There can never be enough love for the kickass female characters of fiction. Whether that’s Lara Croft, Ciri, Samus Aran, Commander Shepherd, Katniss Everdeen, Arya Stark, Eowyn…they all have their own stories and their own accomplishments. We all have our favorite female characters, and these characters are immensely important.
Take Katniss Everdeen for example.
The Mockingjay, the girl on fire, whatever you may call her – she’s a heroine worth noting. In The Hunger Games series, Katniss is a distinct underdog. She’s from the very last district, has few skills beyond archery, but she has an iron will and is determined to survive.
Katniss is a symbol of hope for a world falling apart. She leads by being herself, and doesn’t let anyone else tell her what to do. She’s smart, she’s resourceful, and she’s so incredibly real. She feels like the kind of girl you’ve probably met before, but overlooked. It’s that realistic vibe that keeps us coming back for more.
Speaking of symbols of rebellion, let’s take a moment to appreciate Princess Leia. She appears, at first, to be a damsel in distress. The male characters have to go rescue her, after all, but when she wrangles that blaster and takes her rescue into her own hands, rolling whiplike quips off her tongue, it becomes clear that this girl handles her own destiny.
Princess Leia became General Organa. She led the resistance against the Empire, fought on the front lines, created strategies to take down injustice, and still found the time to have perfect hair and lipstick. Like, goals. For real.
Besides, Princess Leia has a fair number of midichlorians. She’s a Skywalker, after all, even if she isn’t a Jedi. She lost her entire planet, her parents, and her son – and yet not once was Leia tempted by the Dark Side of the Force. Get it together, Skywalker men.
Staying with Star Wars, this list wouldn’t be complete without the series’ newest heroine, Rey. While we’re not entirely sure whether or not Rey is a Skywalker (we hope so!), we’re positive she’s a total badass.
Rey is the kind of girl that runs off of determination. She’s got a knack for machines and flying, and has an incredible connection to the Force. We can’t wait to see what else Star Wars has in store for her, and how she’s going to do training with Luke on that remote island.
We have to talk about Black Widow. Natasha is, arguably, one of the coolest Avengers, precisely because she doesn’t have any mutations or science that makes her a badass. She just is. She’s a Russian-assassin-turned-superhero, a fantastic sniper, martial artist, and spy. She’s intelligent, and she holds her own alongside badasses like Tony Stark and Captain America.
And while we’re on the topic of awesome Marvel women, we have to talk about Agent Peggy Carter. This woman is unstoppable. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, male or female, and she won’t hesitate to punch you in the face if you’re acting like an asshole.
Peggy Carter dominates in a time when people were still debating whether or not women ought to wear pants. She was one of the most prominent agents of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, and worked as a code-breaker at Bletchley Park. She’s far more than just Captain America’s love interest. She captured the last high-ranking HYDRA officer, and continued to work against the forces of evil long after World War II ended, eventually founding S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ciri, princess of Cintra, is a playable character in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. She’s far more than just a pretty face. Ciri was a precocious, highly skilled child, and is an immensely valuable adult. She’s a silver-sword-wielding badass, cutting monsters to ribbons left and right, concocting potions, and using her knowledge of the world around her to survive.
Ciri isn’t the only sword-wielding heroine out there. Arya Stark gives the princess of Cintra a run for her money. Arya will stick you with the pointy end sooner than you can say “winter is coming”. She’s strong-willed, incredibly mature, and maybe a little psychotic.
Arya has to fend for herself from an extremely young age. She tangles with soldiers four times her size, wild animals, the elements, and even Roose Bolton. She’s intelligent, too, managing to outsmart all sorts of people and even match wits with Tywin Lannister in the show. This girl is going places.
But our sword-wielding, badass heroines don’t end there! Michonne is one of the best characters on The Walking Dead. There hasn’t been a cooler silhouette on the horizon than that of Michonne with her katana and her two chained zombies.
She might be a little rough around the edges and slow to trust (but who wouldn’t be during a zombie apocalypse!), but once this lone-wolf puts her trust in you, she’ll stay loyal forever.
Last, but not at all least: Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan, slayer of the Witch King of Agmar. Eowyn is my homegirl. When Bella’s love of her life left her, she fell into a depressed catatonic state. When Eowyn’s crush left her for an immortal elf, Eowyn said “fuck this shit”, picked up a sword and a shield, swung aboard a horse, and rode out onto the battlefield to do two things: see her uncle and slay some nazgul – and she was fresh out of uncles.
Of course, there’s hundreds of other female characters that kick ass – far too many to talk about in one article. We’d need a thousand-page volume to do them all justice. We’ll have to settle for pointing you in the direction of some awesome tees, instead.