Ranting Dragon’s Favorite… Female Protagonist!

Last week, we took a long, hard look at male protagonists. This week, we’ll look at the women from our favorite books. In no particular order, here are some of our staff’s favorite female protagonists:


Monza Murcatto
By Michelle
When in doubt, pick a badass! There are plenty of interesting protagonists regardless of gender but one of my recent favorites is Monza Murcatto from Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold. She’s probably not someone I’d aspire to be, but she’s definitely one of the best morally ambiguous female characters I’ve seen in a while. Although she can be cold and ruthless and her motivations are often dubious, she is also extremely intelligent, competent and has an unparalleled sense of determination. She rose up from nothing to command armies and didn’t give up even when she lost it all. Betrayed, stabbed, and thrown down a cliff she didn’t crawl off into hiding, she got back up and kicked some serious ass. That deserves some credit.
Oree Shoth
By Stephan
From N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms, Oree Shoth is the lover of a god, as well as the gods’ greatest threat. Not only is she the book’s first person narrator, she is also blind. That alone gives the narration a uniquely intriguing angle, but the fact that she isn’t helpless and instead has a very strong personality makes The Broken Kingdoms an awe-inspiring work of literary fantasy. The way she composes herself throughout her story is extraordinary.
Briar Wilkes
By Ashik
My choice is Briar Wilkes from Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.  In an 1880’s steampunk Seattle where part of the city is walled off because of a gas-based ‘zombie’ virus, this single mother climbs into the depths of the darkness to save her teenage son. On the way she raises some hell, fights the dead, faces her past and is an all-round well-written character.
Shandril Shessair
By Dan
The reluctant heroine of Ed Greenwood’s Spellfire and later sequels Crown of Fire and Hand of Fire is a take on the ‘Farmboy with a Destiny’ trope we all know so well. Imagine something along the lines of a female Luke Skywalker, only without the helpful lessons and propping up he got from Ben Kenobi and Yoda. Shandril largely has to take her power, learn to use it, fend off powerful enemies bent on her control or destruction, and do it mostly by herself.
Alanna of Trebond
By Rebecca
Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s YA Song of the Lioness quartet is my favorite. In a patriarchal society where women have few options, one young girl rejects the system. Posing as a boy, she keeps her true identity a secret for years to become the land’s first female knight, then fights for the rights of other women. A true role model for young girls, Alanna is still inspiring to me now.


Who’s your favorite female protagonist? Let us know in the comments below, or on the forums!

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 31 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he can be found in a comfy chair reading a fantasy book. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing to boot. Stephan lives in a small town in The Netherlands with his wife Rebecca, an editor for The Ranting Dragon, and their two cats.

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  1. Not counting my own characters, I would pick Cimorene, from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. She applies to be a dragon’s princess, but she’s no fainting damsel, protecting her dragon from evil wizards with liberal dollops of soap water, which is apparently anathema to wizards.

    In the above list, both Monza and Oree both have physical flaws that they overcome. (Monza’s body is battered from near death, and Oree has her blindness.) To me, this is a far more interesting character than ones closer to the Mary Sue side of the spectrum. I tend to write flawed, triumphant characters myself. But I often wonder if I wouldn’t be better off writing more bland protagonists so the reader can more easily identify with them. Any thoughts?

  2. Right now? Devyn from Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN series. She’s fearless and a tomboy who will never be comfortable in a dress, but I never once doubted she was female. Quite a thing to pull off.

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