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Hate Sink / Literature

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  • Harry Potter
  • Dragon Bones has high king Jakoven. The heroes never meet him in person, but we get to see how he regularly appoints men to become Queen Tehedra's lovers, then kills them for petty reasons, are told that he sleeps with young males, who may be underage, and took a fifteen-year-old boy, whose parents were killed by his soldiers, to his bed. The man, now thirty, secretly detests him. Oh, and one of the Queen's lovers he kills is a cousin of the protagonist. He also refuses to send soldiers to defend one of the countries under his rule, in the cold-blooded tactical plan to take care of the invasion/bandit problem only when it starts to get closer to his home. The actual villain, i.e. the one who needs to be fought by the heroes, is a rather cool Smug Snake, and not nearly as hateable as king Jakoven.
  • Colin from the Mostly Ghostly book series (which incidentally, is made by the same author of the Goosebumps series) is Max's abusive older brother that has a habit of humiliating and injuring him. He crosses the Moral Event Horizon rather quickly when he threatens to feed Max's pet bird to their aggressive dog.
  • K. A. Applegate all-but-admitted in a 1997 FAQ that she wrote Sixth Ranger David of Animorphs to be this kind of character, describing him in a post-book FAQ as a "weak, rotten human being". The problem with this example as compared to most other characters of this type is that David is a literal child of 13-14 who loses his family in a single night and suddenly finds himself surrounded by strangers who don't seem to care about him or even like him very much. He commits one of the darkest acts in a series full of them, but when you're talking about a series where one of the main heroes orders the execution of over ten thousand helpless sentient beings, it's hard for some to hate him as strongly as the other examples on this list.
  • In Masks Of Aygrima while the Autarch's minions are unlikable Grute is much easier to hate being a power hungry, aggressive, mean, attempted rapist.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering Kamigawa trilogy, Choryu. He is selfish, entitled, arrogant, smug, and cowardly. When he finally gets his, most readers will want to do a little happy dance. Then they either stop when they find out just how horrifying his fate really is, or they dance anyway because he really was just that insufferable.
  • Charles from Jade Green is a perverted alcoholic who has a thing for teenage girls. The Title Character herself is the one that is actually causing the problems in the book, as she is haunting the house following her demise. It then turns out that Charles was the actual villain, and that Jade Green was trying to protect Judith from him.
  • In Deadhouse Gates, the second book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Chain of Dogs (a massive host of refugees marching across the continent) is constantly being attacked by enemy armies, but our viewpoint character for these sections of the story never gets more than a few glimpses of the enemy leaders. Without a face or personality to put to them, it's hard to dislike the armies of the Apocalypse on a personal level. Instead we're invited to vent our loathing upon a group of whiny nobles within the Chain of Dogs, who protest the commander's actions at every turn, are openly cruel to their servants, and get a lot of their fellow refugees killed through incompetence.
  • Since there's no real villain in Flight 116 Is Down by Caroline B. Cooney, the audience gets to focus their hatred on Darienne, a selfish passenger who ends up being completely unharmed in the crash. Heidi and Patrick work hard to save the passengers of the crashed plane while Darienne stands around doing nothing but complaining and being useless, yet she tries to take credit for saving people at the end. Even Patrick loses his cool when Darienne gets too much to handle.
  • An in-universe occurs in The Hunger Games. Katniss, Peeta and other tributes can't exactly attack the Capitol or directors of the games. The rest of the tributes are just as oppressed as them so they channel their hate and murderous instincts towards the Careers from District 1, 2 and 4 who are Child Soldiers volunteering to be in the game, having trained from birth to kill others. Combined with their cruel mindset and superior skills, the Careers always team up to take down the weaker tributes, then gleefully kill each other once the others are dead. However Katniss eventually realizes that the real enemy isn't the Careers but the Capitol and therefore decides to join the rebellion.
  • Busqueros from The Manuscript Found In Saragossa. Smug and infuriatingly clingy, his unwanted "help" always brings more bad than good (if it brings any good at all), yet he still claims he is indispensable for the viewpoint characters' plans and schemes, and he will not take "no" for an answer.
  • Tybalt, the Token Evil Teammate from The Reynard Cycle is a selfish, callous, Jerk with a Heart of Jerk. Whenever he gets even remotely close to petting the dog, he finds another one to kick.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Cersei Lannister: not only is she ruthless and scheming, she's also not nearly as intelligent or skilled in advancing her family's position as she thinks she is, often causing harm to others for little to no gain on her part. Perhaps the best thing that can be said for her as a character is that she loves her children; however, since Joffrey is one of them, maybe that's not such a redeeming quality after all. She's made somewhat more sympathetic in the HBO series, helped by Lena Headey's brilliant, emotional performance and giving some of her more despicable actions to the series' other Hate Sink, Joffrey.
    • Joffrey Baratheon himself fills this role eminently by being the most vicious and abusive little Royal Brat in a series full of them until he's killed in the third book. Even In-Universe, only Cersei mourns his death, and even then she was willing to slap him in the face when he was being rude enough.
    • Walder Frey, who makes no attempt to hide what a degenerate, vile scumbag he truly is to everyone around him. The only reason people continue to tolerate him is because he holds an important strategic point between the North and the Trident. When he and his family commit the most appalling and most craven of crimes by breaching the Guest Right, everyone except the Boltons and Lannisters (who are already both extremely hated by that point) in the continent wants to see him and his entire family dead. In fact it seems, Tywin planned on the Freys being an in-universe Hate Sink from the get-go. While people understood Tywin engineering the Red Wedding because he was at war with the Starks, they loathe Lord Frey and his family for carrying out Tywin's plan, because, by doing so, they broke one of the most sacred laws of the realm.
    • Ser Gregor Clegane, "the Mountain that Rides". He's a Blood Knight known for his cruelty and brutality, who enjoys torture, murder and rape, to the point he has the Fan Nickname "the Mountain that Rapes". He also kills Ensemble Dark Horse Prince Oberyn Martell when Oberyn tries to avenge his sister, who was raped and murdered by the Mountain. Fortunately, Oberyn had the last laugh.
    • Ramsay Bolton, the pyschopathic Torture Technician and Serial Killer bastard son of Roose Bolton is undoubtedly the most evil Bolton in the series, which is quite a accomplishment.
  • The Relic has Agent Coffey. Mbwun, the creature behind the murders at the museum, is more a Tragic Monster just trying to survive by this point so you can't really hate it. Coffey is a jerkass agent who wrestles control of the investigation from Special Agent Pendergast and his bull-headedness leads to events at the museum getting even worse.
  • Íverenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt has three characters, who are just there to be hated. Wilhelm Löwenström is an extreme Domestic Abuser, his son Edvard is a serial abuser sociopath, and as if that wasn't enough, we've also got Carl-Jan Rosenschiöld, a sick and twisted combination of the other two. These three men share a view on women, which is just disgusting even by the standards of the era (the 1880s), so they actually think that a man has the right to mistreat a woman in any way he can think of. And as much as Beatrice, the story's female protagonist, becomes the most obvious victim of their abuse and their schemes, many other people are eventually harmed as well. Even other men in the story are repulsed by them.
  • Madicken by Astrid Lindgren has two examples in the second book of the series.
    • The mayor's wife is a painfully stuck-up Rich Bitch, who believes that she's above everyone else in their small town. She begins a stupid vendetta against Alva, Madicken's family's housemaid. Her husband is also clearly hen-pecked, and she basically forces him to fly with an airplane, despite that it's clear that he's too scared to do it, which causes him to have a Potty Failure out of fright while up in the air.
    • Madicken's school headmaster is hated by all the children, because he's so mean and gruff. Not to mention that he's politically incorrect by modern standards, with his rigid views on how girls should behave and his tendency to let rich kids get away with more than poor kids. But he passes the Moral Event Horizon by humiliating and caning a poor girl, who had stolen his wallet. And to make the situation even worse, he does all of this right in front of her class-mates. Madicken acknowledges that stealing is wrong, but it's made clear that the punishment was too severe for the crime.
  • The King Killer Chronicle has Ambrose Jakis. While the ostensible Big Bads of the series are the Chandrian, they remain an enigmatic, looming threat whose motives and identities are major driving mysteries of the series. Ambrose, on the other hand, is a petty, sexist, bullying, smug jackass who goes to every conceivable length imaginable to make The Hero, Kvothe's, life a living hell. The levels of spiteful deeds he engages in ranges from trying to get Kvothe expelled from school and getting him fired from his job, all the way to poisoning him, torturing him with malfeasance and ordering a hit on him, all the while hiding behind his wealth and connections to make sure he never gets any permanent comeuppance.
  • Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach are both dreadfully abusive towards the title character and have no redeeming qualities. One of the book's most notable moments of Black Comedy comes when they meet a well-deserved Karmic Death consisting of being flattened by the peach that they tried to make money out of.
  • Liane Moriarty's novel Big Little Lies has a host of antagonists, yet most are portrayed as too complex to be considered truly despicable. The one character who has absolutely no redeeming factors is Renata's sycophantic elitist friend Harper. Harper attempts to turn the whole school against one the main characters and her son for supposedly attacking Renata's daughter, despite not having a single scrap of evidence. She obviously believes that she'll come across as a crusader for justice, but ultimately she just seems like a drama-hungry shrew.
  • Caelan from Skulduggery Pleasant is a blatant knockoff of Edward Cullen: a morose, brooding vampire who lusts after the female protagonist, Valkyrie Cain, to the point that he sees himself as her guardian angel and wants to control her life. He is hated by pretty much every other character (even the other vampires), his obsession is frequently mocked and he's eventually killed by the very person he was so in love with.
  • In Ragtime, we have Willie Conklin, the racist Jerkass fire chief who trashes Coalhouse Walker's car. His crime of vandalism is small potatoes compared to the serial murder and arson spree Walker gets up to after becoming the novel's Big Bad, and he's completely unconnected to the murder of Walker's wife (done by a mob of unnamed characters, so hard to hate) that spurs his descent into villainy. Nevertheless, the reader is invited to hate Conklin over Walker, as the novel goes into great detail explaining Walker's motivations and how he became the way he is, while Conklin is and apparently always was just an asshole.
  • Quite a lot of what makes Goosebumps scarier to read as an adult is digging deeper into how horrifically stupid, petty and cruel many of the adults and children are. But Alexander from Deep Trouble, Tara Webster from The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Mr. Saur from Say Cheese and Die-Again!, Vanessa from Chicken, Chicken, Brandon from Headless Halloween and Micah from Revenge R Us are probably the worst examples.
  • In World War Z, you can't hate the zombies, but you CAN hate Brickenridge Scott, an asshole pharmacist company owner who made tons of money scamming people into buying his untested products meant to keep people from turning into zombies. He openly brags about scamming people out of their money, says they were stupid for not checking to see if they actually worked, and laughs when he hears that most of his buyers wound up infected.
  • Sword Art Online has Nobuyuki Sugou. Let us examine the full extent of his villainy: Steals the minds of 300 players just when they are about to regain their freedom from the death game, SAO. Performs horrible memory manipulation experiments on said minds in order to develop a Mind Control technology, which he plans to sell to a corrupt corporation that will no doubt use it for unfathomable evil. Keeps Kirito's lover Asuna (one of the 300, but thankfully excluded from experiments) prisoner in a cage within the virtual world, where he frequently torments and sexually assaults her. Torments Kirito with the knowledge that he is the one keeping Asuna prisoner, and that he plans to effectively "marry" her in the real world (not legally, of course, but that doesn't matter). When Kirito finally shows up in-game, Sugou abuses his admin powers to torture Kirito with excruciating pain while he molests Asuna, and threatens to alter both of their minds. The eventual gruesome and extremely painful death of his avatar at Kirito's hands is well-deserved and very satisfying.
    • Endou and her Girl Posse from the Phantom Bullet arc, who bully Shino for money by deliberately triggering her PTSD regarding guns. It's even worse in the light novel version, as it's revealed that Shino, desperate to make friends, befriended them without knowing that they wanted to take advantage of her living by herself to party in her apartment. When she finally got fed up and reported them, they found out about her past, and decided to bully her to get revenge.
  • John Green's novels, being Teen Dramas, don't have true villains, but that's not to say there aren't loathsome people about:
  • Ancillary Justice has Seivarden Vendaai fill this role in the first part, before the main villain is introduced. She's from a rich noble family, treats everyone else like they're dirt under her feet, and when, at the start of the novel, she has lost everything and has to be rescued by Breq, she's still insufferably arrogant and refuses to do any work at all, until Breq makes it clear she won't tolerate this behaviour. After Breq saves her life by jumping down a bridge from which Seivarden has fallen out of sheer stupidity, and breaks all the bones in her own body just to save Seivarden, Seivarden gets a bit more tolerable. The reader doesn't so much want to see Seivarden fail (at this point, Seivarden does not have any goals, unless you count the next drug dose as such) as she just wants Breq to get rid of her and continue her journey alone.
  • Paris of Troy in The Iliad is possibly the Ur-Example. Even though the epic tells the story of the Trojan War mainly from the Greeks' point of view, the Trojans generally don't come off as evil, and Hector and Priam are in some ways portrayed more sympathetically than their Greek counterparts Achilles and Agamemnon. Paris, on the other hand, is nothing more than a useless, philandering, cowardly jerk who refuses to take responsibility for causing the whole conflict to begin with. When he duels Menelaus in one book, everyone, Greek and Trojan, hopes Paris will be killed.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, Grand Admiral Thrawn is far too magnificent too be hated, and the other villains of the trilogy aren't too far behind. This leaves all the hatred of the readers for Borsk Fey'lya, a corrupt, selfish, Jerkass of a senator who seems to take pleasure in being an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
  • Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: Howard. Being a lawyer in an engineer and manager setting such as the Bureau of Reclamation, rumour has it that he was installed there by politicians in order to sabotage the Bureau's operation. He's also described as having a terrible relationship to other characters, to the point that Grant wishes that he'll be eaten by a bear during his vacation in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Marcy's father in The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. He's a terrible husband who constantly fights with his wife Lily and is abusive to his two children, calling his teenage daughter fat, stupid, and ugly (which is implied to be the cause of her severe self-esteem issues), and harshly scolding his four-year-old son for sucking his thumb and playing with his teddy bear. When Marcy tries to get her family to sit around the dinner table and discuss things like a normal family, her father's response is, "I work hard all day for this family, I don't have to talk to all of you too, do I?" as if talking to his wife and children without screaming at or insulting them is a strenuous chore. He also blames Marcy for nearly everything that goes wrong in his life, including Lily spending less time with him and more with their children, his fighting with Lily that he always initiates, and Marcy's attempt to initiate a simple family discussion going horribly wrong. One has to wonder why he even decided to get married and have children in the first place if he hates having a family so much. From start to finish, he has no redeeming qualities and it's obvious that he's meant to be despised by the reader more than any other character. The only good thing that can be said about him is that by the end of the book, he's been convinced to more-or-less leave Marcy alone and has achieved an uneasy peace with her, but he's still far from being any kind of family man.
  • In-Universe Example: In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Emmanuel Goldstein, leader of the Brotherhood, actually has two minutes of each day devoted to members of the Party unleashing their fury on him. It's heavily implied that Goldstein doesn't even physically exist, but was instead fabricated by the highest echelons of the Party with the specific purpose of becoming a Hate Sink for its lower-ranking members (thus allowing them to direct their pent-up frustrations about their terrible living conditions away from the Party itself). O'Brien even admits to having authored part of "The Book", which is essentially Goldstein's manifesto, himself.
  • Ephemeral Prince has Rizec, who performs several vile actions such as destroying the original Sabine out of spite for its rulers, ordering Zuan to trick Soan into eating Xiri, subjugating the demons, setting a trap for Snowe's party, and killing Hiante. The first two actions resulted in the Starts Of Darkness of all the prequel's villains and indirectly caused most of the problems in the series. He feels no remorse for his misdeeds, to the point where he gloats about how he spared the rulers of Sabine in order to make them suffer more and how he could potentially force Xiri to kill his own home.
  • Mr. Poe of A Series of Unfortunate Events may be well-meaning and sympathetic to the Baudelaire orphans, but his utter incompetence is enough make both the orphans and the audience groan with frustration. He constantly falls for the villain Count Olaf's obvious disguises, treats the Baudelaires like toddlers, and repeatedly puts their safety at risk due to not being able to see through Count Olaf's plans.
  • A fairly mild example compared to most others on this page, but Mrs. Kemp from the Ramona Quimby series is one of its most unsympathetic characters. Since Ramona has to stay at her house every day after school, she takes advantage of the situation to make Ramona babysit her granddaughter Willa Jean for free, and always blames Ramona when Willa Jean does something bratty, because she's older and "should have stopped her" or "should have known better". While she does this a lot, she has a major Kick the Dog moment in Ramona Forever—when Willa Jean breaks an accordion that was a gift from her Uncle Hobart, not only does Mrs. Kemp blame and punish Ramona, but openly shames and humiliates her in front of Uncle Hobart when he comes back. This stings Ramona so badly that she later cries when recounting the incident to her family at dinner (and she is not normally a crier).