QOTW: Favorite Heroine

9 Jul

This week, the question comes from Rebecca, who asks:

Who do you guys think is the ultimate fictional heroine of all time? Why? What makes them stand out from all the others? Was there ever a time you wish you could be them?


Gosh, that’s such a tough call. I know there’s somebody totally epic that I’m not going to be able to think of, but honestly the first person who popped in my head is Lyra from the Golden Compass. She’s special not only because of fate but because of who she is as a person. She’s not overly beautiful, and she certainly isn’t politically correct or polite all the time, but she’s fiercely loyal, incredibly brave, and truly kind. She goes on a multi-world adventure to save all worlds, and sacrifices her own happiness for the benefit of others. She even voluntarily splits her soul in order to save her friend, for goodness sakes! Lyra shows how ‘ordinary’ people can have the spunk to get the job done by being true to themselves.

The Writer Waiting on Submissions


(At this point, Kat and Vanessa both sputtered and cried things like WHAT? You totally stole my answer!! Eventually, they got ahold of themselves enough to write their own responses)


Lyra was the first heroine I really, really identified with. Which is funny because our personalities are completely different. As a kid, I was quiet, a total bookworm, and not the least bit sharp-tongued. The closest thing Lyra and I had in common was probably our affinity to playing in the mud. (Don’t ask)

But her fierceness (“fierce” is really just the perfect word to describe Lyra) endeared her to me so much. I remember reading THE GOLDEN COMPASS and thinking “This is it. This is the essence of childhood and growing up. This is how I see the world and adults.” Yes, I was a strange, strange kid.

I loved how everything about Lyra was so passionate–so exuberant. She held nothing back. She was so confident but vulnerable at the same time. I felt everything she went through. I understood how she felt, why she felt it.

I could go on and on… I wish for the day I can write a character that strikes someone’s heart like Lyra did mine.

The Writer Querying


Lyra Belacqua.

I could further explain myself, but I’d just be repeating what Savannah and Kat have already said.

The Writer Working in Publishing


I think my choice has to be Ronia from Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. When I read the book, I truly wanted to be Ronia. (I would still take the opportunity if it were offered to me!) Ronia is full of life and takes wild chances and is willing to make incredible sacrifices to live according to her principles. She loves her family and her friends and lives in a fantastic world. She plays along the river bank, spends all day in the forest (even in the dead of winter) and hides out in a cave. She is heroic and brave and the literary heroine whom I would most like to be.

-The Other Writer Out on Submissions


I’m gonna vote for Scarlett O’Hara from GONE WITH THE WIND. She’s a fantastic heroine because she’s far from perfect: she’s manipulative and vain and willing to do anything to get what she wants, even if it means destroying people’s lives. But she’s also brave, and her fierce determination gets her family through the Civil War and its horrible aftermath. Not to mention, she’s a bit of a fashionista, and her passion for clothing and need to look fantastic lead to some pretty hilarious scenarios. Her development over the course of the novel is beautifully plotted by Margaret Mitchell, but the novel finishes with Scarlett still far from perfect. It makes her human–it makes her relatable, despite her many faults. It’s Scarlett–not the plot–that keeps me returning again and again to GONE WITH THE WIND.

-The Writer With Her First Book Deal


36 Responses to “QOTW: Favorite Heroine”

  1. Susan July 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM #

    I’m so glad someone asked this question! I totally meant to (after the question about the favorite fictional male character…weird train of thought, but whatever).

    And I love how Lyra was three different people’s answer. I always loved Lyra – but I don’t think I could say she was my favorite heroine. Although she definitely stuck with me forever.

    However, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my favorite heroine is Anne Shirley. At first, I didn’t like the novels (I only really count the first three in the series), because she’s just so verbose in the first book! But Anne is everything I always wanted to be – intelligent, passionate, beautiful, and a total dreamer. Megan Follows’ performance as her only solidified my love for the character. Anne definitely has her faults (quick temper and vainness spring to mind), but she’s constantly working to overcome them although never getting rid of them completely. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be Anne of Green Gables, if only for a day.

    • Susan July 9, 2010 at 12:25 AM #

      Goodness. I totally did favorite instead of ultimate. Oh well. I still keep my answer, although she’s not exactly the quintessential heroine.

      • Kat Zhang July 9, 2010 at 12:34 AM #

        Bah, I think we all sort of did our favorites, too. At least I did!

        I need to read Anne of Green Gables again…

  2. A. Barone July 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM #

    What a good question. In my opinion the ultimate fictional heroine of all time is Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s ‘SONG OF THE LIONESS’ quartet because she has the courage and the drive to do something that no one else has done for over a hundred years in her world.

    She stands out from all the others because she’s just amazing. She makes mistakes, she has to work really hard to get what she wants and in the end she makes a place for herself in her world.

    I don’t think that there was ever a time that I wanted to be her, but I certainly wanted to be like her–strong willed, sure of herself, etc. Alanna is definatly my favourite heroine out of all the heroine’s that Tamora Pierce has come up with (Diane comong a VERY close second along with Aly, Alanna’s daughter) and in my opinion she is the best heroine of all.

    Though I do like Lyra and Scarlett too!

    • jenn fitzgerald July 9, 2010 at 8:55 AM #

      Alanna was one of my top picks! But in the end I couldn’t decide.

    • Vanessa July 9, 2010 at 10:13 AM #

      Alanna was definitely a VERY close second!! Like… RIGHT THERE!

      But Lyra has always been up there for me.

      I also have a soft spot for Lirael though…

  3. Vee July 9, 2010 at 12:50 AM #

    Ooh, this is a great question. I loved reading everyone’s answers!

    I can’t pick just one — there are so many heroine’s that I love. Alanna, Kel (God, I love Tamora Pierce’s books…Takes me back to my childhood) and Anne Shirley (definitely!) and Lyra (definitely!) and Sabriel and Lirael.

    And. And. And. Taylor from Jellicoe Road and Josie from Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

    I have a never ending list, because I’m so indecisive, lol.

    • Kat Zhang July 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM #

      Oh, I do like Sabriel, as well! I think she’s one of those rare fantasy heroines that’s mature, you know? Like she’s not what I’d describe as “plucky” or “spirited.” She’s just determined and strong-minded. She has a certain maturity about her. It’s nice πŸ™‚

  4. Aurora Blackguard July 9, 2010 at 2:42 AM #

    Oh gosh, this is hard! I’ve just realized near all the books I’ve read all have girls as protagonists. But if I had to really pick someone, I would totally pick Katsa from GRACELING.

    (I would pick Celaena though. I thought she was wonderfully flawed. No, I am not kissing up.)

    Katsa had this thing about her though I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t know if she was very beautiful, only that she was very exotic, being able to kill with her pinkie and all. But she, like Celaena, was so wonderfully flawed as well. I realized exactly why when I read this review. Katsa was wild; she grew up with near no love, no real home and more like an asset to the king. The review went on to say that as she [the reviewer] read the book, she watched Katsa learn humanity. Love, I guess.

    And for all our cruelty/ignorance/selfishness/baddy-ness that’s the best thing about us humans, don’t you think? πŸ™‚

    • Vanessa July 9, 2010 at 10:18 AM #

      Katsa is great; I agree!

      You know, when I started reading Graceling, it reminded me in some ways about Queen of Glass; and Katsa reminded me of Celaena a bit. I absolutely love flawed characters, who grow and learn throughout a story.

      You also just gave me the incredible urge to read Graceling again (as soon as my friend gives it back!)

      • Aurora Blackguard July 9, 2010 at 1:06 PM #

        Hahahaahah! always ready to serve πŸ™‚ Fire was great too!

    • Sarah J. Maas July 9, 2010 at 2:43 PM #

      I haven’t read GRACELING yet, but I just want to say THANK YOU for the Celaena shout-out! πŸ™‚ I’m honored. ❀

  5. Schneider July 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM #

    Haha that’s so weird! I totally thought of Lyra first, too!

    I love Lyra. I love her for being this everyday (but fierce and spunky) little girl with a penchant for swearing. And I love her for her loyalty and value of friendship (she does travel around the world to find Roger, after all). She’s just the ultimate heroine in my book.

    Closely following her, I’d have to say Hermione Granger (surprised no one’s said it yet, actually). She’s the only logical and level-headed one in a group of impulsive boys, and she has the sharp-witted tongue to speak her mind and broadcast he beliefs. But Hermione can also be very timid and shy, and she has very real fears. It just makes her that much more human.

    Of course, these are my favorite series ever, so I’m probably biased. :p

    Liesel Meminger

    • Schneider July 9, 2010 at 10:06 AM #

      Whoops! That last bit is a rampant train of thought I had where I considered her. Pay it no mind. :p

    • Vanessa July 9, 2010 at 10:14 AM #

      Hermione!!! Oh wow, I didn’t even think of her!!!

      You’re right; she’s a great heroine. Not my absolute favourite, but she’s definitely up there!

    • jenn fitzgerald July 9, 2010 at 12:34 PM #

      Oh Hermione! Good choice. I really love that we get to see her growth throughout the series too.

  6. Vanessa July 9, 2010 at 10:18 AM #

    I love how small my picture is (to go with my small response, haha!) :p

    • svonnah July 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM #

      Lol yeah we had a hard time making it look nice last night πŸ˜›

      I love Hermione but I’m not sure if she’s an ultimate heroine. Obviously Harry was the main, main character, and everyone else was kind of secondary. Hermione supported Harry; she didn’t really get into adventures on her own.

      • Kat Zhang July 9, 2010 at 10:36 AM #

        Now I’m wishing for a Hermione Granger series! I’d love to read HARRY POTTER from her point of view:

        CHAPTER 12

        So, Harry and Ron are up to something stupid and rash again. They’re ignoring my advice for now, but perhaps in a few days they’ll see that…

        CHAPTER 13

        Harry and Ron have agreed to take my advice…

        • jenn fitzgerald July 9, 2010 at 12:35 PM #

          Lol it would totally be like that

  7. Kelly July 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM #


    She’s strong in supporting her family, loyal (once she trusts you) and did I mention strong? Katniss’ love for her little sister is so admirable because there’s typically a half-love-half-hate between siblings. I’m rather ashamed to admit that I’m not quite sure whether I’d actually put my life on the line in exchange for my brother’s safety. So when she basically saved her sister Prim’s life… my respect for her just went over the top.

    Also, she’s quick-witted. I’m pretty slow when it comes to cunning plots and I have slow reflexes – the total opposite of Katniss. Its just amazing how, for a few hours, I can pretend to be a smart and strong girl who will give her all in fighting for her life. I most definitely hope I will never be put in a position where I have to kill to live, but everything is just so much more real, more intriguing, when I see through Katniss’ eyes. The first person narrative makes it even better.

    • Savannah J. Foley July 9, 2010 at 1:19 PM #

      There was discussion of Katniss, I promise, but we only picked one each!

  8. Cari July 9, 2010 at 11:34 AM #

    I’m definitely going to have to say Kel from Tamora Peirce. That was the first YA series I read and I was so inspired by Kel’s strength. Reading all of this Lyra love reminds me to re-read The Golden Compass, so it’s officially on my list. =)

    • Kat Zhang July 9, 2010 at 10:22 PM #

      Man, I’m feeling so left out. I’ve never read any Tamora Pierce. I need to get on that.

      • Susan July 10, 2010 at 3:31 PM #

        I am so glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been thinking only I had never read Tamora Pierce!

  9. kate July 9, 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    i’m with sarah on this one: i love scarlett. so vain, so flawed, so completely blind, but also so intensely passionate and determined that i can’t help but love her. and i bawled for her at the end of gone with the wind. which was in the back of a minivan on a 15 hour car ride. it was pretty undignified. however, i’m not sure scarlett’s my fave female character. i think hermione probably is, but i agree with previous postings, i’m not sure she qualifies as an out-and-out heroine. i also love me some elizabeth bennet, but…her adventures are quieter, so she’s a very different type of heroine. and not nearly so badass.

    • jenn fitzgerald July 10, 2010 at 5:23 PM #

      Elizabeth Bennet has the spunk and the drive to be a heroine, just nobody ever gave her a sword…Unless you read pride and prejudice and zombies where she more than fills the badass quotient, lol

  10. LePipette July 9, 2010 at 2:04 PM #

    I think I’d have to go with Tally Youngblood from the Uglies series.

    Possibly because Scott Westerfeld’s worlds and character blow his plots away; but really. The girl goes through hell, all three levels of it available, and still never really gets a truly happy ending. Of all the YA I’ve read, she’s the only character who’s ever developed so much, so appropriately – it really felt like the book was about her, despite the fact that her society was falling apart around the edges.

    But yeah.
    I just loved her. She was so normal, and her whackjob journey into disillusionment and adulthood felt very personal when you read it; I’m a sucker for a strong narrative.

    My Pierce heroine would be Aly, Alanna’s daughter, though. xD Lovelovelove her.

  11. authorguy July 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM #

    Maya from The Queen’s Squadron, by R.M. Meluch. Immortal but terribly afraid, she hides behind body-sculpted looks. Then she is moved to drop her disguise, essentially kill off the person she was, and start over by challenging death in the most dangerous place ever, in the Queen’s Squadron on the front lines of an interstellar war.

    • Kat Zhang July 9, 2010 at 10:23 PM #

      Sounds interesting! I haven’t heard of that book, but I’ll check it out πŸ™‚

  12. Julie Eshbaugh July 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM #

    I just want to say that I came very close to choosing Hermione Granger, especially considering I just finished HP7 and the movie of HP1 was on TV last night while I was writing my answer! But I ultimately decided against her, and I think it’s probably because of what Savannah said – she’s not the true hero of the book. But I did give you serious consideration, Hermione!!!

  13. tymcon July 9, 2010 at 6:00 PM #

    I did like Lyra. But my new favourite is Sophie Mercer from Hex Hall. Probably becuase she’s funny, and not very good whit decisions. I didn’t explain it very well.

    • jenn fitzgerald July 10, 2010 at 5:26 PM #

      Hex Hall looks really good, I really need to read it at some point πŸ™‚

  14. Ereza July 10, 2010 at 6:16 AM #

    Too many heroines to choose from lol. Lyra definitely deserves the multiple shout outs. I’d also vote for Lirael, Katniss, Elspeth (from the Obernewtyn Chronicles) and Hester Shaw (from Mortal Engines).

    • tymcon July 10, 2010 at 2:36 PM #

      Lireal from the Abhorsen series? Love those books:P

      • Ereza July 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM #

        Yeah the Abhorsen series is awesome πŸ™‚

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