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I'm leaving the phrasing of this one as-is (no dreaded "favorite" at any rate), but honestly it feels weird to talk about hating a character. I get frustrated or bored or eye-rolly with characters, but hating...? Unless we're talking about hating how a character is drawn, but that's an issue with the story, not the character, surely? And if the character is intended to be unlikeable, does that count?

And yet, I probably do hate characters, or at least have a strong negative emotional reaction against some. I bet if someone mentioned one, I'd be all, "ugh! Her!" I just ... can't think of any right now. There are at least several I can think of where I like the idea of the character much more than the execution – and vice versa – but that's not the question, now, is it? And it's not enough in the spirit of the question to be able to substitute. And since we're on a schedule, we'll just have to make do.

Day Three: A female character you hated but grew to love

Scarlett O’Hara (and kinda Melly too) of Gone With the Wind.

Now, let's establish this firmly: I first read GWTW when I was fourteen or fifteen. (I know this because I used to read it – just recreationally – during history class, and the teacher gave me an academic achievement certificate, which our school used to award quarterly under the apprehension that anyone cared, specifically for "Reading". Because he was cool. Looking back, I've had a knack for getting on well with my teachers and profs (those with a sense of humour, anyway), which is a helpful skill to develop when you rarely do more than the bare minimum of work ... and possibly much less than that.) Anyway! I was young, is my point. And not terribly sophisticated in the way I interacted with story and characters, and.... Look, yes! Okay? Yes! I was there for the shippy moments and the dark dangerous thrill of Rhett Butler. And looking at my Type, I think we can safely say that I imprinted hard. (Or, you know, this Type is just somewhere right down in the bone.) (And no, Clarke Gable is not how I imagine him. At all.)

However, in the course of getting at the Rhett Butlerness, I had to wade through an awful lot of Scarlett. I don't know if I would really say I hated her, but there was a strong exasperation reflex. Scarlett's uncritical, grasping possessiveness grated, and I say that as a bona fide tomboy who parlayed that playtime familiarity with boys into hardcore flirting skills. Why such a bitch, Scarlett? And while we're at it, why so boring, Melly? Yeah ... like I said, not terribly sophisticated.

Later, of course, I came to adore the both of them. Because they are awesome. As is their relationship, and basically everything about them. (Still can't really get onboard with Ashley, but I can feel the tragedy he embodies, I guess?) I mean, Scarlett goes through hell and stubbornly refuses anything like a real character arc. She starts off with the unquestioning motivation of MINE! which carries her and everyone she considers hers to the other end of the events of the book – saving Melly, Melly's child, Tara, and her own whole family, chosen or otherwise, by any means necessary and any personal cost – and the most you can say by the end is she finally sees Ashley isn't what she thought he was all along. At which point she gives a decided "eh" and turns to Rhett with a "mine!" He shoots her down as thoroughly as it is possible to, and she bounces right back with the same incorrigible "... mine tho!" She is a complete and utter force of nature.

Meanwhile? Melanie's ready to charge a man with her brother's sword to back Scarlett up when she can barely stand, lies to cover up Scarlett's murder and helps her bury the body. Without even blinking. Which is only the tip of the iceberg of awesome with this lady, but really, what more needs to be said, about her or their relationship? Friendship doesn't get any realer than that.

... Man, I need to read this again too!

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January 2016
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