Engie tagged me in something called the heroine tag, which doesn’t appear to have any particular rules, but does have questions to answer. I’ve got more into these Q&A posts recently, and I thought it might be fun to tackle.
Which heroine would you trade places with?
Being a heroine always seems to have a lot of disadvantages as well as advantages: protagonists always have to suffer before they can succeed. But I’d maybe go with Deryn Sharp from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, because she has excellent adventures while crossdressing to transcend the limitations of gender roles at the time (it’s alternate history but based around the First Wold War). And it’s awesome.
Which heroine would you push off a cliff while hoping that there are some jagged rocks at the bottom?
My friend, that’s called murder, and is frowned upon in most societies. And it doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to do to somebody who is supposedly the character we ought to support in the narrative. I can’t think of any characters who deserve that fate, but if I have to answer, I suppose I’d go for the obvious answer of Bella Swan or somebody like that, but it still seems mean.
A heroine you couldn’t care less about? (They’re so bland that they don’t even trigger the hate in you.)
I think I’m too nice, or maybe I just care too much about everybody. However, I recently read City of Secrets by Mary Hoffman and I honestly thought very little of Isabel, even if I could sympathise with her in times. She just wasn’t particularly engaging.
A heroine you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up liking, and vice versa?
I was really dubious about reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld miniseries, the Tiffany Aching books, for quite a long time, because they were aimed at young adults and I thought they wouldn’t be as good as the others. (Call me a snob. I’ve learned my lesson.) They ended up being some of my favourites, largely because of the central heroine, Tiffany Aching, a junior witch. She’s awesome.
Everyone had told me good things about Divergent, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected. That wasn’t entirely the fault of its heroine, Tris Prior, but certain decisions she made definitely contributed.
A side heroine who is much more interesting than the main heroine?
Ooh. Hard question. Although I wouldn’t exactly say she’s more interesting than the main character Karou, I have a real soft spot for Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone and its sequels by Laini Taylor. I think it’s partly that she’s more relatable: she’s ordinary, human, hilarious.
Which heroine would you want as your friend?
Tricky one. Perhaps Kitty from the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud: she’s badass, independent, and compassionate, but really I can’t choose between half a dozen different books. Some heroines I want to be friends with because I think it’d be fun; others because I think they need more friends, you know?
Which heroine do you wish would just CHOOSE between the guys / girls in her little love triangle?
Honestly, I’m really not into the whole love triangle thing, even modified to make it less heteronormative. Half the time I’ll stop reading if it devolves into that kind of story, since it usually distracts from the main plot. I wish heroines didn’t always get stuck in that situation, and they shouldn’t be obliged to choose either. It could be a neither situation. Or a both situation. We can figure this out.
A ‘bad girl’ heroine?
Kaye Fierch from Tithe by Holly Black is the first one I really encountered, and I do love how that impacts on her character development. I have a soft spot for characters outside the law, too, even when it’s for noble or heroic purposes: rebels and revolutionaries and the like. I also recently read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and both of the main characters in that are bad girls in their own way. Also, it’s very tragic and gay.
A ‘good girl’ heroine?
I’m not sure exactly what constitutes a ‘good girl’, but I really love Sally Lockhart from the eponymous series by Philip Pullman. She may not entirely fall in line with societal values at the time — she’s far more independent and headstrong than Victorian women were expected to be — but she’s loyal, courageous, and only resorts to criminality when it’s necessary, trying to work within the law etc when possible.
Your favourite heroine of them all? (If you can’t choose, pick your top three.)
- Hester Shaw from Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. As a kid I adored and admired her fierceness, courage, and loyalty. She’s unbroken despite everything that’s happened to her, and the way she overcomes her lonesome tendencies is inspiring.
- Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series. The initials HS seem to be a theme here, but I promise it’s not deliberate. Holly is intelligent, strong, and pioneering. She’s also sarcastic and quick with comebacks. I like that.
- I think I’m going to have to go with Deryn from Leviathan again: I just love her. And I have a soft spot for crossdressing stories.
There are probably a dozen books and characters that I’ve neglected, not least because I primarily went with books that are on my shelves and I read a lot of library books. And the more I wrote of this post, the more I realised how many of these books are things I’ve owned for years. So it’s easy to see how these characters have shaped me and my writing as I went through my teenage years.
I’m not tagging anybody specific, mostly because Engie already tagged Charley, who is the usual recipient of these kind of chain posts. However, if you want to answer these questions on your own blog, feel free to leave me a link and I’ll check it out at some point when I’m hiding from Christmas over the next few days.
In case I don’t write again before then, a very happy Christmas to all of you if you celebrate it, and if you don’t, then I wish you a peaceful and enjoyable week with people that you like and food that you enjoy eating.