Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Heroines

As promised, I have here my top 10 favorite heroines from period dramas. Enjoy!

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet
1. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
I think that part of the reason for my being drawn to Pride and Prejudice was Elizabeth’s personality. My personality is very similar to Elizabeth’s: I have strong opinions and I stick to them, I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, both of us stick to our morals and convictions, and both of us have a similar sense of humor. I think in all my years of reading, she was probably the first character that really stood out to me as being someone that I've seen in my daily life (in this case, me). In fact, nearly all of Jane Austen's characters are very realistic and very relatable, but Lizzy is probably the most relatable to me. She is such an awesome character: in addition to what I've said above, she is smart, witty, clever, and quick. She's a definite delight to watch/read about.

I think that Jennifer Ehle portrayed Elizabeth's witty personality well and said her lines they way Elizabeth would have said them.

Emma Thompson as
Elinor Dashwood
2. Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)
Elinor is remarkable because she goes through so much (losing her home and having to move far away from it, finding out that the man she loves, Edward Ferrars, is actually engaged to another woman who he doesn’t love, having that very woman constantly rub in her face that she's engaged to Edward, and having to watch her sister’s grief over a bad break-up) and yet she is able to keep a stiff upper lip and does whatever needs to get done. Because her mother and sisters can't put aside their emotions to make important decisions, Elinor steps up to manage many of those important decisions with her sense and reason, even while she's going through all the rough stuff in her life.

I liked both Hattie Morahan's and Emma Thompson's Elinor, but I think that Emma Thompson was closer in acting as Elinor though she was significantly much older than Elinor should have been.

Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit
3. Amy Dorrit (Little Dorrit)
Amy is so sweet! She supports her family very humbly, and even though her family is ungrateful to her (with the exception of her uncle, Frederick Dorrit), she still supports them and obeys her father. Even when her and her family become rich and when her whole family becomes very snobbish (again, the exception of Frederick Dorrit), she still remains very humble and wishes to be useful and helpful despite the fact that everyone around her is telling her to "be a lady" and "do nothing all day."

Claire Foy was wonderful as Amy Dorrit. They did a good job in making her look young and you could believe that she's about 21. She also portrayed the quiet and humble nature of Amy very well.

Felicity Jones as Catherine
4. Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)
Catherine can be a bit imaginative and naive, but at the same time, she is very open and artless: she means what she says (“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”) and she is also always honest, which are both very good qualities. She is a genuine person and could be counted on for an honest answer.

Though I think that there needs to be a better adaptation of Northanger Abbey, I thought that Felicity Jones in the 2007 adaptation portrayed the honest, naive Catherine well, although they should have kept her imaginations down and to more innocent imaginations instead of the ones that could be mature.

Romola Garai as
Emma Woodhouse
5. Emma Woodhouse (Emma)
I’ll admit it, when I first started reading Emma, I found Emma to be very irritating: she seemed to want to control everyone and there were times where you think “Why don’t you just listen to Mr. Knightley?!” But by the time I finished Emma, I grew to really like her character. Yes, she is a bit controlling and thinks she knows everything, but she means well and simply wants to help her neighbors out. She does learn that she never had a talent for matchmaking and is able to realize her mistakes.

Romola Garai is the best Emma that I've seen. Just like when I read the book, I found her Emma to be a little bit irksome, but when the miniseries went on, I grew to like her Emma. She portrayed Emma's well meaning nature very well.

Stella Gonet as Beatrice Eliott
 6. Beatrice Eliott (House of Eliott)
Between Beatrice and Evangeline (Bea and Evie respectively), the two Eliott sisters, I’ve always liked Bea a lot more (though I liked Evie in Series 1, but once she went to Paris, they tried to push that she was more "worldly" and "sophisticated", which got very irritating very quickly). Bea was always a lot more mature and sensible than Evie, who was more childish and based her actions and decisions on her emotions. Bea also had a mind for business, which really sticks out to me since I’m interested in business: she really cared for her business and carefully made decisions concerning her business. She also had the creative mind for fashion and sewing.

Stella Gonet portrayed Bea. She was very elegant and mature in the role of Bea. It was a pleasure to watch her.

Kate Winslet as Marianne
7. Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)
Poor Marianne: she doesn’t quite keep the stiff upper lip that Elinor maintains throughout Sense and Sensibility. When struck with grief, Marianne becomes consumed with this grief to the point that she becomes sick and nearly dies. When she recovers, she realizes that she should not have acted in that way and she becomes determined to mend her ways. Marianne’s self-realization and determination to fix her faults is something that anyone should aspire to obtain.

Kate Winslet was great in her interpretation of Marianne. Though Kate Winslet could be a little over-the-top in her emotional portrayal of Marianne, I think it works since Jane Austen meant to show that Marianne's over-emotional personality is a bit ridiculous.

Elizabeth McGovern as
8. Cora, Countess of Grantham (Downton Abbey)
Cora, Countess of Grantham, was an American who married Robert Crawley, Lord of Grantham. She really cares for her daughters, especially Lady Mary whose chance of finding a husband had been made difficult. She sees that she has to get her daughters married, so she tries to find them suitable husbands (yes, it does sound similar to Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: the difference is that Cora tries to find husbands for her daughters with a great deal more dignity than Mrs. Bennet).

Elizabeth McGovern portrayed Cora in Downton Abbey. She was sweet and very enjoyable to watch. My only issue was that her accent sounded like it was a fake American accent and Elizabeth McGovern is actually American.

Joanne Froggatt as Anna

9. Anna Smith (Downton Abbey)
Anna, one of the top maids in Downton Abbey, is a really hard worker and a sister-figure to Gwen, a younger maid who wants to find another job that would allow her to move up in the world. She also goes to great lengths to find out Mr. Bates’s past to clear his name at Downton. I can't wait to see what's next for her in Season 2!

Joanne Froggatt was Anna in Downton Abbey. She was very caring and it was great to watch a character who was like a "big sister".

Julia Sawalha as
Dorcas Lane
10. Dorcas Lane (Lark Rise to Candleford)
Dorcas has her faults: she is very meddlesome, has a taste for trouble, and, when provoked, she can be very quick with her tongue. At the same time, she just wants to help out her neighbors all while keeping with post office regulations. She has respect for the post office regulations, but if they cause a problem she tries to work around them to help out her neighbors. She also tries to teach Laura Timmins, her cousin’s daughter, the right way to work in a post office. She also tries to maintain a professional appearance even though she might be going through something rough.

 Julia Sawalha, a very well known period drama actress, portrayed Dorcas Lane. I first saw Julia Sawalha as Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice; Dorcas is probably the opposite of Lydia: she has a care for the rules and is very dignified. This shows that Julia Sawalha can be a very versatile actress. She did a great job in Lark Rise to Candleford.


So there's my list. What do you think of it? Would you put some of the same heroines in your own list of favorite heroines? Would there be any that you would add to your list? Leave a comment!

 God Bless, 
 God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. Mmmm, love it! I will have to do this. :) I would add...well, I wouldn't include the ones from the movies I haven't seen. Obviously. But I would add some...mabe Jo March from "Little Women," Marion from "Crimson Roses" (by Grace Livingston Hill), Anne from "Anne of Green Gables"...I don't who all. It will require some thought. Oh, Marty from "Love Comes Softly"...mind you, these are all just choices. I have to think. :) I love that you did this! And I would love to see a hero one. :) of my favorite things.

  2. I love your list and want to make my own. I'll include a link back to this post. So thankful I stumbled across your page - like a safe harbor in a storm. Keep writing :)

  3. Great post! I would have several of those on my list, too. :)


  4. This was a neat idea. Thanks for sharing your favorites. I haven't seen some of these adaptions, I will have to check them out.

  5. I would include Jane Eyre at the top. She is my favorite heroine in all period dramas. And I would have added Anne Shirley as well, as she is SO caring and clever.
    It was fun reading this, as I haven't seen all of them yet!

  6. What a great list! I loved making my favorite heroines list, it's so much fun to post about your favorite characters! I love all of the Jane Austen heroines and they are definitely my favorites on your list. Amy Dorrit has amazing sweetness and strength, she made my list too. I like that you included Dorcas Lane, I really enjoy Lark Rise to Candleford. I'd never thought of including characters from Downton Abbey, but the characters are interesting, especially Anna! What a fun list! I look forward to seeing your heroes list!

    ~Miss Laurie
    Old-Fashioned Charm

  7. I loved this list! The only movies I haven't seen are House of Elliot and Lark Rise to Candleford. I love Elizabeth Bennet, the Dashwoods, Amy Dorrit, and Emma... Oh, yes! We just finished watching Downton Abbey, and Anna is my favorite :)

  8. I just discoverd your site and I think I will love it!
    Here are a my heroines so far (in no particular order)
    Elizabeth Bennet - for her humor
    Anne Elliot - for her truthful heart
    Elinor Dashwood - for her fortitude
    Margaret Hale - for her ability to learn and to change
    Molly Gibson - for all the love she has to give
    Amy Dorrit - for her sweetness
    Lucy Honeychurch - for dumping Cecil
    Anne Shirley - for just being Anne


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