Saturday, 3 December 2011

A selection of my heroines.

I am a complete sucker for a good heroine.  The following is a list of my favourites and where to find them grabbed from both children and adult fiction.

Meg Murry
(Hope Larson's depiction of Meg that will appear in an upcoming graphic novel...!)

Meg Murry is the amazing protagonist from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. If you like the Harry Potter series you will love L'Engle's fantasy/science fiction/romance/genre-jumping first novel - her emphasis on the power of love and triumph of good over evil will be very familiar to many, though it must be noted that L'Engle came first and was no doubt an influence on Rowling. Meg Murry is a completely believable female lead, urging her friend Calvin and younger brother onwards when they leap into unknown territory and basically saving Earth by the end. Basically.  Don't worry, I haven't given too much away.  She is intelligent, boldly individual (and not in a Mia Thermopolis/generic Meg Cabot character way) and very strong.  Other female characters include the amazing Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which (though arguably they are genderless), Mrs Murry and the gorgeous Aunt Beast.  Yes, I just finished reading it for about the seventh time.

Katniss Everdeen
Come on people, if you haven't read The Hunger Games then you shouldn't even be on the internet.  Climb out from under your rock and give one of the best stories to come out in recent times a look.  While it is admittedly not executed perfectly, Suzanne Collins' idea of a dystopia is truly horrific and the strength found in Everdeen is a result of this.  Probably not my favourite character of the list but certainly deserves an honourable mention for her display of loyalty, skill and persistence.  Also, there's a movie coming out soon so I implore you to read it before the film potentially butchers the book.  It probably won't, but just in case.

Holly Golightly
Breakfast at Tiffany's is almost certainly one of my favourite stories of all time and Holly Golightly drives the tale, encompassing a perfect mix of heart-breaking nostalgia for a dead brother and, uh, money-grabbing from baby-faced millionaires.  Okay, Golightly is not the perfect heroine and definitely not someone I'd ask a very young girl to look up to, but I think the older crowd can learn a lot from Truman Capote's beautifully realised character who is massively flawed but somehow admirable.  Please, forget the movie.  The novella is much better enjoyed on its own and while I adore Audrey Hepburn the story is much better minus the sap.

Matilda Wormwood
Intelligent, kind and blessed with the power of teleknesis, Matilda Wormwood is one of Roald Dahl's very best characters.  Strong enough to stand up to the evil power of Miss Trunchbull and her family and smart enough to know the perfect way to do it, the character of Matilda and all that she embodies is a perfect example for little boys and little girls to follow - and it's not a bad book, either.  While Dahl's depictions of 'bad' characters has been questioned, his stories have a beautiful, timeless quality that children cannot resist. Beautiful.

To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said 'Pooh-pooh!' I think every child has a bit of Madeline in them and I used to relish getting my hair cut like her, perhaps in an effort to take on some of her spirit.  She is funny, loyal, friendly and the right amount of cheeky.  She's also an amazing show-off, courageous and French - need I say more?  The illustrations are beautiful, the writing very sweet and clever and all of Ludwig Belmenmans' stories are sure to be enjoyed by young and old alike.  You cannot help but adore Madeline and the other eleven little girls in their two straight lines.

I have a lot more I'm itching to write about and something tells me that this is a work in progress.  What about you?  Who are your favourite female characters?

PS - Thank you to Lauren of Word Taxi for the inspiration.  You can find a post about a couple of her favourite characters here.  

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