Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness II: Round Two, Poll One

Today we start bringing the top 32 down to the sweet sixteen. 

Logo for Persephone Magazine's Middlemarch Madness

Young Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

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  • Seed #1 Luna LovegoodHarry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling v. seed #9 Kealdry of MindelanThe Protector of the Small quartet, by Tamora Pierce


Click to vote.

[myo_poll poll = 113309 “box” perc = “yes”]


Young Adult Literary Fiction

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  • Seed #1 Pippi LongstockingPippi Longstocking series, by Astrid Lindgren v. seed #9 Mary PoppinsMary Poppins, by P.L. Travers


Click to vote.

[myo_poll poll = 113310 “box” perc = “yes”]

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy/Dystopia

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  • Seed #1 OffredThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood v. seed #9 Alexia TarabottiThe Parasol Protectorate series, by Gail Carriger


Click to vote.

[myo_poll poll = 113314 “box” perc = “yes”]


Adult Literary Fiction

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  • Seed #1 Jane EyreJane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë v. seed #9 Grace MakutsiThe No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, by Alexander McCall Smith


Click to vote. 

[myo_poll poll = 113315 “box” perc = “yes”]


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 “Middlemarch Madness II: Round Two, Poll One”

It warms my heart more than I can say that Pippi is beating Mary Poppins. Pippi is everything. And I’ve never liked Mary Poppins (*gasp*).

As far as Offred, and why I think she absolutely belongs on the mix … she showed a remarkable amount of strength and sense of self just by not going insane. She found herself in a nightmare, she didn’t know if her daughter was dead or alive (or which one would be better for her daughter), yet she kept on keeping on, and when presented with the chance to join the resistance and fight back, she stepped right up.

It wasn’t grand heroics, it was the kind that women show every day, and that the world overlooks – the ability to keep going even though the burdens outweigh us. It’s refusing to allow the iron boot on our neck to crush our sense of who we are.

That always deserves recognition.

Ah, this may explain part of our difference of opinion. From what I recall of the book (and I’ll admit, it’s been about two years since I read it,) she specifically DIDN’T step up and join the resistance and fight. She rebelled only when told, and only in relation to the men around her (either by taking their gifts or sleeping with them). She actively avoided the chance to join the resistance at the beginning when it was offered.

I actually thought she was deliberately placed in opposition to women who were risking themselves to resist in some way, whatever way, and as a more passive character through which to experience the story. Again, it’s been a while since I read it, but those are a couple of the reasons I have a hard time buying her as a badass.

But thank you so much for the defense of her. It would bug me to see her keep winning if nobody would even speak out for her!

If I remember correctly she was cautious about it? She didn’t jump in 100% because she wasn’t sure if it was a test. But I’m pretty sure she was already in with one of the other handmaids (however strongly) before the chauffeur revealed he was in as well.

If I’m catching what you’re talking about, yes, her bestie was a firecracker who fought hard from day one, in the … whatever it was, brainwashing camp with the aunts. She didn’t resist from the start, at least not overtly (she kept her own thoughts/mind/whatever, just didn’t act on it).

Also from my perspective (and might not be remembering this as clearly, it’s been a whole for me too) the biggest reason she went along was on the off chance of finding out something about what happened to her daughter.

Really I don’t see her as badass (in the strong, kick-yer-ass kind of way), I see her as an everyday kind of woman who is simply determined to survive.

Luna is amazing. She’s an outcast, when we first meet her even the losers like Hermione and Ron make fun of her, she’s never truly accepted into the group, and yet she’s one of the fiercest defenders of Harry’s truths. She risks her life for people she hardly knows — it’s no surprise that Ron and Hermione would lay down their lives for Harry or vice versa, but Luna is on the very edges of that group. She’s kidnapped by Death Eaters, and when she’s freed, she doesn’t run back to the safety of the only family she has (who, btw, was willing to throw his political principles out the window the moment she was in harm’s way) but instead runs back into the fight because it’s the right thing to do.

And she’s smart, she’s so smart. She sees beyond what the trio and even the adults can see. If you think about the scene where she and Harry are in the woods and she explains what Thestrals are, when she pinpoints that OBVIOUSLY Voldemort’s plan is to make Harry feel as isolated as possible because he’s not a threat without support, that’s some really brilliant strategic understanding of the broader situation.

THANK YOU. I’m so glad to hear a defense of Luna! I hadn’t thought of the throwing herself into danger for people she doesn’t know that well just because it’s the right thing, or her insight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still Team Kel here (I think Kel has a lot of “defending people she doesn’t know because it’s the right thing to do” and “insane and mature insight” as well, plus a lot of other badass attributes.) And honestly, I still think Luna gets a lot of votes just for being from HP, but seriously…I’m sold. I could vote for her against plenty of other comers, for sure. I really hadn’t thought about her from this angle.

And again, thank you for the defense. It was seriously bugging me to see her getting so many votes every time but with nobody willing to really passionately defend why she’s a badass.

VOTE KELADRY! Seriously guys, I love Harry Potter, but I am so over characters making it just because they are in awesome books. There’s no way Luna is a bigger badass than Keladry. Kel works her ass off, spends eight years becoming a freaking KNIGHT, can defeat an enemy about 10 different ways, becomes such a great leader she commands men twice her age, sees the inherent dignity in every person (and animal) she comes into contact with, and never hesitates to protect the innocent. And she does it all without magic. Vote for the biggest badass! VOTE KEL!

Let’s all vote for Grace Makutsi! She’s a self-proclaimed feminist who worked her way up from a poor childhood in Bobonong to get the highest ever results on the final exam at Botswana Secretarial College (97 percent). She faced sexism in the job field, but she eventually got hired by Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency; they developed a wonderful friendship, and Grace was promoted from secretary to assistant detective to associate detective. She also regularly takes advice from her shoes. What’s not to love?

Haha, me too! Like I said above, I’m over characters making it because their books are good. We’re not voting on the books, we’re voting on the ladies!

And I must say, this comment thread is kind of convincing me to add The Parasol Protectorate series to my “to-read” list, because it sounds awesome. And so does Alexia (although I was Team Sunshine last round…sigh.)

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