Years ago when asked about my favorite fantasy heroine, I replied Princess Leah. Any other Star Wars fans out there? What is it about the original Star Wars: A New Hope? Probably because it sets precedence for all that would follow in the genre of Science Fiction. Princess Leah was both the “girl that got recused by the handsome Han Solo” and the “girl who rescued.” When I was much younger, we longed for more strong role models and while this female protagonist was a bit outta this world, she still made me sit up and take notice in a good way.
I even went as Princess Leah for Halloween one year. Okay, ridiculous stretch with the outfit, but it was fun. I need to find that picture to upload (wink).
Today we have Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman flying on the big screen, not to mention all the great heroines found in books including Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Lisbeth Salander and Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. But I don’t think we always give enough credit to some of the youthful, quiet protagonists who paved the way for these fantasy heroines by staying strong in the face of opposition, from Scout Finch, Fern Arable to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ann Shirley, and a personal favorite, Abileen Clark, who reminds us of prejudiced struggles we may never fully understand or appreciate.
And when it comes to classic fantasy heroines taking a giant leap of faith with no looking back, many set the bar so high I get dizzy just thinking about it. Take Alice in Wonderland, for example. I think I would have fainted prior to landing at the bottom of a rabbit hole; or Meg, from A Wrinkle in Time, searching through unexplainable realms of space on the faith her father is still alive; and let us not forget Lucy Penvensie walking through a wardrobe and not turning around to safety. I mean, who does that?
Whomever you choose, it’s nice to see that there are more and more strong heroines popping up on the screen and between the pages, in all genres and of all ages. From the ones in our own neighborhoods to those from planet Alderaan, here’s a toast to them all.