Princesses That Kick Some Serious Butt


Disney just released the first photo of their new live-action Cinderella movie. Now, I am particularly excited because it looks like this Cinderella is going to be a watered down princess. You know the googly eyed, need a prince to save me, kind of girl. It also helps that Helena Bonham-Carter is in the film, I absolutely adore her. This got me to thinking. What other kick butt princess are out there? Particularly in books. Here’s my list:


Princess Cimorene, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

​As the seventh daughter of the King of Linderwall, a peaceful and prosperous kingdom, Cimorene’s future was assured. She was instructed in all the things that princesses normally learn – etiquette, dancing, embroidery – all of which would help her marry a handsome prince and live happily ever after. It’s what every princess dreams of, right? Wrong. When Cimorene decides she’s had enough of learning to be a princess, she decides to leave the kingdom and heads for dragon country. She becomes the princess of the dragon Kazul, where she gets to employ all of the skills that her parents deemed unnecessary for princessing – fencing, cooking, fluency in Latin, etc. She tangles with wizards, witches, other dragons, and does her best to discourage all of the knights and princes that have been dispatched to rescue her.


Princess Elisabeth, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, lives in a castle and wears fancy clothes. Just when she is about to marry Prince Ronald, a dragon smashes her castle, burns her clothes with his fiery breath, and prince-naps her dear Ronald. Undaunted and presumably unclad, she dons a large paper bag and sets off to find the dragon and her cherished prince. Once she’s tracked down the rascally reptile, she flatters him into performing all sorts of dragonly stunts that eventually exhaust him, allowing her to rescue Prince Ronald. But what does Prince Not-So-Charming say when he sees her? “You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.” If that’s not the epitamy of a chauvenistic pig, I don’t know what is. Luckily, I believe, Princess Elizabeth is far too intelligent to fall for this Prince not so charming.


Princess Violetta, The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke

Princess Violetta is trained to ride and joust along with her older brothers. She is smaller and quieter than them, but very determined, and her skill surpasses theirs as well as that of all the knights in the kingdom. This we find out during the tournament set by her father to see who will win her hand in marriage (she enters in disguise and wins in order to avoid a marriage she doesn’t want). How is that for some female power?


Beauty, Beauty A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & The Beast by Robin McKinley

We all know the story of Beauty and the Beast (or at least the 1991 Disney version). Not only does Robin McKinley manage to put a whole new spin on this “tale as old as time,” but this Beauty is totally kick-ass! Scholarly and serious in a world governed by patriarchal norms, she will teach your daughters not to be afraid of themselves or anyone else.


Dejah Thoris, John Carter by Laurie K.

What do you get when you mix awsome swordmanship, the best scientist in the land, and a very hot princess? Dejah Thoris, a princess of Barsoom. The first time we meet this not so simple princess, she has just made a fantastic scientific advancement for her world. However, her father disregards her accomplishment and announces that he will be marrying her off to retain peace in the land. This princess doesn’t weep into her pillows, this is a different kind of woman. The next time we meet her, she’s in a fight for her life against the villain’s forces. When she loses her balance, she is saved by John Carter. However, instead of looking up at him with watery eyes, she takes back her sword and proceeds to kick some serious butt. She does allow him stand behind her.


Arya, Eragon Series, by Christopher Paolini

Arya kicks butt.  There’s no other way to put it.  Over and over again, throughout the series, Arya rescues everyone.  She’s a serious fighter, vastly intelligent, beautiful, and let’s not forget over a century old.  She puts a real spin on the whole idea of what a princess can be and should be.  I just adore her.  She also has the knowledge and gumption to turn down the Dragon Rider (gasp).


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