I once made a comment in English 400 something that I thought men were inadequate at writing female characters and vice versa. It was a silly fairly ignorant comment, but we were reading Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and it was all I could do to keep my head on straight, let alone have useful and well thought out points to share. Thankfully I lead with guys being inept at knowing women, as there was a hardcore feminist who looked ready to pounce.
I have enjoyed strong female characters in literature and film for a long time. I used to watch Little House on the Prairie growing up with my family. I enjoyed the antics of Half Pint and would be a liar if I tried to deny that Charles gave me some parental lessons.
There is of course one of my earliest favorite strong females in Princess Leia. I will be a fan of anything Carrie Fisher does for the rest of her life because of that role. If you haven’t seen her HBO comedy special look it up- Wishful Drinking. Of course Carrie was also a strong character as the jilted lover in The Blues Brothers.
I read the comic book Alpha Flight. It was a team of Canadian super heroes who were lead by Heather MacNeil who took over the leadership roll when her husband died in issue 12. Like most comic book deaths it didn’t last, but Heather was always the leader of Alpha Flight in my eyes.
When I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire a/k/a A Game of Thrones I was taken by Arya Stark- a 12 year old girl who is bent on avenging the crimes against her family. She was equally well represented in the HBO TV show and she is played wonderfully by Maisie Williams in the series. She is bold and outgoing, so I enjoy her but while I root for her and she brings a smile to my face, I don’t relate to her much at all.
Brienne of Tarth, now there is a character that speaks to my soul. She is the daughter of a Lord, but is invested in being a knight. It is as odd of a situation in the world of Westeros as it would be in Medieval times. She becomes a member of Renly Baratheon’s King’s Guard after winning a tournament and when he is slain by magical forces she is believed to have murdered her king.
Catelyn Stark is there and knows the truth. They escape the camp and Brienne travels back to the Stark camp with Catelyn. She feels indebted to Lady Stark, swearing allegiance to her and is entrusted with taking Jaime Lannister back to King’s Landing in a prisoner exchange for the two Stark girls.
She is as noble a character as can be found in the book and is also amongst the most humble. Often underestimated due to her nature and gender she proves herself again and again. In the season 2 finale there is a scene that takes place that is not in the book. These sort of changes have been grating me all season- that was not the case with the Brienne/Jaime scene. It was magical in that it captured Brienne’s ability as well as the transformation in Jaime’s attitude toward her.
Do yourself a favor- watch the clip. I apologize in advance for the fees incurred renting season 1 and season 2.
**rough language and violence in the clip NSFW (Not safe for work)