Category Archives: BAMFiles

BAMFiles: Defiance’s Doc Yewll

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Season two of the SyFy channel’s Defiance ended recently, cutting off, for the moment at least, my supply of inter-species relations and wacky science fictional hijinks.

At some point I’ll probably talk about Defiance more generally (several main characters are casually queer! Actors of colour are actually playing humans and not aliens!) but for the moment, I’ll stick to telling you all about my very favourite character. It’s not as easy a decision as it sounds; between the tough-as-nails town mayor, her sister the brothel owner, the scheming gangster’s wife, or an adoptive daughter who’s frighteningly good with knives, there’s no shortage of really great female characters to choose from. But I’m going to have to give this one to Doctor Meh Yewll, the Indogene physician with all the secrets.

First off, some backstory. In 2017, giant ships full of refugee aliens arrive in Earth’s atmosphere. They’re fleeing a dying galaxy, and thought they were headed toward a vacant planet. Earth begrudgingly makes room for the new arrivals, but tensions—obviously—end up running high. A violent war breaks out worldwide, with casualties on both sides and weaponry used that permanently changes Earth’s ecosystems. The show takes place years later, when communities are being created, superpowers are forming, and human-alien relations are being tentatively built. Among all this chaos is Meh Yewll, an ex-military doctor of the hyperintelligent Indogene race, who must deal with the guilt and secrets left over from her gleefully-doing-military-experiments-on-humans past.

I love me some sardonic wit, and sympathetic characters with a checkered past are always good fun, so of course Yewll is going to appeal to me. Despite her limited screen time, she’s a wonderful antihero. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but Yewll’s consistent disdain for everyone around her is extraordinarily entertaining. Just because she’s the first person people are going to call anytime there’s a medical or technical emergency, doesn’t mean she’ll help without a sigh and a cutting retort. (It barely needs mentioning that Tumblr goes absolutely batshit crazy over her one-liners.)

Also, she’s queer! And isn’t that just the biggest lady-loving cherry on the scaly white sundae. (That metaphor got away from me, I apologize.) Doc Yewll’s only on-screen relationship is with a woman (or whatever Indogene females are called), and though it’s probably not a super healthy pairing (spoilers, sorry), it’s still great to see these very casual relationships that have nothing much to do with the plot but are important nonetheless play out.

Doc Yewll is a survivor, a reluctant hero, and a haunted villain, and I can’t wait for season three.

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BAMFiles: Allison from Kratts’ Creatures

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Right when I was growing up, I, along with all the other animal-obsessed kids in North America, got a gem of a show in PBS’s Kratts’ Creatures. On the air in 1996, and rerun to death until 2000, the show followed the Kratt brothers as they explored the world and the critters who lived in it. It was a goldmine of information for kids interested in biology, conservation, and animal behaviour, but my favourite part? Sidekick Allison Baldwin.

You’d think I’d have seen myself most in the adventuring brothers, but Allison, played by actress Shannon Duff, was the main event. She was the one who, researching facts in her treehouse command centre, provided context and warning. In fact, I can trace my love of the “computer whiz who works behind the scenes” character type directly back to Allison. She was great, and got the brothers out of more scrapes than I can count.

Quick, smart, and never sidelined despite her less physical role, Allison could do everything from dispensing wisdom to rocking the hell out of her overalls. If she invited me to hang out in her treehouse, I’d be there in a heartbeat. I’d bring snacks, and we’d spend the evening watching footage of baby turtles. Get to the sea before you get eaten, baby turtles!

Anyway, Allison was the best, and I’ll leave you with an episode all about the Tasmanian devil. Cheers:

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BAMFiles: Claudia Donovan

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Warehouse 13, everyone’s favourite silly and lighthearted fantasy show (or just mine? I don’t know!), is back this week, and what better way to celebrate than by recognizing the awesomeness that is Claudia Donovan.

Introduced in season one as the villain, Claudia quickly stole the show as an unabashed badass who was always quick with a quip. Avoid the next few sentences if you want to remain spoiler-free, but Claudia, orphaned at a young age and raised my her older brother Joshua, managed to survive on her own for ten years when he mysteriously disappeared. She checked herself into a psychiatric hospital when Joshua’s attempts to contact her from another dimension made her think she was hallucinating but, once she realized what was going on, nothing stopped her from trying to free her brother. Fast forward a little, and Joshua is safe and sound and Claudia is now a full-fledged agent of the Warehouse.

So let’s keep a running tally of the Cool Stuff Claudia Does, shall we?

Computer genius? Check.

Hacker extraordinaire? Indeed.

Master lockpick? Done.

Super adorable bestie? Yup.

Great hair? Need you ask?

Despite her evil nemesis beginnings (and the occasional return to badness, habits are hard to break) Claudia has a wonderful heart, a wonderful father-daughter relationship with Artie (who, let’s face it, needs her just as much, if not more, than she needs him) and is poised to become the next nearly-omniscient Caretaker of the Warehouse.

Oh, and she also sings:

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A song of ice and feminism: Part 2

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Morgan Inslee

Welcome to part two of my rapturous love letter to the women of A Song of Ice and Fire. In part one I dealt primarily with the Starks and women who occupy more traditionally female spaces, but this time, it’s all about the warriors. So unsheathe your sword, draw your bowstring taught, and let’s get right to it. (As usual, spoiler warnings for all the books.)

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Pau Norontaus

Brienne of Tarth

“Ser Colen,” Catelyn said to her escort, “who is this man, and why do they mislike him so?” “Because he is no man, my lady. That’s Brienne of Tarth, daughter to Lord Selwyn the Evenstar.”

“A daughter.” Brienne’s eyes filled with tears. “He deserves that. A daughter who could sing to him and grace his hall and bear him grandsons. He deserves a son, too, a strong and gallant son to bring honour to his name… I am the only child the gods let him keep. The freakish one, not fit to be a son or daughter.”

Brienne is the personification of the old adage that women must work twice as hard to be taken half so seriously. A knight and a fighter, she is perhaps the clearest example of a woman occupying a man’s space, and no other character will ever let her forget it. We are first introduced to Brienne mid combat. Though skilled, against the backdrop of a king’s tournament she is hopelessly out of place, and the scorn of the crowd is obvious. Despite the jeering, the taunting, and the bet to take her virginity, Brienne still desperately wants to be a part of the knight’s mythology. She wants that chivalry, that honour, for herself, and becomes first a member of Renly Baratheon’s kingsguard, and shortly after the sworn vassal of Catelyn Stark.

Brienne struggles so hard against the expectations placed on her. She’s at once too much of a woman, and not enough. Too much of a man, and not enough. There is no place where she feels completely herself, this is not a world that will make room for her. She’ll have to push and fight and never stop trying, and she’s fiercely committed to doing just that.

It’s actually fairly difficult for me to write about Brienne, because she is my favourite, and I’m so, so afraid for her. She’s honest, courageous, and without guile, and that’s a dangerous combination to have if your end goal is to survive in Westeros. She’s also one of the characters who best shows the permanent danger of rape. She sleeps lightly, and makes sure there are locked doors before she goes to bed at all. She is keenly aware that, as a woman traveling the world without a retinue of loyal men, she is—despite her height, strength, and skill—a target.

There is a nobility to Brienne, an idealism that persists even in the face of extreme hardship, and it makes her one of the most amazing characters in the series.

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Cody Vrosh

Asha Greyjoy

“Cunt again? It was odd how men like Suggs used that word to demean women when it was the only part of a woman they valued.” 

“Got to touch one… or two, or ten. I have touched more men than I can count. Some with my lips, more with my axe.”

Proof positive that ASOIAF has a little something for everyone, Asha Greyjoy swashbuckled her way into everybody’s hearts in A Clash of Kings. The last remaining child of Balon Greyjoy (her brother Theon having been sent to Winterfell as ward), Asha has never been limited by her father. Balon sees her as his heir and, what’s more, an heir worthy of the Iron Islands. Let’s take a moment to remember how we’re introduced to Asha. Theon returns to the Iron Islands, pompous and absurd, and Asha passes herself of as a shipwright’s wife so she can get a better sense of who this brother of hers, a brother she hasn’t seen since childhood, has turned out to be. When Theon confronts her, she calmly replies that she wasn’t lying, she does have a husband—her axe—and a suckling babe. And then she takes out a dagger from between her breasts. You guys, I’m dying.

Asha just doesn’t give a fuck about you or your weird, archaic gender roles. She’s going to fight. She’s going to captain her own fleet. She’s going to inherit her father’s title, insisting on calling the entire ceremony “her” queensmoot. She’s quick, deadly, and a natural leader, and she’s so, so very fun.

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Sir-Heartsalot

The Sand Snakes

“Some men think because they are afraid to do.” —Tyene Sand

“Give me back my spear, Uncle. Cersei sent us a head. We should send her back a bag of them.” —Obara Sand

Every once in a while, the books give glimpses of pockets of female spaces that act as havens, powerful sources of support for those perpetually disenfranchised. We see it briefly in the Tyrell gardens, and again among the Mormont women. But nowhere is it as clear as with the Sand Snakes, the illegitimate daughters of Oberyn Martell, Prince of Dorne.

Every one of them is cooler than the last. You’ve got warrior Obara, strong and deadly with a spear. “Sweet” and “pious” Tyene who has a terrifyingly in depth knowledge of poisons. Beautiful Nymeria who’s rarely without at least a dozen daggers scattered around her person. Sarella who’s mother was a ship captain from the Summer Isles, and who may or may not be off studying to become a Maester, disguised as a man. And let’s not forget the young ones, including little “Lady Lance” Elia, who always smells like horses.

After the death of their father, the Sand Snakes each speak to their uncle, Doran Martell, urging him to declare vengeance on the Lannisters and King’s Landing. In response, he has them all imprisoned so that they can’t, you know, start a war. That’s just how dangerous they are, how willing they are to go ahead and start a bloodbath.

I can’t properly express how much I love Dorne and its inhabitants. Oberyn in bisexual and intensely proud of his army of daughters. Nymeria was in bed with twins Jeyne and Jenelyn Fowler when she was told of her father’s death. There are just so many wonderful moments, and even the Sand Snakes’ cousin, Arianne Martell (whom I will get to eventually) is great. Dorne seems like the greatest, most progressive part of Westeros, and it also bears mentioning that the Martells and their ilk are the only characters of colour that become truly central to the plot.

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Marie Thorhauge

Ygritte the Wildling

“‘I know one thing. I know that you are wildling to the bone.’ It was easy to forget that sometimes, when they were laughing together, or kissing. But then one of them would say something, or do something, and he would suddenly be reminded of the wall between their worlds.”

Heading in the opposite direction of Dorne, we (finally) come to Ygritte, the fire-kissed Wildling from Beyond the Wall. Ygritte, aside from being a badass, knows what she wants, and what she wants is Jon Snow. Jon, a member of the Night’s Watch who has recently joined the Wildlings in an attempt at espionage, cares for her, but is at first unwilling to break his vow of celibacy. Once he gets over that, however, they begin a relationship that is one of the most equitable and caring of the series, though Jon at least knows it won’t last.

When the fallout eventually occurs, Ygritte deals with being dumped in what is perhaps the greatest way possible: She shoots him in the leg and storms his castle. It might have cost her her life, but boy did she not take rejection lying down. All joking aside, Ygritte stands out as more than Jon Snow’s lover. As a woman who has never been exposed to the courtly etiquette south of the wall, she has no attachment to the more traditional femininity espoused there. A spearwife of the North, she fends for herself and has no hangups about her own sexuality. It’s a refreshing change from all the intrigue and subterfuge on King’s Landing, and puts her in sharp (and favourable) contrast to the secret-keeping Jon.

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A song of ice and feminism: Part 1

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Hogan McLaughlin

Much has been written about the feminism (or lack thereof) of George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in the pseudo-medieval land of Westeros, the series chronicles the intrigue and warfare surrounding the iron throne, the key to controlling the seven kingdoms. On the surface, the story bears all the markers of typical epic fantasy: there are knights, dragons, princesses, and their ilk. The story spans years and includes a sprawling cast of characters spread out over multiple continents. If you stopped your analysis there, the series wouldn’t seem much different from the countless other genre works that deal with similar themes.

And Westeros is a brutal, unfeminist world, that much is certain. Only rich, titled men able to hold a sword hold any real power, violence and rape are threatened daily, and no one, least of all main characters, are safe from harm. This is not a world in which gender equality will be achieved in any meaningful, institutional way.

But what sets the series apart—and, in my opinion, lends it its feminist cred—is how the world is portrayed. There are over thirty point-of-view characters through which we get to see this world, and almost all are in some way disenfranchised. Some are women in a land where they are treated as little better than chattel, some are illegitimate or grew up in abject poverty (and are therefore lacking in the class capital that enables easy movement through the nobility), some have disabilities or deviate from the accepted norm in some other way. The world of Westeros may not feminist, but it never goes uncriticized. We see these characters punished by this world, we see them struggle and fight against it, or see them find clever ways of circumventing its oppressive nature. It is these struggles that make the reading worthwhile, and give rise to a stunning number of characters the likes of which are rarely seen in the genre.

For their part, whether you love to hate them, or hate to love them (because they will undoubtedly be sacrificed in the next chapter), the women of ASOIAF are wonderful, fully fleshed-out characters, each with her own skills, desires, and motivations. Each is compelling in her own unique way, and instead of writing an ode to every character individually, I thought I’d wax poetic about the collective greatness all in one sitting (or two).

(Note: It goes without saying that spoilers will abound, so make sure you’re up to date.)

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Thomas Humeau

Arya Stark

“Every pain is a lesson, and every lesson makes you better.”

As much as crowd-pleaser Arya is one of my personal favourites, her character could have very easily fallen into the Strong Female Character trap. Little, tough, and unfeminine, it was clear from very early on that Arya was never going to be the modest and well-bred lady. Very quickly, she had to learn how to survive outside of a castle’s walls, passing as a boy in order to move more freely through the countryside. She’s one of the more wish-fulfilling characters in the series, but thankfully, Arya has her limitations. As much as she’d love to be a no-holds-barred, sword-swinging force of nature, she’s nine years old, has had little combat experience, and is physically very small. When she gambles, she loses as often as she wins, and her growth as a character is the richer for it.

Arya shows the consequences of being on the front lines of so much death and bloodshed. Even as she flees to the free city of Braavos, her experiences change her. Though she makes the best of it, it takes a certain kind of damaged human being to begin training as a Faceless Man, a religious order of assassins with the ability to change their appearance. She begins to sublimate her entire identity (an identity that the violence of Westeros has forced her to reinvent more than once) to become a honed killer. Arya is the tomboy, but without the innocence that makes tomboys seem unthreatening. The little lady she was taught to be would not have survived, so Arya became someone different, someone who, with a little more training, will be very fearsome indeed.

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Hannah Alexander

Sansa Stark

“My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.”

“Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father’s head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them.”

Sansa Stark begins the series as a naïve, spoiled brat who lies and aligns herself with Monster King Joffrey in a vain attempt at a fairytale ending. At the start, she’s untrustworthy and unsympathetic, but that doesn’t last for long.

How do you know Sansa’s a badass? She’s still alive. What eleven-year-old realistically has the self-possession to navigate the Lannister minefield of King’s Landing? One who’s clever, intuitive, and can sense threats better than most adults. Sansa is magnificent, but because her weapons of choice are kindness and courtesy, her strength is so often overlooked.

She’s grown up listening to tales of brave, virtuous men who would take care of her, of tournaments and beauty and courtly love. She drank the misogynistic Kool-Aid in a big way (as a child is wont to do) and, after the death of her father, her awakening is understandably rude. But she so very quickly learns to manage, to survive, to fend for herself in an environment that is just as perilous as the one her sister Arya is facing, and she does it much more successfully than her father ever did. So yes, Sansa is a girl. She’s even a girly girl. She loves dresses and lemon cakes and sweet smelling things. But who exactly decided that was a bad thing, a weak thing?

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Martina Cecilia

Catelyn Stark

“You have courage. Not battle courage perhaps but… I don’t know… a kind of woman’s courage.”

Clear-headed and intelligent, Catelyn stands out as the character who is most consistently aware of the political clime in which she operates. Whether counselling her husband or her son, she offers solid advice based on her experience and resourcefulness, advice that, due to her very conservative roles of wife and mother, often go unheeded. Her son Robb’s dealings with both Theon Greyjoy and Walder Frey would have been vastly different if he lived in a world that hadn’t taught him to consider taking his mother’s advice a sign of weakness. Eddard Stark could very well still be among the living if he’d spent a little more time considering his wife’s point of view.

Despite knowing what the repercussions of her actions will be, she is fiercely committed to the safety of her children, and that in itself is bravery. Time and time again she displays a single-mindedness that, once she is brought back to life and adopts the mantle of Lady Stoneheart, becomes obsessive and potentially destructive. But it is Catelyn’s imperfections that make her so human. Being a devoted mother doesn’t immediately sweep away whatever pettiness and prejudice she may have (and nowhere is that more clear than in her treatment of John Snow). And wanting the best for her children, not to mention vengeance when she believes them all lost to her, blinds her otherwise good judgement. In a perfect world, Catelyn would have been able to protect her brood, but even an undead leader of a band of outlaws can’t anticipate how cruel and unyielding Westeros can be.

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Azim al Ghussein

Cersei Lannister

“Tears, the woman’s weapon, my lady mother used to call them. The man’s weapon is a sword. And that tells us all you need to know, doesn’t it?”

“She had played the dutiful daughter, the blushing bride, the pliant wife… all the while promising herself that one day it would be her turn.”

Let’s be real, Cersei Lannister is fun to hate. Selfish and greedy, perhaps her only redeeming quality is the loyalty she feels for her family. When grasping ambition is coupled with a complete disregard for the welfare of others, you’ve got the makings of a spectacular villain.

For Cersei’s whole life, she’s been taught that her value lies in her youth and beauty, and it’s telling that its in her middle age that she begins to push for something more tangible. She’s fearless, she’s bold, she’s recalcitrant. She’s been denied the true power she thinks she deserves (and she’s right to say she’s her father’s most suitable heir) and it’s made her bitter, resentful, and reckless. And not being able to command true respect has made her unable to know when enough is enough. She’s totally unprepared for the demands of the throne. Coupled with her grief over her family dropping like flies and her growing alcoholism, once she gets her hands on the Iron Throne she becomes a paranoid, ruthless monarch who’s going to alienate the very allies she needs. When, invariably, her kingdoms do fall into ruin, Cersei’s comeuppance is sweet.

True to ASOIAF fashion, Cersei only becomes a point-of view-character once she is no longer the perfect, golden queen, once she has been thoroughly defeated (or so her enemies think). But even time in jail, a naked-and-shorn walk of shame through the city streets, and an impending trial-by-combat can’t cow the lioness.

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Duhita Das

Olenna Tyrell

“All these kings would do a deal better if they put down their swords and listened to their mothers.”

“‘Grandmother, why do they call you the Queen of Thorns?’ The old woman patted her on the cheek. ‘My dear girl,’ she said, ‘what else is left after the roses fall?'”

Though definitely not a primary character, Olenna Tyrell steals every scene the minute she crops up in A Storm of Swords. Clever, sarcastic, and utterly unafraid, it doesn’t take long for the Tyrell matriarch to establish herself as the character to beat when it comes to political machinations or verbal sparring. You aren’t just given “the Queen of Thorns” as a nickname. You have to earn it.

Her family is powerful, wealthy, and has consistently backed the Lannisters into a corner, a fact of which Olenna is perfectly aware. In the later books, there isn’t one King’s Landing plot that, seemingly, doesn’t involve the Tyrells, and under the guidance of Olenna, the family isn’t shy about exerting its considerable influence.

The Tyrells also stand apart for their network of female relationships. Headed by Olenna, there always seem to be several Tyrell nieces and friends there for solidarity. It’s one of the loveliest support systems in the series, and one that is in place due to the respect commanded by the Queen of Thorns. Olenna is too old to waste time and equivocate, and for her no-nonsense attitude, she’s perhaps the most enjoyable character in all the seven kingdoms. (Plus, she is potentially Joffrey’s killer, and that in itself is enough to earn her my undying devotion.)

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BAMFiles: Daria Morgendorffer

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Show of hands, who loves Daria? Okay, that’s what I thought. Everyone loves Daria.

I’ll keep this one short, because I know that as soon as I remind you of this iconic 90s sasspot, you’re going to head off and go rewatch the entire series. Hold on a sec, I’ll be brief.

The main reason I so ardently love Daria is that there’s no one else who so wonderfully captures the disaffected, disappointed boredom of teenhood. It’s a type of distance that’s not so much apathy as it is a failure fully click with the world around you, and it’s a feeling that I’ve continued to identify with well past being a teenager. Plus, Daria does it with razor sharp wit to spare, and I can’t help but admire a good sarcastic peanut gallery, even if those people are tiresome in real life.

But lest we think Daria really doesn’t care, enter her friendship with Jane. The two together are a force to be reckoned with. When Daria is deadpan, Jane goes for sardonic. While Daria is unsurprised when misfortune arises, Jane—sometimes—manages to whip up some righteous fury. Their acceptance of each other is a beautiful thing to behold, as is their unwillingness to let conflict come between them. It’s a best friendship that I think most teens wish they had, and one that, it bears mentioning, is rife with romantic subtext. That’s just how committed to each other they are.

So thank you Daria for showing me that the oddball with the big vocabulary was going to be just fine, even if you probably don’t care.

cheers

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BAMFiles: Kara “Starbuck” Thrace

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So. You all knew Battlestar Galactica‘s Starbuck was going to make an appearance here at some point, right?

Of course she was. Why would hot-headed, hard-headed, best-damn-pilot-in-the-fleet Starbuck not be on this list?

I love everything about her. I love that she’s tough as nails, but has her vulnerabilities. I love that after crash landing on a deserted planet, she can crawl into a Cylon and jumpstart its guts/engine to save herself, but still feels tremendous guilt for past mistakes. I love how she is unquestionably the most talented viper pilot, and never has to prove it. I love her character arc from chaotic hot mess to (debatable) saviour of humanity

She deals with psychological abuse, having her organs harvested, and possibly being a Cylon and/or an angel of death, and somehow, somehow, manages to come out on top.

Is she perfect? Absolutely not. But if anything, Starbuck’s flaws made her more appealing. She’s cocky? Well, she’s got the skills to back it up. She’s one hundred per cent self-destructive and emotionally unavailable? Well, it makes sense for an army brat with an abusive mother to grow up that way. She drinks and smokes and brawls too much? Well, it’s a matter of opinion whether or not that’s actually a bad thing. She’s got a wicked temper? …You got me on that one, but in a show with a lot of emotional bottle-uppers, Starbuck’s blowups can actually be a breath of fresh air.

Basically, nothing you can say about her is going to make me dislike her.

She’s a unique animal, the rare female anti-hero, and it bears mentioning that the original series’ Starbuck was male. There was actually quite a lot of push back against the new, gender-bent version but, as The Mary Sue puts it, the switch ended up being a superb idea:

“The fact that she threw so many gender stereotypes out the window as her role progressed makes the change an even more brilliant idea. The original Starbuck was a cigar-smoking, sex-loving, alcohol-pounding ruffian with an innate talent for flight. And so was the female Starbuck. Why change it? This was a character who never questioned himself, was so (dare I say it) cocksure — why shouldn’t she be the same exact way? She was, and it fracking paid off.”

So say we all.

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Top image is part of Spencer Salberg‘s Strong Female Characters series.

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BAMFiles: Velma Dinkley

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“Velma,” by Yui Martinez

Anyone who’s kept up with my Montreal Comic Con experience (which is everyone, right?) knows that I’m a big Velma fan. I love how talented at mystery-solving she is. I love how she never really seeks out the spotlight. I love that she is flawlessly competent at her job (I’ll forgive her constant losing-her-glasses-and-feeling-around-for-them routine, because I know that feel).

Basically, I could talk about Velma all day, and I shouldn’t be the only one. Everyone should love Velma. Velma had her shit together.

I mean, why on Earth was Fred the leader? You’d think the kid who finds clues, uncovers plots, and unmasks bad guys would be the natural choice. But no. No one ever seemed to appreciate Velma, even though she had her amazing catch phrase (all heroes should have amazing catch phrases).

Though Scooby-Doo‘s sexy lady-smart lady dichotomy was undoubtedly absurd (and even the most recent 2010 reboot fell prey to the trope), I’ll always have a soft spot for “the brains” of any group. Weirdly, Velma’s undergone a bit of a resurgence in popularity. She’s now the poster girl for the “sexy nerd” (it took me a really long  time to find a non-pinupy illustration of her on Tumblr, for example). But regardless of whether she’s being overlooked in favour of Daphne, or being hailed as a sex symbol in her own right, Velma stands out as a character who always had a plan, always had an explanation, and has been kicking ass since 1969.

Velma forever. Velma for president.

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“We’ve got some work to do now,” by Travis Pitts

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BAMFiles: Ursula the Sea Witch

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I’ve been on a bit of a Disney villain kick lately, and I can’t say that I love any of them more than Ursula (though Maleficent is a close second, girl’s got style).

I think it says something about the limited scope of Disney princesses that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve identified more with each dainty little protagonist’s equivalent villainess. And nowhere is that more true than in The Little Mermaid, also known as The Little Whiny Brat who Undergoes Extensive Plastic Surgery for the Sole Purpose of Meeting a Dude.

Honestly? Ursula’s not a bad role model:

Get kicked out of Atlantis? Set up your own lair.

Need to make a living? Prey on people’s insecurities using your powerful magic. (Hey, I never said she wasn’t evil).

Need henchmen? Get Flotsam and Jetsam, possibly the only two evil sidekicks to ever succeed at anything.

Your plan to scam the spoiled little princess needs a boost? Transform yourself into an evil version of her to seduce her one true love. (But not for long, you’re much too fabulous in your original form, hunty).

Have a body type that almost never gets any representation in Disney films (or anywhere)? OWN IT.

Ursula gets. it. done.

And I love her for it.

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Top image by krhart.

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BAMFiles: Emily the Corpse Bride

EmilytheStrange

Welcome to a very special Hallowe’en edition of the BAMFiles! And who better to represent both the strength of a true BAMF and the necessary holiday-levels of spookiness than Emily, Tim Burton’s titular Corpse Bride.

Emily’s story begins in a very conventional way: She falls in love with someone whom her parents don’t approve of, plans to elope with him, and, cruelly, ends up murdered and robbed by her fiancé. Pretty standard murder victim stuff but, in a wonderful subversion of the trope, Emily’s story doesn’t end with her death.

At first, Emily sees a wedding as her salvation. Jilted in the worst way, she wants her (albeit accidental) marriage to Victor to make up for her lost happiness. In an effort to safeguard that future, she even contemplates killing Victor so that they can be together forever. She ultimately reconsiders when she realizes how selfish it would be to rob him of his chance for life and love. In the end, it’s confronting her murderer that liberates Emily. Rescuing Victor, she faces the man who took her life and shows him that he no longer has any power over her.

DIDISTUTTER

You do not mess with Emily.

She’s stronger than she was in life and, by taking her story into her own hands, she’s able to make sure justice is served, and find peace. In the face of pain and betrayal, she stays kind and joyful, and definitely deserves her place in this list.

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