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The protagonist is the audience's way into a story. More often than not, protagonists are written so that the audience can put themselves in their shoes. However, this isn't always the case.


Unreliable and unlikable protagonists are a fun literary tool. You get to experience the story through the eyes of someone you distrust, which completely changes the story for you.

u/Land013 asked:

Who is the most unlikable fictional protagonist?

Here were some of the answers.

Wow, Who Writes Like This?

There's a fantasy book series called The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and the titular main character is a terrible human being.

He starts out mad at society because he has leprosy in the modern-day and is a social reject because of it, but when he gets magically transported to a fantasy world he gets healed, and then in a fit of rage and denial, he assaults the woman who healed him.

I don't completely remember but I think she was underage too. Let me tell you, that's one way to get me to stop reading a novel less than 100 pages in. I have no idea how the author squeezed ten novels out of a horrible protagonist like Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.

DeltaDestroys01

Bad Writing

I'm surprised no one said Rachel Berry from Glee.

AceButNotAtLove

I think she was supposed to be a flawed main character who eventually learns her lesson that you have to be nice and less self-centered. But Ryan Murphy took it too far in the direction of making her flawed so that the nice things she occasionally does at the end of episodes to prove that she "learned to be nicer" just don't do enough to redeem her

RedditUser123234

Pay The Piper

Piper from OITNB. Literally any other character would've made a better protagonist

ilikejalapenocheetos

Definitely one of those shows where you keep watching for everyone else and hate the main protagonist.

jayXred

Sometimes the unlikable protagonist serves a purpose.

Yum Yum Leech

Allan from Two and a Half Men. All he does is leech off his successful older brother while criticizing his every action and causes every other person in his life to dislike him to the point his son would refer to him as a loser.

He also always complained about being broke and having nothing good going for him and did nothing to make things better for himself.

And after his brother died, he just began leeching off the billionaire who bought the house instead of getting his own place and eventually quit his job and just leeched off everybody else.

3vilR0ll0

I'll Never Let Go Jack

I might get some hate for this but I have to go with Rose Calvert from Titanic.

What she did to the crew was lie to them then waste their time and money telling her story to them.

Yet at the end she throws the one thing they were looking for overboard to be lost at sea.

Itsallaboutthecones

Gilmore Worsts

Rory Gilmore. Lots of problems in the original series, but they basically came back for a reboot to remind us THIS PERSON IS F**KING AWFUL

BrownEyed_Squirrel

Lorelai is awful, too. She treats the men in her life like dirt and her level of selfishness is insane.

For some reason the episode that most disgusts me is the one where she actually disrupts her best friend's (Sukie's) wedding to deal with her own issues, and Sukie stands by smiling. Ridiculous.

monkeyhind

And sometimes, they just ruin the show.

Cringe People

Sheldon Cooper, Big Bang Theory. If cringe was personified, it would be Sheldon.

ChaseDonovan

He's the fastest case of Flanderization I've personally ever seen. Usually it takes at least four seasons before it even starts to set in, he was already becoming a caricature of his own character by season 2.

Viridun

NO THIS IS PATRICK

Patrick Star.

He's done lot of despicable things (including but not limited to stealing his best friends' pet, ruining a rare collectible card he knew his friend wanted and being a deadbeat dad).

But the one episode that really opened my eyes as to what a major a**hole this guy is, is the one where he has no money to pay for his own food, so Spongebob pays for his kids meal, under the condition they share it. After Patrick eats all the food himself, he also wants the toy that comes with it completely for himself.

He mocks Spongebob for reminding him of their agreement and becomes just insufferable about hogging the toy. In the end he eats the toy just so Spongebob can't have it, and buys a new one with money he stole from Spongebob's wallet. Just a selfish piece of sh*t.

biancastolemyname

Soarin', Flyin'

Don't know if this has been said yet since I'm way too lazy to scroll all the way down before making a comment but Troy and Gabriella from the High School Musical series.

We all watched HSM 1-3 as kids and we're told these were seemingly flawless protagonists who were always in the right because they were attractive people-pleasers, however, re-watching the movies through a slightly more mature lens (as well as seeing other people online come to the same conclusion as you) reveals that Sharpay (the villain of the movies) is MUCH more suited to being the protagonist than our Christian rock power couple.

Troy and Gabriella just waltz in one day, completely inexperienced might I add, expecting to just automatically get the leads for the musical whereas Sharpay and her brother Ryan have been the only committed and hard-working members of the theater program to date so of course, they would expect they would get the roles and it's completely valid for them to be upset about it.


Troy and Gabriella spend three movies essentially complaining because the world doesn't revolve around them only for everything to go their way in the end. You can't even blame Sharpay for resenting them when they so clearly take for granted the humble love and support of their parents, where while Sharpay's parents do love her it's clear they are consumed by their wealth and show neglectful tendencies.

You may call her a diva but I prefer the phrase confident, I mean it's show biz for crying out loud I would MUCH rather have someone a bit overconfident who is good at what they do and knows it rather than two newbies who want to feel special and second guess every choice they make. I now realize I just put more effort into a Reddit comment than my school essays so I'll just leave it like this. Troy and Gabriella are the true antagonists because they are selfish little sh*ts, thank you for coming to my Ted talk.

chaotic_neurotic_

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