“For most of history Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf
I’m going to attempt to start a couple of blog post series, the first of which is going to be Friday Favourites. I’m not going to commit to doing this every week, as I’m also planning on starting a What to Read Wednesday series, so the plan is to attempt to alternate these series per week. (i.e this week is Friday Favourites, next week is What to Read Wednesdays, the week after is Friday Favourites and so on.)
I was going to start with the obvious ‘5 favourite books’, but then I realised that there was no way I would be able to only pick 5! Even specifying by genre felt like a big task for the first week. Eventually I decided that I would listen to my (not so) inner feminist and start of by choosing my 5 Favourite Female Protagonists. My only stipulation to myself was that these characters had to be major characters if not the main character in the story. If you want to know my top 5 then please keep reading!
- Hermione Granger
As a major Harry Potter fan this choice was probably the easiest and most obvious decision. Hermione showed every young girl (including myself) that there is nothing wrong with being a bit of a nerd, and that you should never dumb yourself down for anyone. She managed to brew Polyjuice Potion, which is described as a ‘complex and time-consuming potion … best left to highly skilled witches and wizards’, whilst she was only in her second (?!!) year at Hogwarts. Can we also talk about how much of a bad-ass she was when duelling in the later books?
2. Daenerys Targaryen – A Song of Ice and Fire
Mother of Dragons – need I say more? No but I will. Another strong female character,
except this time you really get to see her character grow from someone who is controlled by the men in her life, including her brother and initially her husband, to a woman who quite literally takes no prisoners. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who screamed ‘YES GIRL’ when she commanded Drogon to burn the Slaver in Astapor whether it was when reading the books or watching the series (which in my case was both – it just gets better every time you read/watch).
3. Molly Bloom – Ulysses
I promise this isn’t just a humble brag about reading (most of) Ulysses. I firmly believe that Molly is one of the most important characters in terms of feminism in the Modernist era. Although she isn’t involved in most of the (reasonably small amount of) action, she is constantly there in her husbands thoughts, meaning her presence permeates the entire novel. This is quite impressive when you think about the fact that the novel is over 700 pages long . Yes you read that correctly, 700 pages! In a time where the female voice was largely silent, Molly expresses herself loudly. She has no problem with doing what she wants, and taking pleasure however she pleases. The novel even ends with her voice, meaning that hers is the voice that the reader is inclined to remember, despite the fact that the novel follows her husbands story (amongst a few others).
4. Matilda – Matilda
Similarly to Hermione, Matilda is proof that intelligence and a love of reading are in no way detrimental qualities. Seeing Matilda overcome adversity and survive her encounters with some very scary adult figures was inspirational and reassuring to young girls when it was first published and I’m sure she will continue to inspire girls in future generations.
5. Viola – Twelfth Night
Viola is definitely an example of a strong female character. When she finds herself shipwrecked on an island where she knows absolutely nobody, she refuses to panic even though in the time in which this play is both written and set, a young women stranded alone would almost certainly be raped or killed. Instead she dresses as a man (well technically a eunuch but still) and manages to navigate her way to a coveted position serving the Duke of Orsino. I know she eventually reveals herself and marries the Duke, which kind of ruins my feminist reading but I still think she deserves a place on this list. (Not least because in She’s the Man, which is based on Twelfth Night, Viola is probably one of the most bad-ass female characters ever! Go Amanda Bynes!)
There are so many more amazing female characters that I could write about, but I had to whittle it down to 5! If you think there’s one that I’ve seriously overlooked then please comment and let me know.
Love and kisses,