Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness: Our contestants!

The contestants are getting ready for their duels to the death (not really, just championship) and you, dear readers, should be getting ready to defend them!

We have classified them as Olds vs. Youngs for now (Team Youngs!), and we’ll be cutting down to the final 64 in the coming weeks.



Susan Sto Helit, Esmerelda Weatherwax, Gytha Ogg, Adora Belle Dearheart, Sacharissa Cripslock, Sybil Vimes, Angua, Cheery Littlebottom.  All from Terry Pratchett.

Anathema Device from Good Omens

Karin Murphy, Molly Canpenter and Charity Carpenter from The Dresden Files

Janelle from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series

Morgaine and Viviane from The Mists of Avalon

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series

Liath from Kate Elliot’s Crown of Stars books

Nynaeve, Egwene, Aviendha, and Elayne from the Wheel of Time series

Rachel Morgan from the Hollows series

Tarma and Kethry, Kerowyn, and Elspeth from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books

Harry from The Blue Sword

Jenna/Skada from Jane Yolen’s Sister Light Sister Dark trilogy

Phedre from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel

Fran from The Stand


Jo March from Little Women

Celie from The Color Purple

Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter

Nora from A Doll’s House

Sethe from Beloved

Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Kate, from Shakespeare

Frankie Addams from The Member of the Wedding

Dina Dalal from A  Fine Balance

Ayla from the Earth’s Children series

Scarlett O’Hara

Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale

Carrie White, Steven King’s Carrie

Lily Bart from  The House Of Mirth

Irene Adler from A Study In Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes)

Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair

Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy

Jordan Baker, Myrtle, and Daisy from The Great Gatsby

Catherine from Wuthering Heights

Claire from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series

Mulan from the ballad of Hua Mulan

Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of MIDDLEMARCH

Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn



Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz

Cimorene from the Dealing with Dragons books

Pandora, Claudia, Gabrielle, Merrick, Akasha, Maharet, and Mekare from The Vampire Chronicles

Lyra Belaqua, from His Dark Materials

Hermione Granger

Katniss Everdeen


Alanna, Keladry, Daine and Aly from Tamora Pierce’s novels

Aerin from The Hero and the Crown


Katsa from Graceling

Viola from the Chaos Walking trilogy

Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty

Vicky Austin from A Ring of Endless Light and Troubling a Star

Sally Lockhart



Alice from Alice in Wonderland

Tiffany Aching


Susan Pevensie

Lucy Pevensie

Meg Murray from A Wrinkle In Time

Vicky Austin, Madeline L’Engle

Ginny Weasley

Luna Lovegood

Tally Youngblood from Uglies

Elena from Vampire Diaries


Harriet the Spy

Blair Waldorf

Scout Finch

Nancy Drew

Margaret Simon from Are You There God, it’s Me, Margaret

Ramona Quimby

Lesley from Bridge to Terabithia

Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins

Emily Byrd Starr from LM Montgomery

Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables

Claudia Kincaid from The Mixed up Files

Laura Ingalls

Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game

Remy from Sarah Dessen’s This Lullaby.

Jessica “Not So” Darling from Sloppy Firsts

Melinda from Speak

Frankie Landau-Banks

Here’s your chance to come to the defense of your favorites to make sure they make it to the finals and give the axe to your least favorites.

And, go!

53 replies on “Middlemarch Madness: Our contestants!”

Let’s be ruthless here.

Should definitely stay:
Sethe from Beloved.
Shakespeare’s Rosalind has to stay. Possibly Lady Macbeth too. Beatrice should also be here, but nothing in life is perfect.
Jordan Baker (The Great Gatsby), even though she is terrible. Terrible women need role models too, and this one taught me everything I know about driving.
Sally Lockhart.
Harriet the Spy.

Could live without:
Laura Ingalls.
Catherine from Wuthering Heights.
Scarlett O’Hara.
Jo March.

Rachel Morgan needs to stay,
Phedre from the Kushiel books would enjoy it even if she looses
definately Claire Fraser
the Discworld women are all on my list
Janelle from the Black Jewels series
Portia is the only Shakespear woman who I think would do well in this contest
Hermione Granger and Ginny
Lucy Pevensie

This is awesome.

Nora from A Doll’s House has to stay. A subtle feminist choice maybe but I’m a big fan.

Irene Adler, the only woman to charm the smartest detective in literary history, and my first love, is an obvious win.

Meg Murray, absolutely. She and Hermione.

Please though, let’s let Scarlet O’Hara go. Even if you were able to overlook her casual racism, making a dress from curtains does not make you a hero.

Well I’ll automatically throw in my vote for the Robin McKinley characters (and Susan Sto Helit), but out of curiosity, why is Harry in adult fiction and Aerin in YA? I haven’t read either of them in the last few months, but I read the Blue Sword when I was eleven and the Hero and the Crown when I was twelve and don’t remember much of a difference reading-level wise. (Though now that I think of it, I suppose I did pick up my copy of the Hero and the Crown in the YA section, but I was surprised to see it there and thought someone else put it there in error at the time.)

I think the answer to your question about Aerin and Harry is that a couple of us worked on classifying the list at different times and most of McKinley’s books are shelved in both teen and adult fantasy sections at the same time.
Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency, we’ll put both on one side or the other when it comes time for the final list.

No problem! Yeah, I’ve noticed that as well. While she does have some proper YA (Beauty was what started me on her), I personally think both the Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown should count as “adult” fiction – and I see her things much more often in the adult section, honestly.

I can’t believe we missed Beatrice from “Much Ado About Nothing.” [d’oh]

Since there’s a lot of Shakespeare ladies going on, I’ll suggest cutting Ophelia and Juliet. While I love Ophelia, she really just let her life be led by the men around her (which is her tragedy). And Juliet is a kid who makes bad choices left and right.

I fully support adding Lizzie Bennett and Beatrice in (I know, I know, we’re trying to cut it down!). Also, if Nora and Scout end up going head to head, that’ll be my own personal Sophie’s Choice.

@Sandra–Okay, I’m officially starting the Discworld series based entirely on your comment. I’ve heard people talk about it a million times and just never bothered to go read them, but it’s clearly time. The first one is on hold at my library, so I have to wait for it; do I have to read them in order? A later one is available, but if they need to be read in order I’ll wait.

Offred is my lady. She survives tremendous loss and she’s resilient- she remains fantastically clever, resourceful, and critical in a society that values women only as uteri and that really redefines “dystopia.”

I also support Claire from Outlander, Hermione, Sethe, and Claudia Kincaid.

Strangely, one of my favorite female characters is Caddy Compson, although she’s probably not appropriate for this, e-heh. Also, Dolores Haze (I think I just have a thing for tragic girl figures).
Lyra Belaqua, though! So awesome! She was persuasive and brave but still realistically flawed, and not with one major flaw (like all those little women), but like…a real person!

I am ALL ABOUT the Pratchett women. Susan is the granddaughter of DEATH and the only other one who gets to ride his White Horse (whose name is Binky). Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg have more say in the running of the kingdom of Lancre than the King does – not to mention their powers when it comes to people and nature. Sybil Vimes is a Duchess who runs a dragon sanctuary. Angua is a werewolf and the first woman to join the City Watch; Cheery is the first openly female-identified dwarf. Sacharissa is a journalist in Ankh-Morpork and Adora Belle is, despite the name, a crossbow-wield, golem-rescuing, utterly fierce badass.

then there is Gaiman/Pratchett heroine Anathema Device, descendant of the only accurate psychic to ever exist (Agnes Nutter, herself a formidable woman and witch), who had a good hand in saving the world.

(I think I’m the official Discworld cheerleader :) )

others I love include: Lyra Belacqua, Nora, Jo March, Meg Murray, Portia, Hermione Granger, Scout Finch, the Pevensie sisters, Luna Lovegood.

Looks like my reading list has just doubled. There are a few names I don’t recognize and of course some characters I need to revisit. I’m so excited! Lucky for me I just picked up the Handmaid’s Tale today, so I’m already on my way to concurring this list. Reading the YA list really took me back. I idolized Laura Ingalls Wilder as a kid, and Scout Finch is the best.

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