5 Underrated Female Character  Archetypes in Fantasy 

Fantasy has been loved and around since humanity existed. Although George MacDonald is credited as the father of modern fantasy, earlier history indicates that fantasy is older than that. It began with the mythos—Norse, Irish, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman mythology—about how the earth came to be. 

Unfortunately, the fantasy genre has many familiar tropes we can stand to see less of. We have witnessed enigmatic seers and mentors who pass their will onto the next generation—classic character archetypes that may never go out of style. 

However, there are also character archetypes that we can see more of. Having them featured more brings a fresh narrative and genre perspective. 

Here are some fantasy tropes for female characters that we’d love to see more of! 

Traditionally Feminine Ladies 

We’ve seen the tomboy character. She’s usually a badass: good at combat fighting with weaponry or dreams to escape the life of glittering jewels, political alliances, and intrigue she was born into. Bonus: NBA Odds are that she usually has a friend or sister who is written into the narrative as a foil character to her. The foil character written for her is someone who is more feminine than her and likes more traditionally “girly” things – boys, sewing, embroidery, flowers, dancing, and socializing. 

Disclaimer: we’re not saying that tomboy characters are flawed. We’re saying that this archetype of foil feminine character can bring so much more to the table and narrative, mainly if she is utilized well and written as a complex person instead of being a plot device to illustrate how much of a better person/character the tomboy other character is. 

One shining example is Margaery Tyrell in the fantasy television show Game of Thrones. She operates within the bounds of traditional Southron femininity within Westeros. What makes her even more devious is that it contrasts so nicely against the traditionally patriarchal setting of Westerosi society. Margaery did not need to touch a sword for us to like her or show us that she was an influential political player; all she needed to do was smile and say a nice word to the faces of different political players. A latter example is Sansa Stark in the latter book series. She makes her femininity her weapon and armor.

Reluctant Heroine

The reluctant hero/heroine is the trope of the main character who does not want to save the world—this is someone who wants to live an everyday life. These main characters take a while before fully committing to the goal/destiny awaiting them. 

Mirajane Strauss from the fantasy anime and manga Fairy Tail is a good example. When she was 13, she lost her parents. However, despite her great potential and raw magical power, she lost interest in fighting after her sister’s demise. She only commits to fighting to protect those who mean the world to her. 

Another one who may be more well-known is Katniss Everdeen, from the beloved The Hunger Games series. Although not precisely fantasy, she is an excellent example of a reluctant heroine. Her desires may not change, but as the narrative expands and progresses, her character receives a lot of positive and realistic development.

The Ambassadress

According to Tvtropes, the Ambassadress (specifically, the Ambassador) is a skilled negotiator. These character types are good at handling red tape and bureaucracy and will use violence at the last minute.

Joseph from Dragon Age certainly plays a part in Dragon Age: Inquisition. She knows how Orlesian politics work and understands how important it is to get the backing of influential figures in the Inquisition. Another would be Padme Amidala, who was active as a diplomat and fighter, especially during the Battle of Theed, Battle of Geonosis, and other engagements during the Clone Wars.

Redeemed Villainess

Sadly, many female villains are given one-dimensional roles. They are given more agency and character development through redemption, which can be opportunities to explore forgiveness, growth, and second chances. 

Instead of relegating female villains to one-dimensional roles, allowing them opportunities for redemption and character development can be a powerful narrative choice, exploring themes of forgiveness, growth, and second chances. 

A male example would be Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. His arc was written organically, a testament to growth being non-linear. 

The Woman Aligned To STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

The next underrated trope is the woman of STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She does not use magic or a weapon but uses her intellect and skill in STEM.

In Honkai Star Rail, Ruan Mei fulfils this role alongside Herta. The two are members of the Genius Society. The former aspires to become brilliant and an Aeon. Her creations destroyed Firefly’s planet. 

Wrapping Up

We’ve now listed underrated female character archetypes in fantasy! It’d be excellent to see more of them as fully realized people, as more of them can challenge stereotypes and promote character diversity within fiction!