Thursday’s announcement that the Pentagon has opened combat roles to women inspired me to list my favorite female warrior characters in scifi and fantasy books, tv, and film. These are the women, in no particular order, I’d want on my side in a battle.
First up is actually a group of women, the Guild of Renunciates, from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series. These women renounce their families and traditional female life in exchange for freedom. Not all are warriors, but those who are, effectively get the job done.
Holly Lisle’s Talyn must face her own inner darkness and make hard choices before using her enemy’s magic against them to free her people.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my first exposure to the kick-ass vampire slayer/hunter genre. Ah, the good ol’ days.
Samantha Carter from the Stargate franchise is an astrophysicist, engineer, and USAF pilot. She can calculate complex scientific formulas, jury-rig a solution using whatever is on hand, fight off the bad guys, and then fly everyone out without breaking a sweat. If only I could do even one of those things!
Eowyn of Lord of the Rings. I like the more-accessible film version of this character who disguises herself as a man to fight the final battle. When the Witch King boasts that no man can kill him, she shouts, “I am no man!” and then stabs and kills him.
In the Alien movie series, Ellen Ripley (the human, not the clone) uses her intelligence and quick-thinking to square off against the superior killing-machine aliens. My favorite one-on-one movie fight is Ripley, in the “forklift” suit, yelling, “Get away from her, you bitch!” and just pounding on the alien queen.
There are times I want to just slap some sense into Kara Thrace (Starbuck) in the most recent Battlestar Galactica series. But there are few warriors as skilled and reckless and driven and cocky and friggin’ good at what they do. I want her at my back in a fight.
River Tam in Firefly wavers from pleasantly sweet to eerily psychic to flat out crazy, but when it counts, this mere slip of a girl can single-handedly take down a room full of murderous killers. I’m down with that.
In the Underworld movies, Selene is a Death Dealer who hunts down and kills lycans. As a vampire, she’s got the supernatural stealth and speed. But, honestly, that latex wardrobe has got to be uncomfortable.
Jane Yellowrock is the leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding, blade-and-gun-wielding rogue vampire hunter in Faith Hunter’s Skinwalker novels. She’s my latest favorite. As a matter of fact, a separate blog post featuring Jane may be in my near future.
Last, I’ll mention two women I’ve identified with most in the last few years because they are both mothers. I understand their motivations sooooo well.
I didn’t like Sarah Connor much in the first Terminator movie, but that changed in later movies and The Sarah Connor Chronicles on tv. This was a woman who was going to save her son and she learned to use weapons and got in shape and kicked butt. Don’t get in the way of a mama lion.
Torchwood’s Gwen Cooper is ferocious. She is intelligent and resourceful and when aliens or other bad guys mess with her country or family, she will go after them with everything she has. She. Will. Not. Stop. Particularly in the latest Torchwood miniseries, Miracle Day.
Who are your favorite female warrior characters?