Look, it’s okay if you don’t like Clary. Characters are like real people: there is no such thing as one that everyone loves. She is meant to be realistic and flawed, of course—she’s impulsive and rash, she’s quick to act and sometimes also quick to judge—and just like with real people, that means some will like her and some won’t. (In fact, with Clary, I deliberately gave her a lot of traits I associate with boy heroes in fiction: impulsiveness, recklessness, lack of regard for her own safety, the responsibility to protect her mother, best friend, boyfriend; the responsibility to save the world. I wanted to see how they would sit with a girl protagonist. And, well, a lot of people don’t like it.)
One thing I do find interesting is that with male characters, they are very rarely called “annoying.” You can hate a male character, or find them evil, but annoying, being a very dismissive term is applied almost uniquely to women and female characters. In fact, this seemed so across-the-board to me that I looked around and indeed found a great essay by Leupagus about just this:
(To Anyone Annoyed By A Woman: An Open Letter)
Jeri Ryan shows up as a sassy con artist on “Leverage,” and people groan about how annoying her character is. Michelle Borth plays a self-confident sailor who sleeps with Steve McGarrett on “Hawaii Five-0” and someone writes a horrifying story about how she gets murdered — and gets dozens of people praising it for “killing off that annoying bitch.” People gush about Michael Fassbender and complain incessantly about January Jones in “X-Men: First Class,” calling one amazing and the other — you guessed it! — annoying. Ellen Page is so annoying in “Inception.” Gwyneth Paltrow is so annoying in “Iron Man.” Annoying, annoying, annoying — it would be funny if it weren’t so predictable.
So I guess what I would say is that of course being a female character doesn’t meant you get a pass from anyone ever not liking you. But if you’re using the word “annoying” to describe a girl or woman, real or fictional, take a moment to stop and ponder what it is that makes you think that character is annoying, what precise actions she took that bothered you so much, and whether they would have bothered you if a boy did them.