1:34 pm - 12/27/2012

10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature

Jane Eyre Jane Eyre

One of the earliest representations of an individualistic, passionate and complex female character, Jane Eyre knocks our socks off. Though she suffers greatly, she always relies on herself to get back on her feet — no wilting damsel in distress here. As China Miévill wrote, “Charlotte Brontë’s heroine towers over those around her, morally, intellectually and aesthetically; she’s completely admirable and compelling. Never camp, despite her Gothic surrounds, she takes a scalpel to the skin of the every day.”

Hermione Granger, th Harry Potter eries

In th Harry Potter ooks, Hermione starts as an insufferable know-it-all, blossoms into a whip-smart beauty who doesn’t suffer fools (except Ron), and ends up as the glue that holds the whole operation together. Hermione’s steadfastness and sheer intelligence (plus the fact that she’s the only one who has ever rea Hogwarts: A History) save her two best friends time and time again, and she’s the only one of the three never to wholly break down in a crisis. Intelligence often translates into strength, but only when wielded by a steady hand — and Hermione just happens to have both, and compassion to boot. That’s our kind of girl.

Katniss Everdeen The Hunger Games rilogy

Sure, Katniss annoys us to no end with all her boy-related waffling and wailing, but any girl who can shoot lik that eserves a place on this list. Not to mention the fact that she survived not one but two 24-person fights to the death, one of which was designed specifically to kill her. We’re just saying.

Hester Prynne The Scarlet Letter

Though Hester Prynne, who is condemned by her Puritan neighbors for having a child out of wedlock, is sometimes seen as a victim, she manages to survive with dignity and faith throughout, which we think makes her pretty darn powerful NPR as described her as being “among the first and most important female protagonists in American literature. She’s the embodiment of deep contradictions: bad and beautiful, holy and sinful, conventional and radical… [she] can be seen as Hawthorne’s literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power.”

Éowyn The Lord of the Rings rilogy

Though Tolkien’s novels aren’t exactly known for their female protagonists, who could be more powerful than the woman who killed the Witch-king of Angmar? A shieldmaiden who is itching to defend her countrymen from the first minute we see her, Éowyn disguises herself as a man to follow her friends into battle. Bad guys should be careful making statements like “No living man can kill me” when they’re fighting ladies.

Lisbeth Salander The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo eries

The powerful female protagonist of the hour is also one of the strongest women on this list. A world class computer hacker with a photographic memory, she’s also the survivor of an abusive childhood, which makes her a fiercely anti-social heroine with a violent streak. Characterized b manyas a “feminist avenging angel,” Lisbeth’s brutality is nothing to aspire to — but she sure gets the job done.

Go to the source for the rest of the list.

whiskybars 27th-Dec-2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
where are the GoT women tho
ectypes 27th-Dec-2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
where are a LOT of women, tbh. these kinds of list are always full of mainstream fail.
onyxobsidian 27th-Dec-2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
Lists are either always full of mainstream fail, or avoid mainstream so fucking hard that it's embarrassing.
whiskybars 27th-Dec-2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
lol exactly there's never a common ground
goofusgallant 27th-Dec-2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
lexiesloan 27th-Dec-2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
I was disappointed the woman in your icon wasn't listed.
__nocturna 27th-Dec-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Seriously, GRRM writes some awesome female characters
miakun 27th-Dec-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
This list is kind of a mix of popular current fiction and stuff the author probably read in school.

The GoT women are amazing because they're fully realized human beings.
firerosearien 27th-Dec-2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
<3 you Asha
whutness 27th-Dec-2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
piratesswoop 27th-Dec-2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
mte cersei should be on here for sure
celtic_thistle 27th-Dec-2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
Sansa, Margaery, Arya, Cersei, Asha, Brienne, Meera, Arianne, Daenerys, Catelyn, Melisandre, Osha, Val, Ygritte, Gilly, the Sand Snakes, Ellaria, Missandei, Quaithe, Lyanna, Ashara...dude, so many good female characters embodying different aspects of the feminine. I love all of them more than any of the male characters negl


Edited at 2012-12-27 09:40 pm (UTC)
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