Category Archives: Pop Culture

Halloween is almost here! The holiday has always been one of my favorites. My mom used to make me very elaborate, creative costumes such as Medieval Princess, Movie Star (complete with gold sequins and lamé), Pirate, Tinkerbell – I did it all! The trick-or-treating obviously was the best part, and now that I’m of an age where it’s looked down upon to knock on stranger’s doors asking for free food, I do things like drink wine, eat big bags of candy, and watch scary movies on my couch. It’s just as fun, I swear…

Anyway, with the spirit of Halloween in mind, I thought I’d compose a list of my favorite fictional witches. Scariness was not a factor in my picks – only my infallible opinion.

The Sanderson sisters, Hocus Pocus

Image via Disney.

Image via Disney.

It’s just not Halloween for me without a viewing of Hocus Pocus. Luckily for yours truly, ABC Family plays it about a million times during the month of October, so I’m always set. Anyway, the Sanderson sisters (Winnie, played by Bette Midler; Mary, played by Kathy Najimy; and Sarah, played by SJP) are killed by an angry mob in the 1500’s after kidnapping a kid to steal her life force so they can be youthful and beautiful forever (isn’t that always the way?). Winnie casts a spell right before they’re killed, though, allowing them to be resurrected every Halloween whenever a virgin lights their black-flamed candle. Binx, their victim’s brother-turned-adorable-black-cat, guards their cottage for 300 some years to make sure this never happens. In present day Salem, hijinks ensue when too-school-for-school-or-trick-or-treating teen Max lights the candle. The sisters are resurrected and all hell breaks loose and it’s TOTALLY AMAZING. Also, this is the best SJP has ever looked or will look, counting SATC.

The ladies from The Craft

Image via Columbia.

Image via Columbia.

As a teenager I was completely obsessed with this movie. It was on rotation in my VCR, along with The Crow. Pre-The Mentalist Robin Tunney stars a Sarah Bailey, a troubled teen interested in Wicca. She moves in with her dad and takes up with a group of girls rumored to be witches, led by Nancy (a pre-anything ever Fairuza Balk). Things are all good until Nancy starts getting lame and abusing her supernatural powers. Then Sarah has to show her what’s what. Neve Campbell and some other lady are also witches drawn to Nancy’s evil ways. While not necessarily a good movie, it’s a lot of B-status fun that every single girl of my generation has seen at least once during her high school career.

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

Image via Disney.

Image via Disney.

Girlfriend was so fly she gave herself her own nickname (“Mistress of All Evil”) and people didn’t make fun of her for it. Impressive.

The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz

Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Man this lady gave me some scary dreams when I was young. Margaret Hamilton’s witch has grown on me over the years, though – perhaps due in part to my love of black ensembles and big noses.

Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Image via Wikipedia.

Image via Wikipedia.

Who doesn’t love a pre-CBS Alyson Hannigan? Willow (along with Xander) meets Buffy the first day of 10th grade at Sunnydale High School. Initially shy and nerdy, after Willow discovers her magical abilities, she becomes a confident, kick-ass (and a little evil during the 6th season) witch. Aside from her newfound confidence, she is also extremely smart. And just adorable – what’s not to love?

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Image via MTV.

Image via MTV.

My interest in witches started long before The Craft with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. For those unfamiliar (for shame), Elvira isn’t technically a witch, but was a late-night weekend B-grade horror movie host for Elvira’s Movie Macabre. She has a California Valley-girl personality, a big black bouffant, tight dresses, and huge knockers. The girl also knows her way around a make-up mirror – yowza. I’m not ashamed to admit she was my first girl-crush at the tender young age of 5.

Ursula, The Little Mermaid

Image via Disney.

Image via Disney.

Ursula is the fabulous Cecaelia sea witch in The Little Mermaid who helps “unfortunate souls” (i.e. LOSERS) to better her own life. She is a big fat, fierce force to be reckoned with that reminds me a lot of one of my favorite John Waters’ performers Divine. I feel like her and Maleficent would get along really well.

Circe from Odyssey

Image via Catherine Svehla.

Image via Catherine Svehla.

In Homer’s epic, Odysseus and his crew come upon Circe on her island of Aeaea. She then turns his crew into a bunch of pigs, something she dabbles in. Odysseus, though, uses a magic potion given to him earlier by Hermes and is able to evade Circe’s spells. Then they shack up and party on her island for a year, before she helps him get home. Nice lady.

Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service

Image via Studio Ghibli.

Image via Studio Ghibli.

Kiki is an adorable 13-year-old witch with a cute cat named Jiji. She has some questions about who she really is and faces some challenges about her innate talents. After questioning her identity, she is faced with the challenge of saving her friend Tombo and is able to gain back her confidence. She also works part-time at a bakery. DELICIOUS.

Grandmama from The Addams Family

Image via Paramount.

Image via Paramount.

Grandmama is the matriarch of the Addams. She knows her stuff too: she creates potions, spells, hexes, and tells fortunes. Not much is known about her other than that, and that she’s Morticia’s mom, but she has one of my favorite lines in the movie:

Dr. Pinderschloss: The human spirit, it is a hard thing to kill.

Grandmama: Even with a chainsaw.

So true, Grandmama. So true.

Notably absent from my list are the witch from Bewitched because I’ve never seen it, and the ladies from Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch and Charmed, because those shows suck.

Happy Halloween!


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (which was actually a pseudonym – his real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. I’d have changed it, too) is a fabulous book. It tells the story of a young girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on crazy adventures with wacky characters. I read the book as a little girl and have loved it ever since.  I recently found at a used book store a book containing Carroll’s notes and personal photos that served as inspiration for Alice. That led me to this month’s lust object post!

In addition to the story, I also really loved John Tenniel’s artwork that accompanies the book – he created 42 wood engraved pieces for the published version of the book.

The 1951 Disney adaptation is one of my favorite movies of all time, as well. I love the colors, the story (duh), and the way the characters interact with each other. I watched the movie as a little girl and have continued to watch it periodically into my adulthood.

As a Song of Ice and Fire fan, I also can’t help be notice what that series and Alice have in common: The War of the Roses. The War of Roses was pretty inspirational to GRRM in writing ASOIAF  (Lancaster/Lannister, York/Stark, etc.), and it seems that Carroll took something from that as well: The Queen of Hearts hates white-rose trees. After some cards accidentally plant a white-rose tree, they are seen painting the white roses red to appease their queen. Red roses were the symbol of the English House of Lancaster and white roses were the symbol of the rival House of York.

Just some nerd stuff for you.

Anyway! Let’s get to the fun stuff, shall we?

Alice in Wonderland

While flipping through the pages of the latest Harper’s Bazaar, I came across an interview of sorts with Chloe Sevigny. I’ve always enjoyed her (I especially liked her in last season’s Louie), and I think she’s really gorgeous in a supremely unique way. Most recently she’s been designing her own line for Opening Ceremony and it’s super cute – very mod and Twiggy-esque.


Oh hi, Jon Snow!

Oh hi, Jon Snow!

Anyway, I really enjoyed her interview answers. She seems very down-to-earth and likable. So I’m copying Harper’s and answering the same questions myself!

FIRST ALBUM BOUGHT? The Clueless soundtrack. I really loved that movie (still do!), and also loved Radiohead, Luscious Jackson, and David Bowie all on own fun CD. I have since lost it, though. Boo-urns.

MOST REREAD BOOK? Lately I haven’t been rereading a lot of books because I have so many new ones waiting to be read. But it’s probably a toss-up between The Bell Jar and To Kill a Mockingbird.

PERSONAL MANTRA? I don’t really have a personal mantra, but my mom always told me to treat people the way I want to be treated, and I try to do that.

BIGGEST REGRET? Not studying harder in high school. And some boy-related decisions I’ve made pre-M.

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN? Pisces. But I’m not a big believer in astrology.

FAVORITE MOVIE? There are so many! My top five are American Psycho (which Chloe was in!), Alice in Wonderland, Battle Royale, Pulp Fiction, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

GUILTY PLEASURE? I have a lot: chocolate, bad TV for teenage girls (I’m looking at you, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries), and shoes.

UNDERRATED NOTION? Privacy. I know it sounds weird coming from someone who has a blog, but I think too many people my age are putting too much stuff out there nowadays, especially online. Not only can it be potentially dangerous, but no one besides you really cares what you had for lunch, so stop Instagram-ing/Facebook-ing/Tweeting it.

BEAUTY OR BRAINS? I’m going to steal Chloe’s answer and say that humor trumps both.

FAVORITE OBJECT? My dad’s gold watch.

FANTASY ARTIST TO PAINT YOUR PORTRAIT? Van Gogh. If I’m feeling angsty, though, I’d say Francis Bacon.

SONG IN THE SHOWER? Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.

FAVORITE TIME OF DAY? Dinner time. I like eating with M and catching up.

DREAM LUNCH DATE? My dad, so we could get to know each other as two adults.

DOGS OR CATS? Cats. I love dogs, too, don’t get me wrong, but nothing beats a fuzzy kitty purring in your lap.

SIGNATURE DISH? Brownies, duh.

FAVORITE ROOM? Bedroom. Because I enjoy a good nap.


FAVORITE DESIGNER? Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. I also like Dior, Vivienne Westwood, and Atelier Versace. Of course I own none of it.

RIHANNA OR BEYONCE? Beyonce. I think she’s made better choices.

FAVORITE BAR/CLUB? I don’t have a favorite – I’m not really a bar or club type.

FAVORITE BAND? Too many to choose from! I love Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, R.E.M., Tori Amos, Elliott Smith, and Garbage. And still tons more. Too hard, Harper’s.

FAVORITE TV SHOW? Also a lot to choose from. I love Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Walking Dead, Dr. Who, Downton Abbey, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sherlock, Louie… M and I are also currently watching Breaking Bad and loving every minute of it.

FAVORITE APP? ShopStyle… for shopping. And Pinterest. And FoodGawker.

FAVORITE COCKTAIL? Vodka cranberry. Vodka anything, really. Vodka.

M and I went to see The Great Gatsby last month. I’m not usually a fan of Baz Luhrman (I was the only one in my group of friends who didn’t wet themselves over Moulin Rouge. I’m also not impressed by directors/producers/whatever who care more about making a film flashy than the actual plot), but I am fan of the source material and Leonardo DiCaprio, so I gave it a go. My opinion: meh. (Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

The movie is quite a bit different than the book. For one thing, Nick is narrating the story from a mental institution, which is not only unnecessary, but really stupid. I mean, just why? It serves no purpose at all. Then the slightly homoerotic elevator scene is replaced with Nick making out with Myrtle’s sister. Daisy, a character I cannot stand in the book or the movie, is made into more of a helpless victim of circumstance in the film version, whereas in the book you see more of who she truly is – an egotistical socialite with no much room in her life for truly loving anyone more than she loves herself. Tom is also made out to be much more of a shit in the movie than in the book – though I suppose that makes a little more sense, since movies like to have clear-cut villains. Add to all this Toby McGuire’s very wooden acting and yeah, meh.

That being said, the costumes and sets were absolutely stunning. Daisy’s outfits were beautiful and Gatsby’s house was amazing. I have loved Art Decor design for quite some time – my engagement ring that M picked out for me is even deco-inspired (he knows me well!). Since the movie came out, others have flocked to the movement and Art Deco is now pretty trendy, making deco furniture/clothes/accessories easier to come by. See below for my favorite pieces.

Art Deco

I’m back! But not with a vengeance, or even a tan, despite my long weekend in Palm Springs. I’ve been a lazy blogger again, what with a big work event I’ve been working on for a year finally coming to fruition last week, along with my pilgrimage to California for a sun- and fun-filled bachelorette party weekend. I’ve also been busy with school (biology is hard) and other life-related things. It also might have something to do with almost being done with A Dance With Dragons and reeeaaalllllllyyyy wanting to finish it. But here I am! Back for my latest installment of Fictional Ladies I Admire. So let’s get to it.

Loves pants the most. Image via Fanpop.

Loves pants the most. Image via Fanpop.

Sybil Branson nee Crawley of Downtown Abbey – Sybil is awesome. She’s the youngest of the Crawley daughters and is a bit of a rebel (she wears pants!). She takes up worthy causes and fights for the little guy – even getting knocked unconscious during a riot. Plus she also doesn’t let her family’s wealth and occasional small-mindedness stop her from being with the person she loves most.

Blerg. Image via Storify.

Blerg. Image via Storify.

Liz Lemon of 30 Rock – I can super relate to Liz Lemon. She and I have done a lot of similar things, like sucking pie out of sweatshirt fibers. I can proudly say, however, that I have not made out with a dog. Anyway, Liz is on the list not only because she’s hilarious, but because throughout the entire series she stays focused on her goal of “having it all,” despite some major road blocks like crummy boyfriends and a demanding job. And, like the photo says above, the lady isn’t afraid of making mistakes.

Talks slow, thinks fast. Image via MTV.

Daria Morgendorffer of Daria – Daria is such a cool lady that when she first appeared on Beavis and Butt-head, MTV gave her her own show! Like Liz Lemon, I see a lot of myself in Daria. She’s can be pretty cynical and somewhat anti-social, and has a general disdain for others (“I don’t have have low self esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else.”) She’s not afraid to be herself or speak her mind, though, even when it comes to wacky (but well-intentioned!) parents and teachers. She’s also a fantastic role model for teen-aged ladies who may not be having such a great time milling around in high school social minutia.

“You need three ingredients for a cocktail. Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency. ” Image via AMC.

Peggy Olson of Mad Men – When Peggy wants something, she goes after it. When she first arrives at Sterling Cooper in the series premier, she’s an unassuming secretary with terrible bangs. With some major copy-writing chops (and a new hair cut), she is promoted to a copy writer, and then poached by the competition for a buttload of money. Way to go, Peggy! She is also strong and able to hold her own with the likes of Don Draper and Roger Sterling – she calls them on their bullshit and even extorts money from one of them. You get it, girl.

Loves waffles. Image via NBC.

Loves waffles. Image via NBC.

Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation – Leslie Knope is also a strong lady who knows what she wants – to work in the government! This last season we saw her ascend to city councilwoman, meet her lifelong crush Joe Biden, and marry the man of her dreams! Busy lady! Leslie is passionate about the people and causes that matter most to her and isn’t afraid to work hard to defend her beliefs. She also loves breakfast foods at any time of day, which I can certainly get behind.

There's no money in virginity. Image via AMC.

There’s no money in virginity. Image via AMC.

Joan Harris nee Holloway of Mad Men – Joan is on the list for obvious reasons (she’s awesome!), but mostly because she is just so damn confident. She has a bangin’ bod and takes no guff from any of the lecherous dudes around the office. She’s comfortable in her own skin and isn’t afraid to stick up for herself, even when it comes to her super sleazy husband. Plus, she’s the only woman on the show so far that hasn’t succumbed to Don’s charms – talk about strength of will.

Showing her man how to use a weapon. Image via Farscape Wiki.

Showing her man how to use a weapon. Image via Farscape Wiki.

Aeryn Sun of Farscape – When Aeryn first shows up, she seems like your everyday, mindless soldier that’s been brainwashed to ignore her humanity and personality. But after some humanizing and whatnot, we discover there’s some gooey, amazing, bad ass creamy nougat underneath the hard militant shell. Aeryn is strong, smart, and knows her stuff. She’s not shy with her opinions and never belittles herself for the benefit of someone else. She’s also a true friend and very loyal, even to weasly little guys like Rygel.

"See that??!!" Image via AMC.

“See that??!!” Image via AMC.

Maggie Greene of The Walking Dead – love The Walking Dead, but one thing I hate about it is the lack of strong female characters. Laurie was a stupid harlot, Andrea was always making horrible decisions, and the rest don’t really do much else. Maggie, on the other hand, is amazing. She is amazing at killing zombies, talking sense into idiots, taking care of her dad and sister, and getting what she wants (like Glen!). She’s strong and capable, but also sweet and kind. And she totally deserves to kick The Governor’s ass to high heaven (everyone does, technically, but she does the most!).

"So.... Trap?" Image via Firefly Wiki.

“So…. Trap?” Image via Firefly Wiki.

Zoe Washburne of Firefly – I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, and I like that he creates strong female leads, but I think the strongest, without a doubt (even more than Buffy!) would have to be Zoe. Whedon’s heroines have a tendency to either be emotionally iffy or to run around nearly naked. Sometimes both. Zoe is always fully clothed and has her emotional shit together. Despite her toughness, she still has a soft spot for her friends and especially for her husband Wash. When forced to choose between her captain/BFF Mal and Wash, she totally chooses Wash and it’s heart-warming as hell!

Oi! Image via BBC.

Oi! Image via BBC.

Donna Noble of Doctor Who – I love Doctor Who, but one issue I have with it is that all the female companions develop crushes on the Doctor and are just in complete awe of him. Not Donna Noble! From the start she regards the Doctor as her equal – while impressed with his TARDIS and time-traveling capabilities, she doesn’t think she’s better than her because of them. Basically, Donna doesn’t take any shit from anyone and she gets stuff DONE. But in a really nice, funny way that makes me love her!

In my second installment of Fictional Ladies I Admire, I will be discussing strong female characters in various movies I enjoy.

While compiling my list, I noticed that four of them are from horror movies and some aren’t necessarily the protagonist in their movies. I’m a big horror movie fan, so that’s not entirely surprising, but I think it’s telling that some of the ladies are, while not necessarily “the bad guy,” aren’t exactly good guys, either. Being slightly villainous takes strength, too, people!

By all means, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me. Image via 20th Century Fox.

“Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” Image via 20th Century Fox.

Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada – While she’s not necessarily the warmest person ever, Miranda Priestly is strong, confident, and has no problem asking for what she wants. I like to channel my inner Miranda Priestly whenever I’m feeling a little lackluster.

She'll more than alarm you. Image via Columbia Pictures.

She’ll more than alarm you. Image via Columbia Pictures.

Lisbeth Salander of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Lisbeth has more demons than most, sure. She killed her father when she was a child, and her guardian is raping her in exchange for money in order to eat and pay her living expenses. She takes those demons, though, and uses them to her advantage when she solves a murder case that has been cold for decades with the help of her super-hot friend Mikhail. She also totally gets the rapist/guardian back for his bullshit. Adding to the fact that she’s an amazing computer hacker, a genius, and refuses to be a victim when certainly no one would fault her for it, and you’ve got yourself a bonafide heroine.

"I like that, just like all the other parts of myself." Image via The Weinstein Company.

“I like that, just like all the other parts of myself.” Image via The Weinstein Company.

Tiffany of Silver Linings Playbook – I really, really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook and Jennifer Lawrence’s character Tiffany. Tiffany is a sex addict, recent widow, and, like Bradley Cooper’s character, chock full of neuroses. Despite her problems, though, she is at peace with who she is and likes herself, flaws and all. She also is a pretty good dancer and is cute as a button.

"You have no power over me." Image via TriStar Pictures.

“You have no power over me.” Image via TriStar Pictures.

Sarah Williams of Labyrinth – So Sarah starts out as kind of a bitch. After her parents divorce, she is resentful of her father’s “new” family: stepmother Irene and half-brother Toby. She is running late to babysit Toby, a task she isn’t really into. In a moment of jealousy, she wishes for Toby to be taken by a bunch of goblins and poof! He is! Realizing she’s in big trouble, she makes her way through an elaborate labyrinth to find Toby and his kidnapper (the Goblin King Jareth played by mega-babe David Bowie). Along the way she makes friends and realizes she really does love Toby and develops a stronger sense of responsibility. At the end, though thoroughly intrigued by Jareth (who wouldn’t be?), she refuses his attempts at seduction and an offer to stay with him forever in order to get her brother back. Yay!

Really don't get on her bad side. Image via United Artists.

Really don’t get on her bad side. Image via United Artists.

Carrie White of Carrie – Carrie is another leading lady who has it rough. She’s tormented at school, her mom is a psycho fundy, and things keep breaking around her! Weird! Things start to look up, though, when Tommy invites her to the prom – they are even named prom king and queen! Prom goes bad, though, when mean girl Chris and her hoodlum boyfriend play a cruel joke on Carrie and dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her head as she’s being crowned. Her rage (and telekinesis) takes over and shit really hits the fan. Like Miranda Priestly, she’s not a total protagonist, but what I like about her is that she’s totally not a victim. I also like seeing mean high school kids get their come uppances. Take that!

She's into survival. Image via New Line.

She’s into survival. Image via New Line.

Nancy Thompson of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Nancy is one tough cookie. It’s not just anyone who can kill Freddy Krueger, and she did it almost all by herself! She’s also kind of nerd and likes her books – I can relate. She shows up again in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors to help out some kids, too. She’s just an all-around nice, nerdy, bad ass chick.

"Suck it, bitch!" Image via Cinemagic Pictures.

“Suck it, bitch!” Image via Cinemagic Pictures.

Jennifer Hills of I Spit On Your Grave (1978) – Okay, so, I Spit On Your Grave isn’t exactly… wholesome. And the first half of it doesn’t really espouse feminist praise. It’s the second half, though, where I am super impressed by Jennifer Hills and root  for her wildly. While spending some time in a lake cabin by herself, Jennifer is brutally raped and left for dead by a gang of icky boys. She gets her revenge is super gross, highly imaginative ways and it’s AWESOME.

"The old Girl Scout comes through again." Image via Compass International Pictures.

“The old Girl Scout comes through again.” Image via Compass International Pictures.

Laurie Strode of Halloween (1978) – By day Laurie is a mild-mannered high school student who spends her time studying and babysitting. By night (and as quite a surprise to her), she’s a knife/knitting needle/metal hanger-wielding heroine who protects herself and her babysittee from the evil and hard-to-kill Michael Myers.

She has vermin to kill. Image via Miramax.

She has vermin to kill. Image via Miramax.

The Bride in Kill Bill I & 2 – This one is fairly obvious, but for good reason! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and The Bride was super-scorned in Kill Bill. After being left for dead by her “friends,” she is on a mission to get revenge and her kid back from The Man. She also can escape being buried alive, walk to a safe place, and order some coffee like it’s no big whoop.

"I myself am strange and unusual." Image via The Geffen Film Company.

“I myself am strange and unusual.” Image via The Geffen Film Company.

Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice – looooooove Lydia. I also loooooooove Beetlejuice. It and The Last Unicorn were my favorite movies as a cherubic young girl. Maybe that’s because as a little girl, despite my sweet nature, I knew deep down I was more like Lydia than say… Jane Butterfield. In any case, Lydia is one cool chick. She sticks up for herself in the face of her (well-intentioned) moronic parents, and can see GHOSTS! She also sacrifices herself in order to save the Maitlands by marrying Betelgeuse. And that dude is gross.

Let’s be real – I consume a lot of culture, whether it’s from movies, TV, or books. Most recently I have been reading the latest installment from George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance With Dragons. Not only is it totally awesome, but there is no shortage of strong female characters. That, combined with the latest PR campaign I’m working on in the office (a charitable event focusing on sisterhood, supporting fellow women, and general lady postive-ness), led to my latest series of blogs: Fictional Ladies I Admire.

This is a series because, when I started my list, it was just way, way too big. So I’ll be breaking it down into three groups: Literature Ladies, TV Ladies, and Movie Ladies. I might even cap off the series with a list of actual, real life ladies.But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As a general disclaimer, this list is in no particular order and yes, I realize many of the photos are from the movie or TV adaptations of the books. Also, there are spoilers for various books ahead – you’ve been warned!

Khaleesi via HBO

Daenerys Targaryen being bad ass in last week’s episode. Image via HBO

Daenerys Targaryen – Hoo boy, Daenerys has had it rough. As a baby her entire family (save her nasty older brother, Viserys) is killed, so she and the nasty brother are exiled to a strange land, where she grows up being manipulated by Viserys, who sells her into marriage so he can amass an army and retake his family’s crown. But then it’s okay because her warlord husband ends up being a good guy and she even gets pregnant! And she evens decides to retake the family’s crown for herself and be Queen. But then her husband dies, she loses the baby, and is very sad. But then she hatches dragons! And decides to amass her own army and get her shit together in order to sit on the Iron Throne. In doing all this, she outsmarts warlocks, slave masters, and other bad dudes and frees slaves and saves down-on-their-luck people. She has a big heart and an inner strength and DRAGONS.

Stick 'em with the pointy end. Image via HBO.

Stick ’em with the pointy end. Image via HBO.

Arya Stark – Arya has also had it pretty roughShe’s ragged on by her older sister and septa for not being lady-like enough, she has to send away her direwolf Nymeria, she’s sent off to King’s Landing and hates it there, then her dad dies in front of her. And then she’s carted off into the woods and her protector also dies in front of her. Sheesh! With a little luck, stubbornness, and moxie, Arya makes it through (so far, I haven’t finished A Dance With Dragonsand is stronger and wiser because of it. Plus, she saves some dudes who she thinks are just criminals (because she has such a good heart) and one ends up totally killing some dudes for her (because despite having such a good heart, the girl deserves to exact some revenge).

Jo March via Columbia Pictures.

Jo March via Columbia Pictures.

Jo March – Ms. March is based on author Louisa May Alcott, so you know from the start she’s going to be pretty awesome. Jo is the family’s tomboy and is even referred to as “my son Jo” a few times by her father. My admiration to her might stem from our shared love of literature – she writes poems, short stories, and plays that she and her sisters act out. She even goes on to be a writer. She is also super sweet, cutting off her long, beloved hair and selling it so her sister can purchase a train ticket. What I like most, though, is that she chooses a partner that respects her and is her equal, which in her (fictional) time, was somewhat unheard of. Plus, she got cozy with Laurie, and he’s a total fox.

We can't do things in dresses like we can in pants, it's true. Image via Universal Pictures.

We can’t do things in dresses like we can in pants, it’s true. Image via Universal Pictures.

Scout Finch – Scout is another bookworm. She’s sassy, very intelligent, and stands up for what she believes in. Plus she is able to stop an angry mob. What’s not to like?

The very picture of a poised and cool ice queen. Image via Miramax.

The very picture of a poised and cool ice queen. Image via Miramax.

Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones has man problems, and at the beginning of the book she lets those problems and her loneliness gobble her up, so much so that she does things she normally wouldn’t to attract a very bad (but very good-looking) man. Throughout the book, though, she comes to find the confidence to be herself and do what she loves and she ends up attracting a very good (and also very good-looking) man. Happy ending!

Girl with long black hair. Image via Wikipedia.

Girl with long black hair. Image via Wikipedia.

Karana/Won-A-Pei-Lei – Despite some serious bad luck (inspired by true events, no less) Karana makes it on her own without every complaining or feeling bad for herself. She lives alone for almost 20 years creating shelter, hunting and foraging for her own food, and generally just making sure she lives. Talk about fortitude.

I always picture Sylvia's face when I read "The Bell Jar."

I always picture Sylvia’s face when I read “The Bell Jar.”

Esther Greenwood – She might not be at the top of many young ladies’ lists of role models, but I find Esther’s strength in The Bell Jar quite remarkable. She goes through a very emotional journey of serious depression, even trying to kill herself, and manages to come out on the other side stronger, more stable, and with a newfound sense of freedom.

Knows her highly sex farm fellas. Image via IMDB.

Knows her highly sexed farm fellas. Image via IMDB.

Flora Poste – Flora’s a bit of a toss-up… On the one hand, she ends up on the farm because she doesn’t feel like getting a job. And then she mettles in other peoples’ lives. On the other hand, she helps out her extremely weird, backwater extended family with a dash of city-girl smarts and ends up softening herself in the end, too. So I guess instead of calling her a busybody, I prefer the term problem solver.

Wise lady. Image via Jonathan D Allen.

Wise lady. Image via Jonathan D Allen.

Galadriel – Galadriel is described as having beautiful long, silver hair – much like Daenerys’. It’s so enchanting that it inspired Fëanor to create three beautiful jewels called the Silmarilli, or “radiance of pure light.” She is compassionate to a fault, and goes against her husband to help out Gimli. She’s also super-powerful and can determine your moral character just by looking at you.

Courage for our friends! Image via Shadowcore Illustration.

Courage for our friends! Image via Shadowcore Illustration.

Eowyn – Eowyn is described as being a stone-cold fox as well as possessing a warm, caring heart. Despite it making her lonely, she dutifully takes care of her sick uncle. She’s also a shieldmaiden, which in and of itself is amazingly bad ass, and she ends up being the one to kill the witch king Angmar. While Angmar is bitching about how no living man can kill him, my girl Eowyn utters, “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman.” BAM! THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT, LADIES!