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Female characters meme, take 2

I wasn't thrilled by the first cut, but a friend (codeword GRIFFIN) just sent her own version, with a much better male list, so I figured I might take another stab. Part of that needs to be re-defining the task to be more doable. Apparently there was an older version of this, where you'd do pictures and explanations, but not go up to 100. I don't know if I'm up for paragraph explanations, but tagging between "I like"/"powerful"/"good role model"/etc. or just giving a short reason seem like advisable minima.

Of course, that depends what the point is. More details give a better sales pitch for the character and their fiction, and insight into you for why you like them. A longer list may work better for raw awareness. Then there's love (very personal) awesome (higher standard nominally,but by what standard?), strong, or interesting, among others. If it were a matter of a union of interesting and non-wallflower traits then I could easily have soared past 100. Anya, Joyce, Faith, Fred, and Cordelia from Buffy; Haley and Miko from OOTS; Wanda and Jillian from Erfworld; 6 chars from Higurashi; Princess Leia; both Daxes from DS9; Lyta Alexander and Delenn from B-5; Felice, Mercy, and Elizabeth from Pliocene; Signy Mallory and others from Cherryh; Menolly and Lessa from Pern; Zeetha and Bangladesh Dupress from Girl Genius; Nirrti from SG-1. Ding! 102, more or less.

So I'm going to try the more personal approach and see what grows. Also indicating medium, so you have some idea what you haven't heard of them. I'm also going to restrict to more or less human females. Elves count, AIs and robots and non-humaniform aliens won't.

Jame (God Stalk etc.; novel): main character of one of my favorite novels had better count! Not *quite* human but close; she's supernaturally powerful and turns out to be royal -- part princess, part lost heir, part Chosen One. More of the latter two than princess, in treatment -- and aren't female Heirs and Chosen Ones rare? Honest, honorable, extremely curious and bright, pretty competent even before the powers kick in, still flawed in terms of anger and impulsiveness and making mistakes. I'm sure I'd fall in love with her as a person, but I also kind of ID with her or would like to be her. Yes, I'm male. Of course, she's pretty androgynous and asexual (so far). I have lots of fanfic ideas about her and the next one, none written.

Kirien (sequels to God Stalk; novels): head of House Jaran, the scholarly house of the Kencyrath. All the Jaran seem like good people, almost cartoonishly so, putting knowledge and the Law over politics and self-interest. Given the rest of the books, this comes across as a welcome refuge for my moral sensibilities, and what the Kencyr should be like, rather than unbelievable. (BTW Jame, as omni-curious and quite intelligent, would make an excellent leader for them, if she could lead anything safely.) Kirien's the one we see the most, displaying intelligence and good wry humor and emotional stability. Best line, in a scholarly equivalent of berserker rage: "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." Jame gets to snap her out of it to save someone's self-esteem.

Other women of the books: Cleppety, inn-matron, good humor and strong sense of what's right; Trishien, Jaran Matriarch, most moral of the Matriarchs and very good humor; Lyra Lack-wit, energetically poking at the bonds of the Women's World; Brier Iron-Thorn, think sergeant; Cattila, another eccentric Matriarch; Rawneth, Randir Matriarch and taking the evil sorceress role.

Youko Nakajima (Twelve Kingdoms; anime from Japanese novels). A fairly ordinary Japanese schoolgirl -- in the quiet good student class president mode -- who gets sucked into a fantasy world. At first she doesn't adapt well; the anime gives her a companion who's a fantasy fan and really into the whole idea at first. Youko's reluctance doesn't seem close-minded because on top of having been basically abducted, her appearance changes and everything's trying to kill her and one thing is trying to drive her insane. Lots of people think she's too whiny in the anime but geez, I find it more dark than annoying. It should be noted that she kills the demons trying to kill her, albeit with borrowed skill. A bit more than halfway through the first arc or novel she has her breakthrough, personality-wise, deciding that no, she won't go amorally insane, that she can be a nice person just because she wants to be a nice person, even if it seems everyone is out to get her and the gods are silent. It would make a decent atheist morality manifesto, though it wasn't coming from that angle.

I could say more, but I'm not sure it'd come across well. Suffice to say that watching her grow from timid girl raised by an abusively conservative father ("no, you may not join the sports team if it means wearing pants") to a sword-wielding boy-passing (yes, that could be problematic) fighter for justice is pretty neat to me.

Other women: Suzu and Shoukei, later characters who start out very very very very annoying, with far less excuse than early Youko, but grow up strong in the course of their story. Fuyumi Ono seems to like the "insane girl who gets better" arc.

Man, this will take forever if I don't tone it down. Well, Jame's the single character I like the most, and Youko has recency effect, so this will probably go down naturally.

Aerin (Hero and the Crown; novel). A genuine princess, not lost. Out of place, though. The first half of her book is her childhood, basically, and I found it very poignant and sympathetic. Super tomboy, but when laid up for a while, she sort of invents chemical engineering, trying to reconstruct an alchemical formula for fireproof lotion, and that sort of experimentation endeared her to me more. Also made her seem more like Jame.

Cordelia Naismith (various Bujold novels): former captain in the Betan Astronomical Survey, the scientific elite, charting new wormholes and boldly exploring new planets behind them. Gets some action scenes, ends up on a Meiji-like industrializing planet as a refugee from an advanced social democratic society; culture clash ensues. And more action ("I went shopping", inside joke.) Later is the almost annoyingly wise and insightful matriarch character, who's upbringing of the Emperor has probably shaped Barrayaran history. Has humanist moral insights similar to Granny Weatherwax (Discworld novels; crone-mode witch; powerful, wise, and very grumpy.)

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice). Bright, and defiantly wants to marry for love, despite the severe limitations on female choice in her milieu. Fortunately she's in an intellectual romance novel, so gets to marry tall, dark, and handsome, and oh so very rich Mr. Darcy, as opposed to becoming a single governess as the laws of probability would indicate. Still, she's a fun and engaging character.

Buffy (Buffy, TV): pretty and kicks vampire ass. It's an unearned supernatural endowment, but she bears it well, and is a good person, mostly. And we like seeing her kick ass. And she's definitely not perfect. And Whedon's good at engaging dialogue.
Willow (Buffy): starts out as the cute geek girl. Later is superpowerful witch.
Tara (Buffy): less powerful witch, at least once Willow surpasses her. Better person.
Drusilla (Buffy): insane vampire psychic. Got really interesting when she got her own prophecy: "a dark power will rise in Sunnydale". She did rise, but I never felt we got proper payoff as a dark power worth her own prophecy, though she did hypnotize a Slayer to death. Definitely cool to watch and try to interpret.

Also of note: Jenny Callendar (computer teacher, sexy, bookish, aggressive in going for the English librarian); Anya (former overly powered vengeance demon, adjusted weirdly to being human again, nice lateral thinking and directness); Faith (Slayer, a lot less socialized than Buffy)

Agatha Heterodyne (Girl Genius, comic/webcomic): very bright and powerful Spark (mad scientist). More or less moral (heroic with a taste for death rays.)
Also: Zeetha, warrior princess; Bangladesh Dupree, pirate queen; Zulenna, obnoxious princess who risked her life for a debt of honor/obligation; Von Pinn, the 200 year old construct nanny-guardian-warrior-what? Zulenna faced down; Lucrezia, who did after all manage to wreck Europe; Jenka, rare female Jaegerkin; Gkika, rarer female Jaegergeneral.

Lafiel (Crest of the Stars, anime from novels.) Princess of an escaped genetically engineered space-adapted slave race. Very strong willed, pretty charming on the rare occasions she smiles and means it, pretty scare when she smiles more often, fierce loyalty to Jinto, which she has to balance against being a military officer and princess.
Admiral Spoor (Crest): an older Abh admiral. ObfuscatingInsanity

Ariane Emory (Cyteen, novel): mad social scientist who basically rules a major human power (don't do the math, it'll just ruin things) and seeks to shape the future of humanity. Then her clone, raised to be as smart as her.

Leela (Doctor Who): my first exposure may have been the best: "The Terror of Fang Rock". It's late 19th or early 20th century England, they come out of the TARDIS with her dressed like a lady of the period. About 12 minutes in from there she's in a guy's pants. Not sexually: she's literally borrowed pants and between those and a sweater is back in sleek huntress mode, with a knife she got somewhere. Best line, of many: "Do as the Doctor tells you or I will cut out your heart." When a proper (and properly annoying) English lady is screaming in hysterics, Leela just slaps her. BEST COMPANION EVAR. Especially after seeing Romana (an alleged Time Lord) get kidnapped over and over.

Okay, I've spent an hour so far. This is way too much work to do this way...



Damien Sullivan

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