The Feminine Heroic Archetype in Contemporary Epic Fantasy. Daenerys Targaryen, Relentless Heroine and Mother of Dragons




archetype, feminine character, heroine, epic fantasy, Daenerys Targaryen


Epic fantasy is known for its abundant male protagonists, who embody the heroic model inherited from its mythological and legendary tradition. In contrast, female characters are often relegated to the roles of maiden-in-distress or award for the hero. But is there no female character in the current state of the genre who can follow her own heroic archetype? Looking for answers, this essay turns to tradition to develop —from a narratological and literary perspective— a vision of common female archetypes that can evolve toward heroism. From this point, the archetype of the Relentless Heroine is proposed, based on three main traits: one, the rebellion of the female character against the oppressive system; two, the relationship with war, which will shape the different stages of her narrative evolution; and three, the fictional world as a context that will influence her actantial behavior. As a practical application of this archetype, Daenerys Targaryen, character of the series A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin), is analyzed to identify the guidelines that make her a Relentless Heroine, a Mother of Dragons and ultimately a proactive heroine, who does not need a masculine hero.


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How to Cite

Castro Balbuena, A. (2024). The Feminine Heroic Archetype in Contemporary Epic Fantasy. Daenerys Targaryen, Relentless Heroine and Mother of Dragons. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 69, 211–230.



ARTICLES: Literature, film and cultural studies
Received 2023-10-02
Accepted 2024-03-12
Published 2024-06-24