So, recently I’ve decided to get out and do some community posts, because Blogging 101 suggested that as a way to build your blog. Also, I’ve been looking for a reason to make more friends on Goodreads, and Top 5 Wednesdays is right up my alley.
So the idea is to list your top five choices of whatever that week’s topic is, and this week is Biggest Badasses. It’s not outright stated, but you get the idea that your choices are from works of literature since Goodreads is ultimately a book site. However, the way in which you decide to display your top five choices is entirely up to you.
That being said, here are my Top 5 Biggest Badasses – in no particular order:
5. Alanna of Trebond
Probably one of the first heroines I have ever been introduced to was Alanna of Trebond. She was the main character of Tamara Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, and the first time I had ever heard of a female knight.
What I liked about Alanna is that she was not a Mary Sue type character, in that she really did have to work hard to get what she wanted. She wanted to be a knight, so she had to trade places with her twin brother. She had to train hard, she had to keep her womanhood a secret, and, when her secret was exposed, she had to fight the kingdom’s greatest sorcerer to the death to show them that she was capable. And just when she finally thought she had done enough, the sorcerer is brought back to life by the hand of her own twin brother. Talk about betrayal.
What I liked about Alanna was that she never took the easy way out. After she got the knighthood, she decided to go on an adventure to prove herself. She turned down being queen because she felt that she had worked too hard to give it all up for a life that would never fulfill her. She married the greatest thief in all of Tortall because she knew that he loved her, and he wouldn’t stop her from being great.
I loved the hell out of Alanna of Trebond, and, to this day, I still think she’s one of the best things that ever happened to fantasy fiction.
I first met Nahadoth is N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Nahadoth is not just a god, they were the first god. They were the chaos, they are the void from which everything began and everything ended. Nahadoth was also the first time I had ever read a non-binary character, ever.
Nahadoth spends a lot of time as a male in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but they also greatly favor their female form when they’re not in the land of mortals. At their most deadly, Nahadoth is formless and that’s when you don’t want to try them.
Again, when Nahadoth is first presented, they and three of their children are slaves to a race of humans called the Arameri. Nahadoth had gotten into a war with their siblings many millennia before and lost, and this was their punishment. Despite being a slave, and half of the time being imprisoned in a human form, Nahadoth was ridiculously powerful. To the point that the humans who owned Nahadoth had to learn to be wary of the orders that they gave Nahadoth because it had literally wiped out a whole continent before.
Even when Nahadoth got free, they continued to be someone that no one wanted to be on the bad side of. Nahadoth was too powerful, and too angry, and I loved every piece of it.
Nahadoth is only one of the reasons that I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, but they are honestly one of my favorite fictional characters. I implore you to take the time and read the series. I am sure that everyone would love it just as much as I have.
3. Vash The Stampede
Sometime back in 2003, I came across the anime, Trigun, and I fell in love with the main character, Vash the Stampede. I loved that anime with every piece of my heart. Usually, when I love something like that, that means that I have to devour it in every form.
So imagine my happiness when I got a hold of the manga.
Vash the Stampede, the Humanoid Typhoon, the man with a 60 billion double dollar bounty on his head, was the sweetest person you have ever met in your life. Despite being absolutely deadly with a gun, and remarkably powerful, he was a pretty big pacifist.
Originally a science experiment, Vash and his twin brother, Knives, were born on a space ship fleeing from Earth. Raised by a woman named Rem, the two grew rapidly in their time on the ship. Unfortunately their growth rate, and the circumstances that caused their birth, caused Knives to become a sociopath. This unfortunately resulted in Knives’ sabotaging the ship and murdering the entire crew, including Rem.
The brothers do not stay together for much longer afterward.
Vash took a lot of hits for Knives, which is the reason why there is such a high bounty on his head. Still, what I like about Vash is that, despite all of this, he still loves his brother. He can’t stand to be around him, but Vash genuinely does not want to kill his twin.
I loved him though. I loved every adventure that Vash got into, and every character he met along the way. Vash the Stampede was my absolute favorite anime character, and I continue consider his story a classic.
Another N.K. Jemisin novel that I love is The Fifth Season, in which we are introduced to Essun, who was formerly Syenite, and born Damaya. I consider this woman a badass because how she chose to survive and keep moving despite all of her obstacles.
We meet Essun after she comes home to find her youngest child murder, and her husband missing along with her eldest daughter. After spending maybe a page or two grieving about it, she makes the decision to get up and go find her daughter, and nothing and no one can stop her.
Damaya was basically abandoned by her parents, and then sent to train in a compound with other people like her while guarded by another group of people who’s entire job is to keep them in line. And yet, Damaya perseveres. She deals with the abandonment of her family, and the fact that the only person that cares about her is also someone who is perfectly fine with abusing her for the sake of keeping her in line. She is resilient in a situation that would have been devastating for another child.
And Syenite, oh gosh. She becomes too great, and her caretakers try to temper her. She taps into the power of the gods, and her guardians try to kill her. And then, when she finally thought that she’d gotten away, they come back and destroy everything. And yet, Syenite manages to live and keep going.
All of this happens in the middle of a society constantly in fear of an apocalypse. It is absolutely enthralling. I love the trifecta of Damaya/Syenite/Essun because they all keep getting right back up in spite of everything you throw at them. And that is the most badass thing that I have ever seen.
This was originally going to be Black Panther, but I don’t think that I’ve spent enough time with him. Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death came to me at a moment where I had realized that POC fantasy could be great, but I had not known that that wasn’t just all that it could be. It could be devastating and powerful, and that’s what Who Fears Death was to me.
Onyesonwu was a child of rape, gifted with a great power by a mother that loved her, and a father who had hated her. Everything that she had, everything that she could be, had been traced back to this man. And yet, she had to kill him or he would kill her.
Onyesonwu is a badass because she would not take no for an answer. When she wanted to train, and was told no repeatedly, she tracked down the man that denied her and beat him until he saw sense. And the only reason she went back to learn from this man was because she had messed up and almost brought her stepfather back to life.
Onyesonwu was beyond powerful, but she made sure to gain control. She made sure to understand the road that she was walking on. She made sure to find a way to beat her destiny. And I loved it.
If you only bother to read any of the books I have mentioned on this list, let it be Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. I promise you, that by the time you’ve finished this book, you will agree that Onyesonwu was the biggest badass.
And so, here’s my list of Biggest Badasses. Admittedly, most of these people are not the most powerful person in their universes, but they are capable. I admire people who work for their greatness, because it inspires the reader to do the same.
If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about any of these particular novels, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.