I thought to start off this perhaps-regular feature with going back to the first heroine I fell in love with: Alanna of Trebond and later Olau. She is featured in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the Protector of the Small Quartet, The Immortals Quartet, and Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce. I picked up the first book in the Song of the Lioness series quite by accident. I plucked it out of a box to take on a flight to Hawaii. It had been in the box for a while without my reading it. But by the time we landed in Hawaii I had demolished the entire thing and was eager for more. I had soon read all of Tamora Pierce's Tortall books and still read them to this day. And so, why I love Alanna of Trebond:
- She has a temper. This temper often gets her into trouble and makes her do rash things that she later regrets. It also makes her a better fighter. I love that this is both a plus and a negative for her character, because you can't tell when things are going to work out for her. She could lay her opponent low because he insulted her friends, or she could get knocked out by a patrol because she charged in without looking.
- She is not willing to accept the way things are. Alanna is a girl who has no interest in being a noblewoman. So what does she do? She disguises herself as a boy and trains to be a knight. And she becomes a damn good one, and she never rests when there is injustice for anyone. She petitioned for Kel to be able to train to be a knight, and she sought out dark corners of the world and made them bright.
- She is fiercely loyal to her friends. George, Raoul, Jonathan, Gary, she loves them all and would protect them to the death, even if she wants to bang their heads together sometimes. She almost died to save Jonathan, and he in turn risked imprisonment to save her when the tables were turned.
- She is a knight. I love sword fighting, and Alanna is great at it. But what's even better is that she wasn't good when she started out. She had to work hard to get good at it because she was horrible in the beginning. So I guess this point is twofold. She's a knight, and she's hardworking.
When I was younger I wanted to be Alanna. I wanted a purple-eyed cat and a sword named Lightning and a pretty horse. I wanted to learn to fight and be brave and not take any crap anyone said about me. And when Alanna thrashed Ralon of Malven I cheered her on. Same when she fought Alex and Duke Roger I cheered even more. I have read these series so many times that it should be clear how much I loved them, how much I admired Alanna.