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Characters / Misery

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Paul Sheldon

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While he isn't a Jerkass by any means in the book, he does a lot of snarking in his narration, hates Annie and even compares his fight with Annie to rape. In the film, Paul is a full-blown Nice Guy who's only moment of wrath is giving back what Annie gave him.
  • Agony of the Feet: A foot is cut off in the book. In the movie, his ankles are smashed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While he's a nice guy, he ultimately brutally attacks Annie, taking enormous glee in making her suffer after the hell she's put him through.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His inner monologue has a few in the book, usually directed at himself or Annie.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the end, he puts Annie through a bit of emotional torture by tricking her into thinking he's burned the manuscript for Misery's Return before stuffing the burning pages into her mouth and hitting her over the head with a typewriter.
  • Fingore: In the book, Annie chops off one of his thumbs and threatens to make him eat it.
  • Guile Hero: While Annie unusually has the upper hand with her psychotic cunning and foresight, in the book, he tricks Annie into thinking he's burnt Misery's Return, but actually he just burnt a pile of blank paper with the title sheet on it, while hiding the actual manuscript under the bed. He also knows how to keep himself alive by taking advantage of the fact that only he can give her what she wants.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's stuck in bed and in a wheelchair due to the accident and Annie's abuse, but by the end, he gives as good as he gets.
  • Nice Guy: In the film, Paul is depicted as a kind and friendly man who in spite of his hatred for the Misery series is not a Fan Hater and nothing but polite and gracious to Annie after she rescues him. It makes what happens to him all the worse.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He's unfailingly polite to the hotel staff, tries to avoid causing them unnecessary trouble, and even gives the waiter who brings him his champagne a fifty-dollar tip.
  • Only in It for the Money: The reason he kept writing his Misery series was because he needed to pay for his daughter's medical treatment and education; he hated the books, but they brought in the dough. However, he comes to realize that writing to win awards isn't much better.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: While he's largely at Annie's mercy, he does have one advantage over her: she allows her love of Misery to cloud her judgment and he can manipulate her by invoking the character's honor, wellbeing, etc.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Describes himself as the titular queen in regards to Annie. Every time Annie is close to killing him, he uses the fact that Misery's Return is not finished, and that if she wants to read it, she has to keep him alive.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Very downplayed. While he comes to appreciate Annie's occasional moments of kindness towards him, he still makes it clear that they don't make up for the hell she's putting him through.

Anne Marie "Annie" Wilkes

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Downplayed; she's plain-looking and a bit frumpy in the movie, but that's still a marked improvement in terms of appearance over her book counterpart, who was an unkempt blob of a woman with extremely unflattering makeup. She also dresses better in the movie than in the book.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: She's still an unstable psycho in the movie, but she's more cordial with Paul even after reading Misery's Child and her worst torments of him (like forcing him to drink soapy water and cutting off his thumb) are removed.
  • Ax-Crazy: Quite literally in the case of Paul's foot, but she is a concoction of multiple brands of psychopathy.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: When she was in college, she poisoned her and her roommate's shared cat so she could use its corpse to make said roommate fall down some stairs to her death.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Less known for her bedside manner and more known for killing and torturing her patients.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Annie discovers that Paul has managed to get out of the locked bedroom after taping hairs from her own head over objects in the house and leaving for a while, and coming back later to find them broken. The crazy part? She did this everywhere in the house, including upstairs and in the shed out back, places it would have been almost impossible for Paul to get in his injured state. Then there is the alibi Annie explains to Paul after she kills the young state trooper: she'll take an empty Pepsi bottle and press the trooper's fingers on it, then toss it in a ditch a few miles up the road, and mention to any cops that come by that she did speak with the trooper, and she gave him a Pepsi for the road because it was hot that day.
  • Fat Bitch: Unlike Kathy Bates' more polished depiction, book Annie is large and slovenly with a giant sweet tooth and of course is a psychotic kidnapper and murderer.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Her small acts of caring when being a nurse quickly get thrown out if she's displeased.
  • Hidden Depths: She's capable of surprising insights when it comes to storytelling and literary conventions. With her (very undesired) help, Paul manages to turn Misery from a shallow beauty to a surprisingly deep character.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: Paul Sheldon's number one fan to be exact.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: When Paul goes through her scrapbook, he finds that she was "startlingly pretty" when she was younger.
  • Loony Fan: She's so obsessed with Paul Sheldon's Misery series that she kidnaps and tortures him over the last Misery book.
  • Madness-Induced Omnivore: Annie is a severely mentally ill woman who paradoxically expresses pity for those she kills. At one point, she picks up a rat that had been killed by one of her traps and, noticing some of its blood on her hand, licks her fingers while mourning the animal.
  • Murder-Suicide: What she plans to do once Paul finishes Misery's Return.
  • The Paranoiac: She thinks everyone is out to get her, from her neighbors the Roydmans to a polite county official who tells her she's had a lien placed on her for failure to pay her taxes. This is partly due to her mental issues, but also partly rooted in reality, since she's an infamous figure in her neck of the woods due to being a suspected child murderer. For what it's worth, Paul also suspects there's something amiss; since she's been served papers for missing a quarterly tax payment, while he knows there are many people who are years behind on that front, it's possible the town might be trying to force her off her land.
  • Patricide: One of her victims was her own father.
  • Profanity Police: Hates it when Paul, or anyone swears, and has her own list of childish substitutes (cock-a-doodie, dirty birdie, etc.) When she does actually swear, shit has hit the fan.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: She's unhealthily attached to a fictional character, uses childlike euphemisms instead of swearing, and throws what can only be described as tantrums when she's inconvenienced.
  • Sweet Tooth: Annie loves ice cream, cookies, and soda.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: In the movie, she looks like an ordinary middle-aged woman, and is able to act like a regular person well enough to hide her deranged psychopathy in public. Being played by the then-unknown Kathy Bates only adds to the effect.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • While she obviously takes things way too far, Paul eventually acknowledges that he can't fault Annie for being upset at Misery's death. After all, causing such an emotional response in the reader is any author's goal, and he himself was left grief-stricken after a character died in a book he read.
    • Paul also concedes that some of Annie's writing criticism is actually quite perceptive, even when it's of his own writing. Not only does he find her points about the Cliffhanger Cop Out and the Deus ex Machina being lazy entirely accurate, but he also comes to agree with her assessment of Fast Cars being pretentious.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Part of her extensive kill count includes several babies during her time as head nurse of the maternity ward.