He goes through hell and back to save his daughter. Battered, bruised, he gets her home and she promptly goes off with her mother and her stepfather, waving bye bye to her rescuer. Liam's sole return for all the effort is to give her an amazing, treat which she does at least bother (just) to say thank you for. I can't have been the only person watching who thought he'd have been better off leaving her to her fate.
So, his daughter is a selfish bimbo. What does that make the character? No one acknowledges his actions, and he gets no reward. Now, you could argue that a father's selfless love doesn't think to ask for a reward but being a doormat is not a shining example of parenthood. If all he wants is 'to make his daughter happy', then that's as wet as a Miss World contestant simpering about World Peace. Even Liam can't retrieve his character from being wetter than the Atlantic.
Maybe you're thinking, that's Liam in Taken. It's nothing to do with MY characters. But I have read many stories which start with a character being put upon. Their partner doesn't appreciate them. Their boss doesn't appreciate them. Their children/parents/friends/pets don't appreciate them. But still the character carries on, cheerfully putting up with being dumped on and only occasionally sighing wistfully.
A few pages down the line they will turn and then the story will get going - but by then it will be Too Late. If the reader gets that far, they'll be so fed up with the Poor Little Me character they'll be rooting for the boss/partner/child/dog.
Do you know anyone with Poor Little Me tendencies in real life? I do. I feel guilty because although I know I ought to be sympathetic to them and their woes, I actually feel like giving them a good shake and telling them to get some backbone. The same in fiction. We're supposed to admire the selfless, instead we really want to give them a slap. No wonder we love reading about baddies.
NEW!!! I've finally got round to organising some course dates....
How to WRITE a Novel: London 3rd May/Birmingham 7th May/
Oxford 8th May/Exeter 21st May/Bath 12th June
How to SELL a Novel: London 24th May/Exeter 4th June/
Bath 3rd July Details are on my website