Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness: Year Two

Hello, my favorite Internet readers! Some of our old-timers are probably pretty excited by the title of this post, because we take our books very seriously around here. For our new friends, you’re probably wondering what the hell Middlemarch Madness is. Don’t worry, we’ll get you all caught up. 

Middlemarch Madness is the original Persephone Mag bracket, and the motivation for our Badass Ladies of Television bracket, as well as the cheese bracket. We know you have opinions, and we love giving you a place to air them. Middlemarch is your chance to weigh in on the most badass lady heroines in all our favorite books. Last year, after a really tough race, our grand prize winner was Ms. Hermione Granger. Sadly, Ms. Granger and the other winners in each category (Jo March, Anne Shirley and Granny Weatherwax) will all be ineligible to compete this year. (I know, I know, just make sure your objections in the comments are funny.)

You can find all of last year’s posts here, or by using the “search by category” drop-down in the sidebar – Middlemarch is its own category.

Today, I’m opening it up to you, our dear readers, to start nominating potential contenders. We’ll do another one of these on Monday, then we’ll vote on all the nominees a week from today to narrow it down to 16 in each category. The categories are divided between the Young Adult and Adult genres, with each of those divided into literary fiction and sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia.

So, without further ado, use the comments to make your suggestions! Make sure to note which category each of your nominations belongs in, because that makes our job a little easier.

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.

146 replies on “Middlemarch Madness: Year Two”

Oh man, I can’t believe it’s this time of the year already – last year I was on tenterhooks most of the time, and I’m still mad Granny Weatherwax didn’t win it all!

Anyhow, nominees:

Yeine Darr – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin
Shori from Fledgling – Octavia Butler
Lauren Olamina – Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
Catherine Hassi Barahal – Cold Magic, Cold Fire, Kate Elliott
Lyra Belacqua
Alexia Tarabotti – Parasol Protectorate Series, Gail Carriger
Rae “Sunshine” Steddon – Sunshine, Robin McKinley
Susan Sto Helit, Angua, Tiffany Aching (and Esmerelda Weatherwax although she is ineligible, because damn)
Elizabeth Bennett
Fire – Fire, Kristin Cashore
Katsa – Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Sophie – Howl’s Moving Castle, House of Many Ways, Diana Wynne Jones
Charmain – House of Many Ways, Diana Wynne Jones
Janie Crawford – Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Yelena, – Study series, Maria V. Snyder

MEG EFFING MURRAY (from A Wrinkle in Time).  How has she not been nominated yet?!  (Or’d I just miss it?)  Mrs. Whatsit was a badass too, so I’m throwing her name in too.

June/Offred (A Handmaid’s Tale)

Jo March (Little Women)

Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)

Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Miss Marple (various Agatha Christie)


I’m going to go curveball and nominate the Jane Austen heroine no one likes: Fanny Price, from Mansfield Park. Yes, she is a drip. She is very definitely not a badass, but at the same time, she knows she’s not, and she refuses to be anything other than who she is even when her love interest and her friends and the people reading the novel she’s in really, really, REALLY want her to be more assertive or plucky or defiant. Which is a type of badassery all its own, I think, and so she gets a certain amount of begrudging respect from me.

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