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I’ve often heard of people putting a book down (either literally or in a review) because they contain unlikable protagonists. Of course, what qualifies as likable is entirely subjective, but it’s made me wonder—do our protagonists have to be likable?
I don’t think this is necessarily a hard yes or no answer. I think protagonists should be likable to an extent—if they’re entirely unlikable not many people will want to put up with them—but the goal shouldn’t be to aim for perfection by any stretch (in fact, that’d probably only aggravate the situation).
While I don’t think it’s impossible to enjoy a book with an unlikeable protagonist (I personally didn’t find Tris from the Divergent series to be especially likable, nor Warner from Destroy Me…at the beginning, anyway), I suspect this may vary from reader to reader. I have a friend who stopped reading Hunger Games because she found Katniss unlikable, and I’ve seen others rate books poorly because they weren’t a fan of the protagonist.
So now I ask you: do you think it’s necessary for the protagonist to be likable?
Do you think it's necessary for the protagonist to be likable? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)
"Protagonists should be likable to an extent...but the goal shouldn’t be to aim for perfection." (Click to tweet)