Five Great Heroines Every “Harry Potter” Fan Should Check Out
Emma Watson has been in the news a lot lately for her HeForShe movement and her views on feminism. Whether we agree with her stance or not, it can easily be said that Emma is doing good and that she should be applauded.
When it comes to feminism in stories, many believe that for a female character to be feminist she must be warrior – strong, brave, and certainly not meek or vulnerable. This, however, is not true. In a Tumblr response post, user madlori writes,
Screw writing ‘strong’ women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write complicated women. Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn’t need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks. THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people.
This quote applies to many of the female characters in the Potter books that we have all grown to love as readers and after being part of the fandom. The quote also applies to a ton of other awesome female characters in stories, and here are the top five that will captivate you just as much as the Potter ladies.
1. Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series)
Katara is a waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe on the hit TV Series Avatar: The Last Airbender. She harbors a lot of hatred for the Fire Nation, who murdered her mother when she was a young child. When the Avatar reveals himself to her and her brother Sokka, she jumps on the chance to aid him on his journey to master all four elements and bring peace to all four nations. Jealousy often clouds Katara’s judgement, but she also carries a motherly side that was required of her upon her mother’s death. Her level-headed nature helps the group stay focused on what is important.
2. Susan Sto Helit (Discworld book series by Terry Pratchett)
Susan is a character featured in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. She appears in three of the books (which function as standalone books and don’t depend on the understanding of previous books in the series) – Soul Music, Hogfather, and Thief of Time. Susan is the granddaughter of Death and has acquired some magical powers from her heritage (despite the fact that her mother was adopted by Death… but screw genetics!), but all she wants to do is be normal. Her hair is stark white with one single black streak running through it, and she works as a governess to escape her magical upbringing. This results in her commonly being referred to as the goth Mary Poppins. Not much scares Susan, and although she longs for a normal existence, her curiosity often gets the better of her, and she is always ready for a challenge.
3. Aunt Sylvie (Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson)
Aunt Sylvie is a character who can be referred to as the adult Luna Lovegood. She is the free-spirited woman who arrives to become the guardian of her two orphaned nieces Ruth and Lucille. Sylvie’s style of parenting is disconcerting to many. The town that she and the girls inhabit isn’t keen on her ways. Sylvie walks with her head down and is quiet but willful. Sylvie exists next to an array of other well-developed characters in this book that makes a point to shed light on the idea of what it means to keep a good house.
4. Cecile (Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan)
Cecile is the main character in a book that’s title literally translates to “hello sadness.” Indeed the title fits, for the book contains a haunting quality that is rarely achieved which such ease. Cecile is a teenage girl vacationing on the beaches of France with her father and his mistress, Elsa. When an old friend of her deceased mother’s comes to stay and steals her father’s heart, Cecile is torn between admiring the woman and hating her for her annoying need to control and for stealing her father away. What makes Cecile such an interesting character is her teenage complexity. What can easily be called petty teenage girl issues is humanized in a way in which most novels barely scratch the surface. Cecile is fun and loving while also selfish and manipulative. This speaks to a lot of human beings who often contain conflicting characteristics and can be their own worst enemy.
5. Sansa Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones TV series)
Sansa Stark is given a rough time by fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire books and the Game of Thrones TV series on HBO. Most people cling to Arya, the tomboy who actively knows the difference between right and wrong. Sansa is a completely different being next to Arya. She is passive and easily manipulated. She longs to be a princess from fairy-stories and wears rose-colored glasses for most of the first novel when it comes to the Lannisters, who wrong her family more times than not. So why is she on this list and not Arya? While Arya is indeed an amazing female character, it is important not to overlook a female character who isn’t necessarily strong. Sansa is not a warrior. She doesn’t play with swords and enjoys the activities set forth for her like weaving and curtsying. She makes BIG mistakes. And that is okay because the reader watches her lose her innocence and learn from the mistakes she makes. The fascinating thing about her character is her internal reasoning and watching her slowly grow as a woman who will one day (possibly?) play the game of thrones.
What female characters have been missed that should be included on this list? Let us know in the comments below!