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  • Pinocchio is basically a symbol of lies because his nose grows when he tells lies, but originally, Pinocchio is not that much of a liar, the growing nose incident only happened twice and a few of Pinocchio's lies did not affect his nose at all. Lies have little focus in the original book.
  • The Three Musketeers only say "All for one and one for all!" twice in the original books; most adaptations have them saying it all the time. Then again, they do claim it is their motto.
  • Don Quixote is well-known for being an idealistic fool in a cold grey world, a laughingstock and Butt-Monkey. As a result, there's a huge Misaimed Fandom that sees him as an ideal to strive for even if he can't win. The original Quixote was an idealistic fool, but it wasn't his entire character. Both the Misaimed Fandom and the people who laugh at him forget that he was also an unsympathetic snob, who used his "knighthood" as an excuse to not pay for things and to bully his social inferiors, especially Sancho. Part of why he isn't remembered this way is the Man of La Mancha, which emphasized his foolish idealism a lot more. ("Dream... the impossible dream...")
    "No, senor, that's not true," said Sancho, "for I am more cleanly than greedy, and my master Don Quixote here knows well that we two are used to live for a week on a handful of acorns or nuts. To be sure, if it so happens that they offer me a heifer, I run with a halter; I mean, I eat what I'm given, and make use of opportunities as I find them; but whoever says that I'm an out-of-the-way eater or not cleanly, let me tell him that he is wrong; and I'd put it in a different way if I did not respect the honourable beards that are at the table."
  • Harry Potter
    • Ginny Weasley has a reputation in the fandom for being a tart who can't keep her knickers on. In-universe, Ginny dated three guys over a period of four years, none of them all at once, and married the last one. Interestingly, Hermione has also dated three guys, one for rather petty reasons, and no one accuses her of being a slut.
    • There's Dumbledore, who was gay. He did some other stuff, but mostly, he was gay. You can understand why Rowling didn't insert this fact into the books, since Dumbles' primary characteristic since the Word of Gay announcement is that he was gay. Man, people who refuse to read a sentence from the books or watch one minute of the movies are more likely to know that than any other detail, despite the fact that Dumbledore's sexuality was implied in the last book but never outright stated.
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    • Draco Malfoy is often called "ferret", "ferret boy," or some form of that insult in the fandom, referring to an incident in which Mad-Eye Moody turns Draco into a bouncing ferret. In the book, there is not much mention of the incident after the fact.
      • There is one instance where Hagrid threatens to turn a misbehaving Malfoy into a ferret, although that's just one instance. But honestly, "Draco Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing Ferret" became memetic for the absurdity of the thought alone.
    • Ron generally has a reputation with certain segments of the fandom who regard him as The Load, a Green-Eyed Monster, and an idiotic Jerkass. In the books, Ron was more laid-back and certainly not as driven as Hermione, but it was mentioned that he and Harry did about equally well in their classes (Harry was mostly forced to learn extra things to save his own life). And Belligerent Sexual Tension aside, there was never any indication that Ron was or would be abusive towards Hermione, or indeed that he'd be capable of it if he wanted to be. The worst he ever did was when he abandons Hermione and Harry in Deathly Hallows, and that was done in a moment of anger, after enduring Mind Rape by the horcrux, and he wanted to return immediately, only to be foiled by circumstances. And his first act upon returning was to rescue Harry from drowning in a frozen pond. There's a reason why he's the Trope Namer for a canonically good character becoming a massive jerk in fan works. It doesn't help that the films tended to portray him as being dumber and more cowardly than he was in the actual books and all for the sake of cheap laughs, which then rippled over into the books a little bit.
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    • James Potter won't live down being a jerk to Snape. People who've suffered bullying in the past would see James as a spoiled brat that got everything handed to him while Snape had to suffer his whole life. They also completely ignore that Snape (according to Sirius Black who hated him) gave as good as he got and even went so far as to use Dark Magic to slash him across the face (albeit in self-defense), while the worst thing James did to him was hang him upside down and pants him.
    • On a related note, Snape as a child/teen is usually remembered as a weak loner who's bullied left and right and was tragically rejected by Lily Evans. Rarely do people mention his Teen Genius status in regards to Potions and the Dark Arts, nor do they mention the fact that he had other friends besides Lily, all who became Death Eaters upon graduation. A flashback even shows him defending his friend Mulciber after Lily tells Snape he used Dark Magic on one of their classmates, claiming it was "just a bit of fun".
    • Professor Slughorn to some degree. Many fans will still see him as just another example of a bigoted Slytherin, due to his surprise at a Muggleborn being more skilled than a Pureblood. This ignores the fact that he's genuinely appreciative of his favored students, especially Lily, and expresses genuine regret regarding telling Voldemort about how to make Horcruxes.
    • Then there's Professor Binns, the ghost who teaches History of Magic. His most memorable scene involved him droning about the Goblin Rebellion. Now, many HP fanfictions contain scenes that take place in class, and if it's History of Magic? You can bet Binns will be talking about goblins.
    • For as much of a general Nice Guy as the eponymous character is, fans still tend to give him flack for his Wangst in Order Of The Phoenix.
    • The books' publishing company, Bloomsbury, will always be the people who insisted the first book's title be changed to "Sorcerer's Stone" in America, giving them a reputation of thinking Americans are a bunch of morons who would never pick up a book unless the title promised it was about magic.
  • Tortall Universe
    • Alanna from the Song of the Lioness suffers from a similar reputation, despite having had relationships with a grand total of three guys in her life, each of them long-term and serious, one of which became a marriage. Yet that's still more than any of Tamora Pierce's other protagonists (except Briar in the Circle of Magic universe), so she gets stuck with a Slutty McSluttington image in some readers' minds. (The books were banned from a few school libraries as a result of her supposed sexual promiscuity, which probably didn't help.)
    • The Immortals has one positive and one negative. The good: Daine and her rampaging zombie dinosaurs. The bad: hooking up with with Numair when he's 30 and she's 16. Although Alanna/George had an eight-year age gap and he was declaring his love for her while she was still a teenager, they were both still adults by modern standards, and it didn't push Student/Teacher Romance squick buttons. The outcry was so great that Pierce promised never to have such a wide age gap again.
    • Pierce herself has this with the book Mastiff, which went over with her fans like a lead balloon and was largely seen as a shocking quality drop from a usually great author.
  • A few of the people in The Bible have traits they'll never live down. "Doubting" Thomas springs to mind.
    • Bible researchers have also pointed out that the characters of those who told Thomas weren't impeccable either: John, who had an awful temper, and Peter, who denied Christ thrice.
    • Pontius Pilatus: washing his hands was basically a way of saying, "I don't want to hear about this anymore". This is just about the only thing that we hear him and it is what he is most remembered for, to an almost Trope Namer level. It's also where the term "wash one's hands of it" came from, meaning to absolve oneself of responsibility or guilt, or to simply not want to discuss something anymore. The fact that the only thing he's known for has become a common part of the English language isn't doing Pontius any favors.
    • Similarly, Judas for betraying Jesus, leading to his execution. You don't contribute to God dying without paying for it for all eternity.
  • Richard Rahl, protagonist of the Sword of Truth, once led his troops to cut through a peace protest staged by Too Dumb to Live political strawmen to get to the villains they're guarding, during the book that even fans acknowledge is best ignored. The key word here, of course, is "once". A good chunk of the times it's mentioned on this wiki, though, it's phrased to make it sound like he spends all eleven books doing nothing but slaughtering pacifists.
    • The infamous scene in which the demonic entities are first introduced... as a chicken.
    "This looked like a chicken, like the rest of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Catelyn Stark, who is otherwise a kind and caring mother and a woman with a strong sense of honor and duty, is often remembered for being a stone-cold, callous bitch due to her poor treatment of her husband's illegitimate son, Jon Snow: her son lies unconscious, forever a cripple, and in a moment of mad grief, she tells Jon (who is also grieving and worried for his half brother), "It should have been you," before breaking down in tears. She never lives that one down, it seems. It's a big Kick the Dog moment, but let's be perfectly honest: who doesn't get one of those in this series? It doesn't help that it's one of the first things readers see her do and as such, something like this tends to stand out.
      • Oh, and in the first book she arrests Tyrion Lannister for a crime he has been completely innocent of, and by sheer luck (and some power of his wits) he gets out of the mess alive. Justified since she feels she can trust her childhood friend Littlefinger who implicated Tyrion, not having realized how much he has changed over the years, and the crime in question was attempted murder of her already crippled son, so she isn't thinking too clear on the matter. Nevertheless, her mistreatment of not one but two fan favorites has built her quite a reputation in fanon. For instance, if in fanfics any of her children are paired with anyone of the Lannisters (or their bannermen, or any of the Starks' enemies), in most cases expect Catelyn to oppose the match with all her might, up to threats of disowning her children, no matter how much in love the couple is and how politically profitable the marriage can be.
    • Similarly, Sansa Stark, Catelyn's daughter, is largely defined by her naivety and ignorance in the first book, and forever characterized as Too Dumb to Live and Horrible Judge of Character. Granted she did make some idiotic mistakes, chief among them believing Joffrey was her prince charming, betraying her father's escape plans to Cersei and not backing up Arya about Joffrey attacking the butcher's boy. (Which gets the boy and Sansa's own direwolf killed). However fans seems to forget she was only an eleven year old girl coming from a sheltered upbringing, with parents who totally failed to prepare her for the dangers of court. Despite the subsequent hell she goes through, and becoming much savvier and less idealistic, the vitriol against her is worse than that against some villains. Her case isn't helped by being a Foil for her little sister Arya, a scrappy, tomboyish underdog who manages to be a better judge of character than her parents and older siblings put together, and is frequently bullied by Sansa.
  • Twilight may be popular for other things, but now thanks to the movie, everyone associates the entire saga with sparkly vampires.
    • Baseball-playing sparkly vampires.
    • The sparkly vampires were already infamous (at least among Fan Haters) before the movie, but the movie definitely compounded it.
    • Fan Haters now have the Ho Yay between Edward and Jacob.
    • And of course, Jacob imprinting on Edward and Bella's newborn daughter, leading to many accusations that he "wants to fuck a baby" despite that not being quite what really happens (he waits until she's a physical adult before making a move). Though the whole subplot is still creepy enough that it even overshadows what would probably otherwise be a pretty infamous sequence in its own right where the superstrong unborn fetus breaks Bella's spine and Edward performs a c-section with his teeth, something that caused a genuine push to have the film adaptation be directed by David Cronenberg.
  • While Sherlock Holmes used cocaine in a more than a couple of stories, he was an addict, not of that drug, but of mental exercise. His brain had to be constantly working or else it would "rebel." When on a case or any other activity that he would consider mentally challenging, he would stop using for as long as his brain was entertained. If one only knew Holmes from fanfics and pastiches (professionally published fanfics), he turns into a drug-addicted genius who needs a constant high to function. In such stories, his drug of choice is usually changed to opium for whatever reason, even when it was specifically stated in the canon that he doesn't do opium. This is also carried over to more official adaptations.
  • Good luck finding a hater of the Inheritance Cycle who doesn't notice the Ho Yay. Constantly. Admittedly, even the people who like the books notice this too.
  • Perhaps it's safe to say that Johanna of The Hunger Games fame won't be living down stripping down naked in an elevator while simultaneously casually chatting with Katniss and Peeta any time soon.
    • Or Katniss agreeing to the Capitol Games. Some people ignore the fact that she was acting in front of President Coin.
  • Yes, in Percy Jackson and the Olympians Nico summoned the dead with Happy Meals. And Thalia torched New England.
  • In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge has become most famous for his 'catchphrase', "Bah! Humbug!" In reality, he uses this phrase only twice during the entire book.
    • This is to say nothing of the fact that Scrooge has become synonymous with greed and anti-Christmas sentiment, despite the fact that the book is about his redemption from these traits and that such redemption begins taking place almost immediately upon being transported to Christmas Past.
  • Isildur from The Lord of the Rings. He was a total badass who did many great things. Chief among them, he actually defeated Sauron, admittedly with his father and Gil-Galad having done most of the work. However, all many readers seem to remember him for is not destroying the ring, which meant Sauron could return. What makes this an especially glaring example is that no one could have done any better. Frodo is the next person to be in a position to destroy the Ring, and makes the exact same choice. According to Word of God, no one has enough willpower to actually destroy the ring.
    • In the movie version, this is compounded with Isildur only defeating Sauron with a desperate swing of his sword that luckily cut Sauron's ring finger off (after which Isildur retrieves the Ring), followed by Isildur refusing Elrond's urging to destroy the Ring. In the book, there is no mention of Elrond taking Isildur to the Cracks of Doom and it's unknown whether or not he ever told Isildur to destroy the ring.
  • Chances are, if you haven't read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you're only going to know one thing about it: 42, the meaning of life. Which it isn't, by the way; it's the answer to the great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, so it's utterly meaningless unless you know them both. Despite a generation of bored mathematicians and conspiracy theorists attempting to prove him wrong, the author insisted all his life that 42 was simply a number he grabbed out of the air and found amusing. It doesn't help that Stephen Fry likes to troll people about this, saying he'll take the "real" reason to his grave.
  • The Pet Goat gained enormous amounts of attention as the book George W. Bush was reading when 9/11 happened.
  • It: Bev has sex with the rest of the Losers Club after defeating It. Whether it was evidence of Bev's abuse manifesting itself in questionable sexual development, a scene about the fears and uncertainties of adulthood, or Stephen King just being on drugs; it is an incredibly awkward scene and both adaptations cut it. The scene is quite infamous when discussing Bev and the story in general and when the 2017 film came out a number of King's more malicious critics tried to use it as evidence that he was or was enabling child predators.
  • The title character of Cujo has undergone Memetic Mutation as a label for any frightening, vicious dog. People actually reading the book are likely surprised to find he's actually a Big Friendly Dog who only becomes the killer he's remembered as because of a rabies infection. The epilogue even spells out that he never wanted to hurt anyone and was a victim himself of the disease.
  • King himself will probably never live down the idea of his "writing while flying high on cocaine". He has been drug-free since the early 90's. For that matter, people tend to blame the (perceived) weak ending of The Stand and the rather rambling plot of The Shining on King's drug habit, when in fact he wouldn't have serious drug problem until the 80's. He did, however, have a drinking problem early on.
    • The list of things King may never live down is pretty long, but one would be remiss not to mention the supposed idea that the latter half of his career has consisted of unreadable dreck that even his fans can't stand. Some even blame his being hit by a car for "destroying his creativity". In the opinions of those who have actually read his post-accident output, he's written some of this best work since then, including Duma Key, 11/22/63, Doctor Sleep and Revival. Many of the novels held up as "proof" of his later work being awful generally include Rose Madder or Insomnia, two books that are actually from the 90's and pre-accident, or they will bring up Dreamcatcher and Cell, which he wrote years apart, and are only two books out of his post-accident period.
  • Alice, Girl from the Future:
    • In one of the several dozen entries of the series, Alice talks about a dish called brambulet that she can cook herself. The topic is forgotten after a few paragraphs, and brambulet isn't mentioned in any other Alice books. In fanfics, however, it often becomes practically the national dish of the bright future and Alice's favorite food in particular.
    • If you read fanfiction, you might think Rat always calls Alice "Alisochka", the pet form of her name (whether as a Term Of Endangerment or actual Affectionate Nickname, depends on the fanfic). Canonically, he only addresses her like that twice in all their numerous confrontations.

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