HOUSTON, TX - May 20, 2012 - Katniss Everdeen welcomes us to her world, a 1984-styled hell of government oppression, cruelty to children, starvation, classism, and reality TV. These are The Hunger Games. But our heroine is brave.
Sacrificing herself, Christ-like, she saves the life of her sister Prim, and embarks on a perilous journey that will ultimately make the foundations of an evil empire tremble. It’s not lightly that she is dubbed, “the girl on fire.”
But Katniss isn’t the only brave young woman we’ve seen grace the silver screen of late. Cute little Lucy Pevensie recently journeyed into the land of Narnia and sparked a rebellion against The White Witch, who stood for everything evil and cruel in that world. If you were already a fan of the books, you probably knew that it was only a matter of time before brave little Lucy wandered - not just through a wardrobe - but out of the pages of a timeless classic and into the blockbuster charts.
Lucy has now changed western culture just as she changed Narnia, by reigniting our faith in The Old Magic.
While Harry Potter is obviously a boy, the real brains behind most of his operations is his bookworm gal-pal, Hermione Granger. Spunky, witty, and courageous, Hermione basically holds Potter together, serving as his confidant, ally, and emotional support, even when best friend Ron Weasley deserts him.
What do Katniss, Lucy, and Hermione all have in common? Besides originating on the pages of popular literature, they’re all young women who dared to change the world.
Standing up to the powers of evil in their Mary Janes, ribbons, and braids, these small and pretty (yet strong and dauntless) damsels challenged everything everyone believed was unchangeable.
Granted, the poets and novelists of old had their heroines too. But one has to admit that while Romeo’s Juliet, Elizabeth Bennett, Marguerite St. Just, Hamlet’s Ophelia, Josephine March, and Snow White all have their charm, those chicks really caused a lot more trouble than they resolved. If they weren’t rescued by a handsome, responsible man (who usually happened to have a lot of money), they met grisly ends via drinking poisonous potions or jumping in lakes and drowning under the weight of their renaissance garbs.
These were damsels in distress: Girls who recognized injustice and evil, but were ultimately helpless victims of it. They needed the help of a knight in shining armor in order to realize their happy endings. They required an idealistic champion to rescue them from unfaithful suitors, sexist politics, murderous monarchs, and evil stepsisters.
Katniss, on the other hand, shoots a bow and arrow for freedom. Hermione’s wits helped bring down The Dark Lord. Lucy always does what’s right no matter what.
Welcome to the era of the chicks who kick evil!
Of course there’s always Bella Swan of The Twilight Saga. But really, all she did was fall in love with a sparkly, depressed, anemic looking vampire, which honestly seems more foolhardy than courageous. Sure, it could be metaphorical for defying racial segregation, but really, who wants to marry into a race of soulless cannibals?
Bella’s is the classic tale of a self-centered, reckless teen girl who falls for the proverbial bad boy (i.e. daddy’s worst nightmare). Not exactly awe inspiring, but thoroughly entertaining in a soap opera kind of way.
Speaking of daddies, another distinct and very important difference between the Twilight princess and her Hunger-Potter-Narnia counterparts, is that Katniss, Hermione, and Lucy are all very respectful of their parents, whereas Bella is impetuous, defiant, and won’t take advise from anyone, let alone daddy dearest.
Remember Katniss’ respect for her late father and service to her mother in times of crisis. Remember Hermione, who sacrificed familial bliss to protect her parents from Death Eaters. Remember Lucy, who was guided by Aslan, and never wavered in her respect of his paternal authority.
A new kind of female ideal - wholesome, virginal, humble, and courageous - is emerging. And while these girls don’t need Prince Charming to save them from the Wicked Witch of the West, Lucy has her big brothers, Hermione has her Ron, and Katniss has her Peeta (or is it Gale?).
These newfangled damsels don’t foreswear men, or even undermine them. In fact, they love them and respect them, yet resist being defined by them. They stand on their own, strong and virtuous, ready to fight the tyranny of evil even if it means they could pay with their lives. They sacrifice everything for the sake of others.
They are figures of faithfulness and martyrdom, wearing pigtails, stockings, and skorts.
If ever there were role models for our daughters in the world of fantasy, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Narnia have defined them. Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for giving us the original “girl on fire.”
- Suzanne Collins Author Website
- The Hunger Games Book Website
- The Hunger Games Movie Website
- J. K. Rowling Author Website
- Harry Potter Movie Website
- C. S. Lewis Author Website
- The Chronicles of Narnia Movie Website
About Jennifer Grassman:
Singer, songwriter and pianist, Jennifer Grassman is an award-winning recording artist and founder of SeeTalkGrow, a 100% online music, film, technology, and communications conference. Subscribe by RSS feed and read more at www.JenniferGrassman.com or www.SeeTalkGrow.com. Follow Jennifer in this column and at her music column, The Business of Being Diva here inWashington Times Communities. Also keep in touch via @JGrassman, @SeeTalkGrow, and like Facebook.com/JenniferGrassmanMusic and Facebook.com/SeeTalkGrow.
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