Hey there, readers!
For today’s 30DBC challenge, I will be covering my favourite female character.
Now, while it’s evident that I prefer my male characters as absolutely cynical as possible, when I look back at the female characters I have read, I always consider them – first – with nostalgia, then, with some level of veneration.
Firstly, I can attest that I have never admired the women in classics or early literature -it’s like trying to admire a housewife written by a man. How can you admire a woman who is either a saint or a sinner? So I immediately rejected those women as favourites. Shakespeare’s Juliet was spoilt and lacked resilience and rationality. I present to you this apt gif:
Hence, secondly, I personally find myself blessed to not have known that such “birdbrain women” existed until I began studying my literature course. Instead, my teachers, from early on, have always introduced me to individualistic women, women who strived to be altruistic and audacious. Women like Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia (on the right) and Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Quartet. It was then natural for me to pursue those women in the books I read later on, women like Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sabriel from Sabriel and Lyra Silvertongue from The Golden Compass.
However, I will disclaim that my literature studies did not introduce me to another sort of bravery in women which I admire (maybe even more). It is those women who do not physically rebel against societal boundaries, but those who struggle in the midst of it, despite many adversaries. Those who see the struggles of the marginalised and seek to find some sort of salvation amidst their pain.Women such as Sethe from Beloved (on the left), Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar, Clarissa Dalloway from Mrs Dalloway and the formidable unknown protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper. These women taught me that you do not need to wield a sword and a bow to be a BAMF – you can wield words and kindness and inner strength as well. Power comes from more than just physically action.
And it appears here that I have listed down more than one woman to whom I love dearly – and I guess, I have to admit, that this introduction played that sort of function. For, when it comes to female literature, my heart goes out to all the female characters who seek to have a voice in society and they were all deserving, in my view, of a means to express their anguish, their joy and their personal endeavours.
But, as for my favourite, I will have to choose a female character who will always have a place in my heart since I was a young,a woman who wields both a weapon and wisdom, one which I actually dressed up as for my school’s “Dress as a Book Character” Day – Time-Turner, wand, frizzy hair and all.
Hermione Jean Granger in The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I finally did it, I chose Harry Potter for one of my challenges – or more specifically, Hermione Granger. But after some deliberation I thought I would do myself serious injustice if I did not pick her today.
Hermione has a soft place in my heart because I honestly see myself as her sometimes, the same way that J.K. Rowling herself saw Hermione as a(n exaggerated) version of her eleven-year-old self.
Hermione is, first and foremost, a girl who did not fit in but desperately wanted to. She was muggle-born, and a know-it-all, which meant she faced prejudice from both sides of the fence. She was neither liked by the Slytherins nor Harry and his Gryffindor friends. She was an outsider from the very beginning. And I believe that is what first makes her special: she understood from the get-go what it was like to be not wanted nor appreciated. And, despite her snobbish persona in the beginning of The Philosopher’s Stone, as a reader, it was easy to empathise with that moment during Halloween when Harry and Ron discovered she would go to the bathrooms and cry because she had no friends.
Being unwanted in Hogwarts from the very beginning, shaped Hermione. If she had been loved by both sides of the fence, she could have easily turned out like Malfoy, or worse, Voldemort. Despite the scorn she got from others, she was still kind (in the best way she knew how to be), she still raised her hand in class to answer questions, and she continued to seek friendship in books. She was always in the pursuit of knowledge and the fact that she spent hours in the library made her love her even more.
Yet, at the same time, Hermione was a character who never purely sought out knowledge, otherwise she would have easily ended up in Ravenclaw. It was evident that Rowling intended for there to be much more to Hermione than someone who was an intellectual. And I believe it is this character development in Hermione which solidified her as one of my favourites.
She hated women who abused their power, like Rita Skeeter, Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange. And so she fashioned herself apart from them. She also saw the potential in those who were less appreciated and overlooked.
Harry rarely was the one to first befriend the secondary characters – it was usually Hermione who did so. She found friendship with Dobby, Ginny, Neville and Luna before Harry ever did. She was also the pioneer of many plans that sought to change the world for the better, such as SPEW and Dumbledore’s Army.
So, that is my Harry Potter rant over and done with. And, because this gives me the opportunity to share my favourite Harry Potter band, Ministry of Magic, here is one of their songs, Ascendio, that you can check out. 😀
And there you go, because I love her fantasyuniverse and the person she is in it, I chose Hermione as my favourite female character. So, head over to Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog to check out her favourite female character, and I will catch you guys tomorrow for my favourite quote from a book!