One of my favorite literary heroes of all time is Aerin-sol of Damar, also known as the Dragonkiller. She’s the main character of Robin McKinley’s fantasy novel, The Hero and the Crown. The book tells the story of how Aerin goes from an awkward princess who would rather be ignored by the Royal Court, due the dubious heritage of her late mother, to a warrior who wields a magical sword and saves her entire kingdom from the invasion of a demon army.
There are many things that I love about Aerin. She does many brave things, sometimes foolhardy, but often they are backed up by careful thought. She learns how to fight dragons effectively from studying an ancient history text in the library while she is recovering from an illness. Then she tests her methods with scientific precision until she perfects them. Any warrior who uses her brains as much as her strength is inspiring. (more…)