This is, I think, one of the great missed opportunities in the series. (Almost everyone in the books is a jerk occasionally, which is one of the good things about the series.)

5: Pavel Young (Honor Harrington Series, David Weber) He is a pathetic little weasel who uses his position and family wealth to undermine Honor whenever he can. Weber has a lot of eminently hate-able villains, but Young might be the pettiest jerk. 

6: Desire (Sandman) While she/he is one of the major players in the series, most of his/her behavior is motivated by sheer petty narcissism and general jerkitude.


There's a split again this week. Here are some Magnificent Bastards

(Aside: I'm going to speak briefly in tropes: Why is it that male villains are so much more prone to Draco in Leather Pants or similar phenomenon? Many of the impressively manipulative jerkass male villains I can think of I reflexively think are cool, the women I reflexively dislike. Food for thought.)

7: Raistlin Majere (Dragonlance, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman) Because that 99% of the time he's not being a good guy, he's tricking people into helping him take over the world. With supreme snarkiness.

8: Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas) That is one awesomely protracted and complicated revenge scheme, right there. Arguably justified, but still. 

9: Lex Luthor. Because modern Luthor is a smart man who has this one bee in his bonnet about this one guy whom he just HAS to be better than. Unreasonable oneupmanship is a common quality of the jerk. Also he's frequently written as being arrogantly rude to everyone.

10: James Bond. He's great at his job, most of the time, but his job often requires him to be a cold-blooded jerk. That doesn't prevent him from being sympathetic now and again, but after he gets his heart broken in the first book, he retreats into an arrogant shell.

Okay, who am I forgetting?

5 comments:

Birdie said...

I haven't read many of these texts, but i agree with your choices in those I have read. I also totally approve of your explaining how you are defining jerks. Well done!

Lisa said...

I totally agree with Draco, he made my list too. I laughed out loud reading your description of Bond. Great choice!

booknympho said...

Cool list, I love how it's split up. You make a lot of great points in the second part.

Lindsay said...

Thanks, Birdie, Lisa, booknympho! I try to give good reasons on my lists, and I enjoy doing these posts more when they cause me to think a little bit differently about what I'm reading.

gautami tripathy said...

Dante and Bond. Never thought of them as jerks but you do have a point!

Here is my Top Ten post!

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