You know, sometimes something good comes out of massive, massive wank.
[Side note: Am I surprised by the war raging across LJ about Supernatural right now? Oh, hell no. I called this one coming waaaaay back when Season 3 started, right at the very first episode of the season. Although, to be honest, I expected war to break out in fandom over the piss-poor track record Supernatural has when it comes to race. I never saw the sexism thing coming. Then again, I stopped watching with the first episode in Season 3, the same episode that convinced me that Supernatural and I were never going to be friends. I have thankfully missed a lot of what set people off.]
Anyway, one of the good things that have happened is this meme from lettered and kita0610.
I've adapted it a little bit from "Heroic Fictional Women" to "Fictional Women that Rock My World."
Naturally, I went a little overboard with the picspam, so I've decided to break it up into four parts: Queens, Soldiers, Working Women, and Lovable Scoundrels and Witches.
Watch this space for all-day updates to celebrate the fictional women I love!
Eleanor of Aquitaine from The Lion in Winter
Meet Eleanor, the acid-tongued, sharp-eyed Queen of England, who also happens to be the richest and most powerful woman in Europe without taking her husband's status into consideration.
Amazingly enough, she's also an imprisoned queen, thanks to husband Henry II, and she's only let out of her castle at Christmas time so she can share quality time with the family. Not surprising that family reunion wackiness ensues. Truly, this is the poisonous holiday hoedown that beats all other poisonous family hoedowns hands down: Mom and Dad hate each other, but Mom refuses to give Dad a divorce because she's not about to give Dad the satisfaction, or a claim on her property. Dad's mistress has been invited to dinner in an effort to rub salt in the wound. And all 3 sons are jockying to inherit. One of the son's secretly gay lover (who just happens to be the King of France) has also stopped by to join in on the family fun.
As Eleanor herself says: "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?"
To say that there are a few — *holds finger and thumb together* — historical inaccuracies in The Lion in Winter is like saying the sun rises in the east, but the sparkling dialog, the costumes, the top-notch cast of actors putting on their A-game before they became big stars, and the sheer beauty of this perfect film makes everything forgivable.
And, of course, Dame Hepburn herself simply outclasses everyone in bringing the fictional version of the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine — who really was smarter and more clever than any man in Europe — to life.
Quote from Eleanor reminiscing about her going on the Second Crusade with her first husband, Louis, King of France:
Eleanor: I even made poor Louis take me on Crusade. How's that for blasphemy? I dressed my maids as Amazons and rode bare-breasted halfway to Damascus. Louis had a seizure and I damn near died of windburn... but the troops were dazzled.
From school teacher, to political activist, to Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, to President of what's left of the 12 Colonies after the Cylons decided to try their hands at genocide, Laura Roslin simply ROCKS.
Let me be clear: There are days I don't like Laura very much, but I always love her.
And when you get right down to it, Laura, by putting the brakes on Bill Adama during the mini-series and convincing him to bravely run away with the rag-tag fleet instead of continuing a war that was already lost, may have single-handedly saved the entire human race. Well, Adama certainly thinks so.
Intelligent, witty, clever, wily, tough-as-nails...Laura makes the hard calls. Sometimes she calls it wrong — and sometimes she does wrong, too — but considering that both her own mortality and the mortality of the entire human race is riding on her shoulders, I hardly think anyone could do better.
So, to Roslin, the woman who rose to the occasion in a way that surprised even her.
Quote from Roslin as she dukes it out with Adama in Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II:
Roslin: My responsibility as President is, first and foremost, to protect and preserve this fleet and its future. In the end, that outweighs any other consideration. It has to.
Oh, I know, I know. Such an odd woman to have on this list. Livia can arguably called "evil with good intent." She left a trail of bodies (thanks to her encyclopedic knowledge of poisons) spanning decades across the known world, all because she wanted to clear a path for her son, Tiberius, to succeed Augustus as emperor of Rome.
Sure, her actions succeeded in drowning what was left of the gasping soon-to-be corpse of the Roman Republic in a puddle, but at the same time she ensured the long-term stability of the new Roman Empire. You gotta love a woman like that, even if her aims aren't...well, democratic.
However, Livia was a woman of her time. Like all women in Rome, she couldn't actually hold office or have any legal or official power. But, as the master behind the throne, she couldn't be bested. She was always the smartest woman in the room, and she knew how to use her powers of observation for good (and...okay...evil). She knew when to play her hand, and she knew when to play down her hand. The mind of a chess master, the nerves of a test-flight pilot, and the will of a warrior. That's our Livia.
The newly-widowed Livia to Claudius regarding the Roman Senate as Augustus's will is read before the senators:
Livia: They won't allow me in because I am a woman, and they won't allow you in because you're a fool. That's strange, when you come to think of it, because it's filled with nothing but old women and fools.
The fabulous Atia of the Julii. Like Livia, trapped in a society where she's not allowed to hold formal power of any kind, but in truth a real ruler of Rome. The woman is every equal the general that Marc Antony is, complete with her own network of spies, her own army of assassins, and the ability to take advantage of a political situation.
While very good at winning short-term battles, she tends to do so at the expense of winning the long-term war. More than once, Atia has found herself at the wrong end of the pointy stick because of a previously successful campaign, or because she has a bad habit of underestimating her weird son, Octavian (who would later become Caesar Augustus).
But in the end, no matter how down she gets, Atia has a knack not just for surviving, but thriving to plot, scheme, and rule Rome for yet another day.
Atia to Livia, Octavian's new wife, in the very last episode of the series when Livia attempts to usurp Atia's place in the procession:
Atia of the Julii: Oh, I know who you are. You are swearing now that some day — some day — you will destroy me. Remember, far, far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go and look for them now.
In short, Queens Rock!