These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Though even the biggest leather pants fetishist may have second thoughts when they read what Steerpike planned to do to Fushsia...
It's more the BBC Adaptation version of Steerpike who gets this treatment, and seems to encourage some fans to interpret the character differently. Although he was still pretty damn evil, he was deliberately portrayed as genuinely loving Fuchsia (albeit in a warped and very disturbing way) and given a great stinking Freudian Excuse to boot note - a sob story wherein he had been abandoned at the age of six, sent to work in the kitchens and abused (emotionally, physically and sexually) throughout his childhood. In the novel, Steerpike, at seventeen, had arrived in the kitchens only a few months ago, so Swelter could not have abused him as a child. Peake tells us absolutely nothing about Steerpike's upbringing or origins (beyond the fact that he came from beyond Gormenghast) so we don't actually know if he has a tragic past to explain his extreme sociopathy. Casting the rather handsome Jonathan Rhys Meyers — who reallydoesn't fit the picture of the ugly, hunch-backed albino Peake described — apparently didn't hurt either.
Bear in mind that this was EXACTLY THE POINT, as Fuschia was a young girl looking for escape in the arms of an outsider to her world. Steerpike is an unredeemable monster, that he's sociopathic enough to think playing to the girl's fantasies will get him ahead in life, he'll do it, with aplomb.
Dumb Is Good: With the exception of Prunesquallor, the intellectual characters are depicted as cold, calculating and ruthless, most notably Steerpike and Cheeta.
Or detached, like Lord Sepulchrave.
Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: A double subversion in that Mervyn Peake considered this a series about Titus, not Gormenghast. The novella "Boy In Darkness" and the third novel, Titus Alone take place outside of Gormenghast.
The Woobie: Nannie Slagg. She's eighty years old, three feet tall, and perpetually on the verge of tears. Also, her husband died of a stroke on their wedding night.
Steerpike was a bit of a woobie early on, particularly when you consider his non-person status among the other members of the castle. And most especially when you consider that Swelter was not only tremendously abusive to the kitchen boys (including Steerpike), but it is implied that he also sexually molested and cannibalised them. A childhood like that has to mess you up a little. Even if he didn't fit his leather pants quite so well, Steerpike would have started out as a Sympathetic Villain, at least until his first or second Moral Event Horizon.
A lot of the aristocracy also deserve Woobie status, because although they are completely batshit insane and a little stupid, they aren't bad people. The OpheliacCreepy Twins Cora and Clarice didn't deserve such a prolonged and brutal death at Steerpike's hands. And Fuschia was just in love and insanely sheltered, with the hereditary insanity that seems to possess everybody in her family. You've got to feel a little sorry for her, too.
The "Thing" was essentially born into Woobiehood, although she dies too soon for Peake to really showcase this much.