Our top 7 fantasy anti-heroines

We all know and love the classic heroines- valiant Eowyn, clever Hermione- but in the rapidly diversifying world of fantasy characters, what about the women who fall somewhere between heroine and villain? A little bit nasty, a little bit badass, here are our favourite fantasy anti-heroines:

1) Beatrix Kiddo- Kill Bill

Beatrix Kiddo is perhaps the ultimate anti-heroine. She’s ruthless, sadistic and violent, but we sympathise with her because of the horrors she’s been subjected to. Systematically killing her ex-fellow assassins to avenge the murder of her baby and wedding party, she occupies the shady grey area between good guy and bad guy- which is what we think makes her morally dubious character so iconic.

2) Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones

Cersei Lannister definitely isn’t a heroine. Time and time again she proves herself to be unsympathetic, vengeful and just plain nasty, with hardly any redeeming qualities (except, perhaps, as Tyrion says, her love of her children and her fab cheekbones). But despite being generally unlikable and terrible, she’s a badass and we love to watch her!

3) Carrie White- Carrie

Stephen King’s Carrie White is a fantastic example of what makes a great anti-heroine. Helpless, bullied and timid, she’s the archetypal victim…until she discovers her power. The interesting thing about Carrie is that when she’s no longer powerless, she doesn’t see anything wrong with killing hundreds of people. Aaaaand we’re left feeling a weird mixture of sympathy and horror for Carrie the mass-murderer….

4) The Girl- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Amirpour’s unnamed vampire Girl is a fascinating blend of humanity, monstrosity and heroine and is maybe the most complex and morally ambiguous character on our list. She haunts the streets of Bad City at night, seemingly vulnerable, and feasts upon the blood of abusive men, eventually killing the father of the one man who showed her love and compassion- albeit for understandable reasons!

5) Katniss Everdeen- The Hunger Games

A more controversial one next…While you could argue that Katniss is fighting against the oppression of the Capitol and is ultimately heroic, her selfish treatment of Peeta and sadistic tendencies, particularly in the final book – she really wanted the honour of personally killing President Snow- make her a problematic heroine to say the least.

6) Chess Putnam- The Unholy series

Ghost hunter and witch Chess Putnam’s struggle with drug addiction in Unholy Ghosts reveals a darker, more complicated side to her. While she is immensely talented and pretty heroic, her addiction often gets her into trouble, leaving her owing a huge amount of money to a nefarious drug lord. Her combination of heroine and debt-ridden addict make her one of the more vulnerable anti-heroines on our list.

7) Mia Corvere – Nevernight

The next generation of anti-heroines is set to join our list with Jay Kristoff’s Mia Corvere leading the way in Nevernight. Her story begins when she is ten years old and forced to watch her father hang as a traitor. If she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult…

Nevernight is out on 11th August – pre-order your copy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *