Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Heroine Appreciation Post!

In honour of International Women's Day, let's talk about the fictional ladies who give the lads a run for their money. Whether they're protagonists, sidekicks, or even love interests, female characters have never been stronger. Here are ten of the best.

1. Puck from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

'“My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar."'
The Scorpio Races has been an all-male event since it began, and the people of Thisby are clinging to that tradition. Enter Puck, a teenage girl with two brothers, no parents, and the threat of eviction hanging over her.
The townsfolk can say what they like. Puck Connolly is racing whether they like it or not. 

2. Temari from Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
 
https://giphy.com/gifs/naruto-shippuden-uzumaki-LI8ODde4YvExq
 Let's be honest, the sand siblings were criminally underused in general.
Of the five surviving women who entered the Chunin exams in part one, Temari was far and away the most powerful. Unfortunately, all but one of the other women got far and away more focus than she did in the series as a whole. The exception, of course, is Tenten.

(Wait. Who's Tenten?)

Exactly. 

On the bright side, when she did show up, she was always winning, and usually making Shikamaru look like an idiot in the process. For anyone who isn't familiar with this series, that is not an easy task.

3. Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
'Beatrice: I took no more pains for those thanks than you take
pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would
not have come.'
Shakespeare wasn't exactly writing in the golden age of women's rights. Back then, women weren't even allowed to act. Nevertheless, some of his heroines are surprisingly strong. Beside your Isabellas and your Ophelias, you've got the likes of Lady Macbeth and Beatrice. Obviously, we're not going to hold Lady Macbeth up as a heroine, but Beatrice definitely deserves a spot on this list. Beatrice is a witty and outspoken character. Her love interest falls in love with her because of her quick mind. 


4. Morgiana from Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka

https://giphy.com/gifs/snk-a222L9CmmyuFa

 Morgiana is the strongest of the main trio, but it's not just her strength that makes her a strong character. She's quiet, but not afraid to raise her voice, especially when people are being wronged right in front of her. She's determined to be an asset to the group. And she's also not afraid to strike out on her own.

5. Literally all the girls in the Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

So. We've got Megan, who's a tech-genius, Rosie, who can be practically invisible when she wants to be, Grace, whose sarcasm is on point, and Lila. Who I love. They're all smart, highly motivated, and able to pull together (along with Noah and Alexei) to form one of the best teams in fiction. 

(Personal opinion alert.)

To be honest, we could probably put every woman Ally Carter's ever written in here.


6. Annabeth, Piper, Hazel and Reyna from the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

“Oh, but I don't abide by your time frame, giant," Reyna said. "A Roman does not wait for death. She seeks it out, and meets it on her own terms.” 
 To be fair, this is another writer with a knack strong characters in general, but I'm sticking with the Heroes of Olympus because it has the most heroines. 

Annabeth is indisputably the smartest member of the cast. She fights off Arachne with her brains alone. She's the daughter of the Goddess of brains and brawn -
 
(Knowledge and war.)
 
That's what I said! So she's a tactical fighter.

Piper is a daughter of Aphrodite, but that doesn't mean that everything important is on the surface. Sure, she makes time to do her hair whilst on an apocalypse-preventing quest, but she also takes down Khione single-handedly. Khione. And, let's be honest, we all want her charm-speak ability.

Hazel is cursed, but she's also very kind and compassionate. It's Hazel who takes the time to teach Piper to swordfight, and it's also Hazel who flips out when Jason isn't keen on saving a person who, for the sake of spoilers, will remain nameless.

You can pretty much sum Reyna up by saying that one of her powers is to give people strength. Literally. But she does it metaphorically too. Reyna is a duty-driven person and does everything for the good of New Rome. If the other authorities at New Rome disagree, she will sacrifice everything to do what she knows is needed. Oh, and she's a praetor, meaning she leads the Romans.
 
  7. Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
 '"No, Harry, you listen, we’re coming with you. That was decided months ago – years, really.”' - Hermione
The three characters who taught a generation of women that it was heroic to be smart, good to be feisty, and that there was nothing wrong with sticking to your own beliefs. 

8. Maddy from Runemarks by Joanne Harris

Brave enough to enter Red Horse Hill alone, forgiving enough to care what happens to the people of her hometown, and loyal enough to go back for Loki. 

9. Glory from Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Glory's brash, childish and stubborn. She's also a powerful, independent witch who isn't afraid to swallow her pride and change views she held her whole life if she's given good reason too.

10. Rachel and Cassie from Animorphs by Katherine Applegate

'"Let's do it!"' - Rachel, all the time.

This is a bit of an old one -

(She says about the nineties series when there's a Shakespeare play on the list.)

- but it has a core cast of six amazing characters. The two heroines, Rachel and Cassie, are complete opposites. Rachel likes clothes, gymnastics, and cannot wait to rush in and clobber the bad guys, whilst Cassie is a vegetarian who's never out of her dungarees, and is the group's moral compass. Neither is portrayed as being better or stronger than the other. They both mistakes, and they're both vital to the team, Rachel for her brawn, and Cassie for her heart. 

This ended up about six times as long as expected. I could probably keep listing characters for several more centuries, but I have an essay to do.

(Pray for her.)
Maybe you could add a couple more in the comments.

Rain out.