My Own Top Ten Fantasy Heroines

To continue from last week’s post, fantasy also has a lot of badass ladies in it, and here are my picks for top ten. I noticed that this list had more books than movies and television than the sci-fi list, but that’s also good. Most fantasy movies these days are based on the books, anyway. I also included urban fantasy in the list, not just traditional epic fantasy.

Sorry, Chronicles of Narnia fans, none of those characters are represented here. The Pevensie children and their compatriots do not qualify as “badass.”

Also, nobody in Game of Thrones (books or TV). Not going to pollute the list with that junk, no matter how badass Danerys is.

10. Naksu

This one is probably a bit unknown, but Husband enjoys Korean shows, and I watched some of this one: Alchemy of Souls (available on Netflix). Naksu is an assassin who thinks she’s avenging her family, and is able to defeat skilled mages with her skills. But, then she gets trapped in a weak body (major plot points in there, no time to explain them all), which shows that her badass skills aren’t limited to just magic.

9. Buffy Summers

Ah, the nineties. But even with the slightly campy nature of the show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a classic urban-fantasy badass, somehow able to kill vampires and survive high school.

8. Molly Carpenter

Major recurring character from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Molly starts out as a side character–just the cute, slightly rebellious daughter of Michael Carpenter, Harry’s best friend–and becomes so much more. Good at magic, and one of Harry’s best allies (without there being a romantic relationship between the two).

It’s also hard to find real pictures of Molly (not in the book cover art), so I went with a clip from the Dresden Files Fan Filming instead.

7. Princess Sarene of Teod

She’s badass enough to be on the cover of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. This lady is engaged to the crown prince, he “dies,” but then she discovers that under the rules of their country, she’s still the “widow” of the guy she never married at all. So, what does she do? Dives head first into the political intrigue of this country, proves to all the other nobles (men and women alike) that she can play their game and beat them at it.

6. Eowyn, Shield-Maiden of Rohan

Almost a no-brainer here. Anybody who kills the Witch-King of Angmar is a total badass. She could also do the female warrior role without being either a bitch or a modern “transgender” weird character. She’s a woman, and that’s her superpower in that scene (book and movie alike).

5. Arilyn Moonstone

Half-elf, half-human, she’s already at a disadvantage in the Forgotten Realms world. But, she’s a skilled warrior with a magical sword, and even though she’s known as an assassin, she’s never killed either an innocent person, or an unarmed one. The story in Elfshadow is about Arilyn trying to find out who is assassinating the Harpers, without getting blamed for it herself.

4. Lt. Riza Hawkeye

I had to have one Anime character, of course, and she takes the cake. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (yes, I pretend the original show just doesn’t exist) has a lot of great male characters, and one awesome female villain. But there aren’t many badass ladies in the show. Winry is a nice character, and has a lot of strength of personality, but she isn’t much of a fighter; she’s a builder. But Hawkeye is a serious fighter, and she does everything with plain skill, no alchemy. Plus, anybody who puts up with Col. Roy Mustang on a regular basis gets extra badass points.

3. Amanda Colt

Back to urban fantasy again, we have a good vampire. And no, definitely not a sparkly one. In this world, good vampires make sense (intellectually and also theologically). Amanda fights for the side of the angels, and has everything from badass combat skills, to tons of knowledge and experience, and even one instance of perfect, supernatural love.

2. Julie Shackleford

Another urban fantasy character, Julie is from Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International. She’s both an intellectual and a fighter (specifically, a sharpshooter, with some hand-to-hand skills thrown in for good measure), and later in the series, also becomes Super Mom.

1. Polgara the Sorceress

And finally, for number one in my list, Polgara the Sorceress, from David Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon series. She has all the qualities of a badass magic-user: she can fling spells, interrogate bad guys, shape-shift into an owl, heal the wounded, and even cook (without magic). She’s three thousand years old, and spent most of her time guarding and hiding the Heir to the Rivan Throne, but during the main plot of the two five-book series, she’s helping to save the world from Torak, the evil, one-eyed god.

My favorite moment? When agents of the bad guys appear to have kidnapped her charge, young Garion, she threatens their leader with the following memorable line:

“If any harm has befallen the boy, men shall tremble at the memory of your fate for a thousand years.” And the best part of that threat was that it wasn’t exaggerated, and the bad guy knew it.

Best of all, during the final confrontation, she managed to resist Torak’s command to come over to his side, so her best moment wasn’t even a fighting moment, it was one of pure willpower, where she resisted a god (because she loved Durnik the blacksmith).

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