Middlemarch Madness

It’s Middlemarch Madness III, March Harder

My bookish and clever darlings, it’s my favorite time of year. 

Logo for Persephone Magazine's Middlemarch MadnessThat’s right, ladies and gents, it’s Middlemarch Madness time.

For new readers, Middlemarch Madness is our version of the ubiquitous March bracket. Instead of rooting for our favorite college basketball teams, we pit our favorite lady characters from all our favorite books against each other, in a bloody, emotional battle to the finish. Middlemarch Madness is not for the weak of heart.

Here’s a quick recap of how things go:

[fancy_list style=”star_list” variation=”slategrey”]

  • We’ll be taking nominations all week, starting tomorrow.
  • There are four categories, YA literary fiction, YA sci-fi, fantasy and dystopia, adult literary fiction, and adult sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia.
  • By the end of every Middlemarch, I get really tired of typing “sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia.”
  • Previous final four contenders are not eligible in subsequent years, because I’m mean. That includes Granny Weatherwax, Hermione Granger (winner: 2011), Jo March, and Anne Shirley from year one, and Arya Stark, Scout Finch, Elizabeth Bennett, and Minerva McGonagall (winner: 2012) from year two.
  • Campaigning for your favorites is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.
  • New rule for 2013: Only one character per author will be allowed in the nominations.
  • Almost new rule for 2013: I almost banned all the Potter women from being nominated this year, because Potter women always win. However, that means that these women are probably really important to you, readers, so who am I to deny these literary badasses from playing. Plus, if the Internet has taught me anything, it’s to never underestimate Potter fans.


Let’s get all riled up in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions.

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.

25 replies on “It’s Middlemarch Madness III, March Harder”

Nominations start tomorrow! (Well, today, at this point.) There will be a post later that starts nominations. If you’ve mentioned someone in the comments of this post, please go ahead and officially nominate them in the proper post (we will have separate posts for YA and for adult fiction).

All right, GRRM-ers, who are we going for?

I know Daenerys is the obvious choice but I just can’t muster much enthusiasm about her right now; I can’t go for Catelyn because reasons; and Cersei is badass but not in a good way. Sansa? The Queen of Thorns? Asha Greyjoy? Ygritte?

I doubt she’ll get many votes because it’s kinda an obscure book, but Susan Voight from Freedom and Necessity (Steven Brust and Emma Bull). She’s an independent ‘bluestocking’-turned-private-detective who is the only one with the brains, the means, and the motivation to investigate the suspicious ‘death’ of a relative; she cross-dresses to get into university (it’s the 1800’s); she’s a friend of Friedrich Engels; a feminist; very smart and brave and generally kick-ass.

I believe in systems and methods. I believe in the beauties of philosophy and poetry. I believe that the work we do and leave behind us is our afterlife; and I believe that history lies, but sometimes so well that I can’t bring myself to resent it. I believe that truth is beauty, but not, I’m afraid, the reverse. It doesn’t seem sufficient to sustain one in life’s rigorous moments. Perhaps I shall embrace Islam. Its standards for poetry seem very high.

(I’m not sure which category it’d be in; there is a bit of occultism in it but it’s mostly just straight-up historical fiction in epistolary form).

Alexia Tarabotti, from The Parasol Protectorate, by Gail Carriger
adult sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia

I don’t think many people have read her books, but this character is Amazing! Seriously. The first scene in the book, Alexia takes out a vampire with a hat pin and a parasol. I guess we can also include the treacle cart. But how cool is she? Really cool, that’s the answer. (Also, hilarious story). :D

Nanny. Ogg.

Pratchett pointed out once that she’s actually a stronger witch than Granny Weatherwax. She just hides it. Also, she makes cookbooks that read like porn. I wanna be her when I get older.

And now that I have said this, a pissed-off Granny Weatherwax is now going to yank out some headology and convince me I’m a frog.


Bananananana Soup Surprise! Carrot and Oyster Pie!

I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t find the quote online but I always loved this description of young Nanny:

She had already lost her virginity – without regret, as she hadn’t found any use for it – but she had some pretty clear ideas about unwelcome advances, and when the King found her alone in the kitchen, she technically committed treason with a leg of lamb swung with both hands. (Wyrd Sisters)

Also this:

‘And they shoved a leaflet under it saying “Repent!” , Nanny Ogg went on. ‘Repent? Me? Cheek! I can’t start repenting at my time of life. I’d never get any work done. Anyway,’ she added, ‘I ain’t sorry for most of it.’ (Lords and Ladies)

Leave a Reply