As this is a post for the Broke.& Bookish, this post won’t be including delightful representations from film and television, such as Dr. House, or the span of indomitable Dame Maggie Smith curmudgeons.
There are a good many misconceptions about curmudgeons… we’re not evil, just grumpy. And they’re not even anti-social… we’re selectively social. And those we choose to socialize with? We will be unwaveringly loyal to them.
We are not only the ones most likely to yell at the neighbor kids for cutting through our lawns, but we are also the ones most likely to grouse for another hour about the lack of respect children have these days. Some people’s kids.
So here are some of my faves…
Sherlock definitely meets the above criteria… he’s rude, arrogant, and demanding. But he connects with Watson in a way that no one else does.
2. Nero Wolfe
What is about all that time introspecting, that makes one a good detective? Nero Wolfe is a gourmand who investigates the cases his assistant brings his way. Unlike Sherlock, he rarely leaves his home, but when he does, the game is most definitely afoot. 😉
3, Professor Snape
Like many curmudgeon’s Snape gets a bad rap. If you’re still confused about whether Snape is good, just watch this video where his scenes are placed in chronological order. (Spoilers ahead, so don’t watch if you’re not done with the series.)
4. Professor McGonagall
Let me set the record straight… women are most definitely capable of being a curmudgeon. For some reason the majority of the examples are male… but the definition doesn’t say male anywhere.
Let’s see… acerbic… Dame Maggie Smith has it doesn’t to an artwork.
Good? Hell yes, and she’s a badassssss.
Loyal? The most.
This cranky little dwarf from Narnia, is red-haired. So by the rules of C.S. Lewis, he is one of the good dwarves. But many a dwarf before and after him, he is cranky! He earns the nickname Dear Little Friend, which is later shortened to DLF much to his annoyance. However once the Pevensies earn his respect… they have it for the rest of his very long life.
6. Marilla Cuthbert
Another fantastic lady example. Marilla is a classic grouch with a heart of gold. In true curmudgeonly form, she’s abrasive to Anne in the beginning… partly because she’s guarded, and partly because she’d sent off for a boy. We kind like to have our way…
7. Gandalf the Grey
“Fool of a Took!” I rest my case.
8. Haymitch Abernathy
I was kinda feeling like he’d qualify, so on a whim I googled “Haymitch” “Abernathy” “curmudgeon” and immediately pulled up a reference to him as a curmudgeonly alcoholic mentor. There you have it, Lord Google knows all. Seriously though… crabby-butt who’s secretly nice, with a soft spot for someone? Ting, ting, ting, we have a winner.
9. Ben Weatherstaff
This is one you might not recognize by name, but he’s been a favorite of mine since I was a child. He’s the cantankerous gardener of Misselthwaite Manor in The Secret Garden. His loyalty to the late Mrs. Craven was so intense, that despite her husband locking the garden up, he’s continued to tend it in her memory.
Okay this is a wee bit of a cheater, but I can’t resist. A good many of the curmudgeons I thought of were from TV & film, so I started scribbling those down for a future list, but I couldn’t get back on track. So while researching for more literary ones to job my memory, I came across innumerable references to A Man Called Ove. Cue a quick diversion to find out how his name is said… apparently it’s “ooh-veh”.
Anyway… no matter what term I used… curmudgeon, grumpy old man, cantankerous, literary grump…. all roads led to Ove. I have heard of the book in brief passing, but am not entirely familiar. Seeing as he’s apparently our most current literary curmudgeon, he’s now been added to my TBR stack. 🙂
Who is your favorite literary curmudgeon? I’d love to meet more!
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Imagine me, outside your inbox, with a boombox held high.