Harry, Ron, and Hermione are teaming up once again to make a difference. J.K. Rowling’s recent tweets and subsequent follow-up letter have elicited an abundance of controversy, and the cast of Harry Potter has decided to respond.
Girl Power! Here’s a salute to strong women that inspired us from literature.
For much of history, much like in real life, female characters in fiction were sidelined, often not promoted to the front like their male counterparts until recently. But this has begun to change, with the strong and nuanced female character coming to the forefront of genres like fantasy, science fiction, historical and more! And even looking back throughout literary history, there are numerous examples of kickass women who paved the way forward. Here some of the best, counting down from ten!
10. Offred- The Handmaid’s Tale
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The Handmaid’s Tale tells of a future where women have been reduced to the role of reproductive slaves in a society run by a religious order, made into the property of men and forbidden from reading, writing, or holding positions of power. Offred, whose real name is June, is a woman who dreams of a better life and despite all the hardship she endures, she instills the spark of rebellion, piece by piece, through her actions and inspires women around her. She may not be an action hero but it’s clear she’s the strongest character, holding power over the men who claim to own her.
9. Sabriel- Sabriel
Image via Goodreads
In a world where the dead walk the earth, one young woman holds the key to countering the dark evil rising from the depths of the underworld. Enter Sabriel, an eighteen-year-old girl who is finishing her work at an all-female college where she sees a vision of the dead walking out from the other realm beyond her own to infest the earth. Sent by her father to stop a group of Necromancers, Sabriel is fierce, ferocious, but also very human and showcases a quiet inner strength that allows her to overcome Death itself.
8. Nancy Drew-Nancy Drew mystery stories
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Nancy Drew was created in the 1930s but nevertheless emerged to become an icon for countless generations. A young girl working as an amateur detective, Nancy Drew constantly went headfirst into danger, exploring abandoned castles, creepy mansions, slimy swamps, and dark basements to solve mystery after mystery. The character has been updated to become stronger and older as the years went by, letting her evolve while also staying true to her roots, always a girl as brave as any boy and sniffing out the next case to crack.
7. Matilda- Matilda
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Another young girl, Matilda emerged as one of the best characters of Roald Dahl’s novels who has a love of reading and kindness while also possessing rad telekinesis. She overcomes adversity not through brute force, contrasting her nemesis, the Trunchbull, a massive tyrant of a headmaster who bullies the children in her care. Matilda’s mind is her greatest asset and is gleeful to see her emerge as the smartest person in the room. You can’t help but cheer as she overcomes the Trunchbull, letting her mind flow freely to literally grab the brute of a woman and give her a taste of her own medicine.
6. Princess Cimorene- Dealing with Dragons
Image via Wikipedia
This princess turns the classic trope of a fair damsel getting kidnapped by a dragon and rescued by a knight on its head. Cimorene runs away from her kingdom where her parents try to make her marry an undesirable prince, runs to a dragon, and takes up a job under the dragon’s wing. Cimorene takes charge of her life from the first chapter, showcasing her strength, wit, and skill to get a life she wants, not the one the story has set out for her. And she gets to be best friends with a dragon, which is badass.
5. Isabella Trent- A Natural History of Dragons
Image Via Book Reviews
Written as a memoir by supposed famous dragon naturalist Lady Trent, A Natural History of Dragons chronicles the adventures of Isabella Trent who strives to become the authority of dragonology. Written as a bookish, very English sort of woman, Isabella is prim and proper, erudite and sophisticated while possessing a true passion for the dragons of the world. She would sooner examine a dragon up close than scream in terror, being truly fascinated and possessing a scholarly disposition that makes her quite lovable. It’s wonderful to watch her evolve as the series goes on, seeing her adventures with dragons and showcasing how she is the most brilliant mind in the room.
4. Katniss Everdeen- The Hunger Games
Image via Forbes
Thrust into The Hunger Games, a bloodsport that pits her against teens from fellow Districts, Katniss Everdeen rises to the occasion to take control of her destiny. Refusing to play by the Capital’s rules, she fights against the game at every opportunity, first refusing to kill her supposed ‘enemy’ Peeta at the game’s end, threatening to kill herself if the Capital doesn’t let them both live. Eventually, she becomes the leader of a rebellion against the District entirely, becoming a full-fledged warrior as the Districts rise around her to overthrow President Snow. Katniss is a champion for inner strength, fierceness, and stone-cold badassery.
3. Scout Finch- To Kill a Mockingbird
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Scout is great because of how real she feels. She narrates the book from her POV, showcasing her child’s view of the world, making us fall in love with her mannerisms and her feisty attitude. She’s curious, always ready to get into a fight, and a tomboy, contrasting with the small-town atmosphere around her that disapproves of her unladylike ways. She is at once relatable, yet always reminding us she’s a child and has a lot of growing up to do. But Scout is always wonderful, a great protagonist who showcases the spirit of a woman beneath her childish exterior.
2. Arya Stark- A Song of Ice and Fire
Image Via the Wrap
One of the protagonists of Game of Thrones, Arya began as an immature girl, the third child of Ned Stark who was interested in very unladylike things, being feisty and independent. But as the series progresses, she grows into a fully-fledged warrior, swearing revenge on those who killed her family and becoming one of the Faceless Men, learning their skills as an assassin. She wields an awesome sword named Needle and ventures across Westeros, trying to complete her list of named targets. Extremely popular with fans, Arya is vicious despite her small size and should never be underestimated.
1. Hermione Granger- Harry Potter
Image via Vox
One of the iconic figures in the series, Hermione is arguably more capable than Harry, being an intelligent teenager with a gift for magic, an aptitude for history, and often described as a walking encyclopedia. Favoring brains over brawn, she comes up with the plans throughout the series and often represents a clear-headed contrast to the more impulsive Ron or even Harry. She isn’t without her flaws, with her fear of failure driving her to nearly kill herself as she drowns herself in schoolwork, but she always proves herself a strong young woman, ready to smack anyone who challenges or insults her.
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Emma Watson has a new name for being single. With her 30th birthday approaching, Emma decided to embrace it with a positive attitude and instead of just saying she’s single, she has penned the new phrase, “Self-Partnered.”
Image via Wizarding World
Best known for playing Hermione Granger, in the Harry Potter franchise, and her newest movie, Little Women is set to release next month, Watson still faces the pressure of turning thirty. Watson states, “If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning thirty, and you’re not in this incredibly secure, stable place in your career, and if you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”
Like most of us, Watson took a long time to find happiness in the single life. She never fell for the the happy and single motto, but she did find happiness in being single, and she even changed the name to “self-partnered,” which has a better ring to it than “single.”
For the full interview, be on the lookout for the December issue of British Vogue which hits the stands on November 8.
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I know I know, half of you are scandalized, but today, on the eighteenth anniversary of the film release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, how am I supposed to bring sorcery into it? Apparently american children in 1997 thought philosophy was for nerds. You know what’s for nerds? Harry Potter. There are a lot of ways to reminisce about the only movie where they actually wear robes, but we’re internet people second, here at Bookstr. I think you know where this is going.
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Alright, I was the same age as Harry when I first read this book, and not much older when I saw the movie, but what was Dumbledore’s thinking here? I admit I don’t remember all the details, but you basically can’t get into Gringotts, and you certainly can’t get out. And that’s under normal circumstances! They couldn’t throw another dragon or two in front of the thing? And let me ask you this: did they ever try dragons against Voldemort in the first place? I don’t care how much of an evil badass you are or whatever, what are you really going to do with ten tonnes of angry fire lizard in front of you? I know they threw dragons at children in the fourth book, but without warning? Please. I just want to know they tried it. And I know Hogwarts is supposed to be pretty safe, but even without all the later counter-evidence, I’d wonder.
Actually, What Did He Do?
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This is a dazzling take, obviously, and there’s a lot to unpack, but really it just made me wonder what Malfoy’s dad like… does. Sure, he’s a Death Eater, but not every second, and how much Death Eater work is there to do while Voldemort’s presumed dead? I know he’s very busy being privileged and racist and hearing about things Potter does, but what does he do the rest of the time? Just sit around the house being angry about things and making house elves miserable? For real, it’s never mentioned that he works at the ministry or anything. We really don’t know anything about how the Malfoys got so powerful, or about what they do now. It never bothered me before, but now it’s driving me crazy. I also absolutely love the suggestion that he invented toaster strudel. Invented it! It’s so random and so muggle centric. Priceless.
More Great Ideas!
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Alright, so you’re not allowed to go into the forest, because it’s STUPID dangerous, and you’d definitely die. Also, it’s even more dangerous than usual because someone’s going around killing and eating unicorns. Never go there! Wait, out after dark, maybe risking their lives trying to relocate an illegal dragon for the groundskeeper? Well, why don’t you do something even more dangerous for that very same groundskeeper? It’s like, oh, you’re smoking? How about some meth? That’ll teach you. I mean, I guess they learn something, but it’s not their lesson, I think the rest of the story can attest. And the second they’re in the forest, Hagrid is like, you know what? Let’s split the party. Best witch with me! Here’s my dog, try not to die. And then, not only are they in danger, but it’s literal Voldemort, running around in the woods right by the school. Who’s keeping track of school safety around here?
We Don’t Judge. Or Use Judgement.
Image via Inverse
Look, I know the twins are chill as it gets, but they really should have noticed this. Don’t judge, that’s great! But bring it up, please? Did they see it and go “aww, Ron has a friend” like, shouldn’t they know there’s noone named Peter in his year? They’re only a year or so above, and there are like five boys in his class, how would they not realise? Especially when this guy goes everywhere with Ron? I know what you’re going to say. Why would they ever actively check where Ron is? Well, if they want to sneak out of the tower, wouldn’t they need to know everyone else was asleep? And why weren’t they even a little worried any of the times Ron was just AWOL in the middle of the night? I know they support making poor discipline related choices, but he’s a baby, aren’t they worried? Have they ever walked right past him when he’s in the invisibility cloak? What did they think then, I beg of you?
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These nerds had their moments. We all like to talk about Harry, as we should. “No need to call me sir, Professor” was the line of a generation, and I like him telling Snape that Ron’s misspelled name is a nickname. They say a lot of stuff to Snape. But I don’t think Hermione gets enough credit. She has fewer moments, sure, but they’re absolutely metal. Remember when she bitch slapped Malfoy, muggle style? Your fave could never. And what’s Malfoy going to do, tell his father? Hi dad, today I was slapped at wizard school. It would never occur to someone who’s always had magic right there. I’m honestly just sad she never slapped him again. Oh, sure, she could outspell him too, she’s a much better caster, but there’s just such a big energy about hitting that dude in the face. Classic.
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