Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness: Meet the Sweet Sixteen

It’s our second results post, and we’re saying goodbye to many fantastic lady-heroes.  

I’ve been impressed with everyone’s participation this year, both in the voting booth and in the comments! Last year was a LOT of fun, but this round has been even more fantastic. It’s like you’re all the very best or something.

Anyway, enough with the sugar, it’s time to see who’s going home this week. The winners, as always, are in bold.

Day Five

Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) vs. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White)

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins) vs. Mrs. Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) vs. Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)

Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1-4 (A Game of Thrones / Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords /A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin) vs. Catelyn Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1-4 (A Game of Thrones / Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords /A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin)

Day Six

Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder) vs. Ramona Quimby (Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary)

Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling) vs. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing by Willie the Shakes) vs. Irene Adler (Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Brienne of Tarth (A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1-4 (A Game of Thrones / Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords /A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin) vs. Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1-4 (A Game of Thrones / Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords /A Feast for Crows)by George R.R. Martin)

Day Seven

Pippi Longstocking (The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren) vs. Sara Crewe (A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

Meg Murray (The Wrinkle in Time Quintet (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time) by Madeline L’Engle) vs. Matilda (Matilda by Roald Dahl)

Antigone (Antigone by Sophocles) vs. Marjane (The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi)

Morgaine (The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley) vs. Elphaba Thropp (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire)

Day Eight

Claudia (From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg) vs. Violete Baudelaire (The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13) by Lemony Snickett)

Lyra Belaqua (His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman) vs. Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Miss Marple (Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie) vs. Lisbeth Salander (Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson)

Nanny Ogg (Witches series by Terry Pratchett) vs. June/Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood)

You can find the updated bracket, with the scores for each round, by clicking this link: Middlemarch Madness II

Next week, we’ll narrow it down to the Elite Eight, with two polls per day on Monday through Thursday and the results on Friday.

Your weekend homework:  Since I haven’t read all of the books represented by our sweet sixteen, I’d love to have a paragraph for each of them written by their biggest fans (that’s you, fine readers) to run on their poll days next week. Use the comments, stay under 150-200 words or so, and I’ll pick my favorite pitch for each contestant.

But wait, there’s more! Because I know not all our readers are writers, you may also enter by creating a piece of fan art. Keep it narrower than 600 px wide and less than 1mb so our uploader doesn’t get angry.  I’ll consider written and artistic entries with the same weight, I promise. You have until Sunday at noon to post your entry.  I know you can wow me, Persephoneers.

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.

70 replies on “Middlemarch Madness: Meet the Sweet Sixteen”

Okay, I don’t see any other advocacy paragraphs, but I’ll be damned if Meg Effing Murray doesn’t get some cheerleading, so here goes.

Meg Murray is a stubborn awkward, dorky teenager whose scientist parents have fostered her love of all things science, even though she’s far from a stellar student.  After her father goes mysteriously missing, a peculiar old woman shows up at her house and declares that “The *is* such a thing as a tesseract,” and she soon winds up being transported (along with her brother and a boy who has a crush on her) across the universe (via the fifth dimension) to rescue her father, who is in the clutches of an unspecified evil entity.*  She’s awesome because she is unwavingeringly herself:  she is stubborn, awkward, and dorky, and remains so throughout the book.  She doesn’t flinch in the face of her mission, faces down all sorts of unpleasantness with alacrity, and that boy who has a crush on her?  She basically says to him “sure, you can come along if you want, but I’m not changing who I am or what I’m up to just because you’re around.”  AND SHE DOESN’T.  She’s not flashy or glamorous or effusive, but she’s Meg Effing Murray, and she remains so even though it would be very easy for her to morph into someone… easier.  As a young girl I saw a lot of myself in her, and as a grown woman I realize how good of a literary role model she was.

*  The evil entity is specified, but I’m being vague so that the story doesn’t get spoiled.

I’ll second anything that supports Meg Effing Murray. I loved the book SO HARD as a kid, and just recently watched the movie version for the first time. Imperfect, sure — but one thing they got spot-on was that everyone is very clever and mysterious and magical, except for Meg, who just squares her girlish shoulders and GETS IT DONE.

The 1973 pink paperback version of A Wrinkle in Time mysteriously appeared on my shelf sometime in elementary school (no longer remember where I got it – probably at a library sale or something). Meg Murray has been a favorite character of mine for some time now. I’ve always respected Madeleine L’Engle for writing such wonderful female characters. She establishes a good network of supportive women for Meg in A Wrinkle in Time: Aunt Beast, the Mrs. W’s, and Mrs. Murry come to mind.


Team Meg for always!

When I was a kid, I was all – “I am her, and she is me” about Meg.  As a science-nerd and older sister, I related to her on both intellectual and emotional fronts.  I read the book over and over, and will continue to list it as one of my all-time faves, because Meg Effing Murray.  That’s right.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – she will tesseract your LIFE.

HOW DID LYRA LOSE AGAIN!? Look, I love Minerva McGonagall with a passion. She is one of my favorite characters in the books and definitely my number one favorite in the movies (because Maggie Smith wins all), but Lyra is take-no-names badass. Her strength, perseverance and spirit cannot be matched. I AM DISAPPOINT.

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