the .moon's. quiet. daughter


h.o.m.e ............s.a.r.a.h...e.l.w.e.l.l ............ e.l.s.e.w.h.e.r.e .............s.e.e.d.s...&...s.t.a.r.s ............d r e a m i n g...t.a.l.e.s





July 21, 2017

woman characters I admire



Lesley asked, "I'd like to hear of any womanly portrayals in books and movies and shows that you do find satisfying?" Here is my reply. I watch almost no tv, and go to the movies maybe once a year, so my list is small. I'd love to see what heroines you would suggest.

(And if you're wondering why anyone might dislike "strong" female characters, you might enjoy this article.)


Anne Elliott. I like most of Jane Austen's heroines, but Anne is the greatest inspiration to me. Dignifed, intelligent,  honourable, she trusts her own instincts and strives to be true to herself. She's also vulnerable, tender, and real.

Emma Woodhouse. My favourite tv portrayal of a Jane Austen heroine is the 2009 mini-series starring Romola Garai. She is charming, warm, kind-hearted, bumbling, and endearingly flawed.

Tenar from the Earthsea books. The older she grows, the better she gets.

Cinderella. Long before Kenneth Branagh made it overt, Cinderella represented kindness and goodness, despite her circumstances. I really appreciate that she wins the respect and love of the prince because of her character, not because of anything she does. In the movie version Ever After (which is one of my top three favourite movies) the heroine is a more active force, but I think it's handled well.

Lessa from the Dragonflight books by Anne McCaffrey. I grew up with her and always liked that she was so irritable and yet was endlessly brave. I also liked Brekke with her quiet sensible nature, but what happened to her was tragic, and McCaffrey never addressed that properly with her character, so I didn't find her particularly fulfilling.

Anne Shirley. Do I really need to give a reason? As for tv versions, they are all inferior to the original, but Megan Follows does the best representation.

Sara Crewe. I love her beautiful soul. Both the book and the movie are wonderful. 

Lucy from While You Were Sleeping. She is just sheer loveliness, as is the whole film.

Giselle from Enchanted. I was disappointed by how she was modernised towards the end, but found her a heroine with sweetness, spirit, depth, and kindness.

Kirsten from the novel Station Eleven. I like this character despite her flaws because she is complex. I like her short hair and pretty dresses, and that she is haunted yet tough.

Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max. I know she isn't what you would necessarily think of as womanly, but she is a survivor and takes a great risk to help save other women. I admire her courage and feel for her pain.

Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. She did not compromise her character or apologise for loving pretty things while at the same time being determined and smart.

Clarissa Harlowe. To be honest, I haven't read the entire novel by Samuel Richardson, but I enjoyed the tv series starring Saskia Wickham. Although most people will find Clarissa a helpless, passive victim, I admire her for her resolution and virtue, her passion, and her willingness to believe in other people.

Margaret Hale from North and South. A woman who manages to be good, and do good, despite her tendency towards arrogance. The mini-series starring Daniela Denby-Ashe is excellent.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. I know she's a real person, but I want to mention her because I find her example of grace, poise, dignity, and style to be beautiful, and I'm glad young women today have such a role model. 

Any number of heroines from historical romance novels. I don't generally read such novels, although I enjoy Julia Quinn's books. I appreciate how her heroines are interesting without losing their femaleness.

There are of course many wonderful female characters in literature and on the screen, but these are just the ones who inspire me personally (and whom I can remember!)