Hermione and the Silver ChaliceToday’s topic for Danger Gal Friday is a bit of a departure. Usually, I profile a female character in Science Fiction or Fantasy who I think subverts common stereotypes about women or who is at least a strong female character of note.

Hermione Granger is definitely a strong character in the Harry Potter stories and a good role model in young adult fiction. She is highly intelligent and is rewarded and respected for that intelligence. The adults around Hermione encourage her to develop her already finely-honed intellect. While certainly one of Harry’s sidekicks, it’s clear that Hermione has plenty going on in her life besides Harry’s exploits. She is a well-rounded secondary character who doesn’t fall into many of the girl friday sidekick stereotypes. (A few people think Hermione is a Mary Sue character for J.K. Rowling.) Having said all that, there’s something that’s always bugged me about the Harry Potter universe.

Why wasn’t Hermione the main character in this series?

Haven’t we seen enough stories like this with a boy as the main character? Luke Skywalker anyone? (who was originally supposed to be female). The movie UP is about a young boy and an old man. The robot in Wall-E is portrayed as masculine. Toy Story is about a boy’s cowboy and spaceman toys. Ratatouille’s main character is a young man. The dog in Bolt is male. The main character is Kung Fu Panda? Boy. The Incredibles is mostly about the father. I haven’t seen the Percy Jackson flick, but it seems like a Harry Potter wannabe — and I assume the main character is Percy Jackson, boy hero. Ice Age? Three male main characters.

Some of these stories have great female secondary characters like Hermione, Kung Fu Panda’s Tigress, and The Incredibles’ Helen and Violet. However, there’s really only one movie I can think of — aside from Disney princess movies — that has a female lead character and that’s Susan from Monsters and Aliens. Susan will definitely be a Danger Gal profile in the near future.


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My latest post is up at the Writers At Play blog and today I’m talking about the nature of heroines in Paranormal Romances, specifically how rare they are. Once in a while a blog post or comment takes on a life of its own. A while back I responded to a comment by Diana Peterfreund on the Dear Author post “My Paranormal Malaise”:

Diana Peterfreund said:

The other day, I heard someone refer to the pararom/UF market as the “vampire boyfriend” genre. Which is really interesting and not necessarily inaccurate because so many stories seem to be able to be described as “girl falls in love with [insert paranormal creature here.]”

An apt description, and partly why I’m much more interested these days in SFR rather than Paranormal. Why is it the paranormal character is so often the hero and not the heroine?

Love Romance Passion responded with the a very enlightening post “6 Reasons Why the Paranormal Character is Always Male” and The Galaxy Express responded with “The Romance Heroine is Not a Side Dish.”

Read more…

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Unsung Heroines

When it comes to the birds and the bees, it’s the male birds who do all the singing, right? To attract all those female birds. Turns out female birds do in fact sing and their songs have been overlooked since Darwin:

László Garamszegi of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and colleagues studied the literature on 233 European songbird species. Of the 109 for which information on females was available, they found evidence for singing in 101 species. In only eight species could the team conclude that females did not sing.

So, ladies, let your voice be heard.

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While writing the first Danger Gal Friday post, I came across two blogs that do a great job at covering similar kinds of content:

  • Heroine Content describes itself as “. . . a feminist and anti-racist blog about women kicking ass. More specifically, we write about women kicking ass in action films, with a side order of television and video game commentary as things catch our eye.” HC liked Mrs. Smith. She’s my hero.
  • Writer Bernita Harris’ blog post Paper Dolls, specifically on Elizabeth Moon’s Paksenarrion and the demise of Harlequin’s Bombshell line, and generally on writing kick-ass heroines. Not to mention on the most appropriate time for the kick-ass heroine to engage in basket preoccupation.

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