Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness: Sweet Sixteen Day Two

OH THE HUMANITY.  There will be some sad fans in Persephone world tonight, ladyreaders.  We’re sending two more contenders away and adding two badasses to the Elite Eight with tonight’s vote, but first let’s see how last night turned out.   Click on, if you dare!

The Winners

In YA Fantasy/Dystopia the winner is Hermione Granger (69%) over Lyra Belaqua (31%).

In Adult Fantasy/Dystopia, the winner is Anathema Device (56%) over Vivianne (44%)

The Newest Bracket

Middlemarch Madness Bracket 14

Tonight’s Poll


By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

29 replies on “Middlemarch Madness: Sweet Sixteen Day Two”

Man, I love Hermione too, but she just doesn’t hold up to Lyra. I has a sad. Maybe it’s because Hermione didn’t have a chance to be as well-developed, not being the heroine and all, but I can’t believe she won :(
Plus as far as I’m concerned His Dark Materials are far better written than the Harry Potter novels, much as I love them.

I may not be able to participate in Middlemarch Madness anymore because YOU GUYS WHAT HAPPENED HERMIONE DOES NOT GET TO BEAT LYRA.

Not to be the sorest of losers, but this would never have happened if His Dark Materials got the same kind of coverage that Harry Potter does, but no no no, we can’t have that because His Dark Materials says complicated, grown up things about religion.

Ugh, god. If Harriet and Jo don’t win, I just…no.

My heart. It is BROKEN. I am so disappointed in you, Persephoneers. First Turtle, then Claudia, now Lyra? If Anne goes down, I don’t think I’ll be able to deal.

Now excuse me while I croon to my copies of From the Mixed-Up Files…, The Westing Game, and all three His Dark Materials, stroking them lovingly and reassuring them that someone, at least, knows that they deserve way more praise than the overrated MOVIE CHARACTERS who beat them.

(NB4R, I love Hermione, I do. Just not more than Lyra. AND I’d argue that the movie versions of characters like Scout and Hermione helped buoy their scores to an unfair degree.)

I have no doubt that the atrocity that was the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass weighed in big on the Lyra vs. Hermione vote. But again, it comes back to the fact that studios and publishers are unwilling to give books like those in the His Dark Materials trilogy their fair dues because oh no, we might upset people with the big ideas about entrenched institutions!

…I’m maybe really upset right now.

YES, Turtle and Lyra were two of my favorites, too! (I also love Claudia.)

But Lyra–she’s in a different place in my heart. She, like, went through the underworld and back and separated from Pan and understood dust and gave up Will and … I don’t even know what else to say. LYRA FOREVER!

No friggin way. I love me some Hermione, but come on. If this was real life Lyra would win. I think she’d take the whole thing, though Katniss would do whatever it takes, so there is that. I hope the final match is Jo and Katniss (though I haven’t paid attention to the brackets so that might not be possible) because that is the only way to do justice to this shameful turn of events. There should be a rule, if you haven’t read the books, you can’t vote because clearly that’s the only reason Hermione won – way more familiarity. And another thing…

Wall of text and SPOILERS follow.

Why Hermione Granger May Have Helped Save The British Wizarding World, But Lyra Belacqua Helped Save All People Everywhere From A Miserable Prison Of An Afterlife, While Also Establishing The Republic Of Heaven, an epic treatise by isthisworldprotected:

Hermione Granger is an unquestionably talented witch. She’s bookish and brilliant, unmatched by her peers in nearly all aspects of magic. Most importantly, she helps her best friends defeat Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters, securing the future of the British wizarding world for the forces of good. It is probably true, had Hermione not assisted in Voldemort’s defeat, he would have gone on a murderous campaign that would have cost the lives of many Muggles – a campaign that might have, eventually, spread to other regions of Europe. But this is where the scope of Hermione’s contributions end, and where Lyra Belacqua’s have hardly begun.
Throughout the course of just her first story, Lyra gains the ability to read a truth-telling compass, enlists the help and undying loyalty of an exiled armored bear prince, lies her way into the court of armored bears, gives her exiled friend the chance to regain his rightful throne, and travels to an alternate universe. The last of which she does by walking into the sky. Yes, this eleven-year-old girl “turned from the world she was born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky” (emphasis mine).
After making her way through more parallel universes, Lyra makes up her mind to help a friend she had inadvertently betrayed to his death. She and her friends begin traveling to the world of the dead – but in order to make it there successfully, Lyra must leave behind her daemon. A daemon is a personification of one’s own soul, a constant companion that is held so dearly, death would be preferable to being separated from it. Lyra leaves her soul behind, bearing this painful process as unflinchingly as anyone could ever manage.
Once within the world of the dead, Lyra sees that it is a hellish, miserable realm where the Metatron (deity) has trapped the dead from every parallel world. She and her friends help the trapped ghosts by creating a door leading out of the world of the dead. This door allows the ghosts to float through and dissolve, reuniting the atoms of their bodies with the atoms of their daemons – the first step to restoring balance to every universe. Lyra helps free the spirits of literally every person who has ever died in every world everywhere.
At the end of Lyra’s story the Metatron and his Kingdom of Heaven are defeated, and Lyra has reenacted the Fall of Man by becoming the second Eve. She falls in love with her dearest friend, but realizes that in order for the portals between all worlds to be closed (the final act that will restore balance to every universe), they must be forever parted. She sacrifices this great love and remains in her home world, where she decides to start building the Republic of Heaven.
The battles that Hermione fought may have impacted the wizarding world in her home country of England, but Lyra’s battles impacted every person who has ever lived, in our own world and every other world.

All hail the conquering heroine.

(And snarky Anna would add that Philip Pullman’s writing is far superior to that of J.K. Rowling, and his story is exponentially more original, because though its roots are in Paradise Lost he adds so much of his own, whereas Rowling sticks pretty heavily to the well-established British boarding school conceit that’s been done and redone for decades.

To put it more succinctly, Rowling has an imagination for details, while Pullman has an imagination for storytelling. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, PEOPLE.

And yes, I am still upset about this upset.)

Harriet! Harriet! HARRIET!

Ahem. Harriet the Spy is a serious badass and inspired me to creep around my neighborhood eavesdropping on people and writing things down in my little notepad. She remains one of my favorite YA characters, and I can’t stand the thought of losing her so shortly after losing Claudia Kincaid. Vote for Harriet!

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