The Guardian has asked male readers to send pictures of them reading books featuring female characters that they admire to counteract claims that boys don’t like reading about girls. I beg to differ, personally. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five spectacular admirable female characters in fiction. I have written character features of at least three of them (though one of them is not from a book or film and is a deeply flawed character with a horrific past to make up for). So who are they? Those I have already written about I have linked to the character study for more detail.
1. Lyra Belacqua – 12 year old protagonist of His Dark Materials. Stubborn, brave, feisty, won’t take shit from anybody
2. Katniss Everdeen – 16 year old protagonist of The Hunger Games. Brave and upfront, it is her inner thoughts that draw us in – her weaknesses and her strength so neither tries to be a man nor prove she’s better than men. She just is who she is.
3. Luna Lovegood – Everyone likes Hermione and though she is great, it was Luna that captured my attention even though she didn’t appear until book five. Luna appeals to my inner lifelong nerd, the part of me that has always found quirky people highly endearing. Secretly, and when I was that age, I always wanted a friend like Luna. Oh, and I wanted Harry to get together with Luna in the end
4. Brigid Tenenbaum – Secondary protagonist though an NPC in the first two Bioshock games. One of the world’s greatest biologists, as a Jew she survived Auschwitz by virtue of her genius. She is largely responsible for what happened in Rapture and she has a lot of making up to do… and knows it
5. Lizzie Bennett – We know the Unusually Emancipated Woman is a bit of a stereotype for period fiction but Austen was writing at the time her books were set. Lizzie then was the first UEW. She gives the strong-willed and sharp-tongued Mister Darcy a good run for his money. He doesn’t want a wet blanket for a wife and she knows it and proves it
Honourable mentions: Lucy Pevensie (Narnia), Ofelia (Pan’s Labyrinth), Liesel Memminger (The Book Thief) (hmmm, too many young girls in this list!), Aeryn Sun (Farscape), Helena Justina (Lindsey Davis’ Falco)
Okay so gents, which female character do you most admire? And ladies, if you primarily read books by women and about women, which male characters do you particularly admire?