Top Ten Favourite Heroines

“If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass.”

David Mitchell

OK, I’m being lazy tonight because I can’t be bothered to watch an hour-long documentary about tigers (my download of choice for the evening). Also I’m hooked on Fallen London, which is why I didn’t watch it earlier. Sorry.

  1. Granny Weatherwax – Discworld, Terry Pratchett. Witch of the Ramtops and headologist extraordinaire, Granny Weatherwax isn’t afraid to be harsh, to be difficult, to be stern. She guards her people, her country and her world with a fierceness and a selfishness which is unrivalled in any other witch. In short, she’s badass.
  2. Juliette Nichols – Wool, Hugh Howey. Practical yet principled, quick-thinking and handy with a wrench, but idealistic enough to lead a revolution, Juliette is what’s commonly known as a strong heroine, yet she’s also allowed her weak moments and her romance. I know Shift and Dust stray into iffy territory with regard to their female characters, but feminism is strong in Wool.
  3. Lizzie Hexam – Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens. Occasionally she does stray into “angel-in-the-house”, perfect-Victorian-woman territory, but, hey, she saves a guy from a river. And she gets such a lovely ending. Not many Victorian heroines are allowed the kind of proactiveness she gets.
  4. Beatrice – Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare. Hah! Beatrice is hilarious. She’s got sass, and she’s really, properly angry when Claudio accuses Hero of cheating. She’s cheer-from-the-sidelines material, is Beatrice.
  5. Princess of France – Love’s Labour’s Lost, William Shakespeare. She flirts in rhyme. And she can do serious, too: she’s certainly more in control of the situation than the so-called King of Navarre, and she understands when the jokes need to stop. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that she’s funny without being frivolous, and authoritative without being authoritarian.
  6. Sonmi-456 – Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell. Sonmi is, in many ways, a deeply tragic character, or at least her story is, but she. Is. So. Brave. Brave, and strong, and calm, and so very human (which is, after all, the point). She’s a revolutionary, yet she’s never spilt a drop of blood, and she holds on to hope even when that tiny light at the end of the tunnel has winked out altogether.
  7. Blue Van Meer – Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl. A mystery-solver and a reader, Blue is someone I can really identify with.
  8. Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding. Oh gods. Now I feel a bit of a philistine. But everyone can identify with Bridget. Everyone’s been there.
  9. Linden Avery – The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson. I love that Linden’s characterisation is every bit as detailed and as conflicted as Covenant’s is. I love that we get her struggle as well as his, and that her role, eventually, is just as important, if not more so, than Covenant’s.
  10. Meggie Folchart – Inkheart, Cornelia Funke. Look. She sleeps with books under her pillow. How can she not be awesome?

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)


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