Overall, I don’t think we consciously give much thought to our least favourite characters, instead we focus on the ones we do love and enjoy, which is fair enough. However the other week, when I was telling you about the Five Go Down to the Sea 70s adaptation and I mentioned that I didn’t very much rate Yan as a character in the book, I thought it might be a good idea to look at the characters and pick out the ones I don’t like the most and why. So I’m only doing three because I thought that would be enough – especially as I’m talking about dislikes – sometimes it can be too much otherwise. Anyway, let’s get started.
As I said the other week, Yan in my humble opinion is a very two dimensional character and only really brought alive by Rupert Graves in the 1970s. Yan is a very much a background character, only really there as a plot device. He doesn’t say much and just monopolizes Timmy, annoying George. He does save them from the cave of doom, well the cave Timmy gets them trapped in.
He’s a timid mouse of a boy who doesn’t really speak, thus causing problems when the Five are trying to find out about the wreckers and the wreckers way. His very quiet nature doesn’t lend itself to the situation at all, where the Five need a companion who knows the area to solve the mystery. Yan however just follows them around making a nuisance of himself, which is why I join in with the Five in finding him irritating. He is a hard character to warm to, even with his sad story about not having any parents and only his great granddad to look after him. You can’t warm to him like you can to Sniffer, Jo and some of the others. There is no spark to him.
Yan just doesn’t have a personality that I can distinguish and he doesn’t add much to the story, he doesn’t even really help with the adventure and just gets in the way. This is unfortunately why I don’t like him very much.
Frederick Algernon Trotterville. The hero to some, but just a simple pompous bully to me. I have yet to see his good side and I don’t like the entitlement he believes he had over the Five Find-Outers. He is annoying with his money and his selfish ways. He boasts every time he can about something he has done at school or how much money he got for his birthday and Christmas, and I just don’t see how people like him! Is it because he is some sort of anti-hero? I.E. he doesn’t fit the traditional Blyton mould of the leader and hero which might be why people see him as the better character against ones like Julian for example (don’t get me started – see here for that argument!)
Fatty has the best of everything and anything, having money to spend and throw around sometimes even putting the other Five Find-Outers to shame with the amount of money he has. He can be incredibly self important as well, making himself seem big and grown up, like in The Mystery of the Secret Room where he told the others that he would spend some time during the night outside Milton Lodge because his parents are away and then he stupidly falls asleep in the house and gets captured. I mean come on, that is a special kind of silly.
I’m afraid to all the Fatty fans out there, he just doesn’t do anything for me in regards to being likeable. I am, as you know, ultimately a Julian girl at heart and however much you beg me to turn my liking to Fatty, I am afraid he will never be as likeable as Julian.
3. Alicia Johns
I bet that shocked you! The prankster from Malory Towers not being likeable, well let me tell you just because you’re a joker does not mean that you are necessarily a nice character. I find Alicia to be harsh and uncaring for the first four books, and even when she mellows out after her measles, she can still have an edge to her. There is something about her character that for me, makes her unlikeable.
Her cold shouldering of Darrell in the first book and then Sally in the second is just a show of how badly Alicia reacts to people who don’t work within her lines. Sally was given the head girl position and Alicia thought she deserved it, she went against Sally, over turning her decisions not to confront Ellen about the stolen property. She didn’t stand by Darrell when Mary-Lou’s fountain pen was found smashed in the common room, and blamed Darrell’s temper at Mary-Lou being the centre of attention.
Although ultimately she’s not a bad person, Alicia is just too close to those people in school for me, who thought that it was all right to act like this. She’s a strong personality and takes over, which is something that never really gets sorted, even when they’re in the fifth form and she clashes with Moira. Everything has to be her own way, and nothing she does can be the wrong thing. In terms of her character – I just don’t think we would have gotten on, but everyone else at Malory Towers I would have really enjoyed meeting (perhaps with the other exception of Gwen and Maureen) but I just can’t bring myself to like Alicia. Sorry!
So there we are, you have my three least favourite characters. Why don’t you let me know what yours are in the comments? All I ask is that you don’t bash me for saying I am not a fan of Fatty – we all need to be different! Anyway I would love to know your thoughts on the least favourite characters you have come across in your Blyton travels. You never know, you may give me more ideas for a second post!
Good idea, Stef – I tend to ignore those characters who don’t make an impression on me. Fatty is not someone who gives moral lead in the same way as Julian does. Julian plays the role of a ‘Head boy’ whilst Fatty is a joker who plays to his audience. I don’t dislike him but I much prefer Julian. It is interesting that my two favourite series (Famous Five and Adventure) both have very likeable characters who one can admire.
I must admit I do like Fatty because he is a fully rounded character (no pun intended) and is such an awful swellhead with tons of pretentiousness chucked in. Blyton had a lot of books in which to play with his character (though I would trust Julian’s judgement over Fatty’s every time.) I don’t dislike many characters, but I think that petulant little twit Annette Carlton from Those Dreadful Children really annoys me – a mini Gwendoline.
I don’t love Fatty but I don’t think I particularly dislike him either. He can be annoying and boastful but I don’t think there’s a malicious or cruel bone in his body.
It is very interesting to see hos characters and settings have to be different if you want to “enrapt” children from another country, language, customs, culture, etc… In France we know Noddy (Oui-Oui) and his friends; I vaguely remember a story that I loved about two children in a fir-tree – I has been given by Grand-Mother in a fit of charity – and, of course “Le Club des Cinq” – “The Famous Five”. I did not know there was so much around and about them. I do not recognise them anymore! And Malory Towers about which I read abut have never read actually – this is also Enid Blyton?
Your blog is a treasure! 🙂
Malory Towers is indeed also by Blyton, just one of her three school series (the others being St Clare’s and The Naughtiest Girl). I have just discovered that Malory Towers was translated into French and Darrell’s name is changed to Dolly, the same as in the German translations. Unfortunately my French is extremely limited and so I would struggle to read any French Blytons.
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MalOry Towers in French? I have to learn more….
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i really love fatty frederick algernon troteville people might call him boastful ,,but if can do almost anything if u try ,,,u might be like that too
he can’t help knowing that he is above others in brains and courage
once it was written that others knew that fatty was head and shoulders above them in everything and they knew it …i really like julian too 1st i had read the famous five so i loved him [as a brother] then came fatty and i loved him…i like malory towers and st clares as well and i like alicia johns she is bad in someways as a few others have written ..but she is clear hearted and fine i like
janet robins and carlotta brown and bobby elis they are all good characters
i am writing this when i am about to turn 13!!!!!!!!!! but i had read these books before and i still have them……..follow me on instagram @ d.eepika1543 …..now i am solangelo fangirl of rick riordan books heroes of olympus trials of apollo tower of nero [waiting for the book] solangelo for lifeee!!!!!
I am reading Five Go Down To The Sea and have completed the first four chapters. I hate the way the four children talk to Yan like he is a dog or a pig. Why, they even talk to their dog Timmy in a better manner. And this starts even before Yan starts following them about everywhere.
Alicia is horrible. Suffered at the hands of too many ‘Alicia’s ‘ over my time in school and work. Now she does need taking down a peg or two. I can handle the Gwens and Maureen’s of this world though. But it does seem that if you hate games, which I did, you are obviously concieted, spoilt and a Gwen or Angela ( St Claires) type. I love Claudine as she hates games, getting hot and sweaty and insects she and I would be mates. ( my school was a girls private school and nothing at spiteful as a group of girls) I prefer the lads anytime.
I too hate, games, getting hot and sweaty and above all things insects and like Claudine spend a lot of time preserving my complexion though I (hopefully!) am not to centred on my appearance. I cannot agree with your closing remarks however. I spent most of my school-life at girls’ private schools but the boys at the only mixed school I attended (for less than a year) were v rough. Give me the girls please.
Now, I sooo do not agree with this post. I think Fatty is a lot more interesting than Julian. I don’t say anything against Julian but I think the former is a lot spicier a character. I think every character ought to have a (not-too-serious) flaw and Fatty’s boasting actually makes him more likeable in my opinion. It isn’t as if he degrades others through his own self-promotion and is actually quite kind and understanding. Much as I like Julian I think he’s a bit dull. You mentioned Fatty not being able to hold his own against George but I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I think towards the end of the Missing Man books he starts to have the upper hand a bit over Eunice and George is at least ten times nicer than she is! As for Alicia, I think you’ve judged her a bit too harshly. Yes, she isn’t my absolute favourite character of all time but I think that she is fairly well-meaning all the same despite her sharp-tongue and occasional unkindness. I think her main problem is that she is a bit too narrow-minded and doesn’t realise that everyone is like herself. If she did realise that I think she’d be a lot nicer. I totally agree with you on Yan though: he doesn’t add anything to the story and it’s almost as if he’s been included on purpose to niggle the reader. My least favourites are Yan, June and Isobel O’Sullivan (Yes, I know my last choice is probably going to be most controversial). Sometimes I almost forget Margaret Daykin exists in the Five Find-Outer books as she sort-of fades away. Fatty would actually be amongst my favourites alongside Claudine and Darrel. Mr Goon has to be amongst my all-time favourite villains though, and Kiki the parrot closely competed by Buster would be my favourite animal. (I think you can tell my favourite Blyton series is The Five Find-Outers). I don’t really like any of the Secret Seven characters actually (It is my least favourite series) so I would put it last.
Not-So-Fun Fact: Obviously unlike Blyton, I really don’t like dogs in real life though many of the time I have roared at Timmy and Buster. I really don’t take to Loopy though.