If you found warriors buried with full battle regalia – swords, helmets, shields – you’d assume that they were men, right? Wrong – turns out that many Viking warriors, buried in Britain, were female.
New research by the University of Western Australia has discovered that many excavated skeletons belonged to women. Shane McLeod of the university’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has set out his finding in the journal, Early Medieval Europe.
That got me to thinking about female warriors in fiction. And there aren’t that many. Sure, there were the females who picked up arms to defend themselves, family and homes. But warriors are different – they undergo punishing training before they go into battle.
I could only think of five off the top of my head. Here they are:
1. Éowyn – The Return Of The King By J.R.R. Tolkien
Éowyn, a noblewoman of Rohan, is a ‘shield maiden’. Even so, in The Return of the King, she must disguise herself as a man to ride into battle where she more than proves herself by besting the Witch King of Angmar during the battle of Pelennor Fields.
2. Bethany Kavadh – Lost By Charissa Dufour
Princess Bethany Kavadh hides her nobility when kidnapped and forced into slavery. In Lost, the second book of The Dothian Chronicles, she escapes with help of a rebel knight who soon realizes the best way to keep her alive is to teach Bethany to fight like a warrior. Good call; on her return home, she finds Dothian in disarray. Bethany needs both her smarts and her warrior skills to survive.
3. Cordelia Naismith – Shards Of Honor By Lois McMaster Bujold
Commander Cordelia Naismith, the leader of an astronomical survey, is anti-militarist but that doesn’t stop her leaping into battle when needed. In Shards of Honor, the first instalment in the Vorkosigan Saga, Cordelia successfully runs an enemy blockade to bring arms and supplies to her beleaguered homeland when it comes under attack from the vicious Barrayaran forces.
4. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen’s finely honed hunting skills serve her community well when she steps forward to take her sister’s place as a participant in the cruel and deadly ‘Hunger Games’. When the games morph into rebellion, Katniss and her warrior skills become integral to victory.
5. Wonder Woman – DC Comics
Diana of Themyscira, Amazon warrior princess, a.k.a Wonder Woman, burst on to the scene in 1941 to fight the Axis powers during World War II. She has gone on to tackle super villains, have her own TV show and movie, and appear on the cover of Ms. Magazine. She was recently, and controversially, named as a UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.
Can you think of more than five female warriors from fiction?
YouTube Channel: Warner Bros. Pictures
Feature image via Wikimedia Commons
h/t Vintage News