Because both the series' main character (Malian) and the title character of the book (Myr) are women—and there are also a large number of other important women characters in the WALL story—penning Monday's post got me thinking about the particular ingredients that characterize the Fantasy genre's heroines.
Karou in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Ava Sykes in Kim Falconer's The Blood in the Beginning fit the former scenario. Malian and Myr from Daughter of Blood both exemplify the latter; and Shallan in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series is another good example.
One of the factors Fantasy heroines often have in common, whether dealing with the stuff of everyday life or the fate of worlds, is resolution in the face of difficulty, particularly in withstanding adverse circumstances but also in seeking for solutions.
In order to be a heroine, too, the circumstances the character is dealing with must involve an element of grave risk, possibly even death—she must be called upon above and beyond the demands of simply being a good citizen.
Yeine Darr, in NK Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, is in no doubt that her own life and that of her country rests on her ability to overcome the dynastic and divine politics of the Kingdoms.
I would also argue that to be a heroine, as opposed to an anti-heroine, the character must have some concern about choices between right and wrong, either at a personal or societal level, or both.
Karou fits this bill at both levels, while a character like Mercy Thompson, from Patricia Briggs' paranormal urban Fantasy series, is more focused at the personal—hometown and community—level.
But what do you think? Are there other qualities you feel are essential to make a character a great heroine, either in Fantasy or other fiction?
Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) was published this year. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we