Top Ten Tuesday – A Few of my Favourite Heroines in Literature


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Ten Favourite Heroines from Books, Movies and TV


A Song of Ice and Fire

I could probably fill the whole list of ten with characters from A Song of Ice and Fire, but am going to try for a bit of variety, so I’ll limit myself to:

Sansa Stark – I guess my love for Sansa can be summed up by the line in A Storm of Swords – “My skin has gone from porcelain, to ivory, to steel”(Possibly not worded exactly that way, but it’s a long time since I read the book). Sansa is the naïve dreamer, the lover of fairytales who imagines life will be one long and happy song. When confronted with harsh reality at King’s Landing, abused and mistreated by her ‘beloved’ Joffrey she undergoes great change and learns to adapt to her surroundings. She’s playing the game as well as anyone, but with courtesy and manners instead of weapons and physical fighting. I lover her story so far, and wonder how it will develop later on in the series.

Brienne of Tarth – Brienne is a great heroine. I love the way she defies convention, following her own path and being true to herself rather than succumbing to what society expects, i.e. making a suitable marriage and becoming a wife. She is strong, a fighter, loyal, determined and resilient. One of my favourite scenes with Brienne was her recounting how she would marry and become more ladylike if the man could beat her in combat, then proceeded to knock her potential husband flat on his backside. Good stuff!

Arya Stark – Tomboy, adventurer, brave, and a total contrast to her ladylike sister Sansa, Arya is another of my favourite heroines. I particularly enjoyed her adventures with the Hound, and my heart broke a little for her reading the lead up to the Red Wedding.

Other Books

Sarah Lund – Do no mess with Sarah Lund. I’ve listed her under books but most of my love for this character really comes from Sophie Grabol’s portrayal of her in the TV series The Killing.

Evie O’Neill from The Diviners – It’s no secret I adored The Diviners, and a big part of that was down to Evie O’Neill who makes a great heroine, taking on the ghost of serial killer Naughty John to stop his evil plan before he can return to life.

Melanie from The Girl With All the Gifts – Part girl, part zombie, Melanie fights against the wilder side of her nature and retains her humanity when all about her the world is falling apart.

Elphaba from Wicked by Gregory Maguire (book and musical) – I love this take on Oz, the other side of the story as it were, and the life of the girl who would later become the Wicked Witch of the West in Dorothy’s story.  This story takes her and turns her into a really good heroine.


Sarah Williams from Labyrinth – The girl who carelessly wished her younger brother away to the Goblin King runs the Labyrinth to win him back, undertaking all manner of challenges and puzzles to reach the centre of the maze before her time runs out.

Christine Daae from The Phantom of the Opera – As much as I can appreciate Christine’s final choice at the end of the musical, I can’t help but sort of wish she’d made a different choice. I love the story of the young chorus girl beguiled by the Angel of Music, and the way she grows up and accepts all is not what it should be. The show has some gorgeous music to, which all adds to the story.

Clara Oswald from Doctor Who – It was mostly Series 8 which made me take notice of Clara. I love her relationship with the Twelfth Doctor, complicated as it is, and can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I like that she is capable and copes well under pressure, especially during the episode Flatline, when she really comes into her own.

I really am going to stick to ten, although I could easily have thought of ten more to write about this week.  Who would make your list of heroines?  Let me know in the comments…


22 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – A Few of my Favourite Heroines in Literature

  1. Kaja says:

    Oh, I’ve wondered whether I’ll be seeing Sansa on any lists today. She’s a great character and that quote (be it literal or not) describes her perfectly! 🙂 Brienne and Arya are great, too.
    It’s been SO LONG since I’ve last watched The Labyrinth I’m afraid it will be all cheesy and uncool if I watch it again. I really liked it when I was younger, but I have a bad track record re-watching childhood favourites…
    My list for this week:


    • pagesandtea says:

      It’s nice to know other people like Sansa too 🙂
      I can remember watching Labyrinth when I was really young and I think I was pretty scared by it all, but watching it again more recently I couldn’t help but love it. Some of it looks a bit dated, especially the background of the fireys scene, but otherwise it’s pretty great 😀


  2. Mila says:

    Labyrinth is one of my all time favorite movies and I absolutely love Sarah!! I can also agree with Sansa, Brienne and Arya, they are all awesome, although I feel for Arya the most.


    • pagesandtea says:

      Mine too 🙂 I love the ballroom scene when Sarah gets to wear that gorgeous gown and dance with Jareth, but even then she shows what a great heroine she is by realising it’s all a trick to steal her time and manages to get away.

      The lead up to the Red Wedding was the time my heart broke for Arya – she was SO close to her family again that I felt really bad for the way it all played out 😦


    • pagesandtea says:

      It’s great to know other people love Sarah too. I love her story, and the way she grows up whilst travelling through the labyrinth. I also really like Jareth as the antagonist as well. I blame Jareth for my recent love of the Fae in books 🙂


  3. Katherine Nabity says:

    It makes me happy to see Sansa on your list. She gets a bad rap sometimes, but she’s a great character. And I *so* wanted to be Sarah Williams. I realize now that it’s quite rare to see a young female character with agency.


    • pagesandtea says:

      I think Sansa really comes into her own as her story goes on, and develops great strength under some awful circumstances. I’m really interested to see how her story will continue.
      I would definitely have wanted to be Sarah Williams, although not sure i’d have done as well as she did – the scene where she solves the riddle to get through the doors is one that STILL eludes me 🙂


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