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02 June 2009 @ 05:48 pm
Programming Inspiration  
Hi, everyone!

I’ve been pondering my programming submissions. The submissions deadline has been extended to June 7, in case you haven’t heard, so if you’re on the fence or if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss, please do put together a proposal! Everyone’s welcome to submit, whether you have a PhD in Literature or Women’s Studies, are a woman working in publishing, or like me, you only have degrees that are utterly useless in this field, but you’re a huge fan of women fantasy writers and women fantasy characters.

Anyway! I have been pondering my programming submissions, which are bouncing around in my head like pinballs, and I thought maybe we could all use a little inspiration and celebration.

So do tell me, please, who are your favorite female fantasy characters and why do you love them so much?

Here are some of mine:

Keladry, from Tammy Piece’s Protector of the Small quartet: Kel is the first openly female knight in over a hundred years, and she trains and achieves her knighthood despite ongoing bullying and undermining from others in her life. Also, her mom is a badass and her queen is a badass and every time I read her conversation with Alanna after Kel’s achieved her, ahem, distaff shield, I have a little cry.

Ellen, from Cinda Williams Chima’s Warrior Heir, et al: I can’t really tell you why Ellen is a badass without giving away huge plot points, but Ellen is a complete badass. If you’ve read the books, I bet you know what I mean!

The White Witch, from C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Yeah, I know C. S. Lewis had serious women issues (“Battles are ugly when women fight,” indeed), but from his women issues sprung one of the most terrifying, powerful villains in fantasy literature.

Alice, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: I don’t know that Carroll thought he was telling anything other than a cute adventure story, but Alice has always been one of my favorite heroines because she finds herself having an adventure, and uses her wits to stand on her own two feet and navigate Wonderland (all that eating and drinking of unknown substances aside!).

Meg, from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: Okay, okay, Wrinkle is more sci-fi than fantasy, but it was the first book I read as a child that had a “difficult” heroine and praised her for being “difficult.” Meg, I ♥ you!

And yours?

delightfully mediocre: matildanotasecretagent on June 4th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
It's really hard to choose favorites! Hmm. A few of my favorites that immediately come to mind are:

Alia, from Dune by Frank Herbert. She's decidedly flawed (and admittedly the Dune books are probably considered sci-fi, but if Meg counts - who I also ♥ - I'm counting Alia), frankly in the books following Dune she's devious and nuts - but it's not really her fault. She's powerful and makes the most of it. At one point I think she even means well.

Matilda, from Matilda by Roald Dahl. She's so smart, her smarts start leaking out her eyes and moving things around because she's not being challenged enough in school. She's insanely clever and for a kindergartner (first-grader?), kicks some serious ass.

Coraline, from Coraline by Neil Gaiman (maybe I just like books with girls' names in the titles). I haven't seen the film, but what I've heard from friends suggests a significant change to her character (presentation topic?) from a brave and intelligent young girl to a girl who can't solve problems on her own and needs the help of a little boy not present in the novel. What?! Yikes.

I don't know if this counts (not only is it a comic, but it might also be a bit sci-fi slanted), but 355 from the graphic novel Y: the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn is interesting and fantastic. While she appears at first to be a one-dimensional ass-kicking woman from a mysterious government agency (soooo done), her character is slowly explored and revealed over the course of the comic as she spends more time with the title character, and it's fantastic to watch/read.

And I adore Ginny Weasley - probably an obvious choice, but Ginny rules.
I'm shiny, Captain.lessthanpie on June 4th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
I LOVE 355. She is so, so awesome.
delightfully mediocrenotasecretagent on June 4th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
I just realized that all my choices, save Ginny, were created by men. Whaaaaat? That might be weird.
(Deleted comment)
delightfully mediocrenotasecretagent on June 10th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
I think it does. A quick glance at my bookshelves reveals that most of my books were written by men in general, but the only female-penned fantasy novels I have boil down to Twilight, Harry Potter, and a few books I adored as a child that nobody else will have heard of. Weird.