Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I HEART YA #6: Female Protagonists, Tough or Over Easy?

Welcome to the 6th weekly I HEART YA Blog Carnival! I HEART YA is a Blog Carnival for readers, writers, and lovers of young adult fiction. Every Tuesday there will be a blogging prompt that celebrates my favorite reading genre --YA fiction. Bloggers are invited to write their own take on the topic and post a link in the comment section, or if you prefer just put your thoughts in the comments. Either way, if you own a blog, grab the button to show your pride, and add your link to the list below. If you're not sure what to do, go to the I HEART YA tab for more details. 

I have to say that I love the story of Princess Bride. I say story, because I'm an equal fan of both the movie and the book. If you've only experienced one or the other I suggest you correct that situation. And soon.

I love Wesley. Oh the things I could say about Wesley. (Like how my mom, (you know, the cute little 90-year-old?) said that she couldn't ever enjoy a movie where the hero is prettier than the heroine. She cracks me up.) 

Anyway, I'm also a fan of Buttercup, the heroine who's not quite as pretty as her hero. I love the way she reacts to crisis, like in the scene pictured above, in the fire swamp, battling R.O.U.S.'s. Her approach can be summed up in three words, "Help me Wesley!" She does pick up up a large stick, but does nothing with it. 

However, my pleasure at the "Help me Wesley!" approach is strictly limited to the parody of Princess Bride. Everywhere else, I want my female protagonists to have a little fight in them. Not that I don't like to see them rescued now and them. Or that I expect them to run around lifting weights and packing heat. But I do like them to be well-rounded with good brains, good morals, and a little gumption. 

If I had to choose a favorite, I'd probably go with Hermione from Harry Potter. Brainy, tough, brave--yet humble, shy, and a geek. I love the scene (I can never manage to keep the books straight, let alone the scenes, so you'll just have to trust me that it's one of the later ones) where Harry is about to leave in order to keep his friends safe, and Ron wants to follow, but he insists they wait for Hermione. Then he sheepishly admits that they wouldn't be anywhere without her, but insists they don't tell her. And that's the truth. Harry Potter would be half a book long if it weren't for Hermione.

Second choice goes to Matilda from Roald Dahl. A little unorthodox of a choice I know. And she might even be middle grade. But she's still one of my favorites. Yes, the story is silly, but I admire the spunky little thing too much to not mention her.

Of course, Katniss from Hunger Games also gets top billing when it comes to tough female protags. Not only does she jump at the chance to save her little sister, but she's forced to make impossible moral decisions in a world that has lost its moral compass, and yet never backs down from taking the high road.

Finally, a little lesser known heroine is Katsa from Kristen Cashore's Graceling. Born with a power that only forces her into slavery, Katsa uses her smarts to slowly turn things around not just for her but her entire society. 

Okay, those are some of my favorite female protagonists. I like them smart, spunky and brave; sprinkled with a dash of humility. What about you? How do you take your female protagonists?

And don't forget: 1. Add your link to the linkytool (Only once is necessary. Links will be removed after two months of not participating.) 2. Add your link to the comment section so we know you participated this week. 3. Grab the button if you haven't already. 4. Check out the other blog posts. Ready...set...go!


  1. Replies
    1. Great post - Cara makes some great points, make sure you head over there to read them!

  2. Mine's all ugly because iPad and Blogger don't play nice. But it's up and that's more than I've been able to say other weeks. http://www.sarahbelliston.com/2012/02/i-heart-ya-female-protags.html

    1. Sarah gets bonus points for fighting through iPad and Blogger wars! Go Sarah! Thanks for your input, awesome as usual!

  3. I forgot to mention, for those who like to play ahead, next week will have the same topic but with hotties, I mean, male protags. Good times!

  4. I like a strong female protagonist but lately that seems to be playing out more physically than psychologically/emotionally. Don't get me wrong, I like a girl who can kick some bum, but there are other types of strong and lately these seem to have taken a bit of a back seat (which is why Hermione's so awesome).

    Great post, Suze! :-)

  5. I'm pretty late today, but here it is! I had to add Hermione to my lineup too!


    Now off to read the others!

  6. Better late than never? :)