Growing up with my nose in books, fictional characters were as real to me as everyday people. Their wits, courage, and attitude facing adversity inspired me during my moments of challenges. Here are five of my favorite super heroines of classic young adult fantasy.
5. Matilda from ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl
Matilda Wormwood is considered a misfit and a failure by her irresponsible parents.
Often neglected, she learns to take care of herself with the resources available to her which included intelligence and telekinetic powers. She also shows some leadership skills when she rallies her classmates to defend their beloved Miss Honey from the evil principal: The Trunchbull.
4. Princess Eilonwy from ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ by Lloyd Alexander
“I’m Princess Eilonwy. And you’re in bad trouble, aren’t you?”
The headstrong, talkative, kind and brave Princess Eilonwy of Llyr is definitely someone I would want on my team, whatever the adventure is. She is an enchantress by heritage. Her relationship with Taran the Assistant Pig Keeper is interesting because it develops from friendship first and evolves into a romantic relationship as they grow up in the course of the five books.
3. Hermione Granger from ‘Harry Potter’ by JK Rowling
JK Rowling is currently under a lot of heavy criticism about being a transphobe (someone who irrationally fears a transgender).
Her devoted fans have turned against her, including many actors from the movie series. This gives me many mixed feelings, as I literally grew up with the Harry Potter books. In the end, I decided to keep Hermione on this list because she is surely one of the most brilliant witches in the history of magic! On top of that, she is also loyal to her values even when it gets really tough.
2. Miri from ‘Princess Academy’ by Shannon Hale
Miri and her sister Marda come from a small village on Mount Eskel where the community mines for a living.
When the Capital decides the next Queen is to come from the mountains, a temporary school is set up so the mountain girls can be educated. Here Miri learns to read for the first time. Hungry for more, she digs into history and learns some truths that eventually save her village. The heart of the ‘Princess Academy’ trilogy is the importance of education. Freedom is freedom to learn, and a woman can be powerful when she has the necessary knowledge.
1. Sophie Hatter from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ by Dianne Wynne Jones
I am a huge fan of Diana Wynne Jones. Guess what, so are authors such as Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Robin McKinley, and JK Rowling.
‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is one of her most popular fantasy books, especially after being made into a box office animation by Studio Ghibli. Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three daughters. In the land of Ingary, this means she is cursed to live a dull life at home. She is doubly cursed when the Witch of the Waste turns her into an old woman. Sophie then goes on a journey to find the Wizard Howl to help her lift the curses. In the end, it is Sophie that lifts her own curse while saving Howl in the process.
Who are your favorite fictional heroines? Let me know in the comments!