This one was tricky for me. When we say ‘deserved better’ do we mean that they deserved more screen time (page time?) or that they deserved to be treated better overall?
I’ll be honest. I wracked my brain trying to come up with ten. Most secondary characters must not make much of an impression because I spent two days with my ‘read’ list on Goodreads, and could only come up with five. So here they are—my five secondary characters who deserve better.
Win, The Myron Bolitar Series, Harlan Coben
So, yeah, Win just got his own book, so how does he qualify for this list? Well, here’s the thing. Win is my favorite-period-sidekick-period-ever-period. He’s so tortured, so damaged, so violent, so hilarious. And he loves Myron, which is the thing that I love most about him.
However, he has been given no personal growth path. He’s still the same lovable sociopath that we met way back in book #1. And maybe that is a testament to how well the character was drawn from day one, but I keep hoping that someday he will be able to love someone who isn’t Myron. That someday, he’ll get some semblance of happiness. He’s earned it.
Morelli, Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich
Look, it’s well-documented that I hate this series. I know that I am alone in that. For mystery girls everywhere, this series is kind of like the holy grail. It’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s funny. What is not to love?
What is not to love is that Stephanie Plum is a horrible human being, and I regret almost every minute that I spent with her.
Morelli loves her. Like, really loves her. And she can’t seem to stop jerking him around. I’m all for a love triangle. But this one has been going on for twenty-eight books! Twenty-eight! And there is no end in sight to this torture. I stopped reading after about eight, so done was I with this…this… philandering harpie. I want more than anything for her to finally wake up and find that Morelli has well and truly moved on, that he’s in love with a lovely librarian named Kate, and that he will get the happily-ever-after that he’s been denied. And then, when she tries to go back to Ranger, he’s also moved on, being so unaccustomed to coming in second. I want her alone, so she can truly contemplate her mistakes.
But mostly, I want Morelli happy.
Aervyn, Modern Witch series, Debra Geary
Oh, Modern Witch series…how you have wrecked me.
First, a little bit about this little-known series. It’s…well, I’d call it light fantasy. It’s the story of a very large community of witches, mostly based in California with extended family in Nova Scotia. The main premise has to do with some sort of computer algorithm that helps the witches find other new witches, witches who might not know about or understand their powers, so that they can bring them into the group.
It’s lovely. It’s kind, and warm and happy. It redefines what a family is, and holds up an ideal of what a family CAN BE. It’s…it’s the Bob Ross of urban fantasy, all full of happy little witches.
It is a book series that I recommended without reservation for many, many years. And then Debra Geary’s marriage imploded, and she, apparently, lost access to the part of her brain that allowed her to write stories about happy families of witches. Whatever her husband did, she changed her name and started writing about lesbian assassins instead.
I’m not kidding about that last part.
But Witch Central was kind of left…unfinished. And because it was left unfinished, I no longer recommend it to anyone, because there’s no conclusion. Of all the book things that haunt me, this one is possibly the most painful.
Cause, see, there was a little boy named Aervyn. And he was the sweetest little warlock you ever did meet, just a little boy with way too much power (“most powerful witch for generations…” ) who liked to fly and teleport his sister. And Debra Geary, before her husband did the unspeakable thing that blew up the franchise, promised…promised…PROMISED that there would be a book starring grown-up Aervyn. And now, we never get to see that perfect little boy grow up. It’s…gut wrenching. And he, and we all, deserved better.
Aunt Beast, A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
Aunt Beast is my favorite character in all of A Wrinkle in Time, which is the book that changed me from a person who liked to read into a *reader*.
I maintain that Aunt Beast is the primary reason that Meg is able to do what needed to be done at the end of the book. Aunt Beast gave her confidence, and unconditional love, which, in the end, is what made Meg…Meg.
So why was she left out of the movie? I mean, seriously? I won’t get over that one any time soon.
Rob Ryan, In The Woods, Tana French
So, Tana French writes the Dublin Murder Squad series. The way the series is structured is that there is a character in each book that carries over to become the main character in the subsequent book. So, it was Rob and Cassie in the first book, and Cassie and Frank in the second book and Frank and someone else in the third book, and so on and etcetera.
The problem that I have with this is that Rob Ryan was the more fascinating of the two characters in the first book, and he did not get another book. I would read a Rob Ryan book so fast, it would create a breeze. But no, we got Cassie and Frank and Scorcher and Stephen and Holly…
Rob deserved better.
So that’s it. My little therapy session, wherein I work out my rage issues as regards characters that I apparently love way more than their creators. What say you, blogosphere? Who is your favorite secondary character who got done shady?