Like the heroes and couples I've written about previously, many heroines inspired me. Some of them will be obvious, but some will not. There are no one-to-one comparisons here, each girl is heroic in her own way, but not the same as any man. I admire girls in media who are more than pretty faces, I admire their kindness, their compassion, their skill or their intelligence more than anything else. You may find that they are all fighters... but not all in the same way.
15: Princess Ariel of Atlantica, from Disney's The Little Mermaid.
I was three, OK? For a long time I admired Ariel for her take no crap (not even from her father) attitude. I wanted to be her... well, be a mermaid anyway! But as I got older, I turned away from Ariel as a role model and turned to a more appropriate princess. The less said about this brat the better really. Sorry, Ariel Fans...
14: Princess Jasmine of Agrabah, from Disney's Aladdin
Jasmine, from Aladdin became my favorite princess next, and she is still my favorite princess. Jasmine was also a "take no crap" kind of girl, but in a more respectful way than Ariel, with her storms and pouts. Okay, yes, she did technically run away from home, but she learned the hard way *why* it was a good idea to wait for an escort. In the follow on series of films and TV series we find that Jasmine was well educated in the arts of negotiation, the self-sacrifice required of a princess, and compassion, even for people who have mistreated her. All of these factors together gave me the impression that here was a royal lady, one worthy of my admiration.
13: Mulan, from Chinese Legend and the Disney Film
Mulan began life in Chinese legend, the story of a girl who chose the supreme virtue of Filial Piety over the limitations of her sex in her culture. The Disney film brought her to the rest of the world, though she was well known inside her native China. And for me, I looked in her eyes and saw a girl not unlike me. She was beautiful, and she was brave. She was smart and loyal. So she became another heroine I could find inspiration in.
12: Kim Possible, from the series Kim Possible
Man, there's a lot of Disney characters here, isn't there? It gets better the older I get, LOL. Anyway, Kim Possible was a series that Disney ran when I was in my early teens. Kim was a heroine for hire, using her tech, cheer and martial arts skills, and brains to defeat a selection of colorful villains. Like many superheroines of the same time, Kim let nothing stand in her way, but she was also went out of her way to help people, tutoring younger kids, helping her cheer squad as their captain, and standing up for her bullied bestie Ron Stoppable. (and NO I don't like the Ron/Kim relationship!)
11: Three way tie: Airazor and Blackarachnia from Beast Wars Transformers, and Arcee, from Transformers Energon
Some of my first fan fictions were written about these ladies. Airazor was the only female on the good-guy team for quite some time. Petite in stature, sharp witted, and perceptive, Airazor brought a cool head to the sometimes bullheaded Maximal team lineup. First friends with, and then something more with Tigatron, the fiercely independent white tiger, they taught me the value of the slow-burn romance.
Kidnapped while unconscious and forcibly reprogrammed, Blackarachnia lives by her wits, hoping to outsmart everyone and survive her hostile existence. Until one Maximal takes the chance and shows her a better life, a life of real freedom and real love. Silverbolt, (from my Heroes list) shows her a way to redemption, pledging himself to her service as a good knight. Though fully capable of fighting herself, she learns to rely on others and what redemption can do for a person.
Arcee wasn't a huge character in any version of Transformers she was in (with the exception of "Transformers Prime" which I haven't seen), but she was always seen as a competent worker and great leader. She is, in fact the very first female Transformer, created by the director of "Transformers The Movie" for his daughter. (However, the first Female Transformer to appear on the show came a few months before the movie came out. She was Optimus Prime's sweetheart Elita-One) Arcee was known for taking no funny business from anyone and cared for all the people, humans and robots under her.
10: Snow White, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
There was a time when I bought into the feminist lie that Snow White was a passive, pining, princess dependent on men to save her from her problems. As I've gotten older, however, I've realized that Snow is perhaps the strongest of all. No matter what happens to her, she keeps a positive outlook on life. She looks for every opportunity to make people smile, acts as a civilizing influence on the Dwarfs, and is a hard worker. She could've been a passive princess, but instead she's an active force, just not in the way feminists want!
9: Tie- Madoka Kaname and Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Though the anime "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" is full of tragedy and suffering, two of the five girl cast were confident in the good and the beauty in the world.
Mami Tomoe is the eldest of the group, being between the ages of 16 and 18. She is beautiful and brave, believing in goodness, justice, love, and selflessness. With her battle cry "Tiro Finale!" she proclaimed victory over the evil around her. The cruel Incubators took advantage of Mami's goodheartedness more than once in the series timelines, but she never gave up her hope. Some of Mami's determination and hope rubbed off onto Goewyn, one of my favorite heroines to write for.
Madoka Kaname is an ordinary girl, one who believes in the goodness of her fellow humans, assuring sometimes depressive Homura that there are things worth fighting for in this world. Her very nature is to love her friends, so much that she would give anything for them, including to be with them for a time. When she becomes a Puella Magi, her magic is so powerful that she is able to create a paradise for all magical girls, so that if they fall, they will not fall without hope. Madoka's wish was to save her friends from suffering, and for that, she must live in a separate dimension from them, waiting until the day when she can bring them with her. Madoka's gentleness, innocence, and self-sacrificial nature influenced Princess Iona, who loves her friends and her people.
8. Catherine Chandler, from Beauty and the Beast (1987)
Catherine Chandler, and up-and-coming young lawyer has the world at her feet. She has everything she could wish for... until one terrible night when it's all stolen from her. Attacked and left for dead, she's rescued by Vincent, the kind lion man who tends her wounds and gives her back her courage. Together with Vincent, Catherine solves mysteries and protects the innocent as an assistant DA. Early on in the series, Catherine plunges headfirst into danger, often needing Vincent's rescue before getting her feet under her and learning not to be so reckless. But even then, she can always count on her knight from below to help her. Like so many of these characters, Catherine is loyal to the people she loves, willing to risk everything for her beloved Vincent she refuses to disclose his existence to anyone, even when her life is threatened.
7: Tzu Yingtai, from Chinese Legend
In Chinese legend there are four great love stories, each of them about the lovers overcoming great odds to be together. One of them is the story of Tzu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo, who are also known as The Butterfly Lovers.
Tzu Yingtai is the ninth child and only girl in the Tzu household. Her brothers taught her to read and all sorts of scholarly refinements, leading her to wish to attend collage. She's a girl, of course, collage is only for boys in ancient China. So what does Yingtai do? She dresses up as a boy and heads off for the collage of Hangzou. Yingtai is clever, so clever that even her roommate, Liang Shanbo, doesn't realize. Shanbo's kind of a dipstick, but he's Yingtai's dipstick, and she'll do anything she can to make sure she can marry him. Sadly, fate intervenes. Yingtai's intelligence, cleverness, and beauty have gained her a rich and powerful admirer, Ma Wencai, who is equally determined to make her his bride. Yingtai likes Wencai well enough, but doesn't want to marry him. Wencai bullies Yingtai's family to compliance, which breaks Shanbo's heart. He dies for love of Yingtai, only days before her wedding. Yingtai promises she'll fulfill her duty, but only if she can pay her respects to her beloved. When she arrives at the grave, the ghost of Shanbo appears, and takes Yingtai with him, leaving only a pair of butterflies in their wake.
There's a little romantic who hides in the back of my mind who loves stories of star crossed lovers overcoming even death to be together. Not Romeo and Juliet though. That whole thing is a disaster. Yingtai and Shanbo are a kind of star crossed I can get behind. They actually want to sacrifice for the sake of their beloved, pretty speeches don't matter for them, only faithfulness and truth.
6: Stormy Llewellyn, from Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas
Dear, sweet Stormy grew up in the school of hard knocks. Orphaned at a young age, sexually abused by her legal guardian, and rescued by her uncle Father Llewellyn, Stormy could've turned into a fearful shell or a bitter woman before her time. But instead Stormy takes life and love by the horns, seeing adventure around every corner. It's her sense of adventure that directs her to Odd Thomas, the boy who can see ghosts. Odd and Stormy believe they're destined to be married and live happily ever after; well, as happily as one can when one's husband is helping ghosts. But tragedy strikes, leaving Odd all alone, but Stormy is always with him in his heart.
Steadfast Stormy is a heroine I can get behind. She's brave, kind, faithful, hopeful, and supportive of her man. Some scenes in the book are a bit suggestive, fair warning, but Stormy's a good girl. She wants to do what's right for everyone around her.
5: Tie- Lucy Pevensie, from The Chronicles of Narnia, and Dorothy Gale, from The Wizard of Oz series
These two young heroines of classic kid's lit made a large impact on me that continues to this day. Lucy is the youngest of the four kids in the Narnia books. Her childlike faith and sense of wonder is what drives "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" forward. Unlike several people in the series, Lucy never gives up on Aslan, always trusting him to pull them through whatever danger they're facing. Lucy is unfailingly kind and brave, choosing to see the good in everyone, as evidenced by her friendship with Tumnus the faun.
Like Lucy, Dorothy is determined to be kind and see the good in everyone, her selfless courage often winning the day. But she also takes no backchat; Dorothy has no tolerance for bullies and will fight back if necessary. most famously by hurling water on the Witch of the West. When faced with Witches, Gnome Kings, or Lions she shows no fear; this fearlessness and love of adventure being her main attributes.
4: Samantha "Sam" Carter, from Stargate
Brains and beauty meet in Sam Carter. As one of the founding members of SG1, Sam finds herself in all sorts of dangerous situations partnered with a semi-suicidal loner, a nerd who can barely hold his gun, and an alien who barely speaks a word... at first. Sam, Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c become more than partners, they become family. Sam is a skilled soldier, as well as an expert in astrophysics, astronomy, and many other sciences, and tends to be a cool head when it comes to dealing with aliens and other surprising circumstances, often being the brains of the outfit.
3. Princess Arwen Undomiel and Princess Eowyn of Rohan from Lord of the Rings
Ah, yes, more characters feminists can't stand. More often than not accused of passivity and the ultimate crime of "giving it all for a man", Arwen and Eowyn are nevertheless heroines worthy of the title.
In the novels, Arwen is the daughter of Elrond, (her "Princess" title comes by virtue of her grandmother, Galadriel) with whom Aragorn falls in love. Elrond, unlike what is portrayed in the movies, is more than happy to hear this, but like a good father makes sure that Aragorn's intentions are right before giving his consent. And even this consent is conditional upon Aragorn claiming his birthright as King of Gondor. Then, and only then, will Aragorn and Arwen marry. Late in "Return of the King", Arwen's brothers Elendan and Elohir, arrive to help Aragorn with a present from their sister, a hand stitched war banner of the Tree of Gondor. After Aragorn and Arwen marry, Arwen gives up her rights as an elf to travel to the Undying Lands, and lives out the rest of her days as the wife of Aragorn.
Eowyn is the neice of Theoden, King of Rohan. When Theoden's son is killed by orcs, the crown of Rohan falls to Eowyn and her brother Eomer. In the novels, before the battle of Helm's Deep, Theoden asks his people who should rule in his place should he die. When they answer they only want a member of his house, he asks them who it should be, should he and Eomer both die. The answer? Eowyn, who is beloved by the people and as skilled as her brother in the arts of war. When Eowyn falls in love with Aragorn, she begs to be taken along to battle at Pelenor Fields, and when she's refused, she dresses as a man and goes along anyway. With Merry, one of the Hobbits in her saddle, she slays the Witch King of Angmar. When both of them are wounded, Aragorn makes them well again. It's in recuperating that Eowyn realizes it wasn't Aragorn she loved, only the idea of him. The man who does gain the privilege of marrying Eowyn is Faramir, the last Steward of Gondor. It is his gentle ways that win over Eowyn and help her to understand what she really wants.
2: Laterose from Martin the Warrior
Laterose had no business getting involved with Martin in the first place. Her job was to get her brother, Brome, back home to Noonvale, and nothing more. Though raised a pacifist, she could not stand idly by while dozens of her fellow creatures were being held prisoner by Badrang the Tyrant, the stoat who had imprisoned both her brother and Martin. Together, Martin and Rose rallied many creatures to the fortress Marshank to fight Badrang. It is during this conflict that Laterose is murdered defending her friend Grumm the mole.
Mr. Jacques had to field more questions about Laterose than any other character, I believe, At least that's what I observed. Many Redwall fans questioned why Laterose had to die, protesting that it was unfair. Mr. Jacques's answer? "Such is life." With these simple words, Mr. Jacques was essentially saying "Life's not fair. Sometimes good people die before their time." And taught many children this valuable lesson.
1: Princess Una from The Faerie Queen
As Spenser's epic poem "The Faerie Queene" begins, Princess Una, the beautiful princess of a country under siege by a Dragon, undertook a dangerous journey to the Faerie Queene's court in search of a knight to slay the Dragon. From among all the knights in Queene Gloriana's court, the youngest, Redcrosse (AKA George), is chosen. Redcrosse is a simple fellow, and a bit naive, willing to believe much of what people tell him. Ordinarily, this would be a good thing, but Redcrosse isn't as bright as some. More than once, Una has to drag him back on track, usually with the aide of Prince Arthur, a roving knight and prince looking to prove himself worthy of the hand of Queene Gloriana. Once Redcrosse, now called George, slays the dragon, he is able to marry Princess Una.
In the alegorical context of The Faerie Queen, Una represents truth, and the Anglican Church. Una (as Truth) is so attractive that even wild beasts serve her and satyrs worship her as queen. Beside her attributes as a personification of truth, her gentle bravery also makes her attractive to me, personally. She did what no other person in her land could: She left the safety of home and searched out help. She risked it all to save her people, and is ultimately rewarded for that bravery.
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Fridays.