This is something I feel really strongly about - too often, it seems that female characters are dismissed as weak just because they can't use a bow and arrow like Katniss or jump off a building like Tris. Conversely, girls who CAN do these kinds of things are automatically labelled as strong even if they are actually inherently weak characters. Basically, as Melina Marchetta has pointed out several times, strong and kick-arse are not the same things. So here are my fave strong (not kick-arse) female characters.
1. Phaedra from The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. MM has sooo many amazing strong female characters in all her books, but I'm rereading this series at the moment and I have such a soft spot for Phaedra. She is the antithesis of the "kick-arse" heroine, and seems weak at first, but she turns out to be one of the strongest characters in the series.
2. Sansa from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Sansa gets a lot of hate which makes me really mad. I feel like she is disdained for being traditionally feminine, which people interpret as "weak" in contrast to Arya's cross-dressing kick-arsery. Now I love Arya, but Sansa displays a different kind of strength. The fact that she has survived so long shows her emotional and mental power. Indeed, in that respect she is probably stronger than Arya. I just love Sansa and anyone who doesn't is clearly wrong.
3. Judith from All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry. Judith has been through all sorts of trauma but she remains strong and determined to get what she wants. She uses her outsider status to her advantage and gets things done.
4. Anne from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Oh, Anne with an E. She is one of my favourite characters of all time. She is fierce, brave, strong-willed, intelligent, imaginative, creative, fun-loving, and more than a little bit ridiculous. Her flaws are what make her so perfect.
5. Jane from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane knows her own mind and doesn't let anyone try and convince her otherwise. She never betrays her own sense of self, even when it means giving up the love of her life. She is no bird.
6. June from The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. June has her heart broken early on, but instead of wallowing she does what she can to heal and then forges on with a rich, full, unconventional and awesome life.
7. Charlotte-Rose from Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. This character is based on a real person, which just makes her even more brilliant. Charlotte-Rose defies convention to follow her heart and get what she wants, and is punished for it. But she doesn't let that dampen her spirit.
8. Lou from Wildlife by Fiona Wood. Lou is quiet, reserved, grieving, broken but oh, so strong. I just want to hug her.
9. Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I debated including Hermione because she actually is quite kick-arse, but I listed her because it's her organisation, studying, and planning that really allow her to win. Her strength in holding the other characters together when they're falling apart, and keeping a level head in the most dire circumstances, are some of my favourite things about her.
10. Amy from Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. Poor Amy. She is treated like a slave by her whole family, and grows up in a prison because of her father. The man she loves is too blind to see it for a big chunk of the book. She puts up with so much and just gets on with it. She's resilient and smart, and so while she is tiny and perceived as weak, her character is really the strongest in the book.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.