In honour of International Women’s Day today, I wanted to post about my top 5 female characters.
This list is purely based on my tastes and the books that I’ve read.
- Sophia from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Robert Langdon books do have a habit of following the same storyline, and there is always the same female character with a different name, there to act as a love interest for Robert Langdon. Sophia, however, never felt like a plot device in the way that all the others did. She was feisty and brave and never a damsel in distress. She needs Langdon’s help to solve the clues left by her grandfather, but she matches his intelligence completely.
- Rita from Educating Rita by Willy Russell
Rita is a young woman trying to educate herself, while everyone around her struggles to comprehend why a woman would want to read books and why she hasn’t had a baby yet. Rita is the epitome of a woman ‘carrying on’ – no matter how much her family oppose her decision to go to the open university, she doesn’t let anyone push her around but she doesn’t attack them for their beliefs either. She continues with her domestic duties and writes her essays at work. By the end of the play, she knows who she is and that she’s worth something, and that was all her aim ever was.
- Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
I could have picked almost any female character from Harry Potter, but I went for McGonagall because a) Hermione was the obvious choice and b) I’ve never met a single HP reader who didn’t love her.
“The scream was the more terrible because he had never expected or dreamed that Professor McGonagall could make such a sound.”
She’s brave, clever and commands respect from the first page she appears on. Even in her fifties, she can duel with the best of them. She’s a constant figure in Harry’s world.
- Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl
I re-read this book over and over again as a child. She was the only character who I felt really understood the love of reading, and the only one who I thought sounded just like me. She’s so clever that her intelligence bursts out of her like magic. Not only is she clever, but she’s brave, too – even at the age of 6, she stands up to her parents and the crazed teacher and omg I need to read this book like now.
- Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I forget how much I love Jane Eyre. It’s hard to say why it feels like such an important feminist text, because Jane’s only real aim is to marry Mr. Rochester. But she stands up for herself and others in a way that is really heart-warming. I love Jane.
Some honourable mentions go to:
- Krystal from The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
- Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
- Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll