Monday, November 7, 2011

Miscellaneous Mondays: In Honor of Heroines

Kicking off yet another week with Miscellaneous Monday, I want to talk about something a little more specific than usual: heroines. Anyone who reads my reviews has probably noticed that I'm tough on heroines. Not only do I want them to be well written, three-dimensional, and fully developed, but I also want them to be tough, smart, and talented. I'm quick to point out when the leading lady isn't up to snuff. Why am I so tough on heroines? I guess it's because when I read a book, even one written in third person, I tend to "see" everything through the heroine's eyes. She becomes like my tour guide through the story, and if I like her I feel like she's my friend. If she's stupid, whiny, or boring, I end up hating her and the entire book by proxy. The same goes with shows and movies (just look at how I reacted to The Secret Circle). Let's look at some of the heroines in my fictional life.

Once Upon a Time

Emma from Once is a great example of how you can have a likeable heroine who isn't boring. She's a loner, and she's lonely, and her social skills are questionable. She obviously hasn't had an easy life. But she has a lot of heart, and she wants the best for her son. So she stays and fights even when she'd much rather leave. If you've seen the show, than you know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, than you need to. It's like a family drama and a fantasy show melded together.

Terra Nova

Elizabeth is the "wife/mom" character in Terra Nova. Like everything else about the show, Elizabeth's character is pretty cliched--but cliched does not mean unlikeable. She's a doctor and sometimes researcher (because all scientists know everything there is to know about science), but she also occupies the typical mommy role in a big way. I recall one episode when she works late and asks her husband to handle the kids and make dinner, and of course he fails without her--dads can't do mom things, that's just crazy! I do like her, though, because she's a smart, optimistic, forward thinking character. In the most recent episode she spent a day trying to heal a baby dinosaur so that it would hatch from it's egg healthy--just so her daughter wouldn't be upset. That whole thing was a bit over sweet for my taste, but it did show how much she cares.


I'm cheating a bit with this one because Aunt Marie is not the heroine of the show--she isn't even a main character. She's more like the plot device that kicks everything off. But I don't care, I like this show and I want to talk about her. Aunt Marie has apparently had quite and interesting life, fighting the monsters from the old Grimm fairy tales. At one point a nurse comments about her many scars and asks what line of work she was in, and Nick replies that she was a librarian. A librarian who kicks ass--that's simply fantastic! It saddens be that we aren't likely to get much more of her story, but I'm filing her away in my cool fictional characters list.

Disney Heroines

I made this the subject of last weeks poll because I've been on such a fairy tale kick. A lot of people, especially really hard core feminists, like to go on and on about how Disney heroines are not stellar role models. On some level I can see their point, but it's not something I take too seriously. To me they've always been fantasy characters from another time and place, and you can't hold them to the same standards that you would a contemporary character of today. That would be like berating the ladies of Jane Austen's books for not getting jobs.

Anyway, Mulan ended up winning in the poll, which I find exciting because she is an entirely different kind of heroine. Not only is she actually heroic, she has goals that have nothing to do with romance and getting married. Sure, the romance is there, but it's a secondary concern to all of the cross dressing, self discovery, and saving China plot threads. I just watched Mulan over the weekend for the first time in quite a few years. Questionable handling of Chinese culture aside, I really love that movie.

So, who is your favorite heroine (Disney or otherwise)? What makes her awesome?

As always, a new poll is up! In keeping with the fantasy theme, this week I'm asking what super-power you would choose. Take a second to vote on the right side of your screen. Thanks a bunch, and Happy Reading!


  1. I have so many heroines that I like, I don't know that I could choose a heroine. I know that I like the female characters to be smart, strong, and interesting. For example, Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter was not one of the main characters but she was probably my favorite female character in that series because of all her wonderful personality quirks.
    When a heroine is stupid or whiny, I find myself rooting for the villain! lol

  2. The question is too hard this week! I want all of the powers! I'm also someone whose hard on heroines. If there's even a tiny bit where the heroine does something silly or act in a way that's selfish without any proper reason, I will lose interest. Hence why I don't really care for a lot of the heroines that many readers seem to live. I don't like miss whiney, woe is me, I'm being selfish but I can't help it. No just die already so that the book can end.

  3. Happy Booker--Luna made in into my top 7 HP characters for the exact reasons that you mentioned. She's simply awesome, so she counts as a heroine in my book lol.

    Lan--It is a hard question, isn't it? I also kept thinking each one of these could have some pretty horrible down sides too...shape-shifting probably hurts, time travel is dangerous on principle, and God help you if you're a psychic who can't control your powers. :D

  4. Oh, yeah. I totally love Mulan. She is definitely my favorite Disney Heroine. Of other genres, though.... there are so many! Rachel Morgan, Anita Blake, Clarissa Dalloway, Alanna, Princess Mia, the list goes on and on. What power would I want? Teleportation would be nice. ;)


  5. J.D.--For me its a toss up between flying and shapeshifting. I guess if I could shapeshift into a bird that would take care of both!

  6. I love Aunt Marie!!! And I thought it was awesome that she was a "librarian"

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  7. The Man and I just caught up on the first two Grimm episodes last night, and are definitely hooked. Reminds me of Supernatural mixed with Law & Order. Aunt Marie was fantastic; I'm hoping her character still shows up in future episodes, even though she's technically dead.

    Sorry I'm late to your Monday chat! Been one of those weeks...


Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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