Celebrating Women’s History Month: 5 Great Literary Heroines

by Tee Tate

This month, we’re taking some time to celebrate women; the female characters in our favorite books, and the women who write them as part of March’s Women’s History Month. We kick off the month with a list of the characters we’ve loved and admired in some of our favorite titles. Did yours make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time

A time-traveler, devoted daughter, and math wiz, Meg Murry is the awkward, pre-teen lead in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and the kind of kid we wished we’d been. (Minus the missing father and dangerous time jumping between dimensions). She’s imperfect, something we love about her, and stubborn enough to inspire a generation of young girls to never let anyone tell them being a girl is a disadvantage.

Hemione Granger, Harry Potter Series

“The smartest witch of your age,” that’s the constant assertion many wizards and witches make in the Potter series when talking to Hermione Granger. It’s not an exaggeration, but don’t let her dogged study habits and hours spent in the library “researching” fool you. Had it not been for Hermione, Ron, and Harry would have never made it through the final battle at Hogwarts.

Arya Stark, A Song of Fire and Ice series

We love a character that breaks the mold and no one does that better than George RR Martin’s Arya Stark from his A Song of Fire and Ice series. A well-bred “lady” who wants to be anything but, Arya witnesses her father’s execution and the death of her family at the hands of their enemies and still makes her way across the land determined to get her revenge. She emerges as one of the strongest, most compelling characters in the series, and definitely not one you’d want to piss off.

Éowyn, The Lord of the Rings

A shieldmaiden and noblewoman of Rohan, Éowyn is one of the few female characters in JRR Tolkien’s trilogy that wasn’t regulated to a backdrop character. She is strong, determined, and fiercely loyal to her uncle and his realm and when he is taken out by the Witch-King of Angmar, it is Éowyn, who defeats the creature who killed her uncle. She also utters one of the best lines in the trilogy when the Witch-King tells her no man can kill him.

“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman.”

June ‘Offred’ Osborne, The Handmaid’s Tale

June Osborne endures more than many of the characters on this list: kidnapping, degradation, rape, and the upheaval of her world at the hands of misogynistic, patriarchal leaders who’ve taken over the country’s government. But what makes June a dynamic character is her adamant desire to escape and the belief that she must never give up. She emerges as a leader and a paradigm of strength and determination.

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