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30 Oct 2012

TTT - Kick-ass Heroines

The Broke and The Bookish bring us another Top Ten Tuesday today with the topic:
Our Top Ten Kick-ass heroines
Seriously, I have a list that could reach 20! I think the first ten I could think of were all Joss Whedon characters.  That guy knows how to write strong female characters.  The obvious example is Buffy but Joss Whedon shows strength in all his female characters, mentally, physically, brave, confident etc.  And I know so many kick-ass heroines in other books that come under different types of awesomeness.  So I'm trying to show a variety here.  Not everyone is a Buffy but there's a kick-ass heroine all girls can aspire or have aspired to be.
1) Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Like I said, the obvious choice.  The tiny girl who can kick a vampire into the next century with her supernatural strength.  But don't think Buffy is just a fighting machine.  She can hold her own in Sunnydale's Annual Apocalypse Day but mentally she is one of the strongest teenagers I've seen.  In the beginning she's a 16 year old who has recently seen her life turn upside down.  All of a sudden she has responsibilities that require her to be mature, too mature for her age, and it keeps happening all the way to the end of season 7.  This helps her grow.  In season 1 she struggles with this destiny and just wants to have her normal life back.  Being Prom Queen, popular and worrying about boys and clothes may seem shallow but I don't blame her for craving it when those issues are replaced with dying young and seeing loved ones in danger all the time.  But she holds her head high every time and comes to accept this destiny, even when she may die from it.  Maybe she would rather shop for a new pair of shoes but she won't let anyone down and step up to protect everyone she loves and the world around her. 
2) Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Before she became a powerful witch, Willow was the shy, geeky girl who wasn't popular, bullied, and could never get the guy.  Possibly the character most girls related to.  Willow wanted what Buffy had.  Looks and confidence.  But one thing she never gave up was her intelligence and passion for learning.  I loved it when she embraced her geekiness and while there may have been times when she might have wanted to change personality she always kept being Willow.  Don't let this shy girl fool you, she learnt to stand up for herself and call on people.  One of my favourite moments was when she snapped at Faith in her rogue slaying time.  While there's Buffy trying desperately to help her, Willow was there accepting who Faith was now and pretty much told her to get the fuck over whatever issues she had.  Bravo Will! Bravo! And like Xander, when she found out about vampires and the Hellmouth for the first time she was also willing to keep helping Buffy out and wouldn't walk away from what she knew.  Knowing that she wasn't strong enough like Buffy she still wanted to help protect it.  I say that earns a kick-ass heroine award.
3) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) 
Another geeky girl who loved to learn and wouldn't let anyone peer pressure her into being any different.  Hermione was from a muggle family and the first ever witch.  I can see why she felt the need to know as much as possible.  She hadn't been raised in witchcraft unlike her half-blood and pure-blood classmates.  She showed everyone that just because she was muggle-born she was just as good a witch than her peers.  Her intelligence and knowledge usually seemed to save Harry and Ron half the time as well.  I don't how those two boys would have coped without her.
4) Meg Pritchard (Ten)
Meg Pritchard is the MC in Gretchen McNeil's Ten, a YA Thriller where ten teenagers are lured onto a deserted island, expecting a wild weekend party but are instead stalked and murdered one by one.  Meg is your typical good girl to begin with.  She's quiet, not wild, and is generally mild-mannered.  But throughout the novel when the other teens begin dying she proves that she can be incredibly useful.  As a writer character she's observant, noticing little clues, putting pieces together, and thinking of ideas that may get them all of the island.  Also throughout the novel she shows that she's also capable of having a razor sharp tongue and wit.  She learns to stand up for herself, even when the nastiest of characters turn on her.
5) Nancy Thompson (Nightmare on Elm Street)
My favourite final girl.  While most of them seem to run away, screaming and hiding Nancy actually fought back.  When she was ready to bring Freddy into the real world, hoping to kill him, she was prepared.  Timers were set and booby traps were set up (I think we've found Kevin McCallister's inspiration).  Nancy had a plan and she was brave enough to do something about Freddy.  Can we more final girls who actively try and beat the slasher, please?
6) Caroline Forbes (The Vampire Diaries)
In season one of The Vampire Diaries we were introduced to a shallow 'mean girl' type character.  Caroline seemed self-centred, jealous, and would easily snap at her friends.  Both Elena and Bonnie probably never felt close to Caroline.  She was someone they would hang out with but at the end of the day she wasn't the type of person they'd choose to go to with their troubles.  We did get better glimpses into her character.  Caroline was insecure.  She didn't have much self-esteem and when she sees someone like Elena being well-liked and pined over all the time it messes with her head.  She's jealous and just wants that same treatment once in a while.  When she starts a relationship with Matt she makes mistakes and says the wrong thing.  But she's ready to apologise and really try with Matt.  Liking him made her a better person.  She wanted to be a better person.  And then she was killed in season two and turned into a vampire.  That just made her awesome.  Confused at first this change did seem to ruin her life at first.  But she adjusted and she also remembered how much Damon messed with her.  The first thing she did after turning? Track him down and literally throw him across the school corridor.  As the seasons go by Caroline is becoming a true friend, always being there for everyone and protecting everyone.  In this season she's especially awesome, promising to be there for Stefan.  He helped her deal with vampirisim and now she's offering to help him deal if he starts to slip.  She's there for Elena too most of all, helping her deal with bloodlust and changing.  I've never known dying and changing into a vampire to be the best thing to ever happen to someone's character.
7) Lexi Harris (The Near Witch)
Lexi Harris is another active main character who takes the horrific things that are happening in the village of Near and decides to act detective.  She sees a stranger arrive and knowing he's innocent she's determined to help prove his innocence and find out if the Near Witch is actually real.  She can hold her own, growing up to be just like her late hunter father and is clever enough to search for clues, leading her own investigation to discover the true story of the Near Witch and her village's intolerant past.
 8) River Tam (Firefly/Serenity)
She may have been driven insane but River Tam can still kick arse in her unstable state.  A genius and athletically gifted River was used by The Academy to be turned into the perfect assassin.  Unfortunately she was experimented on in the process that resulted in her being incapable of controlling her emotions.  So don't be surprised if she suddenly lashes out.  Especially at Jayne who was never welcoming to her and her brother Simon from the beginning. 
She was intelligent enough to still send a coded message to her brother Simon, letting him in to the suspicious goings on at this so-called Academy.  Now she provides a lot of comedy to the show by making inappropriate and odd comments.  And she also has the ability to scare the crap out of the series dick character Jayne, a character who had previously tried to betray River and her brother.  While Simon assures Jayne that he will never harm him for what he's done, River chooses this moment to make one of her creepy, inappropriate comments. (See above).  Sometimes that guy needs a good scare to teach him a lesson and River's just the person to do it. 
For her incredible fighting scene in Serenity, click here and enjoy the awesomeoness of River Tam. 
9) Olive Penderghast (Easy A)
Olive's your typical snarky main character.  She may not have much in popularity, status, and (according to her) boobs but she makes up for in witty remarks.  She seems quite alright with being invisible at the beginning but after a rumour spreads about her she's quite tempted to take advantage of it and become the new sex symbol at her high school despite the consequences.

Okay, she may sound stupid.  As adults we think 'oh just be yourself!'.  We see these teenagers and if they're also a teenage girl we think they're stupid and shallow for using sex as a means of getting a status, no matter how bad it is.  But she's a teenager and making mistakes as she grows up. 

This all started with a simple lie for Olive.  She didn't want to spend the weekend with her BFF's kooky, hippy parents and lied that she had a date.  BFF Rhiannon took this as a confession that Olive had lost her virginity.  When Rhiannon wouldn't believe anything else Olive decided to just go with it if her friend wasn't going to listen to the truth.  Unfortunately their conversation was overheard and was passed around the school in seconds.  To begin with Olive tries to use this lie as a way of helping the most unpopular guys.  She pretends to have sex with a gay friend to stop him from getting beaten up by homophobic peers.  And it escalates from there.  She enjoys having a status and uses her 'slut' reputation to make a name for herself, even though it's actually ruining her character and people are starting to disrespect her.

She made a mistake and she's paying for it by being ostracised by her peers, especially Rhiannon.  When things start getting out of control she's ready to own up and publicly explains the truth.  That makes her an awesome heroine my opinion.  She hasn't got amazing supernatural powers or fighting skills.  She's an ordinary teenage girl who learns her lesson about status and reputation and is brave enough to fess up to the whole school with articulate chapter titles and a snarky wit.
10) Beatrice 'Tris' Prior
Tris was a quiet Abnegation girl to begin with.  She knew this wasn't the Faction for her but she was worried about what her parents would think.  Her first step into bravery was choosing a Faction that wasn't the one she was raised in.  She knew in her heart which Faction suited her and she went for it. 
From the beginning she was ready shed her Abnegation title.  She proved to her peers that she wasn't just a quiet, modest girl.  She was Dauntless now and she easily took to jumping from trains and jumping onto them, as well as volunteering first to jump into a pit.  She works hard at becoming stronger and good fighter, despite not having any experience.  While Buffy was given these skills suddenly and supernaturally Tris becomes a good fighter because she dedicates herself to working hard and training, transforming herself mentally and physically.  Her abilities only occur because she has practised.  That takes a lot of strength, will, and determination and I admire this character for all her hard work. 
Who would your top ten heroines be? 


  1. I would like to add Sydney Bristow from Alias and Dana Scully from The X-Files :D

  2. RIVER TAM!!!!!

    You have so many of my favorites on this list. Buffy, Willow, Olive, River (again). And even Caroline. I didn't like her at the start of the series but she's evolved into a great characters.

    I like Miss Cole's suggestion of Sydney Bristow. And I'd like to add Zoe Washburne.

  3. Buffy! She's awesome and fierce. She's super strong and smart. Yep, a kick-ass heroine to me. :)

    J'adore Happy Endings

  4. Our good Hermione <3
    Caroline is definitely developing into a great character! I didn't like her first, but now as a vampire, she rocks.
    Lexi is a good pick! I liked her. And Olive is a genius.

    TTT @thedailyprophecy.

  5. Of course. Hermione too. Great list! :D

    Here my Top 10

  6. Ooo totally Dana and Zoe! Thanks Cole and MJ! =D

    Nina, she was great! She had supernatural powers but it never made her a super special Mary Sue either. Others could hold their own just as well, even without her kind of abilities.

    Mel, she was awful to begin with haha! I'm so glad she's a vampire now. She definitely improved a lot.

    Fara, I think Hermione will be on every list. ^^ Us geeky girls need an idol like her. She made learning look cool.

  7. Fun list! Yes, Buffy is hardcore bad!

    New follower.

    Check out my TTT

    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

  8. Caroline Forbes on the TV show and Caroline Forbes in the books are two totally different people...though it looks like you are concentrating on TV characters rather than book characters. :)

    Good luck on NaNo, I'm counting down the hours myself!

  9. Awesome list, Robin! And isn't it funny how Caroline Forbes had kind of become so, so much cooler than Elana? (In my opinion, anyway.) :)

  10. I love your list and totally agree with your choices! I also love Sarah Walker from Chuck, Trinity from the Matrix and Amy Pond from Doctor Who. The last one doesn't exactly kick butt in the physical sense but she's awesome!

  11. Niiiiice. I ALMOST picked Meg Pritchard, so I'm tickled to see her on your list.

    My TTT:

  12. Thanks, Holly! =D

    Callusedfinger, I always do a mix of book and tv/film for TTT. Especially for this topic. There were so many awesome characters in film and TV that I couldn't ignore them. :)

    Jaime, she really is. I liked Elena to begin with in the first few episodes of the season but by season 3 I couldn't stand her. But I've enjoyed seeing vampire Elena this season. I hope she really becomes an active, bad ass character.

    Amy Pond! =D I totally agree Jenny. At times she would irritate me with her treatment of Rory but I loved it when they showed how upset she was over his many deaths. But she was fiercely loyal, especially to Rory in their last scene. She had me in tears.

    Shelver506, there were so many to pick, wasn't there. This should have been a Top 20 Tuesday haha. Thinking of awesome heroines was easier than I thought. I was starting to get a little jaded with the likes of Bella Swans and Clary Frays around in fiction.

  13. Hermione and Tris for sure!! Awesome list!