I love strong characters in books. It’s one of the main aspects that really draws me in. But I love strong female characters even more.
Since I was a little girl, books and literature have been where I’ve found the majority of my role models. I looked up to certain characters and wanted to emulate them. I actively sought books with female leads; female characters whose storyline was not determined by their love life or romantic relationships.
Strong female characters are becoming more and more central to storylines (yay!). They are no longer solely pushed to the sidelines as a wife or a girlfriend. For me, a “strong” female character doesn’t necessarily have to be brave and fight all the time. I find strength and inspiration in characters that are compassionate, kind, caring, a good friend, loyal, passionate about something, hard-working and determined.
So here’s a list of some of my favourite bad-ass female characters!
#1 Hermione Granger from Harry Potter series
Probably my favourite female book character when I was younger. Though incredibly smart, Hermione Granger’s loyalty and bravery are just as powerful traits. Without her, Harry and Ron could have never survived the series.
#2 Jo March from Little Women
The second-eldest daughter in Louisa May Alcott’s book. Jo is outspoken, smart and, unlike her sisters, not interested in marriage and chooses to defy society’s expectations of her.
#3 Celie from The Colour Purple
The narrator of the book. In the beginning of story, Celie, after years of emotional and physical abuse, is lonely and timid. Throughout the plot, Celie finds her own strength through all her hardship and becomes an independent and strong-willed woman.
#4 Matilda from Matilda
Matilda Wormwood is the main character in Roald Dahl’s novel, Matilda. She is extraordinarily intelligent and independent with strong beliefs and morals.
#5 Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire
Anyone who has read/watched any of the A Song of Ice and Fire books/episodes knows that Arya Stark’s life hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing, yet her determination and her fierceness provide her with the tools to avenge her family and survive the games.
#6 Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennett from Pride and Prejudice
Stubborn, like myself, Lizzie Bennett is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Though Elizabeth Bennett is expected to marry for money and fortune and not love, she sticks to her morals and vows to remain single if not for a marriage of love. At the time, Elizabeth Bennett would have been the most shocking character!
#7 Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale
A current favourite character of mine. Offred is the main character of Margaret Attwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Set in a dystopian world, Offred is taken from her normal life and essentially held as a surrogate and slave to an important family. The book deals with the objectification of women and sexism and Offred is one of the best feminist characters to use to talk about these issues.
#8 Tauriel from The Hobbit
Ok, so I’m cheating slightly with this one as Tauriel was never in the original The Hobbit book by J.R.R Tolkien. However, her character was created and adadpted for the screen using material from the book. A book which had no female characters. Her compassion, loyalty and strength as well as her incredible fighting skills earn her a place on this list.
#9 Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games
The heroine of the trilogy. After volunteering as tribute in place of her sister, she becomes a somewhat reluctant hero throughout the districts. In addition to being a highly skilled archer, she is strong, determined and brave.
#10 Aibileen Clark from The Help
The Help is one of my favourite books and Aibileen is definitely my favourite character. Aibileen is a maid and nanny for a rich Southern family during the 1960’s. She becomes one of the main informants to Skeeter who is writing an article exposing the truth of lives of the help. Aibileen challenges restrictions that society has imposed upon her based on her gender and race, whilst remaining kind, respectful and strong.
#11 Roxanne “Roxy” Monke from The Power
The daughter of the infamous leader of a gang, Roxy has more power than most girls her age. I don’t want to spoil anything from the book, but let’s say that Roxy uses her power to, not only fight for revenge on a personal level, but also in a wider sense of the term; revenge for the women that have been wronged by men for years.
#12 Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird
The 6-year old narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird. Nothing about Scout Finch is typicaly of how girls were expected to behave during the 1930’s; she is opinionated and strong, she doesn’t like to do things society’s way, she avoids wearing dresses, loves to climb trees and outspoken.
Who are your favourite female characters?
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