Welcome to the third round of our March Madness tournament, finally reaching our Sweet Sixteen! Meet the 8 women who survived Rounds 1 and 2 competing in Division I: Books meets TV & Film.
After defeating both Marisa Coulter (His Dark Materials) and Alanna the freaking Lioness, Molly Weasley – mother to the 7 Weasley children and eventual mother-in-law to Harry Potter – is up to claim her space in the Elite Eight. Part of the Wizarding community’s well-known Prewett family, Molly married into the very large, very red-headed Weasley family and joined the Order of the Phoenix. Oh, and she defeated Voldemort’s right-hand woman after raising 7 brave, strong children.
One of the only women in Tolkien, Eowyn could have chosen to rule Rohan while her uncle, the king, went off to war. But instead, she disguised herself as a man and went to war herself, which enabled her to defeat the Witch-king of Angmar, who boldly proclaimed “no man” could kill him. Ah, if only the Witch-king had read the Scottish play, right?
Brienne of Tarth
There are a ton of fan-favorite women in A Song of Ice and Fire, but Brienne the Beauty – better known as Brienne of Tarth – deserves a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, if not in the Elite Eight. She upholds her honor, dignity, and sense of duty despite the general nastiness (and the ironic nickname) she faces on a daily basis. One of the most badass characters in the series, she nearly defeats Jaime Lannister in a fair fight, and her journey is her own.
Intelligent and ambitious, Elphaba Thropp from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked is a woman with admirable qualities. She wants to control her own destiny, and who could blame anyone for that? Though Elphaba wants to be accepted and respected, it’s more important for her to respect herself, and that itself is a marvel.
The Slayer stands strong in the TV & Film bracket. The coming-of-age story of Buffy Summers resonates with many of our readers, and who couldn’t respect the sheer amount of physical harm she smacks down in her show? Despite her various deaths and suffering, Buffy stands strong as she goes from girl to woman, and in womanhood she is a fighter and a leader.
A leading character in Parks & Rec, Leslie Knope hopes to become the first female president of the US – what about that doesn’t deserve a spot in the Sweet Sixteen? Her hard work and ambition presents that side of her, but she’s also deeply caring, showing that an ambitious woman isn’t necessarily cold and distant from friends and family.
Leia Organa, princess of the now-gone Alderaan, is more than just a love interest: in her own right, she’s a diplomat, a spy, and an agent for the rebels. She can shoot a gun and take care of herself when necessary, but more importantly, she can handle diplomatic relations in a way Luke or Han just couldn’t. A fan favorite for years, can Leia hold out another round?
Aside from a fan-favorite female character, Lin Beifong – police chief in Republic City in the series Avatar: The Legend of Korra – is a fan-favorite character overall. Risking her bending to save the wife and youngest child of her former love, standing up for her city against all odds – Lin is not only an awesome fighter, but internally strong.