Kicking off International Women’s Month, we look at some of our favourite females forged in the flame! We have always thought of fire as something that burns or destroys senselessly. But fire also renews and revitalises us, blazing away at the old versions of ourselves until we’re something stronger. The phoenix rising from the fire to emerge from the ashes is the perfect description of fire as the ultimate cleanser and a medium that purifies us, ready for a completely new beginning. Popular culture has used this element to describe some of the more mystical and awesome transformations of fictional characters into becoming something more dangerous.
(Note this list is not definitive and includes more commercially successful characters)
Game of Thrones – Daenerys Targaryen
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWyjsRmHb1I
Khaleesi. Mother of dragons. Breaker of chains. The Unburnt. Daenerys Targaryen emerging from the swooping flames of her husband’s funeral pyre, three newborn dragons perched atop her shoulders was a scene stealing moment, immortalised in the history of fantasy films and media. Primarily, this scene is renowned for its its astounding special effects and soundtrack of epic proportions that has now been ingrained in the mind of the Game of Thrones audience, making Daenerys a fan favourite from that moment on. However this event resonated within the hearts of viewers as they saw Daenerys’ transformation from a scared, young bride into a warrior queen with mythical beasts as her allies. As a woman who had lost everything, from the death of her brother, her husband and the loss of her unborn child, Daenerys had walked into the flames a desperate, angry and destroyed woman. She had no reason to suppose she would live after that and was satisfied to spend her afterlife with Khal Drogo, her “sun and stars”.The reason our heroine survived was due to the effect of blood magic she was invoking as her husband’s pyre was also burning the witch Mirri Maz Duur. This blood sacrifice, along with the magic of her dragon’s eggs being born as she lay them down next to the fire, created the perfect storm of sorcery that left her unburnt. While she may have lost a son, her transformation from the fire turned her into a mother of these three newly-hatched dragons, earning their eternal loyalty and becoming a leader to Drogo’s army. Her rebirth from the fire symbolises her inner strength and power and showed that despite the raging fire literally consuming her, she comes out unscathed with a burning ambition to take over the land of Westeros.
X-Men – Jean Grey
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUUBjA7yyRQ
The Phoenix Force is describes as “the embodiment of the very passion of Creation – the spark that gave life to the Universe, the flame that will ultimately consume it” The Phoenix is among the most feared being in all of existence with the ability to cut and regrow any part of the universe as well as destroy it entirely. When the Force found a mind that resonated with its energy, the mind of a human that transcended the physical realm, it was not surprising that it belonged to the Class 5 mutant, Jean Grey. Since a tender young age, she has always possessed limitless power and with it, an incredible responsibility to control it, lest she risk destroying herself and everyone else she loved. Jean Grey is a telepath with powerful telekinetic and psionic abilities that allow her to manipulate energy and levitate things with her mind. Already an astoundingly powerful mutant on Earth, she was exposed to deadly radiation from a solar flare after returning from a mission in space, absorbing the Phoenix Force and briefly attaining her ultimate potential as a telepath and telekinetic, transforming into a being of pure thought and becoming “Phoenix”. This is the pivotal moment that led to the epic Dark Phoenix saga where Jean finds herself overwhelmed by the Force, renaming herself “Dark Phoenix”. She becomes an unstoppable force of nature, with an unbreakable will and spirit, demonstrating immense power as she launches herself into outer space and devours the energy of the nearby D’Bari star, causing a supernova which kills the entire population of the only civilised planet orbiting the star. Jean’s grit and determination to maintain herself though her psyche is being battered by the eternal power of the Dark Phoenix Force is admirable and showcases the fire that swirls within her, deep reserves of strength and power that we the viewers, hope lie within us as well.
Charlie McGee – Firestarter
Image source: http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/firestarter/44736/revisiting-the-film-of-stephen-kings-firestarter
Two young, cash-strapped college students sign up to be subjects of a top secret government experiment. These students go on to date, marry and give birth to a beautiful daughter. This young girl shows signs of a horrifying force growing within her that allows her to start immense fires with her brain and this government agency wants its brainchild back for its own maniacal ends. Firestarter, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s science fiction classic blazed the silver screen for its original and unique storyline, stellar special effects and Drew Barrymore’s precocious and lovable personality as Charlie McGee, the young pyrokinetic who is on the run with her father from the sinister government sector referred to only as The Shop while struggling to contain her own powers. Charlie’s explosive power over flames is symbolic of the passion and angst that haunts the young girl who struggles to cope with the death of her mother and her new-found refugee status from a government who is supposed to protect her. Her thoughts have become a bonfire and these manifest into a fiery expression from the tango of emotions from within. While Charlie herself manipulates and controls the flames, her father Andy McGee demonstrates his own fiery love and devotion for his daughter by protecting and nurturing her after the brutal murder of her mother as they make a trek across the United States to escape their enemies.
Written by Aishwarya Adaikalaraj