Greetings, fellow Goats!
I come to you today having just freshly finished Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints, which was both an excellent story and an excellent example of how to have main characters that are unique and totally themselves and still relatable. I won’t say more on that novel today but it did make me think about the many characters in literature that have captured me and remained memorable through the years. Today I’m just focusing on the ladies* (but hold tight—I’m sure the gents will have their turn soon enough.)
*As a note, these excellent lady characters aren’t ranked in any way and this is not a complete list of my favorites. They’re just the first five that came to mind.
1. Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time
Photo credit: siminiblocker.tumblr.com
I can’t remember the first time I read this book, but I was definitely at least in my early teens (maybe younger?) And the thing that gripped me immediately is that I felt like Meg Murry was me. She is gangly, graceless, wears glasses, lacks confidence and is abundant in awkwardness. And she wasn’t awkward in that way that so many books say a young woman is awkward—that is, she’s actually gorgeous and perfect and somehow unaware of it—she actually is awkward. But it doesn’t matter. Because she teams up with other perfectly imperfect people, pushes through her crippling self-doubt, and becomes a hero in more ways than one. Thanks for being my hero, Meg Murry!
2. Ella of Frell, Ella Enchanted
In contrast to miss Meg, Ella was who I wished I was. This is one of the earliest books I can remember reading and I loved Ella’s feistiness and humor. She was given an extremely irritating lot in life and still managed to experience love and joy and true friendship. She was clever enough to find ways around her curse and rarely complained about something that is totally valid to complain about. And when it came down to it, she was able to find strength within herself and do something she didn’t even know was possible. (Please read this book if you haven’t, even if you saw the movie and thought it was terrible. It’s been one of my favorites all my life.)
3. Claidi – Wolf Tower
Here’s a somewhat obscure one for you. I haven’t read the rest of this series, so my Claidi opinions come from the first book alone, which is enough for me to just love her. The journal format of this book gives you the feeling you’re getting a more personal glimpse into this character’s life, and Claidi was another example of a character that could have been me. This time I related to her naive, swoony (aka slightly boy-crazy) characteristics. She lives a sheltered life and the world comes at her fast, but she learns to recognize the difference between people who are good, and people who seem good, and I certainly loved going on that adventure with her.
4. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series
Man—don’t you love it when brilliant girls are given the chance to actually do something in stories? Hermione is a bookish nerd who knows she’s smarter than most of the people around her, and she’s not even a little afraid to show it. Hermione knows who she is and what she cares about through this whole series, and never once backs down from it. She saves those boys repeatedly. She’s fierce and loyal and confident and smart and entirely herself. Like most characters she has her faults but they too are part of her, and it gives depth and reality to her character so that she feels like a real person.
5. Anne – Anne of Green Gables
I was a late comer to this delightful story, which breaks my heart just a little bit. I wish I had grown up with the temperamental, imaginative Anne, because I think she could have helped me discover so many things with her dreamy outlook on the world and the people in it. I love that she’s full of fire and sweetness in equal measure, that she can recognize her mistakes and learn from them, and that she navigates a world full of hardship and misunderstanding with joy and intelligence. And even without all of that I’d have loved her for her laments about her red hair alone, especially since I grew up with the same dreary curse 😉 Fortunately, Anne’s character inspires me now as an adult. That’s the beauty of a person made from words—they’re always around when you miss them!
Are any of these excellent women on your list of favorites? It seems that most of mine carried over from childhood—how about yours? Let me know in the comments and let’s discuss characters together!