Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Post from Kendare Blake author of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD

An Ode to Jerks
With Kendare Blake

Ah, jerks. They’re a special breed of character. Different from villains, who generally have nefarious purposes and some kind of plan. Different from monsters, as jerks don’t normally pose much of an actual threat. No, a jerk is just…well, to quote Wayne’s World, as I so often do, If a Jerk was an ice cream flavor, they’d be pralines and dick. They’re main purpose is to be there, and be hated. And how we love to hate them. So, in honor of jerks, I’m profiling three of my favorites.

1. Blanche Ingram

I know, there are more recent versions of Blanche, but I’m going with my favorite, from the 1996 production of Jane Eyre with William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Elle Macpherson. Because come on, if some chick is going to try to muscle in on your man in a believable fashion, don’t you want it to be Elle Macpherson, in these ridiculous curls? Look at those curls. The minute she gets off her horse, you just want to grab ‘em and stuff em straight into her mouth.

Blanche Ingram. She’s a jerk. Clearly after Rochester for his money, and spoiled and conceited to boot. She’s rude, haughty and finds a peculiar joy in belittling Jane and her profession as a governess. But she’s no villain. The poor thing’s just a plot device. Annoying, sure. Every time she pops onto the page or screen I get the urge to growl and bite her. But she is one of the great literary jerks.

2. Wormtongue

Who, me?

Yes, you, you creeper. Skulking around castles trying to look up everyone’s skirts, wearing Jack White’s hairdo. You’re a jerk, I’m sorry. He’d qualify as a villain if only it was his own plan he was working on, rather than being Saruman’s butt puppet. As it is though, every time he’s on the page or screen you just find yourself…scowling. Even when he’s pretending to be nice, the second he leaves the room, you mutter, “I hate that guy.” And that’s sort of sad, I guess. Oh wait, no it isn’t. I hate that guy.

3. Draco Malfoy

You know you love me.

Well of course we love you. We love to hate you. And you’d better give that eyebrow a rest, Sport. You’re liable to pull something. Draco Malfoy is the jerkiest of jerks. Possibly because we’ve all known a kid like him. Always up in your business, making trouble for you for no other reason than you just rub him the wrong way. He’ll get you into any number of detentions, pranks, and assorted tomfoolery, but in typical jerk fashion, none of it’s really that serious. He’s just there to be annoying, or infuriating, depending on the day. He’s the snuggie in your trousers, basically.

The thing about jerks, is they’re absolute fun to dislike. Fun to root against. Fun to watch your hero or heroine triumph over. And they’re also really fun to write. If you’re a writer and haven’t tried out a complete jerk yet, I highly recommend it. You’ll hate them every bit as much as your readers should…but you might just find that you keep on writing about them. And writing about them. And writing about them some more.


  1. Great post!
    Now I want to watch Jane Eyre. Haven't seen this version yet I think.

  2. @Sullivan, I loved that she wrote about jerks and I know I laughed a lot when I read it. :) Also makes me want to read her book even more.


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