Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness III: Nominate Adult Literary Heroines Here

We’re done nominating for the YA categories, it’s time to head over to the adult side of the library.

Logo for Persephone Magazine's Middlemarch MadnessThere will be another opportunity tomorrow, so there’s time to sleep on your choices.

[fancy_header variation=”slategrey”]The Scoop[/fancy_header]

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

  • Granny Weatherwax, Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, and Arya Stark aren’t eligible because they are previous members of a final four.
  • Only one character per author will make it through to the the bracket (we’ll have runoff votes next week).
  • Mark your entries either literary or sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia, to help out the P-Mag elves.


Happy nominating!

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.

38 replies on “Middlemarch Madness III: Nominate Adult Literary Heroines Here”

Susan Voight from Freedom & Necessity by Emma Bull and Steven Brust.
( I would put this in straight-up literature, but it is by fantasy authors and there is a bit of occult messing in it, so your friendly neighbourhood bookshop may shelve differently…)

Eliza (Duchess of Qwghlm, Comtesse de la Zeur, Duchesse d’Arcachon) from Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle. Every time I try to describe how awesome she is I fail. I would put this in literature too, but again there is a teeny tiny bit of the supernatural and it’s by a well-known sci-fi writer so what do I know.

Because I’m going to bed early, of course all these nominations came into my head at the last minute. Forgive me, P-Mag Gods, for mixing up adult and YA here! I know the last day to nominate is today and there is a post coming, but I will be asleep before it arrives! I know you lit-loving ladies understand :)

YA Lit:

Janie – Just Like Always
Harper Jessup – Memoirs of a Bookbat

Also, I had Thoughts and Feelings about MMM today (because I spent all week trying to come up with female characters in my spare time). I noticed an interesting pattern to my thoughts. At one point I was wondering who I would choose if I could nominate male characters, and I came up with a ton of ideas right away. But when telling myself to think of female characters, I would often think of female *authors* instead. It struck me as really strange, and I came up with two theories about it. One: Because I am a woman, I identify with female authors and so remember them more than I remember male authors (this lacks credence because I think I equally identify with and remember both). Or two: It was an unconscious act of othering because I categorized books by women as “women’s books” whereas books by men were simply books. It surprised me that I might have done this without realizing it!

I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience but I’ve been thinking of it all day!

She’s a courtesan trained to not only be the highest courtesan in her land, but is also trained in all forms of covert operations so that when she takes assignations, she’s still working information out of her customers in order to save her country. On top of it, she’s god-touched; she has been claimed by God’s Punisher, and experiencing pain gives her pleasure because of it. She’s the only one in the world.

The books are not only well-plotted and written, but has the very rare idea of having a female protagonist completely in control of her sexuality. Not only is her sexuality held up as natural and not wrong or dirty in any way, so is the sexuality of every citizen in her country. It’s VERY sex-positive, and the story’s great. The author is Jacqueline Carey, and I highly recommend the series (it starts with “Kushiel’s Dart”).

(And I do really love Lyra. I just decided to be a butthead for fun.)

I hope I’m not listing any duplicates- there are some seriously impressive lists out there.

Clara – The House of the Spirits, Isabelle Allende
Jennie Crawford- Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Miss Marple- Assorted Books, Agatha Christie
Scarlet O’Hara- Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Laura Chase- The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

Mary Poppins- Mary Poppins, D.L. Travers (YA?)
Nynaeve al’Meara- Wheel of Time Series, Robert Jordan
Mercy Lynch- Dreadnaught, Cherie Priest
Bellis Coldwine- The Scar, China Mieville
Door- Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

I would like to throw in a wildcard. Penelope, from The Odyssey. That woman kept a bunch of men dancing for 10 years. Admittedly, they drank all her wine and ate all her food, and pretty much bankrupted her. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t clever. She’s pretty badass, in an ancient Greek sort of way. (Would that be literary fiction? We don’t have a category for Homeric Epics.)

Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood–We Have Always Lived in the Castle–Shirley Jackson
Jane Eyre–Jane Eyre–Charlotte Bronte
Elinor Dashwood–Sense and Sensibility–Jane Austen
Lily Briscoe–To the Lighthouse–Virginia Woolf
Esther Greenwood–The Bell Jar–Sylvia Plath
Lily Owens–The Secret Life of Bees–Sue Monk Kidd
Grace Makutsi–The Number One Ladies Detective Agency Series–Alexander McCall Smith
Helen Schlegel–Howards End–E.M. Forster
Beatrice–Much Ado About Nothing–William Shakespeare

Sethe–Beloved–Toni Morrison (Not sure which category to put this in–the world is real but it has fantastic elements–feel free to move it)
Kathy H–Never Let Me Go–Kazuo Ishiguro
Catelyn Stark–A Song of Ice and Fire–George R.R. Martin

Seconding (all fantasy):
Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Phèdre nó Delaunay from the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey
Death from Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Claudia from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam from Dune by Frank Herbert (sci-fi)
Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (lit)
The protagonist from A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (dystopian)
Cally O’Neill from the Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo (sci-fi)
Honor Harrington from the Honor Harrington series by David Weber (sci-fi)
Tinker from Tinker by Wen Spencer (fantasy/sci-fi)
Tuon from The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (fantasy)
Shirakawa Kaede from Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn (fantasy)
Moreta from Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (fantasy)

All literature:

Ninah – The Rapture of Canaan
Ada – Cold Mountain
Elizabeth – Light a Penny Candle
Taylor – The Bean Trees
Claudia – Interview with the Vampire
Cassandra – I Capture the Castle
Dolores “Lola” “Lolita” – Lolita
Cathy – Flowers in the Attic (I debated this one but threw her in there for curiosity’s sake!)
Carla Jean Moss – No Country for Old Men

I forgot one. In my defense, she’s short and a little bit tough to pick out in a crowd.

Cheery Littlebottom – Discworld

And, because she’d probably kick my ass and then force my corpse to smoke…

Adora Belle Dearheart – Discworld
Eskarina Smith – Discworld

Karrin Murphy – The Dresden Files
Molly Carpenter – The Dresden Files
Susan Rodriguez – The Dresden Files
Charity Carpenter – The Dresden Files
Ivy – The Dresden Files
Lasciel’s Shadow – The Dresden Files
Anastasia Luccio – The Dresden Files

In fairness, Michael will probably be watching and saying, “Charity, you should probably stop now,” because he’s that kind of guy. But he won’t interfere with the actual strangling process. I want to hear your Mac theory!! I keep trying to come up with one, but I just can’t. Between that and dying to know how Molly got the apartment from the svartalves, other than just “honor”, I feel like the book left us with a TON of cliffhangers.

Spoilery goodness ahoy! (Not that you don’t already know ’em.) But here’s my theory, which will prove to be completely wrong because it’s Butcher, and I’m pretty sure that he spends time on the Internet steepling his fingers like Mr. Burns and muttering “Eeeeeexcellent” when he finds a decent theory he can subvert.

That jerkface. ;)

Adult Literary Fiction

Emma Woodhouse – Emma (Jane Austen)

Elinor Dashwood – Sense & Sensibility (Jane Austen)

Catherine Earnshaw – Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) – love her or hate her, Cathy’s a badass

Taylor Greer – The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver)

Cecily – The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)

Beatrice – Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

Sunshine – Sunshine (Robin McKinley)

Mercy Thompson – Mercy Thompson series (Patricia Briggs)

Daenerys Targaryen – A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)

Yeine – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)

Fantasy/Sci-fi, Adult

Cordelia Vorkosigan – Vorkosigan series
Ekaterin Vorsoisson – Vorkosigan series
Elli Quinn – Vorkosigan series
Taura – Vorkosigan series
Drou – Vorkosigan series
Morgaine – The Mists of Avalon
Viviane – The Mists of Avalon
Sorcha – Sevenwaters Trilogy
Liadan – Sevenwaters Trilogy
Fainne – Sevenwaters Trilogy
Clodagh – Sevenwaters Trilogy
Phèdre nó Delaunay – Kushiel’s Legacy series
Ysandre de la Courcel – Kushiel’s Legacy series
Nicola L’Envers y Aragon – Kushiel’s Legacy series
Sidonie de la Courcel – Imriel Trilogy
Alais de la Courcel – Imriel Trilogy
Moirin mac Fainche – Naamah Trilogy
Snow Tiger – Naamah Trilogy
Daenerys – ASOIAF
Sansa – ASOIAF
Brienne – ASOIAF
Jaenelle Angelline – Black Jewels Trilogy
Surreal SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy
Karla – Black Jewels Trilogy
Death – Neil Gaiman, Sandman
Angua – Discworld
Nanny Ogg – Discworld
Tiffany Aching – Discworld
Kahlan Amnell – Sword of Truth
Cara – Sword of Truth
Ramona Flowers – Scott Pilgrim
Catherine Velis – The Eight
Mireille de Remy – The Eight
Alice – Labyrinth (Kate Mosse)
Alais – Labyrinth
Auriane – The Light Bearer
Nell – The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson)
Ariane I – Cyteen (CJ Cherryh)
Ariane II – Cyteen
Erde – The Book Of Earth, Dragon Quartet
Ilisidi – Foreigner (CJ Cherryh)
Jago – Foreigner

And, fine, Lyra Belacqua. :)

That’s what I’ve got! I’d actually like to see Phedre no Delaunay de Montreve go far.

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