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When Women Take Power

It took decades for women, who had long been confined to insipid secondary roles, to become true fantasy heroines, raising the bar for men.

Young girls are told you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione taught them that you can be the warrior.
Emma Watson
Plays the role of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films

From Distressed Damsels to Wicked Witches

Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!
Galadriel, the Lady of Lórien
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Rise of Female Authors

Women Who have Made a Mark on Fantasy

Ursula Le Guin, photographed by Marian Wood Kolisch

We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.

Ursula K. Le Guin Source : Science-fiction féministe, des œuvres aux fans, by Hélène Breda
Photograph © Marian Wood Kolisch

As my narrator was a male character, I chose a first name with no feminine or masculine connotations to make it easier for the reader to get into the story and for the gender of the author not to be a problem.

Robin Hobb Source : Interview for the French newspaper Le Monde
Photograph © Gage Skidmore

In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wisewoman, queen.  Now in truth I have come to be wise-woman, and a time may come when these things may need to be known.

Morgaine Source : The Mists of Avalon, first book in the series, written by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Painting : Morgan le Fay, Frederick Sandys © Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

A Leading Role in Harry Potter

Hermione Granger
Life Born 19 September 1979
Parents Mr and Mrs Granger, Muggles
School Hogwarts
Power Wizardry

Television Leads the Way

Key Dates


Xena, Warrior Princess, is a series in 6 seasons that takes place during Antiquity. Xena is a fearsome and ruthless warrior who seeks to redeem her crimes by working for good.


An American series in 7 seasons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer tells the story of Buffy Summers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, a high school student, chosen to become the vampire slayer of her generation.    


Charmed is an 8-season American series created by screenwriter Constance M. Burge. The series features the Halliwell sisters, three powerful witches united by "The Power of Three" to fight against the forces of evil.

I don't plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small, … and I might be a girl...
Lyanna Mormont
Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 1

When Women Take Power

Discover how the portrayal of women in fantasy narratives has gradually broken free from old literary models, moving from the status of a princess in distress to that of a true warrior.

Animation Bibliothèque nationale de France - Amopix
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