My 5 greatest female, literary characters of all time.

Kettlemag, Laura Noakes,
Written by Laura Noakes

Kettle’s Women’s Season is the perfect time to celebrate some truly great literary women. Whilst there are many fictional ladies who deserve to be celebrated, these are the five I feel I have the greatest connection with, and have had the biggest impact on me (seriously though – I could probably make this list a top one-hundred!). These women are strong, independent and awe-inspiring.

Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet is amazing. End of. She’s intelligent, witty and acutely aware of her own value. In Pride and Prejudice Lizzie navigates through a society that is patriarchal, a mother that is determined to marry her off to the highest bidder, all whilst maintaining a razor sharp sense of humour. Lizzie’s popularity can clearly be seen through the many adaptations of Pride and Prejudice throughout the years – there have been movies, TV shows and even a web series on YouTube! The popularity of her character is testament to Jane Austen’s creation of a woman who seems real, has wants and desires and likes to crack a sarcastic joke or two. Elizabeth Bennet is one kick-ass female character.

Hermione Granger

This list would not be complete without the incomparable Hermione Granger, the girl who made it cool to be clever. Hermione is a triumph, without her I am pretty sure that You Know Who would be running the wizarding world, because – who are we kidding – it was Hermione’s smarts that saved Harry and Ron numerous times during the series. I love Hermione because she is everything girls are traditionally warned not to be; she is bossy, smarter than everyone else and not afraid to speak her mind or assert her opinion. She’s also not presented as sexless because she’s clever – I mean the girl snags Victor Krum for goodness sake! Hermione is a strongly written female character who is definitely one of the greats.

Matilda Wormwood

Matilda Wormwood is a character that faces awful adversities as a child, but manages to overcome them with her wit and charm (and psychokinetic powers). She is neglected and unloved by her awful parents, and terrorised at school by the evil headteacher, Mrs Trunchbull. But Matilda seems to take these setbacks with a pinch of salt – she plots revenge and dives into her books. Roald Dahl was an expert storyteller, and Matilda clearly shows this skill. She places value on kindness, and cleverness and does not subscribe to the vapid lifestyle of her parents. Matilda is a character that has inspired a movie and a musical, and is still one the most beloved children’s characters of all time.

Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser

Claire (her surname is dependent on what time period she is in) is the main character in Outlander. In it she is a nurse just after the conclusion of World War Two, on a second honeymoon in Scotland with her husband, Frank Randall. Her life changes when she suddenly finds herself in Scotland in 1743, and she has to adapt quickly to the Highland way of life. Claire is feisty, brave and utterly determined to get back to her own time period. She is also funny, and not afraid of a well placed swear word. Claire is another female character that seems real – she is multifaceted and this clearly shows throughout the book.

Ginny Weasley

I know I’ve already mentioned one Harry Potter character, but I am certain that Ginny Weasley does not get enough love in the HP fandom. Ginny is a tough cookie – she is the youngest and only girl of the Weasley family and an amazing Quidditch player. Although a lot of people focus on her itty bitty crush on the chosen one, I like to look at how she got over that crush – she grew up, went out with other people and got on with her life. I also love how she wasn’t afraid to stand up to Harry when he was being a bit of an idiot, and that she went to the Yule Ball with Neville Longbottom – Ginny was an amazing friend! She was also a fantastic witch and all around great person – Ginny is  another amazing female character – well done J. K. Rowling.

So those are my top five female literary heroes. It was a HARD task to cut down to five, and I am one hundred percent sure I missed out some amazing female characters – which is kind of a good thing, because the more amazing female characters there are in literature, the better.

Read our Women's season magazine, kettle mag,