These are complex and complicated women who are not only strong but are also competent, caring, brilliant, vulnerable, funny, loyal, and fierce. They are the heart and soul of the Harry Potter world, which would not be as epic as it is without them.
Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you about the absolutely fantastic women who make the Harry Potter world the can't-miss series of a generation.
I'm going to start with "the most gifted witch of her age." Hermione Granger is an utterly brilliant and fierce witch from the moment we meet her. She has no qualms about showing people what she knows, with only a momentary melancholy about the haters, which is understandable for a eleven-year-old. But that same eleven-year-old goes on to set her teacher on fire, figure out what's being held in the castle, and use her beautiful brain to get out of a tight spot. All while acing her coursework. And that was just year one. Her love of books and her complete faith in the power of knowledge makes us all wish we were BFFs with Hermione, and her utter badassery and loyalty show that she would have been spectacular as the main character of her own adventure. There are too many stunning Hermione moments throughout the seven books to cover all of her badassery, but suffice it to say, the trio would not have made it through the final year if it wasn't for her preparation, knowledge, and giftedness. Hermione is the real deal.
Next up is Ginny Weasley. Much of what we know and feel about the Weasley family is seen through Harry's eyes, so it takes some time for us to realize that Ginny is a gifted and fiesty witch who takes zero shit from anyone. For years Ginny is "just Ron's sister"--unless you know what to look for through Harry's story. I believe that our first clue to Ginny's awesomeness is when she handily makes the Gryffindor quiddich team, surprising Ron and Harry, after which it's revealed that she practiced by herself since her brothers wouldn't let her play. And she's amazing at it. With seven big brothers it's no wonder that Ginny takes no shit, but it's hilarious and fantastic to see Ginny tell off anyone who isn't being kind or fair. And the queen of the bat-bogey hex is a hero we can all get behind.
Luna Lovegood is an understated badass, but a badass nonetheless. When we first meet Luna she won't tolerate the gang making fun of others, and that bravery is a trait she carries with her throughout. She doesn't put up with any kind of bullying, toward herself or others, but she also doesn't let it make her hard. She's a gentle soul who clearly enjoys other people and creatures and looks out for those she cares about. She's also absolutely brilliant and fiercely loyal. Hers is a shining beautiful soul, and we could all use a little more Luna in our hearts.
When you think about the badass women of the Wizarding World Molly Weasley probably isn't the first or even the second name that swims to mind, but she should be. Not only did she give birth to seven, 7, SEVEN children (!!!!) but she raised those children and every one of them turned out to be brilliant and capable wizards. Molly is such a gifted witch that she can keep her home while feeding her children and knitting them sweaters all without breaking a sweat. And Molly's caregiving instinct doesn't only extend to her family, she takes care of all those around her who need caretaking, most especially our intrepid hero. The moment Harry overhears Molly say that he "may as well be" her son is a watershed moment for him, one in which he finally realizes there are people to whom he belongs, and that is because Molly took him in as one of hers the moment she met him. Because that's who Molly is. But it's important to acknowledge that she's not only a loving mother-figure who takes care of everyone. She is also a fierce badass in her own right. When the Order of the Phoenix reconvenes she is right there with her husband and sons leading the way, intimately involved in every decision, while at the same time fighting to keep the minors away from the fray, trying to let them stay children for as long as possible. And then when it's time to fight she is in the thick of it with her family, providing one of the best lines, one of the best duels of the entire series. You may think Molly Weasley is a frumpy housewife, but that's just her alter ego. She is a badass of the highest order who can kick ass while making a six-course meal and a designer birthday cake, all at the same time.
And last, but by no means least, let's talk about Minerva McGonagall. A stunningly gifted witch, a dedicated teacher, and a brilliant woman who takes no shit from students, parents, colleagues, or dignitaries, Professor McGonagall is everything. She is fair and strict, the kind of teacher that no student ever wants to cross, both because you fear her consequences but also because you want her approval above all. Although she tries not to show it, she certainly has a soft spot for Harry, encouraging him to work harder, to nurture his gifts, and to do what needs to be done, from the beginning to the end of the series. Professor McGonagall is an anchor for her students, providing stability and direction through a very turbulent time. And when it's time to defend her students and her home her skill is unparalleled, whether it's rallying her troops, or magicking desks and suits-of-armor. Minerva McGonagall is a witch to be respected and feared, one who fights fiercely and loves fiercely as well. Bad.ass.
Honestly, these five ladies are the tip of the badass women iceberg in the Harry Potter world. I could talk about Tonks, Lilly, Professor Trelawney, Madame Maxime, Madam Pomfrey, Professor Sprout, Mrs. Figg, and even the badass, albeit evil, women on the dark side. The Wizarding World is filled with amazing women who love fiercely and fight just as fiercely. And all of these amazing women sprung from the mind of the baddest woman of them all, J.K. Rowling. But that's another post. (Like Donna's post here.)