Top Ten Jerks in Literature

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is:

Top Ten Jerks in Literature

Snape from Harry Potter

Yes, I get it that he hates Harry because he reminds him of Lily, who he loved, and James, who he hated. But really.. does he have to be so extremely unpleasant? ALL THE TIME? Especially since it turns out hes one of the good guys! Its just downright irritating. Hes such a classic jerk – can’t get over his own personal insecurity issues so he has to hurt other people to make himself feel better. Arg!

George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice

Scum! I would love to punch Wickham, I can’t help it. His pretty face is only a facade for a guy who not only steals girl’s hearts just to get their money, but that of significantly younger girls. Girls who shouldn’t be thinking of marriage for years and should only be dreaming of their first kiss on a playground at recess. Hes a total creeper who belongs in a dank dungeon somewhere, eating gruel and never seeing daylight again.

Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist

I re-read Oliver Twist this year and man, can Dickens write a jerk. Every time Oliver seems to have something positive happening for him in his life, it is ruined by this devious and horrid excuse of a man.  He beats his dog, murders women, is a robber, abuser and criminal. He is definitely a character that has not a speck of goodness inside them.

Nils Bjurman from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

Ugh. Not surprisingly the original name of this series was “Men who hate Women” The majority of men in this series are despicable. Bjurman, who is given legal guardianship of Salander, sexually abuses her in return for allowing her access to the money from her own financial accounts. Sure she gets back at him and blackmails him, but that doesn’t change what he put her through. He is the worst kind of man, pleasant in public but rotten to the core.

Fernand from The Count of Monte Cristo

Betrays his best friend to a life of imprisonment and steals his girl! What ever happened to “Bros before Hos”? Fernand is the worst. Dantes goes through years of pain, hatred, bitterness, plotting and unhappiness because of this man. Fernand ruins everything good in the world through his greed and jealousy and STILL ends up unhappy himself. Nice going Fernand.

Mr. Hyde from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Mr. Hyde, the darkest impulses of humanity embodied in one person. He is a killer who tramples a little girl and beats a man to death but feels no remorse. Made even sadder by Dr. Jekyll’s inability to control the permanent transformation into this monster, Hyde definitely makes it onto my list of jerks. Although top ten characters of ‘pure evil’ would also work.

Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird

Any reader knows this guy belongs on this list. He lies under oath to get an innocent man condemned. He is extremely racist. He beats kids. Case closed.

A definite jerk.

Sauron from Lord of the Rings

Anyone else ever feel like this guy could have used a nice spa day? Maybe a little therapy? A hug from his mother? This guy is all about the world domination, death, power and corruption. And even better, he puts it all together in seven pretty rings to enslave everyone to his will. (I mean really, rings?) Then after all that hateful effort, years of building, plotting, bringing creatures into his dark web of evil.. he is overthrown by a little guy and the destruction of his personal jewelry.

President Snow from The Hunger Games

Making kids fight to the death for entertainment? Shame on you sir! As entertaining as it is to read, its a truly terrible idea. The first scene that comes to mind when I think of  Snow is when Katniss is talking to him at her home and his breath smells like blood. Gah! I figure that’s probably what evil smells like. Eau de Death.

Iago from Othello
 Iago, Iago, Iago..what would your mother say? Iago destroys the lives of everyone in the play for no good reason. Ok, for revenge, but we all know that really isn’t a good reason. He doesn’t fight Cassio or Othello because he is afraid they will kill him; he destroys everyone instead with deceit and lies.  So not only is Iago a jerk, hes a cowardly jerk.

38 thoughts on “Top Ten Jerks in Literature

    • I know! Fernand definitely popped into my head right away. Snow I actually thought about because even though we KNOW hes evil, he does very little other than just sort of being there..lurking with evil expressions. His actions are mostly just intimidation and katniss thinking “I know what he wants! he’ll kill us all!” Which is true, but its hard to hate someone who sort of just lurks around and never really inspires true dislike.

    • I know! I was debating because I wondered if I should put horrible villians in the same category with jerks.. but I figure, they’re all jerks in the end. Just different levels of them.. Iago especially. yeesh!

    • I know I love him too, thats why he is so annoying. Hes a good guy, who is trying to help the whole time, and while hes helping he inspires all this hatred from the kids because he can’t learn to just be nice to harry. Its so dumb! It makes me sad that they could have had a good relationship and trusted each other. Freakin’ Snape.

    • Definitely. I think Fernand and Sauron could have been friends they were such class A jerks, but then they probably would have tried to take over the world together or something again.. best they never met.

  1. Awesome list. I totally forgot about Dragon Tattoo, but that guy is a nasty piece of work. I should have thought of some Shakespeare jerks as well, but I was surprised how easily my ten came to me.

    Check out my list here.

  2. I don’t get this love for Snape thing either. It’s stupid and irritating. He was a world class jerk and I cannot stand him. I’m glad he’s right at the top.

  3. There’s a difference between a villain and merely a jerk. Sauron can’t be considered a jerk imo. He’s a dark lord lusting for a world enslaved in darkness. Calling him a jerk is sort of like pulling that entire conflict down onto a high-school level of conflict, which it obviously isn’t.

    About Snape … yeah, he’s a jerk, but I think he was entitled to a lot of it. Not that it wouldn’t have been big and gracious of him to get over his jerk-ness and work along with everyone but then he would be a picture-perfect-character, which isn’t interesting. Many people simply CAN’T get over some of their flaws. It’s human.
    What’s interesting is that Harry isn’t called out very much. In book 5 he’s an absolute jerk-hole to everyone but because we see it from his perspective he’s forgiven.
    If the books were written from Snape’s pov. I think we would forgive a lot more.
    Just like a lot of leads are forgiven in the YA genre – Bella, the chick from 50 shades, Zoey in House of Darkness.

    But what I like about Snape opposed to THOSE jerks (who would internally bitch about their friends and be pretty mean to them) is that Snape was written intentionally that way while the other characters were supposed to be sympathetic.

    • OH yea I totally agree, Harry is pretty awful in book 5, which I loved because its pretty typical teenager and made it much more realistic. I’m not saying Snape wasn’t entitled to being a jerk, but it just sucks because he is a good character at heart and he spends so much of his time being awful. Entitled or not, it’s just sad.

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