Back in college, I discovered something shocking about one of my best friends: She had never seen The Princess Bride. She hadn’t even heard of it. Obviously, I immediately took corrective action. I popped some popcorn, shoved the tape into the VCR (DVDs were this newfangled thing), and sat back. Waiting.
Waiting for her to laugh. Waiting for her to swoon. Waiting for her to fall to her knees and thank me for introducing her to a cultural phenomenon.
Instead, I got yawns. And watch checking. And, “How long is this thing?”
Westley and Buttercup survived the Fireswamp. Westley was taken away to be tortured. Count Rugan was revealed as the six-fingered man. And I shut off the VCR. Defeated.
“So you pretty much hate this, right?” I asked.
“Why?!” I wailed (I took things very seriously back then).
“That Westley guy is an asshole.”
My jaw dropped. “But. But. It’s WESTLEY.”
My friend grabbed a handful of popcorn and shrugged. “The guy’s still an ass.”
“He’s supposed to be that way,” I muttered. “He’s Westley.” There wasn’t much else I could say. No way was I going to tell her that they’d toned down Westley’s snark for the movie, that book* Westley dished it out ten times worse.
It was kind of an interesting lesson, though. For my friend to like a character, the character had to be, well, likable (which sort of made sense since she was so sweet she made Snow White look like one of the Mean Girls). I meanwhile, embraced Westley despite his snark—in fact, I was pretty sure his snark made him just a little more appealing.
Because if there’s one thing I have trouble resisting, it’s a sarcastic character. It’s why I like Edward better before he confesses his love to Bella and why I secretly crush on Ford Prefect even though he would be the worst date in several galaxies. And it’s why I’ll always like Spike better than Angel.
Sarcasm is the one character flaw I have trouble resisting.
So how about you? Is there one character flaw (in fiction) that you just can’t help be drawn to?
*If you haven’t read The Princess Bride, you have to go get it. Right now. I'll wait.