This post really does what it says on the tin. Here is my list of those nightmare characters who I wish were real just so I could strangle them.
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin.
As I mentioned in my "Guilty Pleasures" post, I just can't stand this protagonist. I know she's meant to be a feminist heroine, but all she does is listen to gossip. Furthermore, she spawned Bridget Jones. Euch.
Edward Cullen from Twilight et al, by Stephenie Meyer.
It's not just the fact that Robert Pattinson is now irrevocably attached to the name, although that does doom it somewhat. Mostly, I hate Edward's chauvinistic, over-protective sense of superiority when it comes to Bella. He practically kidnaps her at one point! He's just a bit too Heathcliff for me.
Harold Lauder from The Stand, by Stephen King.
King sure knows how to write characters who get under your skin and gnaw at you. Harold Lauder was one of these characters. A coward, a perv and a killer. Something about the way King writes Harold makes you feel like you need to scrub under your nails after reading about him.
Mrs Carmody from The Mist, by Stephen King.
Another astoundingly annoying bint created by my hero. This religious fanatic's blind evil made me want to crawl into the pages of the novella and remove each of her teeth with a set of pliers.
Gwendoline Mary Lacey from Malory Towers, by Enid Blyton.
I think maybe everyone knew a Gwendoline while they were growing up. Not the name, but the character. The pretty, vapid idiot who only had to bat a perfect eyelash or shed a phony tear to get just what she wanted. Readers of this series put up with six years of Gwendoline's crap and I'm sure it wasn't just me who wanted to pluck every silky blonde hair from her perfectly empty head!
So. Now that I've written down the first five which popped into my head, I can think of a million more characters who got on my nerves. However, I'm really more interested in your top five. What characters made you grit your teeth so hard that your jaw ached? Share in the comments all!