Monday, June 27, 2016

Top Ten Favorite Heroines (and Anti-Heroines)

It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday post, and this week is a freebie!  It was difficult to pick among so many intriguing past topics, but I finally decided to list my top ten favorite literary heroines.  I have also included three anti-heroines, because these not-so-good women are simply too good to leave off the list.

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

What a no-brainer!  Every bookish girl who reads Harry Potter wants to go to Hogwarts and be top of their class, just like Hermione.  

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My favorite Austen book is actually Emma, but I much prefer Elizabeth to Emma Woodhouse.  She is witty, poised, strong-willed, and, yes, a bit proud and prejudiced.  
Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

"I am no man!"  At least the very few female characters in The Lord of the Rings are pretty kick-ass.  Everyone in Rohan sort of leaves Éowyn alone in the hall of her forefathers to look after her cursed, ill uncle while Grima Wormtongue, Saruman's creepy henchman, haunts her footsteps.  After she is left behind yet again when the men of Rohan go off to fight, Éowyn breaks free of the "cage" she so fears and takes action.  She disguises herself as a male soldier and ends up defeating the Witch-King of Angmar, who can be killed by no man...  

Nimona from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is an exuberant shapeshifter who practically forces her supervillain hero Lord Ballister Blackheart to make her his evil sidekick.  The two clash often and hilariously, as their styles of evil-doing are sometimes incompatible.  However, this graphic novel also has a darker, more serious side.  I highly recommend it; you will love getting to know Nimona, Blackheart, and the rest of the characters!  

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Plain and quietly strong-willed, Jane grows up oppressed as an orphan in the house of her unkind aunt and then in a harsh boarding school.  Even after she becomes a governess and falls in love with her employer, Jane's happily-ever-after is still far from straightforward.  I admire Jane's resolve and independence.

Alana from the Saga series by Brian K. Vaughn

I love Alana from Saga.  She is flawed and very funny at times.  She would do anything to save her little family from the assassins and corrupt intergalactic governments that are always trying to do them in.

Lyra Belacqua from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

Though I couldn't not include her, I have already discussed my love for Lyra in another post!

Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Clare from the Claymore manga series by Norihiro Yagi

My enthusiasm for the kick-ass female heroines in this series, which I'm in the midst of binge-reading and reviewing, partially inspired me to pick heroines as my topic this week.  Clare is a half-human, half-monster slayer sworn to protect humans from flesh-eating monsters called Yoma.  She is part of a sisterhood of forty-seven such "Claymores."

Marian Halcombe from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I just recently reviewed The Woman in White, one of my favorite Victorian Gothic novels.  Marian is a brilliant and determined young woman who must protect her rather helpless half-sister from her sister's greedy husband and her husband's friend, the diabolical Count Fosco.

And...the anti-heroines!

Madame Bovary from Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary 

The infamous Madame Bovary is a fascinating character, sympathetic in a sense, but also probably not someone one could consider a "heroine." 

Miss Jean Brodie from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher at a girls' school, gathers a small group of students around her and initiates them into the ways of, well, Jean Brodie.  She is not a woman to be summed up in a few words.  Her fascist beliefs and secret affairs draw the attention of the school administration, but her devoted group of girls would never betray her... would they?  This is a very short novel, and just excellent! 

Hedda Gabler from Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler

I love Hedda Gabler!  It is probably my favorite Ibsen play, which is high praise.  The title character is the daughter of a decorated general, a woman with a flair for the dramatic and a great violence in her soul.  She has boundless energy and longs to do something important, something exciting.  Bored with her husband, her in-laws, and her life as a housewife, Hedda settles for playing with the love lives and careers of her friends.  If you enjoyed Ibsen's A Doll's House, then definitely read Hedda Gabler.  Hedda is a different kind of dissatisfied housewife than Nora, but, wow, is she a memorable character!

I hope you enjoyed this list and picked up a few new reading recommendations!  Thanks for stopping by and leave me a link when you comment so that I can check out your top ten list as well!


JoLee said...

Yes. Yes. Yes! To so many of your favorites. Good picks.

Anonymous said...

Ah, that was a lot of fun! I'm not familiar with your anti-heroines, but I do know and quite enjoy most of the heroines you have on the list.

IloveHeartlandX said...

Hermione is one of my favourite heroines too!

Stephanie Shepherd said...

Such a great topic and I too love all these ladies (well except Clare who I've not met...yet:). Nimona and Alanna Are the best graphic novel reps - they are both fantastic - I love how complex Nimona is despite it being a "younger" comic.

Kat said...

@Stephanie Shepherd-- Hmm, I think we have a similar taste in books! I also was surprised by how much I loved Nimona--it is a fantastic story for any age. :)

@theenglishist-- Those three anti-heroines are from three of my favorite absolute favorite books, actually. Though I do have a lot of absolute favorites. ;)

Anonymous said...

What a great list! Your heroines, #1 - 7, are all ones that I would have picked. The Saga series is amazing. Great topic!

Kate Midnight Book Girl said...

Yes to all of these! Well, I haven't read Nimona yet, but my bestie sent me a copy recently for my birthday, so I'm sure I will agree with you on that one too.

AJ Sterkel said...

There are so many great characters on this list. I think Hermione will always be my favorite heroine.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Kat said...

@Kate Midnight Book Girl-- Ooh, I envy you getting to read Nimona for the first time! Enjoy! :D

Got My Book said...

I love the diverse nature of your list.


Kate Scott said...

Hermione and Eowyn forever!

Kat said...

@Got My Book-- I guess my reading habits are nothing if not diverse. I think I weird the librarians out when they scan all my books at the counter! Manga...Virginia Woolf...manga...Neil Gaiman...historiography essays. Ah, they must love me. ;)

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