5 Totally Awesome Female Characters

3:15 PM



On Tuesday I talked about the problem with the push for 'strong female protagonists', and how I wished there were more female characters who were allowed to cry or be girly or want a boyfriend or whatever they may be like. (Also, all of you who commented had such eloquent and perfect things to say in agreement, so thanks for that!)

Today, it only seemed fitting to talk about some of my very favorite female characters who don't carry swords and kick people in the face and reject all emotions. Some of them are protagonists and some of them aren't, but they're all awesome and realistic and tough in their own ways.



Cress 
The Lunar Chronicles 


Honestly, she might be my favorite on this list. Marissa Meyer is the master of well-developed, unique female characters, and out of all of them Cress is the one I love the most. Why, you ask? She's not like me at all. She's girly and sparkly and head-over-heels for a guy she's only ever stalked online (oh wait) and not nearly as physically tough as Cinder or even Scarlet. 

What she is, however, is tough. Yes, she's a little obsessed with a guy. Yes, she's girly. But she carries her own plot and stands up for herself. Heck, she's a hacker/computer genius! What about that isn't awesome?

Also, I see no problems with ending up with a guy like Thorne.

Cinderella 
Cinderella movie (2015) 


I will pretty much defend this one with my dying breath. Cinderella is by no means a conventional 'tough girl'. She's sweet and kind to everyone, even to people who are totally nasty to her and even when she doesn't really have any reason to be nice or when she's upset. "Have courage and be kind" is the motto of the movie, and it's something that Cinderella makes an attempt to live the whole way through. Not to mention, she's totally into our prince Kit and absolutely thrilled with the dress the fairy godmother gives her. Who wouldn't be?

But come on, guys, Cinderella is actually pretty hardcore. It takes effort to be kind all the time! It really does! It takes a lot of strength and determination and she does it well enough to make me want to be a better person. She's not a total pushover, either. She stands up for herself in abusive situations, tells that evil stepmother off a few times, and takes things into her own hands. 

She's seriously the best. (I blogged about her in greater detail here.)


Isi, Enna, and Dasha 
The Books of Bayern 

I'm fairly certain it's Enna who said this one, but don't quote me on it. 
Shannon Hale is a pro at the whole female characters (and characters in general) thing, and this series of hers is my favorite example of that. Technically this is three characters but whatever, they all deserve recognition. Now, none of them take swords and go out and smite down all the men. They all have guys they fall in love with. They all cry and have their weak moments and have to be rescued. 

But you know what? They're all incredibly strong. Ani is a freaking queen, literally. She goes from being a princess to being betrayed, attacked, forced to be a servant in a strange city for months, falling in love with a guy who turns out to be a prince, and a bunch of other really sucky things, but she goes out and outsmarts the people who betrayed her and marries that prince and becomes queen. You know what that is? Hardcore. She has a husband she loves, and eventually kids, and she's a pretty strong and decisive queen at that. Who can also harness the wind. Enna is a little more hot-tempered (literally; fire's her thing) and aggressive, and she'll argue with anyone who tries to give her trouble or underestimate her. She gets her guy, too, and is a loyal friend and all-around role model who still respects the people around her. Dasha is my personal favorite of the three -- she's sarcastic, witty, and very clever. She uses her political connections and skills to help her friends, and finds a goofy guy to fall in love with besides. 

So much respect. 


Lúthien Tinúviel

Tolkien's works 


Source
Heck yes, some Tolkien is going down here. 

In my personal opinion Tolkien is great at the hardcore female character thing, but the story of Beren and Lúthien is one of my absolute favorites of his. First of all because it's beautiful, second of all because Lúthien. We need to talk about this. 

Not only was this lady known up to even the point of Lord of the Rings as the most beautiful woman/elf/whatever to ever live, but she totally owned it with the singing, too. There's a whole long song about her, specifically her. She falls in love with Beren, a mortal man, which is kind of frowned upon, but she doesn't care what anyone says about this. And when Beren has to go all the way to to the darkest and worst parts of the land to earn her hand in marriage, she goes with him. And saves him once or twice. 

Also, they both die later, but they were so heroic and hardcore that it's decided that they should be allowed to end up in Middle Earth and live again as mortals for a while. Win. 

Risa Ward 
The Unwind Dystology


It would be ridiculously unfair of me if I didn't include someone from one of my favorite books of all time, so here we are. Risa isn't as feminine and sweet as some of the girls on the list, but she definitely deserves to be here. Because Risa puts up with a lot. She's tough. She keeps the guys in line when they're doing stupid stuff. But she's not overbearing about it, nor is 'tough' her only trait. 

Risa plays piano very well, and she's passionate about it. She's totally in love with Connor and I ship them more than all the other ships ever  and doesn't play games with that, just admits it and is cool with it. She breaks down sometimes, because who wouldn't in those horrific situations, but she comes back from it in a realistic way and keeps moving forward. She creates her own plot. She drives the plot of the series forward in many ways. She doesn't let herself be pushed around, but she's not all guns-and-swords all the time, either. 

Risa Ward, everybody. 


Honorable Mentions 

Violet - All the Bright Places 

Joi - How to Lead A Life of Crime

Shallan - The Way of Kings/Words of Radiance 

Ida Mae - Flygirl 


Let's show some appreciation for the non-standard 'strong female character' -- who's your very favorite, and what makes them awesome? Comment away.  

32 comments

  1. As if I didn't need more of a reason to read the Lunar Chronicles! Cress sounds amazing, there's nothing better than a relatable character, and who's more relateable than someone who loves the interwebs as much as bloggers do? I've been trying to wait until Winter is released later in the year so I can marathon this series, but it seems to get harder to wait everyday.

    I love the theme you've had this week on kick ass female characters! Thanks for writing an awesome post :)

    http://peculiarpage.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. YOU HAVE TO READ THEM. I know everyone has but they're super good. I love that Cress is both girly and super computer-smart, because you can totally be both and rock it. *shoves them at you*

      Thank you! I've been planning it for a while and I was super excited about it. :D

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  2. Isi, Enna, and Dasha deserve SO much respect. I'm also a fan of Rin. But my utmost admiration goes to Jane, of Jane Eyre. She showed so much strength in working towards her goals, resisting temptation, etc. I just love her determination and humility.

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    1. Rin wasn't my favorite, but I agree. They all rocked it and deserve a ton of love.
      I do love Jane Eyre too! I haven't read it in a while...wow, I really need to get back to it. I remember liking it a lot.

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  3. How right you are! Cress puts the b in brilliant and adorable and I love her. Heck, who doesn't? I'm still trying to figure out how Thorne isn't obviously head-over-heels for her yet. Although it could be debated that he already is and just isn't saying anything while their lives are in danger... You never know! :):) Gosh I love that series. WINTER IS COMING AND I CAN'T WAIT! And now that this comment has turned into a fangirl-over-lunar-chronicles comment, I think I'll sign out now :)

    Chloe | Curious Ramblings

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    1. Cress is brilliant. And Cress and Thorne are the cutest ship to ever ship and I just cannot with them. *flails over Winter*
      (Also, fangirling is welcome any time. Especially if it's over Lunar Chronicles. xD)

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  4. Cinderella. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
    I love this post so much, because it's so true, and Shannon Hale win every award.
    I'd add my own characters to the list, but I can't think of any at the moment.
    I also enjoy this post because, if I were in a book, I would not be the traditional Strong Female Protagonist.
    I'd be more like Cinderella (although nothing like her at the same time).

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    1. Right? I don't think I have the skills needed to be the Strong Female Protagonist, so it's always neat to see the ones who aren't and be able to relate to them.

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  5. YES RISA. I completely agree with that. X_X She's such an awesome character. And it annoys me so much that people's only idea nowadays of SFP are ones that don't want to love anyone, don't cry, are never weak, never rely on help, and can kick butt all my themselves. It gets old soooo fast.

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    1. RISA. I can't wait for you to get to the last book because she has some pretty hardcore moments and it's amazing.

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  6. OMG YES LUTHIEN TINUVIEL. Seriously. She is even more badass than Eowyn, which is saying something. What LOTR does wonderfully is that even though their elves are all graceful and elegant they can also destroy you with a flick of their finger.

    Oh man, now I want to read the Lunar Chronicles. I mean, I was always planning on reading the Lunar Chronicles, but now I NEED IT.

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    1. Yesssss. I just had to mention her because she's one of the most hardcore classic characters I've ever read and NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT HER. I was practically required. xD

      *shoves them at you* Oh, you'll love it.

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  7. A) I don't see a problem with ending up with a guy like Thorne, either!

    B) I love Cress and Risa too! I still need to see the Cinderella movie (everyone's convinced me to see it but no one has convinced me not to wait until it hits the library) but I can imagine that I'm really going to enjoy her as well! And, I haven't read much about Luthien, but I will say that Arwen, an elf who later makes the same choice, has to be pretty strong in the same way, although I think the movie makes a bigger point of it than the books. You know, she's a better rider, has stronger healing power, she's Aragorn's rapport and decides to be with him over her father. And when you think about how much she must love her father, and how much pain they were both in when she decided to make her choice—and yet how she never backed down and argued for herself, I think she shows some of the awesomeness to be admired in our strong female cast.

    I think I could make a really long list of strong female characters (maybe I will!) but I think for now I will stick to three: Elvie Nara from the Ever-Expanding Universe trilogy, Laura Brand from the H.I.V.E. trilogy, and Alyss from Ranger's Apprentice. Elvie is a pregnant 16-year-old mechanic, she's not necessarily school smart but she's really good at thinking on her feet and figuring things out, and shows a huge amount of emotional strength and growth even though she isn't the most athletic person either (that, and I think there are rules about literally kicking butt and being pregnant at the same time). Laura is a tech genius; she's not athletic, but she's a great systems analyst and she has a real heart for other people and her family. She messes up. She ends up being responsible for more deaths than she has fingers and toes to count them. But she still shows her loyalties and her loves outweigh her mistakes in the end. Lastly, Alyss shows that silent, strong character that shows her ability to negotiate and act as a primary peacemaker in her country. She gives her life to her country and its citizens, and so while she does go on adventures all around the globe, her success is in her ability to use her words and serve people, not to knock them down or anything.

    And probably I'm going to steal words verbatim from this comment for my strong girls post because I CAN. So that's going to happen.

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    1. I haven't read ANY of the books you mentioned and now I feel like a failure. *hangs head* HIVE is on my list, though, so I'll get to that eventually. People keep shoving it in my face. They all sound hardcore, though. :D

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  8. Yes, yes, yes! I'm not familiar with some of the characters on the list, but the general principles are so on target (in fact, you make me want to read these books...).

    ...
    ...
    You should not have asked that...
    BRACE YOURSELVES!!!

    My favourite female character ever (EVER EVER EVER) has to be Martha Jones from Doctor Who. (And it totally sucks that she's so underrated.) What makes her awesome? Well, I could rant about this character all day, but I'll try to keep it brief (TRY). Absolute #1 of all: she's totally selfless. She always caring for other people and forgetting herself. She's basically the stabilizing force that keeps her family alive, when she's about to die her first instinct (after, you know, trying to escape) is to call her mom and tell her she loves her, and when the man she's totally head over heels for falls in love with someone else, she's pitying THE OTHER WOMAN because the Doctor is going to have to leave and break her heart. SO. MUCH. WIN. But that's not all. She's got a ton of strength too. She's always put together even when she's hurting, she can (and does) take care of herself and everyone around her, and while she's very helpful and loving, she doesn't let people walk over her, either. She's strong, and sweet, and unselfish, and I ADMIRE HER SO MUCH. Basically my role model, minus the irrational crush part.
    Anyway. Sorry about the rant. I get kinda overexcited about these things. Ahem.

    Great post!!

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    1. MARTHA JONES. So many people dislike her and I just...I just don't understand. xD I guess it's because she comes right after Rose and people are a little bitter about that? I have so much respect for her. I mean, SHE SAVED THE FREAKING WORLD. And I'll always respect her for leaving instead of pining over the Doctor forever.

      Thank you for that comment. I got equally excited. xD

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  9. I'd never heard of the series with the three characters you mentioned. Was it good?
    Some of my favorites are June from Legend (yes, she fights, but that isn't all she does), Imogen from The Ascendance Trilogy, Vin from Mistborn (again, she fights, but she doesn't act like a man), both Navani and Shallan in The Stormlight Archives were really well done, oh, and Cassie and Lia and Sloane from The Naturals were all really unique (definitely a couple books to read). Of course, I also loved Cinderella, but her and Shallan were the only two you mentioned who I'd ever heard of.

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    1. Oh, it's very good. One of my favorites, actually! *cuddles it*
      I do love June! (Also June and Day, but whatever.) Also, Shallan. I love that they're tough while still being girls.

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  10. I've heard of all of these. But I will definitely agree with Cinderella. It takes a lot to be kind to those who are unkind to you. It's very mature. Even though everyone is telling you you're a wimp for not exacting revenge, you are probably the strongest person in the whole situation.

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    1. *I haven't heard of all of these.

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    2. Yessss. I had so much love and respect for Cinderella regarding that, because it's HARD to love people like that, and she does it with so much grace. It makes me want to be a better person. xD

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  11. I haven't read any of these books or watched Cinderella, but Ida Mae from Flygirl was wonderful. I'm also a fan of Katniss from The Hunger Games and Amy from Hostage Three.

    Are you going to do some posts about male stereotypes in books or something along those lines? :)

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    1. (As you can see, I did do those posts. xD)

      You should watch Cinderella! I think you'd like it. :D

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  12. Omg, Violet and Joi. :') Excuse me I need to go cry for a long long time.

    GO RISA AND CRESS, THOUGH. (They're the only ones I've read on your list! I KNOW. I kind of want to see Cinderella, but at the same time I'm tired of that fairy tale, so who knows. xD) I love Cress and how dorkily adorable she is. One thing I absolutely adore about Marissa Meyer's books is how she writes so many tough/interesting heroines and they're all DIFFERENT.

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    1. YESSS. Marissa Meyer is my writer hero for that but she also makes me sad because she's so good at it it's not even fair. *tears*

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  13. YES!!! I LOVE ENNA AND SHANNON HALE!!!!

    *ahem* Fangirl moment over, I totally agree with all the characters I know on your list. Cinderella is so strong in the way she stays kind, and that has me giving her ultimate respect. Like you said, it is super difficult to be nice to people all the time. The girls from the Books of Bayern were the lovely ones who got me into fantasy, because it wasn't just boys doing quests anymore. The magic didn't hurt either.

    I love characters who are more than just physically strong. Intellectually and morally strong characters are awesome too.

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    1. SHANNON HALE ROCKS.

      Haha, fangirl moments are totally welcome here. :) And I agree with you on everything there!

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  14. such a wonderful post and so many strong female characters!

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

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  15. Lily Lindsey-AubreyJune 8, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    I loved this! Cinderella was gorgeous and so strong and brave. I loved her and was so happy they didn't think they had to make her physically powerful or hard-hearted in order for the audience to love and sympathize with her.

    Awesome post! :)

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    1. Oh yes. Gosh, that move made me cry SEVERAL times. *le sigh*

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  16. This is further pushing me to read the Lunar Chronicles. I really need to read those books. XD Cinderella and Luthien are great examples of strong women. ^ ^ Bravery comes in many forms.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  17. Favorite's still Hermione Granger! ;)

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