Let's face it – the fantasy genre has long had a bit of a reputation for being a boys club. Many fantasy worlds have a basis in history, most obviously Medieval Europe, and as such women can be relegated to background characters who keep the home fires burning while the men all go off adventuring.
Or, at least, that's what a lot of people think. But women have been kicking butt in fantasy for years! Fighters, adventurers, witches, assassins – the women of fantasy are a force to be reckoned with. While you are probably already familiar with Hermione, Katniss, Eowyn, and Daenerys and Arya, we thought we'd gather together our favourite fantasy ladies who you may not have met yet. Here are our favourites!
Katsa from The Seven Kingdoms trilogy by Kristin Cashore:
Born as a Graceling, a person with an extreme skill, Katsa is graced with the power of killing. After spending years working as a hired thug for the King (her uncle), she creates an underground Council tasked with combating the destructive reigns of the Kings of the Seven Kingdoms. What follows is an unforgettable tale, with equal parts adventure, investigation, romance, and danger.
“I'm not going to wear a red dress," she said.
"It would look stunning, My Lady," she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. "If there's anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I'll hit him in the face.”
Vin from The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson:
Imagine the world of the Lord of the Rings if Sauron had won. In a world where the Lord Ruler has reigned for 1,000 years, ensuring that there are no heroes left to rise against him, it is left to the villains to plan an attack. Reluctantly joining this mission is Vin, a strong yet vulnerable street urchin, who learns that she was born with the power of the Mistborn, the ability to harness the magic of different metals.
“No, not me. I’m not a good person or a bad person. I’m just here to kill things.”
Sabriel from The Old Kingdom Chronicles by Garth Nix:
Living as a student outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, Sabriel has led a safe and sheltered life. However, upon learning that her father has been trapped in the world of the dead, she must journey to the heart of this dark and dangerous realm in order to save him. Taking up his mantle as Abhorsen, a necromancer tasked with ensuring the dead stay dead, Sabriel proves herself to be an intelligent, strong woman in a terrifyingly dark and complex world.
Favourite Quote: "Here, she could feel magic potential brewing, lurking in the atmosphere like charged air before a thunderstorm"
Mara from The Empire Series by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts:
After her father and brother are killed in a battle against a rival family, 17-year-old Mara suddenly finds herself Ruling Lady of the Acoma. Thrust into a world filled with political intrigue, backstabbing, assassinations and underhanded trickery, Mara must quickly learn to use her intelligence and courage if she wants to emerge victorious. Picture Game of Thrones set in ancient Japan, but far less dense and frustrating.
Favourite Quote: "Mara had made vows to the spirits of her father and brother, and she would not rest until vengeance was complete."