Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Literary Leading Ladies

I'm looking for some information from you, yes YOU, my blogger friends. Please, please, don't be shy.

I'm writing & hitting some road blocks (as I inevitably will) & to get the juices flowing I'm looking for some leading lady information.

Who is your favorite leading lady & why?

I'm specifically talking books but If you have a favorite female character in a movie, please share why you love her too. Don't feel like she has to be from a classic novel. A more modern character would be especially helpful.

If you are in the groove & feel like sharing let me know who your favorite leading man is & why?

I'll start us off in the comments section & thanks in advance. I sure love you guys & your wide and differing points of view.


Olivia Carter said...

I'll start us off:

ELIZABETH BENNETT (Pride & Prejudice): I love she’s smart & witty. Lively & playful. She’s especially fun because of her playful impertinence to societal norms. I love her independence (especially given the time period). She didn't want to marry My Collins so she didn't. She didn't want to marry Mr. Darcy & told him off when he asked. Love her tenacity.

ROSE HATHAWAY (Vampire Academy): She's a bodyguard & therefore very tough- physically and mentally. She's sassy & quick witted. She's never submissive or passive in the book. She's always acting rather than being acted upon. She is independent & rebellious but really wants to live up to the expectations people have for her.

JACE MORGANSTERN (Mortal Instruments Series): He’s a FABULOUS example of a Byronic hero. An idealized but very flawed character. He’s is arrogant, cunning, but with a troubled past. He’s got some of the best cynical dialogue I’ve read, especially when it comes to his distain for social acceptability. He’s charismatic but dark.

MR. DARCY (Pride & Prejudice): I love him for the opposite reasons I love Jace’s character. He’s the perfect aloof romantic hero. He behaves proud, cold, & anti-social though the novel then we see that he struggles with his conscience, emotions and reason, and is actually kind and good-natured. He’s ruled by social norms.

émilie b said...

Can't nail it down to one, but here are a few:


Catriana, from Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay: red haired, proud, stubborn.

Malta, from the Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb: proud, superficial and willful, but eventually strong, hardworking and unique. (She's not the main protagonist but she has her own plotline.)

Lady, from the Black Company books by Glen Cook: empress, strong, stunning, no pity.

Claire, from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: down to earth, willful, kind.

Anea from Hyperion by Dan Simmons: selfless, kind, warm.

Jehane, from Lions of Al-Rassan by GGK: kind, thoughtful, skilled.

Jilly Coppercorn, from The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint: imaginative, dreamer, kind.

And this is from TV, but I just can't get over Portia de Rossi's Veronica character in Better Off Ted, recently: she's just so heartless, driven and direct... and so amazingly funny! lol


Jamie Fraser, from the Outlander series, too: dreamy, heroic. Enough said.

Diarmuid dan Ailel, from The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay (you can tell I'm a GGK fan, eh?): clever, agile, independent.

Croaker, from the Black Company books: cynic (hilarious cynic humor), tough, fearless, with a sweet side.

...ok I should stop now. ;)

Angela said...

Ditto on the Frasers from the Outlander series.

Two of my favorite female authors are Tracy Chevalier and Laurie Halse Anderson. Every story Tracy Chevalier writes has a strong female lead - she weaves amazing, intricate stories - many with some historical fiction aspects. Laurie Halse Anderson dives into sensitive subjects (like rape, anorexia, and other major teenage challenges) and has an amazing way of reaching into the mind and hearts of her characters.

Another favorite female author is Libba Bray. She wrote a fantasy series set in Victorian England with really great female characters as well.

The Sally Lockhart series by Philip Pullman has another strong female lead who is a detective type character in Victorian England.

Last, my all-time favorite modern-day female leads are actually from TV shows: Veronica Mars and the Gilmore Girls. Both shows had smart, witty, and fast dialogue. Veronica Mars had very intriguing plots (she's essential this tough, jaded, teenage PI trying to solve the murder of her best friend). And I just love the Gilmore Girls.

Kristie said...

Well I can think of one girl in a story that I really liked. The book is "Spies, lies, and a pair of ties" by Sheralyn Pratt. The character's name is Rhea. And she is a strong girl. Tough but nice. She faces some moral dilema's in the book, and eventually chooses the right, but I like how she could be my best friend.
For guys, the book is called " Dangerous Games" by Keith Morris. The guy is named Peter. He is a law man, and I like how he seems like just a good guy. Working hard, trying to figure things out as he comes to terms with some losses he has had in his life.
Hope this helps. I admire writers, as it is something I think would be cool to do, but I haven't found my story to tell.

Michelle said...

I am odd in that I don't have an absolute favorite female protagonist. But, I do have a male favorite and that is Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. I love him for all that he stands for and all that he could mean to the reader when his values are applied to our own lives. Good luck and happy writing!

My Mercurial Nature said...

Jane Eyre: She's deep & soulful, but also a rebel. She's full of passion & intensity and the need to find love & acceptance, while remaining true to her own desires.

Kristal said...

I ditto your leading folks. Honestly, I think Parker from the tv show Leverage is one of my favorite leading ladies right now. she is just totally random, and awkward and awesome. She is really good at what she does (stealing) but she is just so socially weird that it makes her a really cool character.

katherine said...

Revisit the Anne of Green Gables series. Except skip Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea--they're spoiled by the miniseries and less enchanting in my view.

Grown up Anne is far more interesting and the books are surprisingly very quick reads. The two best books are Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams.

what I like most about these Anne books are that LM Montgomery covered many controversial subjects yet put such honesty into them that they feel as if you're thrown into the gossipy mix of a small town.

And what I love about Anne is that she is compassionate, funny, heroic, honest, and immensely sure of herself. Her interactions with other characters are witty, strategic and funny. You will not be disappointed--and contrary to what I thought before I read them they are NOT outdated in anyway.

You'll be entertained and inspired-promise.

Holly said...

I love all the women in the Tamora Peirce books. They're strong, smart, witty, and still kind and loving and generous. I love any female character who can do the tough stuff but is still feminine and soft when the tough stuff is over.

Merf said...

Wow...I am so NONliterary....mama rose from the musical "gypsy"...dynamic, flawed in her zeal, still fighting and dreaming way beyond the years that is socially acceptable.

Esther Noelle said...

Just finished The Book Thief and loved the leading lady Liesel! You know I stink at explaining anything about books...

Buck Jeppson said...

Jenny Fields in John Irving's The World According to Garp stands out as a fascinating character. She is a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, amazingly compassionate nurse who understands what a family really is and protects hers with a cold passion.

Audra said...

Can I say something that is one of my pet peeves... it seems like in every novel I read the leading lady has a thing for books. Like, not a normal thing for books. Like they try to make libraries, book stores, and reading a major part of the story. It is like the author loves books and obviously their readers probably do since they are reading their books... but does EVERY book have to have a heroin who is like majorly into reading. Does that make sense? I guess I did not mind at first, but now it is turning a bit cliche.

Sorry I did not answer the questions. Everyone just already took my answers ;)!

Audra said...

Oh, I just watched a new romantic movie called Bright Star about John Keats the poet. Although not a book, I loved them both as leading characters. I like the subtle romance. The small touch of the hand, glance across the room type stuff.

Trouble said...

I love your blog! My all time favorite leading lady is Harriet from Harriet the Spy - my mother hated that I loved that books so much as she felt it was subversive...