9 of the Best Literary Female Protagonists to Look Up To

By Rhea Mahajan

*I couldn’t think of another one to make it 10. Oh, well…

This article is a list of who I think are some of the best role models from books. They all have some trait that makes them special and I think that HB girls can really personify those. It’s literally like bringing these characters to life!

1. Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass):

Okay, for those of you who have read Throne of Glass, you know how badass Celaena is; and yes, I am talking about Celaena, not Aelin. Aelin has the advantage of fire- that automatically make super cool. But, Celaena is a rebellious assassin, and secret princess of Terrassen. With her sarcasm and quick wit, I definitely do not want to be on the receiving end of a roast from her.

  • “Where will we go?” “I hear hell is particularly nice at this time of year.”
  • “My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”
  • “So I’m just here for decoration?”
  • “Be grateful I consider you a worthy accessory.”

2. Shahrazad (The Wrath and the Dawn):

Let me just also try to murder the Caliph, while also trying to seduce him and stay alive and avenge my best friend. Yeah, cause I can totally be that chill. She’s smart, cares about her family, and is independent. What’s not to love?

  • “Do it and I’ll bite your hand,” she said. “Until you scream like a little boy.”

3. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games):

Quick-witted and humble, Katniss is an underdog you can’t help but root for. She’s loyal to her family and friends- I mean, did no one else start crying when Rue dies? That scene shows just how compassionate Katniss is, and how much she cares.

  • “I tell him,”Real.”

4. Lada (And I Darken):

Living amongst guys all your life can be tough. Especially when you’re not beautiful or in any way feminine. But Lada makes it work. Lada is the most hardcore, down-to-earth, stubborn, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer heroine warrior I’ve ever read about. She is strong and independent, and doesn’t rely on anyone. I love the ending of Now I Rise when Lada doesn’t choose Mehmed or Radu, but herself- daughter of Wallachia.

  • “No one will be more brutal than me. No one will be more ruthless. And I will never stop fighting.”
  • “Why must I always be a man’s servant?” Lada demanded. “If anything, I should be partners with the devil, not his servant.”
  • “If I wanted shit, I would have visited the privy, not asked for an audience with you.”

5. Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter):

So….this one’s kind of a surprise, right? Everyone always thinks of Hermione first (and don’t get me wrong, Hermione can teach everyone a thing or two, or a million) but Ginny’s the rebel. She’s this sassy, strong, “I don’t care what anyone thinks” girl- which I suppose must come from having to always fight for yourself when living with 6 older brothers. And honestly, I think she’s better at Quidditch than any of them.

  • “That’s because it’s colorless,” said Ginny in a convincingly exasperated voice, “but if you want to walk through it, carry on, then we’ll have your body as proof for the next idiot who didn’t believe us…”
  • “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
  • “Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,” said George. “Look at Ginny.” “What do you mean?” said Harry. “You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?”

6. Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians):

You can go to the Underworld and back- and survive. You can be smart and beautiful. You can be anything even if the Gods condemn it. You can even carry around a dagger! Seriously, Annabeth is a fighter- she’s all like “girls run the world” and “shut up, Seaweed Brain, let me do the thinking”. Of course, that’s not to say don’t work in a team- do that, but, BE THE BRAIN.

  • “What if it lines up like it did in the Trojan War … Athena versus Poseidon?” “I don’t know. But I just know that I’ll be fighting next to you.” “Why?” “Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Any more stupid questions?”
  • “Why can’t you place a blessing like that on us?” I asked. “It only works on wild animals.” “So it would only affect Percy,” Annabeth reasoned.
  • She was scared of tiny spiders, but not of plummeting to her death from a set of monkey bars. Go figure.
  • “Nah. They asked me a lot of questions about you.” I played dumb.” “Was it hard?” Annabeth asked.”

7. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles):

She’s a girl and a cyborg- so she’s facing prejudices that are beyond her control. But, Cinder remains brave, smart, and nice all the while. Kudos to her for showing the wold “yeah, I’m only half-human, but SO WHAT?” Go cyborgs.

  • “Maybe the princess can save herself.” Cinder said.
  • “But I’m a wanted fugitive, like Cinder.” Thorne continued. “They do realise I’m missing, don’t they?” “Maybe they’re grateful,” Cinder muttered.”
  • “I have a computer in my brain,” she said. “So while I’m not going to tell you that I am the smartest or, by any means, the most experienced person in this room, I would suggest that no one use my youth to believe that I am also ignorant.”

8. Katsa (Graceling)-

Katsa, a Graceling with a survival Grace, is not only fierce and loyal, she also rebels against the king and saves people in need. She stands up to her ruthless uncle, who is the king, and creates a secret council which supports freedom fighters. So, she’s not only a leader, but she’s also self-supporting and

  • “It seems better to me for a child to have these skills and never use them, than not have them and one day need them,” she said.”
  • “If there’s anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I’ll hit him in the face.”

9. Emika Chen (Warcross)-

Emika Chen is a rainbow-haired electric skateboard-riding hacker. What’s more is that she works as a bounty hunter, tracking down people who play Warcross illegally. So she doesn’t rely on anyone else and is super independent. Emika’s a leader and thinks creatively- partially the reason she became the Phoenix Rider’s Architect.

  • “You once said that you were tired of the horror in the world,” I say. “Well, so am I. We can still find a way to fight it, the right way. We can find a way to do this together.”
  • “Every locked door as a key.”