Monday 15 November 2010

Formidable Female Protagonists #3 - Moiraine Damodred

So we come to the third entry in my semi-regular series about the Formidable Females that can be found in fantasy literature. I stole the idea from Cybermage (with his blessing), and so far have looked at Polgara the Sorceress and Alanna the Lioness.

It is definitely time I picked someone from the Wheel of Time. The timing is good, considering Towers of Midnight has recently been released. And, honestly, with the number of strong women written by Robert Jordan, I had a wealth of options. I know that many people opine that Jordan wasn't able to write a decent female character if he tried - but, when you look at it, the women in his books are easily the equal of any man. They bicker, argue, tug braids and smooth skirts. They manipulate and often cause more ructions than they're worth. However, they have power, status and ability. They are clever, strong and compassionate. It wasn't so much a question of trying to get just one woman to talk about - it was a matter of thinning down the pack that includes Nynaeve, Aviendha, Siuan, Elayne, Min, Faile.... (and that doesn't even touch on the many secondary characters - the Wise Ones, the Aes Sedai, the nobility, the farmgirls...)

But really, there was just one option. This woman has made waves from the moment she stepped onto the page. She is short but has a towering personality. Despite not appearing in the majority of the books, her effect has been felt through all of them. This formidable female is Moiraine Damodred - related to nobility, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, and guide to the Dragon Reborn (when he lets her!)

Here are some reasons and quotes as to why Moiraine fits the description of formidable female:

1) Moiraine is hard and determined

"The Dark One is after you three, one or all, and if I let you go running off wherever you want to go, he will take you. Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself."

2) Moiraine is pragmatic but compassionate

"Death cannot be healed, Rand. You are not the Creator."

3) Moiraine knows her duty

"I have given my life to finding the Dragon Reborn, finding Rand, and seeing him ready to face the Last Battle. I will see that done, whatever it requires. Nothing and no one can be more important than that."

4) Moiraine has a sense of humour - sometimes...

"If you watch the wolf too hard, a mouse will bite you on the ankle."

5) Moiraine can be hot-tempered

"Rand al'Thor is a mule-headed, stone-willed fool of a... a... a man!"

I loved Moiraine from the first moment she stepped onto the page - she is mysterious, manipulative and majestic, and definitely worthy of her place in this series on formidable female protagonists.

Would you have picked Moiraine? If not, which of the women from the Wheel of Time would suit a place in this series? Who else would you enjoy reading about?


  1. I would definitely have picked Egwene Al'vere. It's close with her and MOiraine tho'.

    Moiraine was one of my favorite characters through the series, but when I reread The Gathering Storm before the release of Towers of Midnight...Egwene is just so passionate and "woolheaded" herself that she became my new favorite through the whole series. Maybe that's because we get into her point of view quite alot in The Gathering Storm.
    Now, I haven't read New Spring in quite some time, but when I get to it you probably would get a different opinion ;)

    Love your blog & it was nice to see some scandinavian authors the other day.

    - Perry (20, norway)

  2. I've always loved Moiraine, even though I've only made it up to book 7 and then gave up. My runnerup would be Aviendha, I loved her practicality and her bafflement at the strange ways of the non-Aiel.

  3. Yes, for sure I would have picked Moiraine! You described her very well, and you really hit the nail on the head when you said that even after shes gone, her prescence is felt.