To make a great character in any movie, tv show, video game, book, etc. it takes a lot of creativity. The protagonist, side characters, and antagonist are some of the most essential aspects of any story. If you hate the characters, then the rest of the experience is ruined. Lately, diverse characters are important to give some variety to the cast of characters. One thing a lot of people have been clamoring for is for more female lead characters. This list is going to show off some great female characters from books, tv shows, video games, and movies. Some of them are the leads in their stories, while others might play a more supporting role. Whatever the importance their character plays does not matter here, but the quality of the character. This list will not be in any particular order, but some I may specify how much I adore their characters. Let’s get to it and look at ten excellent female characters.
SOME SPOILERS WHILE TALKING ABOUT CHARACTERS AND THEIR JOURNEYS
#10: Maeve Millay (Westworld)
Maeve is one of the hosts in HBO’s Westworld who starts to develop memories and her own mind. She starts up a revolution against the humans and has an army of other hosts to slaughter whoever she wishes. Her power over other hosts and humans shows how intelligent and powerful she becomes in the show so far. She is not a human, but just a robot. Despite being created for the guests to have sex with or kill, she is one of the show’s main characters. She has knowledge of what is happening, but a part of her cannot let go of her past daughter, despite not being her real daughter. The pain drives her mission even if the pain is synthetic. The question about robot sentience is brought up in the show, and Maeve is a great example of how sympathetic a machine can be.
#9: Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)
Daenerys is a major fan favorite amongst fans of the Game of Thrones books and show. The series is filled with strong female characters, but she has dragons so how could I not put her on this list? Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains and a million other titles that she goes by, has worked hard throughout the series. She was forced into a marriage that found her being raped by her husband, a brother who used her for his personal gain and turning it around to become one of the strongest characters in the series. Her dragons are massive and will tear through armies in minutes along with a mighty army by her side. She is a commanding figure who has a kind heart. In the world of Game of Thrones, you have to make some hard decisions, as we see with almost every character. The ones like Daenerys struggle because they are too nice, but she finds her way as she develops as a character. Sure, some decisions she makes a pretty stupid and irritating sometimes, but an overall excellent character.
#8: Ellen Ripley (Alien series)
Not putting Ellen Ripley on this list would be a disservice to any strong female character. She is one of the leads who paved the way for future roles, especially for R, rated films. The horrors that she goes through in the series is horrific. Her colleagues being slaughtered one by one by the xenomorph. She must survive and kill the creature, while later down the road she must kill many more. On top of the badass character, we get Sigourney Weaver’s incredible performance that showcases how awesome she can be, while showing how horrifying these situations would be. She has her weaknesses and fears but is able to pull through each challenge. Sadly, following movies go downhill, but the first two films in the series are all-time classics. Out of woman who can be killing machines, it is hard to beat Ripley.
#7: Eli/Abby (Let the Right One In/Let Me In)
I list both Eli, the name of the girl in both the Swedish film and the novel that both films are based on, and Abby, the name of the girl in the American film because they are both the same character. Each film has their own spin from the source material, but the themes are the same. A vampire love story between two children who are in a lot of emotional pain. Unlike other vampire love stories that will not be named, Let Me In and Let the Right One In hits on different emotional notes. Eli/Abby care for their new friend who is being terrorized by bullies. She has a kind heart, but being a vampire means for innocent people to die. This complexity to her character is played out well. She tries to be distant, but when the bullies are about to kill Oskar/Owen, then it is time for a vampire to take control of the situation. A childlike character who is willing to murder someone to feed or to defend and be loving at the same time. This is one unique spin on a story we have seen done before but in a much more mature and darker fashion.
#6: Amy Dunne (Gone Girl)
Amy Dunne is unlike the other characters that you have seen so far on this list. She is cold, meticulous, and will give a world of mix emotions. Both the film and novel will provide you with mixed emotions in general but in the best way possible. Your feelings turn around over and over as you learn about her and her husband, Nick. Amy’s determination to get what she wants no matter the costs are brutal to witness as either a reader or an audience member watching the film. This is one girl that you better stay on her good side.
#5: Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones)
Is it fair to have two characters from Game of Thrones? Maybe, but the show and novel series are full of great females. Brienne has to be my favorite lady on the show. Unlike most of the woman on the show, she is not sexualized at all. Intentionally they make her look less attractive, but it works to her benefit because she can kill just about any man that crosses her path. Her skills with a sword make her one of the deadliest characters not only in Game of Thrones but on this entire list. She can be cold, but quite caring too. We see how devoted she is to her word to protect Arya and Sansa. Not only that, but we know that she genuinely cares for these girls. Despite the conflict with Jamie, she and he have mutual respect for one another. Honorable, caring, and one of the biggest killers in the series, how could you not love her?
#4: Eleven (Stranger Thing)
One of the most beloved characters in recent memories has to be Eleven. A character who was housed in a lab and used for some government experiments will have some issues. Eleven is portrayed in a realistic way that shows that poor conditions for a child will leave them with severe social and emotional problems. Millie Robby Brown does a phenomenal job of bringing this character to life. Eleven has her issues but has a good heart. She has been subjected to a life she does not want. Over the past two seasons, we have seen some growth, and this will continue in the show’s final two seasons. Her telekinetic powers are quite powerful, but she will have a long way to go. Giving her superpowers that are strong, but not overpowered is an excellent choice. It leads her to not only develop as a character but as the show’s superhero who is learning how to properly utilize her powers.
#3: Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War)
Gamora is quite different from the rest of her team. She is a lot kinder and a stronger moral compass. Unlike Rocket, she will not steal people’s limbs. Sure, she is sweet, strong, and a great team player with the other Guardians. What makes her even better is her prominent connection to the story in the current MCU. Her father (technically capturer) being Thanos. Gamora was taken from her home planet, while a massive genocide took place by the hands of Thanos and his army. She suffered for 20 years with the Mad Titan which fundamentally formed who she is as a person. After seeing Infinity War and learning more about Thanos and Gamora through that film, Gamora is a stronger character when going back to the Guardians movies.
#2: Ellie (The Last of Us)
Elie and my number one after this are hands down my favorite characters. This list is not in any order up until these final two characters. Ellie is a believable teenage girl. The game does not downplay her in any way for being only fourteen years old. Instead, her character breaks what is usually set up for a character like her. She is a foul-mouthed kid who has a lot of struggles. She has many flaws and positives to her. Ellie might have a temper issue, not gotten over the loss of her best friend and other deaths in her life, and has to fight to survive every single day. Her relationship with Joel is beautifully developed. Seeing these two characters not have a care in the world for each other to end up forming a father and daughter relationship is incredible. Most video games cannot tug on heartstrings that well, but The Last of Us is one emotional roller coaster that nobody was prepared for. Ellie being the playable character in the next title will give her more room for growth to be even better than she already is.
#1: Lisbeth Salander (Millennium series)
Lisbeth is one of the most unique characters from any film or novel. The films have had their struggles both for the Swedish films that adapted the trilogy and the American film that only adapted the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth has an alternative look with piercings, tattoos, and dyed hair. Her look gives everyone a wrong impression along with her emotionless attitude. She is much more complicated than all of that. She is brilliant and a force that should not be messed with. Lisbeth is not a victim, but a vicious girl who does not stand for being wronged. In the series, Lisbeth will be mistreated by the government who invade her rights, she will be raped, beaten, and almost murdered. Every time none of those things stop her. The series itself is an excellent message to all woman around the world who are wronged by men. It is hard to find a more complex and unique character than Lisbeth Salander.
That makes it for my list of awesome female characters. Some of these ladies are not the nicest in the world, but they are all powerful in their own way. With people clamoring for female characters, hopefully, this list gives you some interest to look up some of these shows, books, movies, or video games. Be sure to comment below on some of your favorite female characters.