Because I’m often asked about the influences for what makes a great fantasy female character, I wanted to share some fabulous fictional females who have inspired me. So in no particular order…
1. Arya Stark from “Game of Thrones”
Don’t cross this pint-sized spitfire, lest she stick you with “the pointy end” of her equally pint-sized sword, Needle. This girl is determined to survive, fiercely loyal to her friends and clever as a fox. She can outrun, outfight or outsmart her enemies—and look totally adorable doing it.
2. Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games”
Sure, Katniss can shoot a bow and arrow like whoa, but her most kickass moment is when she volunteers to go to the arena in her sister’s place. She’s brave, self-sacrificing, and—in spite of the horrors facing her—fully human. In short, she’s a true hero.
3. Carol Peletier from “The Walking Dead”
There are lots of ways for women to be awesome, and not all of them are “acting like a man.” Even before the zombies hit, Carol’s life was an apocalypse. She was timid and helpless, abused by her controlling husband. Her journey from frightened victim to triumphant survivor is one of the most poignant and kickass character arcs you’ll ever see on TV.
4. Commander Shepherd (female version) from the Mass Effect gaming trilogy
FemShep, beautifully voice-acted by Jennifer Hale, is a true leader. She always says the right thing at the right time. She never puts love before the mission, but that doesn’t mean she’s afraid to love. Impossible odds are her specialty, and she’s willing to sacrifice her life, not just for humanity, but for all sentient species.
5. Beatrice Prior from “Divergent”
Author Veronica Roth’s worldwide sensation is coming to theaters in 2014, and it’s easy to see why: Tris Prior is as kickass as they come. She’ll do whatever it takes to overcome her fears and excel. But the most impressive thing about Tris? She’s truly “Dauntless,” willing to face her true self and forge a new path despite a narrow upbringing. As she says in the series opener: “I am selfish. I am brave.”
Others who deserve note: Ellie from “The Last of Us,” Hermione Granger from the “Harry Potter” series, Buffy Summers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Katara from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
Any other fab females I should know about? Tell me!