Unpopular Opinion: YA Heroine Tourney

It is pretty obvious that the individual is, in general, smarter than the many. I mean if you put Sherlock Holmes up against a group of police man, Sherlock is going to take the case. You take an average, single Canadian and they’re going to smarter than the mob stupidity that happened after Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a Sherlock Holmes, and I’m not calling the voters for the YA Heroine Tourney the idiots that ransacked Vancouver and stained the Canadian name… I’m just saying the similarities in individual vs. mass are there.

And because I’m the only individual on this blog…this is how the YA Sisterhood Heroine Tournament would have gone if my vote had been the only one that counted.

There may be spoilers for the following books/series in this post: Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, Fallen series by Lauren Kate, Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the Harry Potter series  by J. K. Rowling, and the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.

Note, I am a single voter, and I am by no means claiming to be perfect. I vote purely based on my thoughts on the characters; therefore, characters in books I haven’t read automatically lose. This means the first round is going to be me mostly weeding out the characters I do not know personally. (I swear it’ll get more interesting after that!) I do not take the arguments of those representing the characters into consideration except in the case of a tie in my own mind.

Round 1

Match 1 Clary vs Kate

I’ve never read Kate’s story. Clary automatically wins.

Match 2 Juliette vs Cammie

I’ve never read Juliette’s story (though Shatter Me is on my tbr challenge reading list). Cammie automatically wins.

Match 3 Annabeth vs Kat

I’ve never read either of these series (thought both are on my reading list). While I assume Kat is similar to Cammie, which means she is awesome, I have seen the theatrical version of The Lightning Thief, so Annabeth gets my vote and wins.

Match 4 Meghan vs. Max

I’ve never read Meghan’s series, and while I’d love to give her my vote simply because her name rocks (tee hee), I’ve unfortunately read the Maximum Ride series, so Max gets my vote.

Match 5 Hermione vs. Claire

Haven’t read Claire’s series. Hermione automatically wins.

Match 6 Katsa vs Emmerson

I’ve read neither of these stories! So I read through the arguments written by their representatives, and based purely on that Katsa wins.

Match 7 Bella vs Janie

I haven’t read Janie’s story and that means (oh goodness, can’t believe I’m going to say this) Bella wins.

Match 8 Tris vs Bryn

I haven’t read Bryn’s story. Tris wins.

Match 9 Katniss vs Fire (this pairing is so ironic…)

Haven’t read Fire’s story. Katniss wins by default.

Match 10 Luna vs. Sophie

I haven’t read Sophie’s story. Luna wins!

Match 11 Nora vs Alex

I haven’t read Alex’s story. Nora wins!

Match 12 Rose vs Clara

I’ve read neither Rose or Clara’s series (from what I’m getting it’s the same series?). Honestly, I want to vote for neither of these characters because the main arguments for them is that they can attract hot guys. *head desk* But I’ll pick Rose because her representative mentioned a couple qualities that were heroine-like.

Match 13 Tessa vs. Luce

I have read Clockwork Angel (currently read Clockwork Prince) and Fallen, Passion, and Torment, so looks like we’re up for our first real battle!


– even though she claims to hate Will for treating her poorly, she still finds herself attracted to him

+ she hasn’t let the torture she went through affect her too badly

+ she’s willing to sacrifice her own comfort for others


– she keeps falling for the same guy even when she’s warned it’s bad for BOTH of them

– her friend was killed right in front of her and she hardly thinks about her

– she is super self-centred

Tessa wins!

Match 14 Aura and Kaylee

Read neither of these stories, but both of their representatives make good arguments (even if they depend slightly on the love interest as an element that makes them heroines).  In the end, I think Kaylee‘s Buffy-like attitude takes her to the win!

Match 15 Mara vs Karou

I’ve read neither of these books (though the arguments for their heroines certainly make me want to!) Both of these heroines appear to strong, independent, and individuals; however, Mara gets my vote because she questions the status quo, which takes a true heroine.

Match 16 Izzy vs Calla

Haven’t read Calla’s story. Izzy automatically wins!

Round 2 The Superior Sixteen

Match 17 Clary vs Cammie

Clary has some pretty awesome powers and does some pretty awesome things. She had to deal with thinking the guy she is in love with is her brother, which can be pretty scarring, but she also said fuck you to that social construction which can either be viewed as admirable or more than a little disturbing. She totally mistreated her best friend and let a pair of pretty eyes turn her world upside down.

Cammie is completely kick butt. She has been training to be a spy her entire life and comes from a long line of spies. This can be viewed as loyalty or the predisposition to being a follower, except that Cammie is a leader. She takes charge multiple times and she goes against the rules and her own mother, though not always for the right reasons. Her life is run by two goals: complete the mission and protect her loved ones. Nothing else matters to her.

Cammie wins!

Match 18 Annabeth vs Max

Since I haven’t actually read The Lightning Thief, Max squeaks by another round.

Match 19 Hermione vs Katsa

Here’s me weeding out more of the characters I don’t know… Gryffindor Hermione wins the House Cup!

Match 20 Bella vs Tris

Bella is a beautiful but clumsy girl with self-esteem issues. She moves away from the sun and the place she loves purely to make her mom happy (although her mother never said that she’d be happier if Bella wasn’t living with them…). She treats her friends like second hand citizens once Edward shows up. Edward who is her air and her water and her food and her EVERYTHING. Because nothing else matters. Even though she’s completely against marriage she gives up her own personal beliefs just so that she can have sex with the glorious Edward, gets pregnant, and nearly die. Then she gets awesome powers which she uses to protect everyone she loves (and stop anything actually interesting from taking place). Oh, and something about Jacob too, but no one actually cares about him (not even Bella…)

Tris is raised believing that it is essential to put the needs of others before your own, but she can’t get past her own selfishness. She admires the glory that comes with being a part of the Dauntless clan, and even though she knows it will destroy her family chooses that life for herself. Although she’s not fearless, she does have a mostly easy time in training thanks to being a Divergent. She only speaks up against unjust orders sometimes, but when she does she stands her ground. Even though she is betrayed and nearly dies, she carries on stronger than ever. She is frequently saved, but can easily protect herself as well.

Tris wins!

Match 21 Katniss vs Luna

Katniss risks almost certain death in order to protect her sister. Despite having serious issues against her mother, she continues to care for her, and the only thing that pushes her to try her hardest in The Hunger Games is to come back home so that she can continue to care for her family. She has a protective instinct, determination, and an intelligence that leads her to the top. She is broken over and over again, but always continues on.

Luna is her own person. She is loyal, intelligent, and powerful. She can see the truth more clearly than most and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She was bullied for years, but doesn’t hold a grudge or let it affect who she is. She follows her passion and does what she sees as right, fighting even when hope is fluttering.

This is the hardest match I’ve had thus far because both of these characters are amazing. I think Katniss is definitely the more traditional heroine while Luna is more the unsung hero.  My instincts are telling me to go with the underdog, but I think Katniss had to do much more on her own, and so she gets my vote. Barely.

Match 22 Nora vs Rose

Nora gets a lucky break because I haven’t read Rose’s series.

Match 23 Tessa vs Kaylee

I think if I would have read Kaylee’s story she might have taken this one, but instead Tessa gets to see another round.

Match 24 Mara vs Izzy

Like Match 23, I think Mara would have had a chance had I read her story. Izzy moves on.

Round 3 The Extraordinary Eight

Match 25 Cammie vs Max

You’ve already heard my thoughts on Cammie, but this is the first time Max has found herself against someone I’ve actually read.

As far as fourteen year olds go, Max is the best. Raised in a cage and mentally and physically tested for years, she comes out of it all bruised but not broken. She is incredibly caring and motherly, but that’s where the stereotypical female qualities end. She is sarcastic, strong, brave, and puts the needs of others before herself. She also has the misfortune to be in a book series with less consistency than the second series of Glee. If I’d only read the first book of the series, Max might have had a chance, but after reading Angel, Cammie definitely wins this round.

Match 26 Hermione vs Tris

You’ve heard my thoughts on Tris, so it’s time for Hermione to take the spotlight.

Hermione Granger is the character I identify with the most, but I’ll try to remain unbiased in that respect. Hermione is smart, loyal, brave, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. She is often called the smartest witch of her age, but this isn’t just because she’s naturally talented. She works hard at everything she does. She often allows herself to be taken advantage of by her friends, but she also isn’t afraid to stand up to them when the time arises. She loves deeply, but she puts her own feelings aside for the greater good. In the end Harry may have saved the wizarding world, but we all know he wouldn’t have lasted a day without Hermione by his side.

And I thought the Luna/Katniss match was difficult! My goodness, both of these characters are such strong heroines! In the end while Tris is the more physical heroine, I think Hermione has to take the win because while Tris was willing to let her friend fall to an icy death, Hermione always stood up for what is right no matter what the consequences.

Match 27 Katniss vs Nora

You’ve heard my thoughts on Katniss, so let’s give Nora her chance.

Nora is…unremarkable. I honestly don’t remember much of anything about her. Her friendship with Vee was admirable. Pretty sure she did some stupid things in order to find out some truth or to impress a guy…the details are pretty fuzzy in my mind. Hm. I think the definition of heroine needs some reworking if characters like this fall under that category. Or maybe images of women in YA literature need some reworking.

No contest. Katniss wins.

Match 28 Tessa vs Izzy

Ah, two of Cassandra Clare’s creations get to go face to face. This should be interesting.

Tessa is living in a past London where women were trapped in dresses and corsets and manners, so it’s unsurprising that she’s a fairly quiet character. But she is pretty remarkable for her time, I guess. In Clockwork Prince she is trained to fight, though not necessarily by her choice. She is very loyal and puts others before herself. She’s not exactly kick butt, but at least she isn’t a damsel in distress…that I can remember.

Izzy is sharp-witted and good with sharp objects. Her attitude isn’t the greatest, but she doesn’t care what you think anyway. She is fiercely protective of her family and makes her own choices. Sometimes she lets her need to rebel make her choices for her, but overall she is a strong and independent character.

Are any of you surprised? Izzy takes this round!

Round 4 The Fierce Four

Match 29 Cammie vs Hermione

It’s time for the Gallagher Girl to go against the Gryffindor Golden Girl!

Cammie and Hermione are both smart and strong characters. Cammie is a more physically fit character, but that’s because Hermione doesn’t need her fists to take a person down. They both made sacrifices, but I think Hermione’s were greater: she erased her parents memories, watched the love of her life walk away, and knew without a doubt that she could be tortured and killed at any time. Cammie had to give up her new boyfriend, which, you know, sucks, but just isn’t comparable. However, Cammie would never let her friends take advantage of her the way that Hermione does, so plus one to Cammie for that.

In the end I think it comes down to the stakes in these character’s lives. Hermione was under way more pressure than Cammie and she basically saved the entire world, while Cammie’s accomplishments, while also great, are just not on the same scale.

Hermione wins!

Match 30 Katniss vs Izzy

Honestly, there is no contest here for me. Izzy is awesome. I wouldn’t say she’s in my top four heroines and had she been up against some different characters she wouldn’t have made it this far, but she is a strong character. I love her attitude and that she makes her own decisions. I love that she doesn’t let guys control her actions.

But Katniss is an absolute bamf. She is a survivor. She went through mental and physical torture and continued to fight. She was the banner behind which all of Panem was able to flock. Yeah, a lot of who she was was built up by the media, but the girl behind the Mockingjay was even more amazing because she was real.

Katniss shoots her way to the finals!

The Finale

Match 31 Hermione vs Katniss

Hermione and Katniss are both amazing heroines. It’s near impossible to choose one over the other, and in order to do so I’m going to have to be very nitpicky to catch some of their flaws.

Hm. This is really difficult.

I mean there was that one time Hermione called Luna “Loony Lovegood” which shows she listens to gossip. And she also gets pretty snappy with Luna a couple of times, showing that she doesn’t really care much for people with opinions that are different than her own.

And Katniss had more than a little help getting through a lot of her obstacles. If she hadn’t been “the girl on fire” would she have gotten any sponsors? If Thresh hadn’t come at just the right moment do you think she would have made it to the end? Luck played just as much a part in Katniss’s survival as her own skills did.

And yeah, Hermione’s kind of a teacher’s pet. And okay, Katniss can seriously have tunnel vision.

This is definitely a tough one, but I’m going to have to go with Hermione.

Hermione Granger is the #1 heroine in YA literature on this list, even after all this time. In a couple years I’m sure many of these other characters will be forgotten, but I don’t think any of us will ever forget Hermione: the book worm who saved the wizarding world.

What did you think of my choices? Did I zig when you would have zagged? Let me know in the comments. I think this exercise would have gone differently if I had read more of the novels the heroines came from, but overall I’m happy with the outcome.

About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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22 Responses to Unpopular Opinion: YA Heroine Tourney

  1. Jeyna Grace says:

    I dont really know most of the characters you were mentioning, so i honestly did not read it pass the first round. But interesting concept no doubt 🙂

    • megtao says:

      I’m glad you liked the concept 🙂 There’s so many popular YA books out there that it is definitely difficult to keep up on all of them (as I found out when I was writing this post).

  2. I love you. As much as it would PAIN me to vote Bella, I liked the way you did this, especially because – yeah, you don’t know all the heroines, but the blurbs are there for a reason.

    And I KNEW the final match should have been Hermione VS. Katniss. It’s not that other, lesser known, new heroines don’t have a chance. They do. It’s just Harry Potter and The Hunger Games dealt with more that made the characters NEED to become heroines, when characters in even action-packed books like The Gallagher Girls and Heist Society aren’t given the same atmosphere to grow into as much of a heroine as those two. It’s that HOW DO THEY REACT UNDER LIFE AND DEATH SITUATIONS that HAS to matter because otherwise, the YA tourney would revolve around admirable characteristics heroines can have, but those characteristics don’t necessarily make them a heroine.

    Oh god, I am rambling. Sorry. I just wanted to say that I love you, and I’m glad you did this, and that final round would have killed me (but I’d have eventually voted Hermione too).

    OH. The one thing that I do need to say here concerns authors’ presence in the YA Tourney. I’m pretty sure this happened for the Heroine Tourney too, but I remember it was a main issue I had with the Hero Tourney. I love that authors get excited their characters are nominated. It’s an honor that readers loved them so much they thought enough to nominate them for a reader-based award like this. So it’s great that they want to get involved and promote and support their own character, and hope their fans vote for that character as well. But I think the “bribing voters for new scenes or deleted scenes of their writing” needs to stop. A lot of people voting for Jace in the Hero Tournament did it because they cared more about the scene they’d get from the author, even when they felt the other candidate was stronger. And from what I saw on tumblr, this was an issue this time as well, and the reason why a lot of TMI fans voted without reading arguments or giving anyone else a shot. *sigh*

    Realistically, I know there’s no way to make something like this, at this huge scale, fair, but I don’t think it should have been as unfair as it was either.

    Again, you are awesome, Meg.

    • megtao says:

      I wanted this to be as purely my opinion as possible. Plus, honestly, I wouldn’t read the blurbs when voting. I know they’re there for a reason, but I feel like it should be based on the heroine, not how well someone argues for that heroine. Which works itself into your comment on authors bribing voters. I agree that that taints the results, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to write this post.

      I agree with you about the situations in the stories affecting our view on the heroines. If we threw any of these characters into the same situations that Hermione or Katniss had to face than we would have a better measure of their character. In a way, comparing these characters is unfair because they have “lived” different lives, and were they all put in the same situation we might have gotten very different results.

  3. Word. I was totally SHOCKED when I saw frickin Cassie Clare’s characters had won. How the hell does Tessa or Clary beat out Hermoine or Katniss? I just don’t get it. I mean, I do, with the whole bribing of voters and you know Suzanne Collins and JK Rowling are not going to be writing a deleted scene for an internet tournament.

    I like your choices, although I would have picked Rose over Nora, because Rose actually is kickass, her friends aren’t annoying, and she’s down to save the day AND her friends instead of pine for some stupid angel named Patch.

  4. The Book Wurrm says:

    Hermione is probably the only one who will survive the travails of time. Katniss might if she’s not buried under the avalanche of copycat heroines but Hermione? Yeah. I don’t think anyone else has come even close to beating her right now.

  5. Brenna says:

    I LOVE that you put this together- and I think my outcome would have been similar to yours. The only thing I would have done differently is that I did read the blurbs and advocate posts, but then again I was an advocate (for Juliette) and I figured they were there to hopefully help me get to know a character a little better. And some of them really were great in that sense!

    And you definitely need to read Shatter Me 🙂 Juliette is more of a life or death situation heroine, kind of like what you were talking about. And that was another thing I found difficult- some characters like Cammie are fantastic but they just aren’t in the same situations as Katniss making it difficult to compare the two. But overall? I think it’s great that this tournament is promoting discussion.

    • megtao says:

      The reason I chose not to read the blurbs (for the most part) was I didn’t want to be influenced positively or negatively towards the character because of someone else’s opinion on the character. If I wanted to, I could make a really good argument for any of the heroines I do know, or a really bad argument for anyone (“Hermione is totally a heroine because Harry Potter and that red head kid were both totally in love with her. She’s hot and she has brains!!1!” If that had been a blurb and I had read that in an argument and knew nothing else about the character…Katniss would win.). My idea was to make it as purely my single opinion as possible. But I do think the blurbs were important to have for the tournament itself.

      I’m really looking forward to reading Shatter Me! And I was talking to Aimee earlier in the comments about this same thing. It’s not really a fair comparison. Like for me, Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE heroines, but most people wouldn’t consider her a heroine because, like, she doesn’t save anyone’s life or face life threatening situations.

      I’m actually planning a post right now in which I talk about what makes a heroine, so hopefully you’ll be back to read it 🙂

      • Brenna says:

        That’s a great idea for a post! I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for it, because I love reading discussion pieces like that.

        But see, I think that was one of the variables in the tournament. Cassandra Clare has a huge internet presence and fan base, and I don’t think it was the incentives offered that necessarily helped her characters win. It helped a bit, sure. But overall, they are extremely popular books. And I’d guess that many people who have read her books and voted for them, haven’t read very many of the other books in the tournament. I’m sure she informed a lot of fans (outside of the blogging sphere) about the tourney and if they love the series, then they vote. Even if they haven’t read the other books or the advocate posts. And seeing as how popular they are, that doesn’t surprise me. But from that perspective, it’s the most-read books that would stand a chance rather than the best heroine.

      • megtao says:

        I agree and disagree. The heroine from the most read book is sure to get the most votes, but at the same time if the voters had read more of the books, if they looked at those books more critically as individuals, then the results would have been different. That’s where the individual vs. mob comes into effect. I don’t think the blurbs had any chance of standing up against a preconceived notion; most people went into the vote already knowing who they were going to vote for, and no matter how persuasive the blurbs argument was, it as unlikely they would sway that many. Certainly not enough to win the tournament. And it’s especially not going to sway the vote if that person hasn’t even read the book (unless they had a strong dislike for the opposing character).

        I feel like I may be misunderstanding your argument though, so please correct me if I’m going completely off topic XD

  6. I must say, I would have had the same final match as you if I’d been the only voter that mattered. I loved Hermione and Katniss – I think they both really embody true heroines.

  7. Candice says:

    This is just… yeah, this is awesome. Hermione was robbed.

  8. lian92 says:

    I agree in your argument regarding Hermion vs Tris i thought i was the only one that found her realy mean to her friends , the problem is maybe more people woudve voted for Hermion if she was the main charecter of the siries, some mistake a heroine for a main charecter of a book which is realy far , from the truth . Take it from someone who usualy injoyes minor charecters more than the lead ones.

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