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Jerkass Has A Point / Literature

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  • In Darkest Powers, Tori Enright, while not necessarily evil, is a self-proclaimed bitch who once made it her priority to make Chloe's life hell. While her first time attempting to give Chloe advice ends up in the two of them almost getting carved up by a trio of street thugs, when it seems that Chloe is having trouble with Simon and Derek and gets subsequently very depressed about it, Tori's pep talk ends up helping Chloe to realize just what's wrong with herself. Which in turn leads to her accepting the fact that the one she's liked all along is actually Derek and allows her to return to a mostly normal state.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Alliser Thorne, an abrasive and arrogant bully of the Night's Watch, comes to King's Landing to present evidence that the dead are walking and warn everyone that an invasion by the Others is imminent. And he's telling the truth: The dead are walking, the Others are coming, and the lords of Westeros are too busy fighting each other to do anything about it. Unfortunately, Tyrion, a much more sympathetic character who developed a dislike of Thorne's poor behavior, utterly ignores his warnings and makes fun of him.
    Tyrion: Lord Baelish, buy our brave Ser Alliser a hundred spades to take back to the Wall with him.
    Alliser: Spades?
    Tyrion: If you bury your dead, they won't come walking.
    • Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane also counts, as he is a pretty big jerk but the majority of what he says about how the lords and knights of the kingdoms take advantage of the weak is pretty accurate. His assessment of his brother is both incredibly blunt and distressingly on the mark.
    • In A Dance with Dragons, Dany gets a visit from an old "friend", Xaro, the merchant prince of Qarth. His behaviour becomes increasingly obnoxious throughout his visit, until he reaches the point where he declares war on her, but he makes several good points about Dany's rule. The truth is, Dany's reign hasn't done a lot of good for the people of Meereen, as her sacking of it and the subsequent crises have shattered the city's economy and started a guerilla civil war, and many people who were once happy and well-off are now starving. Moreover, despite her claims to be the breaker of chains, there are many people in her city who are slaves in all but name - slaves to her. Not to mention the fact that her dragons have gone completely out of control and have begun eating the farmers' livestock and children.
    • In the first book, A Game of Thrones, maegi Mirri Maz Duur does some rather awful things to Dany without true cause (although some are later exaggerated by Dany - she did not kill Khal Drogo) but one act stands out as being pragmatic in a Kingslayer-fashion: the killing of Dany's unborn child, Rhaego.
    Mirri Maz Duur: "The stallion who mounts the world will burn no cities now. His khalasar shall trample no nations into dust."
  • Harry Potter
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, while Snape does consider Harry to be far more arrogant than he actually is, he rightly calls Harry out for sneaking out of Hogwarts to goof around with his friends while almost every adult in the wizarding world — including the Minister for Magic himself — is trying to keep Harry safe from a killer who broke out of Azkaban. Lupin tells Harry the same thing after he saves Harry from being bullied by Snape about it.
    • Draco Malfoy is a Pure-Blood Supremacist with ties to the Death Eaters' inner circle, and clearly has it out for Hagrid for racist and classist reasons. However, the fact remains that most of his criticisms of Hagrid's teaching methods are perfectly valid.
      • In Prisoner of Azkaban, the third years are required to buy a textbook that bites them for Hagrid's course. The students must bind or use other methods to restrain the books. Hagrid assumes that the students would figure out they need to stroke the spine of their monster textbooks books on their own. Malfoy remarks that stroking is not the first thing you think of when your book aggressively tries to bite you.
    Malfoy: Oh, how silly we've all been. We should have stroked them! Why didn't we guess!
    Hagrid: I-I thought they were funny.
    Malfoy: Oh, tremendously funny! Really witty, giving us books that try and rip our hands off!
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Malfoy believes Hagrid's Blast-ended Skrewts are abominations of nature. For context, the Skrewts are jet-propelled scorpion-leeches that eventually grow to be 10-feet long, they do absolutely nothing of any use to anyone and are apparently illegal hybrids of Manticores and fire-crabs meaning they shouldn't even exist in the first place. While Hermione defends the Skrewts in Hagrid's class out of loyalty to Hagrid, she privately agrees with Malfoy that the Skrewts are horrible monsters and they should not be around teenaged students.
    • When Hagrid takes his class into the Forbidden Forest during the fifth book to see the thestrals and assures the students the creatures are trained and safe, Malfoy retorts that there have already been several occasions where he showed the class creatures that he considered safe but turned out to be quite dangerous to them. The Slytherins murmur in agreement and the looks on the Gryffindors' faces make it clear they think he has a point too. Of course, this time Hagrid actually is right, but Malfoy's point still stands.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the portrait of Phineas Nigellus points out to Harry that while Slytherins can be brave, they aren't stupid and won't run head first into danger. Both are absolutely right, as Harry falls prey to Voldemort's trap and believes Sirius has been captured by Voldemort. This inadvertently results in the lives of his friends being in danger and also, in Sirius's death.
    • Umbridge's actions are despicable and her dismissal of Trelawney was done in as much a Kick the Dog manner as possible, but she's right about Trelawney not really measuring up as a teacher.
    • Pensieve memories in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince show that Tom Riddle Sr. was a snobbish young man who looked down on Morfin Gaunt, laughed at a wizard wearing silly clothes in an attempt to fit in with muggles, and abandoned his own newborn son. But the thing is Morfin really was an insane pariah with criminal tendencies who regularly harassed Muggles and tortured animals. If anything, Tom Riddle was being polite by referring to him as a tramp, especially when his girlfriend was saying worse about the Gaunt's lifestyle. Laughing at the wizard was also understandably justified, as even Harry noted his clothes (which included a one piece bathing suit over a coat) made him look clownish. And on the last one, he was rightfully furious at Merope for brainwashing him into being her husband and Sex Slave (which also subverts Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male). He never chose to have the baby in the first place, was terrified of seeing someone use magic, and understandably just wanted to escape the whole nightmare. Both Dumbledore and Harry agreed that Tom Sr. had every right to get the hell away from Merope.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the characters take turns holding a literal Jerkass Ball in the form of Slytherin's locket, one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Ron reacts the worst to it and eventually gets into a argument with Harry over their mission where he brings up a few good points. Namely, that based on what little information they were given by Dumbledore and their current resources, they're nowhere near finding any of Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes and the one they do have they have no means of destroying. Right now the trio is just running aimlessly around the country by themselves in the hopes their luck will eventually change. The day after the fight, which ended with Ron walking out on Harry and Hermione in frustration, Harry concedes that Ron was right and that they're fighting a Hopeless War right now.
  • In The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, Harry is often portrayed as abusive asshole with few redeeming qualities. Nevertheless, his defence for the titular Slap - that Hugo was in the process of attacking his and his cousin's children with a cricket bat while his own parents were doing little to stop it - is difficult to argue with, as Anouk points out early on - "We all wanted to slap Hugo that day!" - and even Aisha comes to agree with as the court case approaches.
  • Les MisÚrables: While Inspector Javert's belief that criminals can never change is extreme, he was fully justified in not trusting Valjean to keep his word and allow himself to be arrested after being given a few days to put his affairs in order. After all, the reason Valjean was a wanted criminal at the time was because he had already broken his parole once, so why would a policeman who knew this trust him to honor a parole now that he's finally been caught?
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, Big Bad Galbatorix reveals that one of his plans is to enforce equality by controlling the use of magic, accomplished by hijacking the magical language itself so that he is the only one who can use it. While Galby is notoriously treacherous and it's heavily implied that this is done only so that he can retain power, it's hard to argue against some level of control in a universe where magic has turned the elves into nearly invincible Game Breakers who could decimate the humans, dwarves, and urgals combined if they felt like it. Even Nasuada, leader of the Varden and one of the biggest enemies of Galbatorix, admits that he might have been right on this one.
    • At one point in Eragon, Eragon and Murtagh are accosted by a band of slavers who try to forcibly claim a bounty on an unconscious Arya's head. Eragon uses his magic to frighten away most of the slavers, but Murtagh takes the leader of the slaver band and beheads him. Murtagh justifies his act by arguing that the slavers could spread information about Eragon, Saphira, and Arya to the Empire, particularly after they had just attacked an Imperial prison to free Arya. Eragon views this as pointlessly cruel and petty, but Murtagh's argument can come across as more pragmatic given their situation.
    • Vanir, Eragon's elf rival in Ellesmera, is a haughty jerk who insults an injured Eragon while repeatedly beating him in sparring and, at one point, outright tells him that Saphira must have been somehow mistaken to choose Eragon as a Rider. While Vanir is a tremendous douchebag, his implicit messages to Eragon — that respect has to be earned the hard way, particularly if you're someone who an entire species' survival is thought to hinge on — is right.
  • In The Hunger Games trilogy, even President Snow has standards. To him, his acts of terror and oppression are all in the name of order. He may threaten, intimidate, insinuate, kill children etc...but he is not wasteful. Every death he dealt served a purpose. A reminder of this becomes a key plot point towards the end of Mockingjay. He was honest about the incident that killed Katniss' sister but essentially ended the war not being his idea, because as he points out, at that point he had already lost, and had the aircraft been his, he'd have used it to escape, not commit an act of pointless violence, which means it had to have been the work of President Coin of District 13, confirming Katniss' suspicion that the war was turning Evil vs. Evil.
  • A major story beat in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. While Luke's attempts to fix things are...extreme at best, nobody can say his core motivation isn't right. Even Percy, who hates and resents Luke possibly more than anyone, admits several times that he sympathizes with Luke's anger. In the end, Percy promises a mortally-wounded Luke he won't let the injustice get this bad again and uses a formal boon to force the gods to acknowledge their children and, by extent, understand that their selfish actions nearly caused their downfall and killed thousands of young, innocent people.
  • In The Dresden Files the White Council has a zero tolerance policy on any violation of the Laws of Magic and the only punishment for a violation is beheading. After killing his teacher in self-defense, Harry spends a good part of the early books being viewed as the suspect any time a magical crime is suspected. While this seems unreasonable at first, it's eventually explained that over centuries the Council has seen that dark magic is inherently harmful to the psyche; even one use is enough to start twisting a good person into a warlock.
    • Harry himself does not disprove this evidence. He works hard to keep on the straight and narrow because he understands how quickly he would lose himself if he slipped.
  • In Prince Caspian, the grumpy and bitter dwarf Nikibrik points out the flaw in the thinking that the Magic Horn is Too Awesome to Use. The other characters agree with his criticism and decide that he's right and that they should use the horn sooner rather than later - which is what turns out to have set in motion the events of the entire book.
  • Lord Wyldon, the sexist training master in Protector of the Small, makes it clear that he doesn't think Keladry should be training for a knight. He also continually forces her to climb trees and look over high walls when she's cripplingly afraid of heights and it often causes her to Stress Vomit. Kel's friend Neal attributes this to Wyldon's continual efforts to make her leave, but Kel says that she does have to overcome her fear and Wyldon is really trying to help her.
    • Wyldon also does give Kel practical help when her fear of heights overwhelms her. During the scene in First Test where Kel freezes on the wall, Wyldon steers her away from the edge and tells her to focus on his face. At the pages' summer camp, he realizes halfway through Kel's report that she's going to be sick from climbing and excuses her to throw up.
  • Darkstripe from Warrior Cats has been caught feeding Sorrelkit deathberries when Graystripe catches him and reports him to Firestar. On being questioned, Darkstripe growls that of course Firestar will always take Graystripe's word. Even Firestar himself admits to himself that it's true. He believes Darkstripe has a point and has to find solid proof to make sure Graystripe wasn't lying.
  • World War Z: The French soldier interviewed is dismissive of American efforts during the Zombie War, claiming that the conditions they had to endure was nothing. After he describes the battle of Paris, which involved clearing a quarter million Zacks from the catacombs and braving not only Zack but complete darkness, explosions, navigation errors, choking gas pockets, cave-ins and drowning in sewer water and doing it all with blades, trench spikes and the occasional air rifle (the smallest spark could set off a methane explosion), you're likely to agree with him.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy delivers a haughty and condescending marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennet which spends more time detailing why he shouldn't propose to her than why he should. After it goes very badly wrong for obvious reasons, Darcy writes Elizabeth a letter that explains his perspective on events in more detail, in particular that her family generally does act in a very embarrassing and socially improper fashion. While still very peeved, Elizabeth is forced to concede that he has a point and that his concerns about being related to them through marriage were not entirely invalid or based on pure snobbery.
    • Mrs Bennet is right to be concerned about her daughters getting married soon because if Mr Bennet died, their entire estate would go to his closest male relative, Mr Collins, and if the girls didn't marry well, they would live in the streets. It was the way she went about it that was the issue.
  • In The Emigrants, it is hard to see Vicar Brusander as anything but a pompous Well-Intentioned Extremist for his prosecution of Danjel's religious movement. Nevertheless though, he still makes a few good points in his speech to Karl Oskar against emigration. Many people back then did leave Europe for America to escape the laws of their native countries, or only because they heard fanciful stories about how much better everything was over there. And how exactly would Europe survive, if all young people would go to America and leave their old parents at home?
  • The Wandering Inn: One of Erin's regular customers, Pisces, is quite pretentious, leading to many characters disliking him. Although he has many faults, he tends to be correct, whenever he suggests something, much to Erin's regret, as following his advise is the last thing she wants to do.
  • The Hearts We Sold: The Daemon says that none of the heartless troop has any right to complain, since no one was forced to make a deal with him, and they're all getting paid extremely well for their trouble. Dee acknowledges he's not wrong, though she and the others are still pissed he didn't tell them what they were getting into.
  • The Unknown Soldier: Captain Lammio is a martinet, an egotist and much too full of himself for his own good, but he shows time and time again that, in spite of his personality being about as abrasive as number two sandpaper, he does know what he's doing as a commander. The main characters bristle at him commanding them to split up when under artillery fire, being forced to return looted items, reprimanding them for drunkenness and cracking down on Rokka's loose cannon antics while claiming that he is in fact as lenient with Rokka as he can be. The reader, however, will probably be far more sympathetic.