**Spoiler Alert** Our descriptions of characters may spoil major plot points. Read at your own risk.
Scarlett O’Hara, from Gone With The Wind
Rhett: Tell me, Scarlett, do you never shrink from marrying men you don't love?
Scarlett: How did you ever get out of jail? Why didn't they hang you?
Redemptive Qualities: Very bright, with great strength of character. Gets a little better near the end of the book. Probably saves the lives of several people. Says hilariously bitchy things. Is interesting. Loves her parents.
Rebecca, from Rebecca
If I had a child, Max, neither you, nor anyone in the world, would ever prove that it was not yours. It would grow up here in Manderley, bearing your name. There would be nothing you could do. And when you died Manderley would be his. You could not prevent it. The property’s entailed. You would like an heir, wouldn’t you, for your beloved Manderley? You would enjoy it, wouldn’t you, seeing my son lying in his pram under the chestnut tree, playing leap-frog on the lawn, catching butterflies in the Happy Valley? It would give you the biggest thrill or your life, wouldn’t it, Max, to watch my son grow bigger day by day, and to know that when you died, all this would be his?
* BUT because Rebecca is dead for the entirety of the book, we only have a small amount of evidence that does not come from the man who murdered her. So we’re pretty sure that she beat her horse until it bled, and that she threatened to have someone locked in an asylum, but the rest is, to my mind at least, suspect information.
Redemptive Qualities: Snappy dresser. Throws a great party. Has interesting handwriting.
Sugar Beth Carey, from Ain’t She Sweet
God, I hate you, you miserable dog.
Redemptive Qualities: Is an all-around much better person now, since the book is basically a tale of redemption.
Amy March, from Little Women
Amy: Scold as much as you like, you’ll never get your silly old story again.
Jo: Why not?
Amy: I burnt it up.
Jo: What! My little book I was so fond of, and worked over, and meant to finish before father got home? Have you really burnt it?
Amy: Yes, I did! I told you I’d make you pay for being so cross yesterday, and I have...
Redemptive Qualities: Bright; talented artist; gets more bearable as the book goes on; probably is not actually a horrible person, just really annoying.
Caroline Bingley, from Pride and Prejudice
How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. Darcy. I never in my life saw any one so much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again….For my own part, I must confess that I never could see any beauty in her. Her face is too thin; her complexion had no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome. Her nose wants character; there is nothing marked in its lines. Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way; and as for her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine, I never could perceive anything extraordinary in them. They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like at all; and in her air altogether, there is a self-sufficiency without fashion, which is intolerable.
Redemptive Qualities: Can “describe an entertainment with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh at their acquaintance with spirit;” has “an air of decided fashion.”
Pansy Parkinson, from the Harry Potter series
Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom? Never thought you’d like fat little crybabies, Parvati.
Redemptive Qualities: She cares for Draco Malfoy—and we all know he is just a poor, misunderstood, confused little boy.
Clarisse La Rue, from the Percy Jackson series
Annabeth: Meet Clarisse, Daughter of Ares.
Percy: Like…the war god?
Clarisse: You got a problem with that?
Redemptive Qualities: She saves Annabeth and Percy—several times—and eventually befriends both. She’s loyal to a fault, so as long as she’s on your side, you’re good.
Johanna Mason, from Catching Fire
I don’t care if you are knocked up, I’ll rip your throat out.
Redemptive Qualities: Technically, the Capital made her kill all those people. She helps bring down the Capital by cutting out Katniss’s tracker and helping her in the games. Really, she’s actually totally awesome.
Jessica Stanley, from the Twilight Series
Good luck, idiot.
*We know that Jessica didn’t like Bella thanks to Edward’s “gift” of mind-reading, which we witness in Midnight Sun (Stephanie Meyer’s unpublished Twilight story from Edward’s perspective). And it’s possibly not fair to judge a person on their private thoughts.
Redemptive Qualities: Not really that bad. We’d probably dislike Bella too if we met her in real life. And let’s be real, the Cullens are actually very weird, so she may be on the right track. She’s probably the closest thing to a normal person these books have ever seen.
Rhoda Stuart, from Emily of New Moon
We ought to sit together. We belong to the two best families in Blair Water. Do you know that if my father had his rights he be on the throne of England?
Redemptive Qualities: She raises Emily’s social status for a brief period.