It doesn't matter what side of the good vs. evil divide they land on, characters who hold grudges are some of our favorites, especially when they won't let them go.
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As a noun, a grudge is defined as a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.
In the realm of TV, sometimes it's easy to spot a particular moment or incident in these character's pasts that'll leave them with these emotions. Other times, it's a little harder to define.
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Here are 23 grudgeholders that have graced our television screens.
Emily Thorne (Revenge)
Let's start off with the epitome of grudgeholders, Emily Thorne. Better known as Amanda Clarke, she returned to the Hamptons to get revenge for her father's wrongful imprisonment and death. Throughout four seasons she systematically dismantles the Grayson family from the inside-out and watches their empire fall.
Alice Quinn (The Magicians)
Alice Quinn has been angry since the moment we met her. She's angry at Brakebills, her mother, and even Quentin for caring enough to bring her back from Niffen-hood. By the end of The Magicians Season 3, Alice Quinn was holding her grudge against magic. Seeing it as the root cause for all her problems she attempted to snuff out magic for good.
Admiral Cain (Battlestar Galactica)
The Cylons might have destroyed the Twelve Colonies, but for Admiral Helena Cain it was personal. The extended cut of the TV movie, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, revealed Cain's history during the first Cylon War, including the loss of her sister who she abandoned shortly before they retreated. It's no wonder that after the nuclear attacks she was hellbent on destroying the Cylons at any cost.
The Doctor (Doctor Who)
The Doctor doesn't forgive easily. But nothing exemplifies the Doctor's ability to hold a grudge more than her anger towards the Daleks. There's no shortage of moments where you can see the Doctor's rage against his enemy, and while the Doctor might be responsible for destroying her home planet, the Daleks were equal participants in The Time War.
Remi Briggs (Blindspot)
Blindspot is about a woman with permanent amnesia, but Season 3 flipped the tables and gave Jane Doe her original memories back. When Remi Briggs re-emerged at the end of Blindspot Season 3, and she immediately had a grudge against the FBI and what they had done to Sandstorm. After three years a lot had changed including finding that Jane was married to Kurt, who Remi hates.
Gregory House (House M.D.)
Dr. House is brilliant but he's also mad at the universe. Specifically, the set of circumstances that led him to walk with a cane while also being in constant pain. His anger comes out at his ex-wife and sometimes the world of medicine. Especially, when he thinks he's finally found something that works only to have the solution fail.
B'Elanna Torres (Star Trek: Voyager)
B'Elanna Torres is a character whose feeling of ill will goes back years. When we met her she was angry at Starfleet, but over time we also learned about the anger she has towards her father. Specifically, how he abandoned her and her mother when she was younger.
Lilith (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sometimes anger and ill will comes from being passed over. Like, in the case of Lilith. Lilith was cast out of the garden for wanting to be equals with her husband Adam. She's been "working" towards ruling by fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar's side for centuries, but by the end of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part II, Lilith has had enough of his empty promises.
Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)
Regina Mills's anger towards Snow White is the cornerstone of her character during the early seasons of Once Upon a Time. Resentful that Snow White is the reason her mother killed her one-true-love Daniel, Regina uses that anger to fuel her curse, and all her attempts to control the lives of the Enchanted Forest inhabitants.
John Murphy (The 100)
It's John Murphy against the world on The 100. Shortly after arriving on the ground, Murphy quickly became a dissenting opinion, wanting to sever any connection they had to The Ark. Over the show's six seasons, Murphy has constantly been combative with everyone around him, and it doesn't help that he's constantly blamed and attacked for things he didn't do. (Yea, we still remember how the delinquents turned on him quickly after Wells Jaha was murdered.)
Rachel Duncan (Orphan Black)
None of the Leda clones chose their lives, but Rachel had a unique perspective. She was the only self-aware clone. While Rachel does resent the way she was raised, she also hates that she, like the other Leda clones, is sterile, and she's envious of Sarah Manning and her daughter. Throughout five seasons of Orphan Black, Rachel and Sarah squared off against each other in more ways than one; including putting a pencil in Rachel's eye.
Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)
Cersei Lannister can teach a class in holding grudges. She holds a grudge against her twin brother for not coming to her aid in her time of need. She also holds a grudge against her younger brother Tyrion for killing their mother upon his arrival into the world, and for gifting her daughter Myrcella, to Dorne. Definitely sounds like Cersei has more than enough reason to grind some axes.
Aeryn Sun (Farscape)
Aeryn Sun and John Crichton seemed to have a contentious relationship after interaction with him got her deemed irreversibly contaminated. When you consider that their confession of love was also met with the words "you ruined my life" it kind of has you wonder exactly how much resentment Aeryn was carrying around in the early days of their voyage.
Ronon Dex (Stargate: Atlantis)
The former runner who joined the Atlantis expedition during the show's second season had a lot of anger towards the Wraith. They destroyed his homeworld Sateda and made him a runner. Through his work with the Atlantis team he is determined to strikes blow after blow at the Wraith with every chance he's given.
Eric Cartman (South Park)
Eric Cartman might be the king of grudge holders. Cartman has a habit of harboring resentment towards anyone who doesn't see him as a god, and that list is extensive, to say the least. But fans of South Park need only two words to understand why he's on this list: Scott Tenorman.
Carol and Barb Denning (Orange is the New Black)
Orange is the New Black showed viewers a new prison and with it came a grudge. The Denning sisters have spent decades fighting who owned a story about a glass of ice when they were both waitresses at the same restaurant. Their feud has spilled into their two respective cell blocks with a rivalry that spans decades. Plus, they both aren't huge fans of their fellow inmate Frida who further escalated their conflict.
Claire Saunders (Dollhouse)
Dr. Saunders wasn't happy to discover that she was once an active named Whiskey at the end of Dollhouse Season 1. The revelation prompted her to start playing games with the programmer, Topher Brink, including setting rats loose in his office.
Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
Captain Malcolm Reynolds' grudge is a little quieter than some of the others on this list. Malcolm Reynolds is stuck in a war, where he fought on the losing side. While he's happy to operate outside of Alliance jurisdiction, he isn't afraid to stick it to them every now and again. Like, how he often finds himself in an Alliance-friendly bar on Unification Day.
John Locke (Lost)
"Don't tell me what I can't do!" is John Locke's signature phrase. Boil down the root of John Locke's anger and it all stems from rejection. Whenever he encounters anyone who feels like they know his limits better than himself, he's ready to prove them wrong.
Fox Mulder (The X-Files)
Fox Mulder is doggedly searching for the truth and perhaps some revenge. While his quest stems from the abduction of his sister Samantha, it's the men behind the lies that have his interest, particularly a certain cigarette smoking man who seems to be behind it all.
Anne Montgomery (What/If)
Anne Montgomery is an enigma and master manipulator with a chip on her shoulder. Although she plays her cards close to the chest in Netflix's anthology series, she holds onto some traumatic secrets that drive her.
Madeline Burke (Blindspot)
When Blindspot introduced Madeline Burke, fans quickly picked up the anger and resentment underneath the surface. By the end of Blindspot Season 4, viewers find out that the reason Madeline seized HCI Global and why she's planning an attack on the eastern seaboard. It all goes back to a family grudge involving her father and J. Edgar Hoover.
Offred (The Handmaid's Tale)
All the handmaids have some beef with Gilead, but it's looking like Offred is set for a grudge in The Handmaid's Tale Season 3. Gilead has torn apart her family, but meeting her daughter Hannah at the end of Season 2 seems to have flipped a switch.