Badass Ladies

Top Ten Badass Ladies

Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish as usual. The prompt is actually about heroines, but if I did that then I couldn’t include Becky Sharp and no list is complete without Becky Sharp.

1. Becky Sharp – Vanity Fair

She turns up on almost every list I write for the simple reason that she is amazing. Through determination and sheer bloody mindedness she goes from being a poor artist’s daughter to being presented to the King to being dumped back into poverty with a ruined reputation. What separates her from a lot of the other 19th century ‘heroines’ is that Becky is active in her life, she’s rarely a victim (whatever she might claim to gain sympathy), she quite deliberately uses anyone around her to get what she wants, including her best friend, husband and son. She’s a terrible person but you have to admire her ability. Could probably be called a Magnificent Bastard.

2. Primrose Everdeen – The Hunger Games trilogy

Quite a few badass ladies in the trilogy, but Primrose goes into a war zone, completely unarmed, in order to help the wounded. There’s probably a good argument to be made there about it being easier to hurt than to heal.

3. Magrat Garlick – The Discworld series (especially Wyrd Sisters and Lords and Ladies)

Another series with quite a few options, but Magrat does the frightening things that the other witches do without the protection of age and a fearsome reputation (Granny Weatherwax) or being related to just about everyone (Nanny Ogg). She also goes up against the elves (not the good kind) single handedly in Lords and Ladies.

4. Morn Hyland – The Gap series

Ugh, the things that Morn has to do in this series (haven’t finished it yet, possibly never will). I just wish she could change to another book series, Thursday Next style. I hope for a happy-ish ending for her, but I don’t like her chances.

5. The Biologist – The Southern Reach trilogy

She doesn’t make the greatest decisions, but like Becky Sharp, she’s got a goal and nothing is going to stop her from achieving it. Not even a creepy, reality-twisting new world which refuses to be understood.

6. Avice Benner Cho – Embassytown

She’s a figure of speech in an alien language, that’s pretty amazing to begin with, not that she had much say in it. Avice fights for a people that she doesn’t understand, simply because its the right thing to do, and creates a new language so that information can’t be controlled by a corrupt organisation.

7. The Governess – The Turn of the Screw

The Governess takes on the job of looking after someone else’s kids in a big, creepy house. The kids’ father absolves himself of all responsibility for anything that might happen (A+ parenting right there). The kids have invisible friends who don’t like her. Invisible friends turn out to be the evil ghosts of dead evil servants. Governess does not run screaming for the horizon, therefore, Governess is a badass.

8. Odile von Rothbart – The Black Swan

I am so looking forward to re-reading this. Odile is the sorcerer Baron von Rothbart’s daughter, he kidnaps women and turns them into swans. He alternately terrorises his daughter and teaches her magic. When Odette makes a deal with the Baron, it’s Odile who actually has to take on the Baron and save the day. On a related note, I wonder if Once Upon A Time will do Swan Lake, I might actually watch that.

9. Jean Paget – A Town Like Alice

She survived a prisoner of war camp and a seven month long forced march through the jungle. And she was still a kind person at the end surprisingly enough. Then she moved to the middle-of-nowhere Australia and set about fixing up the town.

10. Flora Poste – Cold Comfort Farm 

Like Jean Paget, Flora comes to a new place, and in that very British way, fixes it. It probably stems from some sort of murky colonial instinct, but at least Flora is ‘fixing’ her own people I guess. Regardless, Flora is a snob, which is always funny.


8 thoughts on “Badass Ladies

  1. Great list… different. I hadn’t thought of A Town like Alice so in the spirit of that what about the woman in “We of the Never Never”… but that might be better categorised as an adventurer than heroine. We could start a debate about what a heroine is!

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Top Ten | legolegislegimus

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