My spell check doesn’t like the term ‘Aelin Galathynius’. My spell check also doesn’t like the term ‘lemonade’, or ‘lemon meringue pie’, and so I am banishing it to the volcano of Mordor and feeding it to the Orcs.
Anyhoo, I was rereading Pride and Prejudice, right after I read Lady Midnight, and naturally I love them both, and literally all I was capable of doing as a P&P lover is compare Elizabeth Darcy to Emma Carstairs, who is worthy of 11 mixed feelings.
BUT. Nonetheless, that does not explain to you in the least why I am doing this post. I decided to compare, throughout as far back as I can tell a few types of book characters, and to specify, female leads.
I’ve read a lot of various books, especially with a range of time periods the book is set in. So. I’m going to give you five types of female leads all throughout the writing world as we know it.
1. The Damsel in Distress
This is evident in EVERY. SINGLE. FAIRY. TALE. EVER. Well, except for possibly Little Red Riding Hood.
I’m really thinking of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty right now. It’s because half-dead sleeping people
like Jocelyn Fray who should have died who must be dramatically kissed by a gallant prince to be revived give off a helpless vibe.
Talk about Grimm’s CPR, man.
I mean, it is so stereotypical and frustrating if you’ve ever watched one of these Disney movies or read the rather older Grimm books. The maiden has perfect arms and eyebrows and fingernails and knees and basically is perfect all around.
See, this is why she needs rescuing. Lesson learned: DONT BE PERFECT UNLESS A) YOU WANT TO BE RESCUED FROM PERHAPS AN EVIL DRAGON WHICH YOU SHOULD INSTEAD TAME AND COMMAND TO EAT THAT GALLANT PRINCE OR B) YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE LEMON MERINGUE PIE which I promise, requires perfect bakers.
I feel like in all of these retellings, authors are purposefully making the princesses/main characters more conducive to reader entertainment by not making them hopelessly beautiful and inable to lift their finger without their prince to help them.
This is so, because when you alter a character to fit the current time period, you change the style and the personality therein making it A QUITE DIFFERENT PRINCESS PERSON.
I’ve read Cinderella so many times when I was young that I’m not in the mood to read a retelling that’s literally retelling the same story.
2. The Clever Bird (amongst other animals)
Those two words go well together. It sounds like a twitter term. It also sounds like a bespectacled bird, but evidently that’s not relevant to what I’m discussing here.
This is my favorite personally, because you can switch it between good and bad (like all the others but you get a different kind of impact with cunningness evident in evil/good) and I love it when you get a Barbie doll unusually beautiful, very cunning EVIL QUEEN.
My absolute favorite.
The Clever Bird came after the Damsel in Distress in things like reader preference. It’s like Red Riding Hood, even, I suppose. It was where fables began to come in to shape, with real morals and talking animals and other shenanigans. BUT MOSTLY TALKING ANIMALS. For the better of all of us.
Can I get an Elizabeth Darcy please? Elizabeth Darcy is amazing. Even thought Kiera Knightley is unrealistically stunning, Pride and Prejudice THE NOVEL described Elizabeth to be of average beauty but with nice eyes and a nice smile. SO SMILE BECAUSE YOU LOOK VERY PRETTY WHEN YOUR EYES TWINKLE. How to be averagely beautiful but with nice eyes and a nice smile 101’s right there, folks.
She won EQUALLY UNREALISTICALLY PERFECT/EMOTION-CREATING MR. DARCY with her cleverness and wittiness, and her love for books and her smile.
Amen. This is what I like to read.
People grew tired of reading about magnificently stupid princesses who get rescued by gallant princes and then rule kingdoms that are evidently doomed because dumb queens aren’t going to get any country past any finish line.
YOU NEED A CERSEI LANNISTER.
3. The Magician
Since apparently, if there is a thing as a lovely little manipulative lady who stabs you repeatedly after pulling off her cunning plan (and this is why we have Slytherin house–Neha loves being cunning and killing mongoose and other animals such as tweety bird; she’s Voldemort up and coming BWAHAHAHAH), there must be a lady who’s very powerful.
JK Rowling brought for us Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and Ginny Weasley, and besides becoming a primary life source, brought the trope of all-powerful ‘prophesied’ protagonists.
And if Harry can claim the role of ‘the Chosen One’ and defeat one of the world’s most dangerous dark lords at a fairly young age, then I don’t see why you can’t have these lovely lady magicians fireballing through elaborate flooring.
STILL NO ONE BEATS HARRY POTTER. NO ONE. NOT EVEN RHYSAND. And boi, when I say not even Rhysand, that has to mean something. So get with this Hogwarts Express program AND CLIMB KING’S CROSS.
Above character type summarized:
I SHALT AVENGE DUMBLEDORE BY BURNING DOWN EVERYTHING BECAUSE I AM POWERFUL AND I DO MAGIC.
4. Diverse Lemons
Then appeared the very new sort of people, and this appeared when people started looking for diversity.
They saw all of the fairy tales, and when magic was brought back into the scene by making these entirely something-else powerful creatures as main characters, people grew unexcited by fair-skinned perfect people just as they did of Sleeping Beauty whose life was saved because she got kissed. #showmesmarts
People had asked for whimsicality and other unrealistic quality in literature because fairy tales and smart women had grown on them, and then once magic had poured through, they felt the need to return to a somewhat more realistic perspective.
Literature retained its magic (of which I’m thankful, or else I would be shunned everywhere since I am evidently a witch) but adopted more realistic, vivid qualities to make stories relatable but entertaining.
And please, a lot of the world’s population comes from Asia, and part of South America and even some in the Middle East. NONE OF THESE LOVELY PEOPLE HAVE
BAHAHAHA ONE OF THE FIFTY SHADES OF *cue winky face* ENGLISH-FAIR SKIN.
Therefore a balance was created between lovely fair-skinned people, and lovely dull-skinned people. This is why most of our stories are entirely entertaining–it’s because a lot more of us can relate, and picture ourselves in the story.
5. The Unifying Fighter
AHAHAHA. Now that we have people of all color, why don’t we retract from the good people theme and create people who aren’t dainty and instead of being ridiculously smart and cunning, let’s make them armories-in-bulk.
SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD HAVE NOT PICKED UP ON THIS YET. LET THE MAN-PICKLE LIE DOWN AND I WANT A POWER FORCE FOR A FEMALE. LIKE AELIN BBY. Come one bruh, think of how entertaining life would be if we all walked with Bruce Lee’s swagger. That’s hanmadang for you.
What trait was missing when you had the beautiful
crackjobs dimwitted people (even though I wish it was that easy if lives were saved by kissing beautiful strangers), and then the witty, clever people, and then people represented around the world in all coloring?
You missed the person who can really flex. Boi, this was all over the gallant princes who make power couples seem ridiculous.
Now it’s the princess’ turn.
*cue wicked typical fighting sounds that sound like whistling but mostly manly grunting probably*
6. The Rebel
I am thinking of Katniss Everdeen. I am thinking of dozens of stories I have written.
Everyone loves a good book about a rebel that fights a bad society, and wins. It’s almost like a fairy tale, with the vividly clear good and bad sides–but with more action and dead people probably.
I’m just waiting for someone to write about a rebel that stands against a good society and wins, but that book would be some flop since the lack of a happy ending can probably downgrade A) book rating and B) author salary.
I mean, come on. If the good side doesn’t win, then why are you writing a book. Do you actually think anyone will publish that?
They might, keep your hopes up. But probably have your bad character go through an emotional and mental transformation and make them good.
That would be entertaining.
And besides, rebels for evil can’t rebel against good government, because in a successful book, the good people never rule. They are forced to be slaves and eat dirt.
Basically, rebellion-leading/rebellious/rebel female characters are entirely something else because they are very entertaining. Their thought process that surrounds the cause of their rebellion always has incredible backstories, and the actual story of the fighting and the plots and the dead people is always worthy of being filmed BECAUSE I WANT TO RELIVE IT 7 TIMES.
Everyone loves a good rebel and everyone loves a great story about a rebellion. So long as the good wins and there are enough dead people, a story of a dashing, daring rebel will never fail to entertain me.