Book Series Protagonists Face-Off: Boy vs Girl

by First Mate Keira

When it comes to reading book series everybody has an opinion on the different aspects of the story. Some readers prefer third over first person writing and others the exact opposite. Some prefer boy protagonists over girl protagonists. It’s all a question of taste.

A while ago when I was in college a friend of my mine told me he doesn’t like book series with girls as the main character. He would avoid them if he could. This really surprised me because I wasn’t about to say no to Harry Potter just because it featured a boy as the main character. I think his validation in the end was that series with boys as the main protagonist have more action in them. Do you agree?

Another friend only reads stories with girls as the main character, because she feels most stories with boys as the main character are gory. She also doesn’t like crude humor or potty jokes which can often be found in them. When I heard this I thought she was talking about Mulch Diggums from Artemis Fowl as he’s the only one that stands out to me. Honestly? I don’t really notice it. Do you?

As for myself I’m in the middle. I think it depends on the story if the main character should be a boy or a girl. I couldn’t see Harry Potter as Harriet Potter. I couldn’t see Bella Swan (Twilight) as Bernard Swan. It just wouldn’t work. The story would change so dramatically because of a gender switch.

[poll id=”19″]

Your Turn: Face off time! Which is better stories where the main character is a boy or a girl?

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  1. I agree! It defiantly depends on the story plot. But if I had to choose, it would probably be a girl protagonist because I would be able to relate to them more and be able to think about being in their shoes in the same situation.

  2. Matt Mack

    Is it possible that we don’t see Harry as Harriet Potter or Bella Swan as Bernard Swan because the characters exist? They’ve already been created so therefore it’s hard to see them any other way.

    I agree that choosing the sex of the protagonist lies in the story one wants to write. In addition it’s all about the character. If the character has hero or heroine qualities and readers can relate to that character it isn’t really going to matter.

    The gender-specific stereotypes that you mentionedif it’s true for a lot of books are unfortunate. Because it provides a fantasy, but a falsified one. Meaning it only furthers the stereotype.

    The one stereotype that I see most often, even if the protagonist is a girl is that she has to be rescued by a male, normally of greater power than she is, be it royalty, wizard or otherwise. The classic “damsel in distress”

    I’m not one for those types of stories, and it’s probably because of the women in my family immediate and extended. I don’t know any women in my family that I would see as a damsel in distress. My two first cousins and sister are all very strong women. All three are opinionated and pretty much will tell you like it is. Not to say they are mean, far from it, they are loyal, caring and girly but if put in a damsel in distress situation, they’d need no one, guy to rescue them.

    Which is why I chose to write a story with a young, strong and drivingly determined female protagonist that while skilled in medieval time combat is also very human like with flaws and weaknesses.

    If you’ve noticed, I have I think, that strong female characters is on the rise in literature and film mediums. A few Examples:
    -True Grit: The character Maddie is very strong and outspoken – a rarity in that time period.
    -Hermione Grainger: Strong, intelligent, humorous and loyal. Still has fears and flaws.
    -Katniss Everdeen: Have not read the books, but they sound interesting and I hear Katniss is very intelligent and strong in her own right.

    Not that strong female protagonists are anything new, it’s just I feel they’re becoming more and more popular and why not? 🙂

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