I know. I'm almost certainly going to catch some flak for singling out every one's favorite boy wizard as the most annoying character in genre fiction. But I'm going to do it anyway. Because he deserves it.
I could have picked someone like Sansa, from A Game of Thrones, with her simpering naivete. But the deluded princess character who believes in romantic knights and handsome princes is such a cliche that Sansa is almost not even a character so much as she is a caricature. Or I could have picked someone like the house elf Dobby, who is so annoying that even Gollum hates him. And although Dobby is a truly annoying character, he, like Gurgi from the Chronicles of Prydain, is once again just another example of a recurring character type - the comic relief sidekick. Based solely on reputation I could have picked Bella from the Twilight books, but the only problem there is that I haven't actually read them, and I refuse to include characters, locations, or scenes from books that I have not read in my 30 Days of Genre selections.
And I'm not picking Harry Potter because of annoyance at the enormous popularity of J.K. Rowling's books. As far as I am concerned, the more books an author sells the better. No, I am picking Harry Potter because he's an obnoxious lazy jock. Is Harry smart? No. Hermione is. Is Harry studious? Nope, Hermione again. Is Harry at least naturally talented at academics? Not really. He's decent at defense against the dark arts magic, but in every other category, Hermione outshines him. Who solves the problems? Almost every time it is Hermione. Whenever there is heavy lifting to be done, almost every time it is done by Hermione, and on the rare occasions when it isn't, it is usually done by some other character while Harry stands around gawking. And what is Harry good at? Well, he has a natural talent for broom-riding and is thus drafted into being the star player on the Gryffindor quidditch team. Potter, without most people knowing it, is a stereotypical dumb jock. Not only that, he's a wealthy dumb jock who dates a girl he doesn't really like using her just to get some sort of petty revenge when his two best friends strike up a relationship.
And people fawn over him in the books. He's the boy who lived after all. But this just makes him more annoying, since every part of his character that is not a lazy dumb and mostly thoughtless jock is a tired cliche. Harry Potter is the chosen one. Why? Because he is prophesied to be the chosen one. One would think that all the people around Potter would notice that he's pretty much just a dopey teenage athlete bumming around school with nothing in particular to recommend him as anything special. Even so, Dumbledore takes Potter under his wing and makes him into the Headmaster's pet, which makes him an even more annoying character (compounded by the fact that Dumbledore is a very annoying character in his own right). And all this based more or less on an accident of genetics and random prophecy.
So for being the lazy, indolent, and thoughtless jock who stumbled undeservedly into being treated like a hero, Harry Potter gets my vote as the most annoying character in genre fiction.
Go to Day 5: What Character Do You Feel You Are Most Like (or Wish You Were)?
Go to Day 7: What Is Your Favorite Couple in a Genre Novel?
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