Iconic Female Characters: Bulma and Celaena


In honor of Women’s History Month, Byte is doing a month long Byteing Question about the most iconic female characters and why they matter. Every day two writers will look at two characters that are important to them in many different ways. Today, we look at Bulma and Calaena


by Dalton Martin

Rarely do you ever get to see a fictional character grow and develop from being a teenager to becoming an adult in a series. This is what makes Bulma from the Dragon Ball franchise such an interesting and iconic character.

When we are first introduced to the girl genius, she is nothing but someone looking to use the magical wishing orbs known as the Dragon Balls to summon the perfect boyfriend. Through her journey with Son Goku, she often utilizes her feminine charms and sex appeal to coax unsuspecting males into getting what she needs to continue on her journey. Whether that means flashing an old turtle hermit, or dressing up in a Playboy bunny-esque costume.

As the storyline progresses she takes on a much more adult role of helping the Z-Warriors with all their technical needs and even knocking a few heads around when need be. She volunteers to explore an unknown planet to help bring some dead friends back, and then to top things off, she ends up being the one to tame Vegeta, once she realizes he was never inherently evil.  As soon as she becomes a mother, her transformation into a headstrong wife full of self-pride is complete.

Bulma as a character perfectly personifies how far female characters have come in not only manga, but also in most forms of media. Evolving from a character that was essentially just created as fan-service and turning into an important part for Vegeta’s character development into a genuine good guy.  As we age, we ultimately change our personalities, and Bulma highlights that perfectly, and that is why she is such an iconic character.


by Meghan Duffy 

Ah the YA genre, home to so many terrible books and tropey female protagonists. Throne of Glass breathes fresh air into the genre with its Fire Breathing Bitch Queen, Celaena Sardothien. In the beginning of the series Celaena is a character with a very human goal, to become free again.

Her entire life she had been serving under somebody, whether it had been the King Of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel, slavers when she had been enslaved in the Endovier salt mines, or to the King of Adarlan as his assassin. In later books her goals shift and become more lofty as more gets shoved upon her, but at her very core she is a very human character who can be petty, selfish and rude.

Frequently when female characters are assassins suddenly they become this awful femme fatale character. They seem powerful and capable, but in the end they’re useless, something for a male character to end up with and to make him or another character seem stronger. Celaena defies that trope.

She’s beautiful and she gets together with many different men throughout the books. She even used an old enemy’s attraction to her as a way to take him down in a later book, but despite that she never falls under that awful femme fatale trope. She has an actual personality that stretches beyond “I’m so sexy and dark and powerful but look at this man, I’m going to fall in love with him and none of my power will ever be useful again.”

Celaena is never treated like a perfect human being. She’s passionate about the people she cares about, but her passion frequently becomes self-destructive. Many of her troubles have stemmed from her passion, the people she loves the most become the most effective weapons against her, and when they’re put in danger she becomes irrational. She’s also vain, she’s meticulous about how she presents herself and has a love of expensive clothes, expensive jewelry, and expensive sweets. Yet that stems from her upbringing, she wants to feel like a normal teenager and the way she gains that is through vanity. If more YA books could have female leads like Celaena, or like any of the characters in Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series, they would be a million times better. Celaena is a character that feels like she could actually exist. She’s not flat or too perfect, she struggles and she learns, she’s vain but so are many real people. She’s feminine but she’s strong, and that’s so important to see. She’s truly the Fire Breathing Bitch Queen that YA books need.


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