March 8 is International Women’s Day. To honor the day I decided to write about some women in fiction who I find inspirational.
- Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged
- Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series
- Carmencita Ibanez from Starship Troopers
- Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series
Dagny Taggart runs Taggart Transcontinental. She is a no-nonsense businesswoman. As the world economy spirals into oblivion and business leaders mysteriously disappear one by one Dagny is faced with tough decision after tough decision as she tries to keep her family’s business operational. She gives and gives for her beloved railroad.
What I admire most about Dagny is that even when things are unfair she never develops a victim mentality. The law and the system are literally after her and yet she pushes on. She relentlessly pursues her railroad dreams and because of hard work she is able to prevail… kind of. She has the will power people everywhere should aspire to have.
Hermione Granger is the brains of the trio of horcrux hunters. Being Muggleborn, she does not come from a family with a magical background. One can only imagine a young Hermione Granger growing up in a world of muggles, trying to fit in but odd things always happening around her. Still, when she finds out she’s a witch she not only embraces it, she excels at it, and becomes truly, the brightest witch of her age.
We meet Hermione in Sorcerer’s Stone as a girl with “a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.” She’s kind of a misfit until Halloween night when the trio takes down a mountain troll. “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
There are many things to admire about Hermione Granger, her brain being the foremost thing. Not far behind is her intense loyalty. She is loyal to her friends, and justice. And the passion she, a wizard, shows for house elves is a quality it would be foolish to overlook. To quote Sirius Black “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Hermione Granger is wicked smart and mighty talented, but above that, in the depths of her heart she is a good person.
Carmencita Ibanez is the pilot of the starship I hope to name my car after one day, “The Rodger Young” or “the rodge” for short. It has been quite awhile since I have read Starship Troopers so my knowledge might be a little foggy. I remember her being a badass pilot, talented in both gymnastics and mathematics. Her skills as a pilot save many lives during The Bug Wars. I also remember her being very smart in Johnny Rico’s flashbacks to history class with Lieutenant Col. Jean V. Dubois. She shaved the hair off her head to keep it from getting in her eyes during zero gravity missions. That’s dedication. Carmen is the love interest of the main character, Johnny Rico, but nothing ever comes of it, at least in the book. I have yet to see the movie. Still, Carmen is badass and deserves to be on this list.
Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, the Mockingjay, the huntress. Katniss is definitely an inspiration. She really is a hero of her circumstances. She did not want to lead a rebellion against the Capital. I think she would have been content foraging in the woods for food but the Capital came after Prim (her sister). And Katniss ultimately made them pay in a big way.
There is a lot to admire about Ms. Everdeen. She has a helluva good shot with a bow and arrow. She cares deeply about her family and the people in her community. She has a disregard for the rules when justice is at stake. She’s fierce, she’s a fighter, and you will pay if you try to harm what she cares about. I read the first Hunger Games book in one sitting. It really is that good. Way to go, Katniss!
This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but there you have it, my fantastic four. It is a little past midnight on the east coast but it’s still International Women’s Day out west, so here’s to that, and all the women, fiction and non-fiction, who make the world a better place.