Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

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Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, share in the comments!

Fandom Friday-Tamora Pierce and Tortall

The Fandom Friday is a weekly feature, try with each blog post written by a new contributor.

This is the weekly post where either myself, information pills or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. I’m very excited about this segment.

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or contact me HERE

Today’s blogger is…me!

Yeah, no one has volunteered to write a Fandom Friday :( So I’m writing another one.

So if you want to write one, definitely let me know, it’ll be GREAT.

But today I’m going to focus on a fandom that I am insanely passionate about and that has been around for decades and yet, people just don’t seem to know about it.

The Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

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The Tortall books are all fantasy, young adult novels told in the same realm, the country of Tortall. They are written by an amazing woman by the name of Tamora Pierce, who has been writing books set in this realm since 1983. They are pure fantasy, set in a realm full of magic, knights in shining armor, magical creatures like centaurs and griffins and dragons, and are exciting, addicting and hilarious all at the same time.

There are fives series in the Tortall realm. They are: The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, The Tricksters and The Legend of Beka Cooper series. 

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The first series is The Song of the Lioness, the first book published in 1983: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man and Lioness RampantThis follows the story of Alanna of Trebond who is about to go to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady, while her twin brother Alan goes to the palace to learn how to be a knight. However, neither one of them wants this: Alanna is the warrior, and Alan wishes to be a great sorcerer. So they switch places, and Alanna disguises her gender in order to become a knight. The four books follow her adventures as she struggles to hide her identity and to pass all the tasks required to become a knight, and to protect her kingdom.

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The Immortals, first published in 1992, are as followed: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods. This series follows Veralidaine Sarrasri, also just known as Daine. Daine comes to a fair in Galla, to escape her home and the devastation that was left behind: her mother, her grandmother and all her animal friends were killed by bandits. But Daine has a secret, and she thinks that it makes her mad: she has a knack when it comes to animals. She takes good care of them, they seek her out, and sometimes, she even feels like she is one. It scares her and she keeps this a secret until she meets Numair, a powerful mage, who tells her that she has Wild Magic, and she has the abilities to heal, to shape-shift and to become one of the most powerful Wildmages ever. As she’s learning this, the country of Tortall is suddenly purged with immortal beings like centaurs, griffins, spidrens and more, and not all of them are friendly. Daine is determined to use her powers to help save the country that has taken her in.

Protector of the Small

The third series in the Tortall realm is The Protector of the Small, the first book published in 1999, and are as followed: First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight. This follows the story of Keladry of Mindelan, or just Kel, as she becomes the first girl in over a hundred years to step forward to try for her knighthood, that doesn’t have to hide her gender, like Alanna did. When she gets though, she learns its a lot harder than she had first imagined, especially since most of the boys in her page class are making it very difficult for her to complete and pass all her tasks. Even the training master is making her life difficult, giving her a probation year, something no other page ever has to complete, making her try for knighthood harder than anyone else’s. Then there’s some brewing at the border of the nearby country of Scanra, and a war seems to be coming, and Kel is determined to be ready for it.

Daughter of the Lioness

The Trickster books, first published in 2003, are Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. They follow the story of Alianne, or Aly, who is the daughter of the great knight, Alanna. She is sixteen, surrounded by so many successful people, like her mother, her father, the king and queen, her aunt Daine the Wildmage, her uncle Numair, the greatest sorcerer, her brother Thom who is studying to be a mage and her twin, Alan, is going for his knighthood. But Aly wants to be a spy, and her parents do NOT approve of that for a noble born girl. After a fight with her mother, she takes her ship out to sea to avoid her and gets kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles. When she gets there, she stumbles upon an underground rebellion, of the dark skinned raka trying to take their country back from the white skinned luarin. When a god by the name of Kyprioth asks her to keep a pair of half raka, half luarin girls safe, she is thrown in the middle of the rebellion, using her skills to help pull it all together.

Beka Cooper

The last series is the The Legend of Beka Cooper series, which is actually a prequel, and these were written first in 2006, and are Terrier, Bloodhound and MastiffThese follow the story of, you guessed it, Beka, who is an ancestor of George Cooper, who is an important character in the Song of the Lioness series. Beka has joined the police force called the Provost Dogs, and when she first joins, well, she doesn’t really do that well. But she is assigned to the best pair of Dogs there is: Clary and Mattes, and they teach her to become a great Dog. Each novel has a varying story, and Beka has to track down counterfeiters, she has to chase down prince kidnappers and so on. Its told all in journal format, so you get all of Beka’s point of view on her struggles to become a Dog, and to keep her position, and to use her skills to catch criminals, back when women were allowed to do that.

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I first discovered these books when I was 16, when I picked up Trickster’s Choice because it mentioned pirates on the inside cover. I had a seriously ridiculous obsession with pirates back then, and so I decided to read the book. When I discovered that basically all it was that Aly was kidnapped by pirates and they were only mentioned for about two pages, I was confused but I kept reading and I ended up absolutely LOVING the book, and dying for the sequel.

Because of this book, I met my pen pal, Chloe, who I have now been writing to for nine years. She is one of my absolute best friends and I can’t imagine not having this writing relationship with her. However, she informed me that I get a little ahead of myself and that there were THREE series before Trickster’s Choice. So I had to catch up, and I eventually did, though I knew a lot of spoilers because I had gone out of order.

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying each and every book that I had read. Tamora Pierce is a goddess, and she is an amazing writer who creates these amazing stories with strong, relatable female heroines, way before this golden age of young adult literature even occurred. Tammy was writing about strong female characters back in the 1980s before Hermione Granger or Katniss Everdeen or Clary Fray even existed in the minds of the authors who wrote them.

First off, the characters are all amazing: Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly and Beka. They are all wicked badass characters. They are knights, and mages, and spies and warriors and detectives. They can wield weapons and track animals, and heal and do magic. They can fight battles, and win duels and take down enemies, through fights or through stealth. They are all wickedly funny, and relatable. You see them struggle with the same sort of problems that any girl from the age of ten to the age of 18 struggles with: first crushes, your first period, getting boobs, losing your virginity, the struggle of your identity, your self esteem and your confidence in how you look. They get to do all these super awesome things but they are just as real as you and me.

And the world of Tortall is so awesome. Its so knights and shining armor like the King Arthur stories but SO much better, because its all so relatable. This is a country that I want to live in, especially because as time goes on, the kingdom becomes more…liberal, if you will. This is a kingdom that cares about the people that live there, and wants to take care of them, and wants them to be healthy and safe and educated. They allow women to enter into the knighthood or the King’s Guard or the Queen’s Riders. They educate all their poor classes. And it just sounds like an awesome place to live. Huge palace, tiny little towns, castles on the edge of the sea, forests, beaches, everything. It sounds WONDERFUL.

So I’ve literally talked your face off now, but these are some of my absolute favorite books ever. Tamora Pierce is my top favorite author, tied with JK Rowling. She is absolutely brilliant and she’s a writer that has been around for decades, and will continue to impress me with every book that she writes. I have never met her, but I hope one day TO meet her, because I’d probably cry with happiness because she’s just so amazing. I recommend these books to everyone, but especially young girls because these characters are great role models and I just think that these books are over looked all the time. I think more readers should be reading these books, instead of others that will remain nameless.

So please, please check these out! You will not be disappointed.

And stay tuned in for more Fandom Fridays!

And check out last week’s on The Lux Series!

Tuesday Top Ten-Fictional Places to Live

Hello everyone! How’s it going? I hope you are all fantastic and happy and all that.

I’m pretty happy. Things have been…just really good lately. I’ve been really working my butt off to do things that I want to do. I am almost done with this semester of school and I feel that I did well in both of my classes. I am working on this blog harder than ever, store working on getting it out there, ed getting my hands on ARCs and getting interviews with authors, doctor and making it as awesome as possible for you guys that read it. I’m also working hard on my third novel, the novel that I really want to be good and successful, because I want to look for an agent this summer and maybe get my book sold :)

Its also going to be my blog’s one year birthday on Thursday, which is SO exciting and I can’t wait to share the super AWESOME giveaway that will be coming your way in celebration of it all.

I also have a really cool interview with Unremembered author, Jessica Brody, coming VERY soon :)

So things are doing good.

But now on to the purpose of this blog post: The Tuesday Top Ten!

One thing that is really great about books is the worlds that they create. Authors have a way of creating worlds that are so real and so believable and you can’t help but just want to be a part of them. You wish these worlds were real because in your mind, they are real. You can pick up a book and escape into these fantastic worlds and these fantastic places and its just awesome.

So here are some of the fictional places that I wish were real!

10. Westeros-Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

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Okay, I realize that so far, Westeros isn’t exactly the most fun place to live. You have all these people dying and political strife and this crazy weather thing where you have years of summer and years of winter. But I love the world the George R.R. Martin creates in his Song of Ice and Fire series. Because we get such a realistic world but with such fantastical things as well. We have political strife, and castles, and holdings and a kingdom and knights and all those sort of things but we also hive these gigantic wolves and the white walkers and dragons and its just a world that is so dark and sexy and desirable, despite all the bad shit that is going down in these books. Its that knights and castles and kings and queens world that you loved when you were a kid but better because it recognizes the adult world, and that there was famine and diseases and whore houses. I don’t know, I like it a lot because of both the fantasy and realistic nature of it. I’d be super down to live there…except the whole winter thing. I’m not a big fan of winter.

9. The Shire-The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings

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If anyone makes a comment on my height, I’ll punch them in the face. Especially since I wouldn’t doubt that most hobbits are actually taller than me. How tall are hobbits anyway? I’d probably fit in so well there. I think I want to live in the Shire of all places in Middle Earth because it has such a homey feel to it. I love Rivendell, and how absolutely gorgeous it is but its very…intimidating, I think is the word I’m looking for. Its too much for me to handle. But there’s something comfortable and homey and familiar about the Shire. And the houses are so cute. I would love to live in a little hobbit hole. In the Shire, its all about food and happiness and reading and relaxing and who wouldn’t be into that, especially since I do love reading and I do love food :) It just seems like a very pretty and pleasant place to live. And who knows, maybe I could become best friends with Bilbo or Frodo and go on epic adventures…though I think I’d rather go on adventures with Bilbo and not Frodo. Bilbo had the less scary adventure. And I really want to have a pet rabbit named Bilbo Bunny…okay, I’m getting off topic…

8. Narnia-The Chronicles of Narnia

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I really like Narnia because even when things are going down, its still a pretty and gorgeous world with talking mice and centaurs and beavers and badgers and all that. I’ve already kind of made it clear that I’m not the biggest fan of the books; I understand it was the times but C.S. Lewis had some serious issues with girl characters, especially Susan. And its a little too religious for my tastes. But I do really enjoy the movies and I think they picked some gorgeous locations to shoot the movie. I remember when I watched The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time and the Pevensie children leave Narnia when they’re older and I’m like “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!?!” I was so mad. I think Narnia is appealing because its such a magical world. It gives me the same kind of feeling that Disneyland does, that feeling of magic and imagination and that feeling of being a kid again and feeling like anything is possible, like children leaders or talking animals and centaurs and good overcoming evil and that sort of thing. Its nice to disappear into such a wholesome and wonderful world for a little bit.

7. Camp Half-Blood-Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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I want to go to Camp Half-Blood so badly! I want to be a demigoddess so badly! I’ve always been fairly obsessed with Greek myths; there’s just something so fascinating about them. I wish I had been born in those times, those were the kind of gods and goddesses that I could really get behind. But I really enjoy the stories especially when you learn how they are the root of some of the words we use or the myths and superstitions that we know now and things like that. They’re really fun stories, especially since these gods and goddesses…they aren’t these perfect beings, they make mistakes too. But anyway, I’d be pretty stoked to have a god/goddess as a parent and have these super cool powers and go on adventures and live in this super cool camp with all these other children who have god parents too. I mean, sit around at home, watching TV and basically do nothing on summer vacation or go to this cool camp where you learn to fight and harness your powers and play a badass version of Capture the Flag and all that? I think you know which one I would pick. I would really like to be Artemis‘s daughter too. I know, not possible, since she swore to be a maiden, and to abstain from men and she would never have a child but…Artemis is such a badass. I remember wanting to name a pet “Artemis” once and my mom was just like “Seriously?” Yes, seriously. Greek myths are awesome and Camp Half-Blood would be a super cool place to live.

6. Enchanted Forest-Once Upon a Time

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I LOVE fairy tales and I would love to live in the Enchanted Forest, where all the fairy tale characters come together and basically live in one spot, especially since Once Upon a Time makes all the girl characters super awesome and kickass. I mean, Snow White? I love her and all but in the Disney movie, she’s SO annoying and she’s SO incredibly dumb in the original story. Ginnifer Goodwin‘s Snow White is super awesome and battle ready and just as strong as the Prince Charming she comes to love. Belle is whip smart, and ready to do what she needs to do to help her father and her kingdom. Red Riding Hood is a werewolf, who learns how to harness her transformation and use it as a tool of survival and battle. Ella (Cinderella) is a whole lot stronger in the show, and is ready to do anything to preserve her family. All of the characters are so different in this show than any other adaptation we see of them. And I’d love to live in this place where magic and fairy tales are real but in a way that I can enjoy them and in a way where I can learn from these seriously amazing and strong female characters. Even though Regina, the Evil Queen, is an evil character, you can still even empathize with her and you can still see her as a strong character. Again, its one of those magical worlds that you’d love to live in.

5. The Queendom of the Fells-Seven Realms Series
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I think a big reason why I would love to live in Cinda William Chima‘s Queendom of Fells is because…well its called the Queendom! The lineage passes through the women of the royal family, not the men, which I find to be VERY interesting and something that we don’t see often. I love that the reason behind is because they worship the first woman of the line, Hanalea, who was their savior. Throughout the year, they hold steadfast confidence in Hanalea and her line of successors and even when things start to get rocky, there are still so many people who are by Raisa‘s side and helping her and supporting her, even though she is only a sixteen year old royal. I also like the diversity that Cinda creates in her kingdoms especially between the people of the capital and then the wizards and the clans. We don’t get this straight across the board sort of country but a country that is full of diverse people. She creates kind of your typical white kingdom with royals and nobles and balls and that sort of thing but she throws the clans in there, and I love the clans because they have such different feels to them. I feel like they have some Native American to them, maybe some African, even some of the Asian cultures as well. I’d be really interested in exploring the very corners of this realm.

4. Tortall-Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Trickster series, Beka Cooper series

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I would absolutely positively die to live in the Tortall realm. Tamora Pierce has written five series that take place in the realm of Tortall (although, admittedly, one mostly takes place in the Copper Isles but the main character is FROM Tortall), and she has created five extremely strong female main protagonists. You have Alanna who disguises herself as a boy for eight years in order to earn her shield and become a knight, the first female knight in a hundred years. You have Daine who has an incredible magical ability to communicate with animals, heal them and to shape shift into any animal of her choice and who is incredibly brave and intelligent and uses it to defend the country she loves. You have Keladry who is the first female to openly try out for her shield to become her knight and to earn her place rightfully. You have Aly, who earns her place as a rebellion spymaster to restore a country’s rightful owners back in place and overthrown the tyrant rulers. Then you have the prequel stories of Beka, who is a soldier of the Provost Dogs, who is fantastically intelligent and brave and able to solve crimes and bring the bad guys down in a time, long before Alanna and Daine, and the rest were even alive. Add in magic, fair and just king and queens, knights and dragons and griffins, fancy dresses, adventures, horses and all sorts of awesome stuff and who on earth wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?

3. Idris-The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices

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Idris. Alicante. The City of Glass. The home country for Shadowhunters, their Jerusalem. A small country nestled in Europe, unnoticed by all us mundanes, its a place of beauty and of a world that holds on to the past in looks, while the bustling world goes on around them. In a world where we have square, boring builds, traffic and smog, there’s Idris, a small beautiful country where the Shadowhunters can be themselves and hold a little bit of Mother Earth’s beauty to themselves. And there’s something so appealing and magical about a place that is called the City of Glass. It is very old school. It reminds me of an old French town or Venice, Italy. I imagine canals and little houses and shops and this beautiful private community of extraordinary people. I want to be a Shadowhunter only less than I want to be a wizard or a Jedi and I think the fact that they have this small hidden away country is so awesome. I would love to grow up there, have a country home where I could have a horse to get around and I could learn what it took to be a Shadowhunter and go to dances in Alicante and feel safe and at home. It just seems like a wonderful place to live.

2. The Universe-Star Wars/Doctor Who/Star Trek/Etc. 

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I know, Sara, way to narrow it down there. I mean the universe, the galaxy, as in Doctor Who or Star Wars or even the new Star Trek. There is something really amazing about the fact that there is SO much out there, so many planets and stars and galaxies and there could be absolutely anything out there. There’s so much out there to explore. I wish I lived in a world like Doctor Who or Star Trek where they can explore these worlds and learn new things and see what else is out there besides just us. We are so centered on this planet, we think of ourselves as so important and big but we are so tiny in the grand scheme of things. There is so much out there that we don’t know about and I think it would be an amazing thing to have a TARDIS or a Millennium Falcon or an Enterprise to take us around to see these new worlds and to go on adventures and see the other beauties of the universe. I’m not going to lie, I think I’d be pretty scared at the idea of open space but also incredibly excited as well. The possibilities of the universe are absolutely endless. And when you’re with the Doctor or the Rebel Alliance, you really have the chance to make a difference, to save lives and have incredible adventures.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-Harry Potter series

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There is literally no other place in the world, both real and fiction, that I would rather be than this school. When you’re 9/10 years old and you’ve just moved from a roomy house to a house with your grandparents where you are sharing a room with your five brothers and sisters and your parents are fighting all the time, and you go to school and you’re teased all the time because, let’s face it, you’re not very girlie and aren’t really sure how to dress yourself properly and you have your nose in a book all the time and reading just isn’t cool, and life just seems to SUCK all the time…and you pick up this book and you find this incredible, amazing world…who wouldn’t fall in love? I would love to go to Hogwarts. I would love to learn magic and explore this ancient and fantastic castle and learn about hippogriffs and unicorns and make crazy potions and all of those things. These books have taught me more than anything else has and Hogwarts was the home that I would go to when reality just seemed to suck too bad, and its where I continue to go when life sucks and I’ve had a bad day. There’s a line in Deathly Hallows where Harry is looking up at Hogwarts castle and recognizing it as his home, as the home of Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys. That part gets to me every single time. Its a home for all of us, JKR created a home for us all. “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” is what she said at the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere and she is so right. There is no place I’d rather be than at Hogwarts :)

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Top Ten! What fictional places would you like to live or hang out at? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out the previous Top Ten Lists I have made!

Check back in the next couple of days for exciting things, like an interview with Jessica Brody and a HUGE giveaway for my blog’s first birthday!

How Tamora Pierce Changed My Life

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Today, order I really started thinking of Tamora Pierce. She just won the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Library Association. If there is anyone in this world that deserves that award, what is ed it is her. Her first novel, Alanna: The First Adventure, came out in the early 80s. She continues to publish novels, and they continue to dazzle her readers.

I first picked up one of her books when I was sixteen years old, nine years ago. I picked up Trickster’s Choice at Target, for two reasons. One, it was only about ten dollars, which was great. I was sixteen without a job so ten dollars was awesome to me. Two, there was mention of pirates in the book flap describing the book. I had an unhealthy obsession with pirates back then. Really, it was very, very unhealthy.

Anyway, the book ended up having absolutely nothing to do with pirates except for the fact that it is briefly mentioned in the beginning that the main character is kidnapped by pirates.

But besides that mistake, it ended up being such a fantastic book. I could go on and on about it but I did a Book of the Week post about it AGES ago and you can check it out here.

A few months later, the sequel to Trickster’s Choice came out, Trickster’s Queen, and I fell in love all over again with Tamora Pierce’s writing. Then an amazing thing happened: my love of this two part series gained me a pen pal, Chloe, who I have been writing (yes, snail mail!) for nearly 9 years now. She is a HUGE Tammy fan and introduced me to the fact that the Trickster series was the fourth Tortall series by Pierce.

So I went back and read the Daughter of the Lioness series, the Immortals series, and the Protector of the Small series. Then I reread the Trickster series again. Then I anticipated and enjoyed her new series, the Beka Cooper series, taking place in the past, before the events that we’ve come to know in the other series.

And the fact is, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Tamora Pierce and her fantastic books in it.

One, there’s the fact that it brought one of my closest friends in the entire world to me. Sure, Chloe and I live on opposite sides of the world; me, in California, Chloe, in Australia. We have never actually met in person. But we’ve been writing to each other for nearly a decade. We’ve read the same books, enjoyed the same movies, and gone through so much together in the world of handwritten letters. I give her books and she gives me books. She is one of my best friends, hands down, and it came from a mutual love of Tamora Pierce.

Tammy also gives me such a confidence in myself and my writing and its because of how long she has been writing. The woman has been around for decades, writing fantastic books, and sure, she’s not turning her books into movies and hitting the red carpet, but she’s been an overwhelming and inspirational presence in the young adult literature and fantasy worlds. She’s always there, and with every single book, she only gets better. She is a force to reckon with and I believe that I can do, because she did it, and continues to do it.

Plus there’s the pure and undeniable fact that she is a FANTASTIC writer. She takes us into a fantasy world that’s both new and yet familiar. She makes you really believe that these places and people and things are all real. You can’t even convince yourself that it isn’t real. Some fantasies that I’ve read before are the same thing over and over again, or they’re just too complicated for me to wrap my head around. I mean, sometimes I just get tired of reading about forbidden romances and fallen angels. It gets old. But Tammy’s stories are unique and familiar and fun.

Her stories are a breath of fresh air when you are surrounded by the same things over and over again. I’m over the love triangles and the fallen angels and forbidden romance, and dark titles with the same black and grey covers over and over again. Honestly, it just gets tiring. I mean, sure, I like the idea of the stories but sometimes the romance just gets in the way and I start to get annoyed.

But Tammy. Oh, Tammy. She creates these fantastic characters. Alanna. Daine. Keladry. Aly. Beka. All of them are strong, admirable characters. Alanna disguises herself as a boy for eight years to become the first female knight in over a hundred years. Daine is a powerful mage, able to communicate and heal animals and shape shift into one as well. Keladry is the first female to come forward to become a knight, with her gender known. Aly becomes the spymaster for a secret rebellion to take back a country from tyrannical and cruel rulers. Beka is a fierce and intelligent force of the Law, helping to solve some of the realms biggest crimes and mysteries with her scent hound, Achoo. These are amazing, strong and fierce women. If there was ever a group of fictional women to worship, this would be it.

Because these women, they do everything in their power to live their dreams and protect their realm. The fact that Alanna disguises her sex for so long and fights and fights, and becomes such a powerful knigh is amazing. Daine uses her powers and her way with animals to fight a WAR, to become a HERO. Keladry goes through years of torment and years of disbelief to become a knight herself, a formidable one, separate from Alanna, her predecessor. Aly is clever, extremely intelligent and 100% committed to helping the raka people take back their country from their terrible conquering rulers. Beka comes from the poorest parts of the capitol city become one of the most successful of the Guard, solving some of the hardest and most mysterious of crimes.

And the best part is…they all fall in love. They all do. And most of them get married, and have that happily ever after. There are mushy moments and exchanges of “I love you”, and sweetness and romance, and even some moments of flushed cheeks by the readers. But these heroines never let the romances get in the way of their goals. When a marriage proposal gets in the way of Alanna’s desire to see the world, she says no, instead of compromising her wishes and dreams. Daine’s love is her partner, her equal and they feed on each other for support, love and strength. Keladry chooses her dream, her determination to become a knight over anything else, over anyone else. She wants love but she can’t let it distract from protecting those who need her. Aly loves someone very much but she doesn’t let her get distracted from her mission, a seemingly impossible task. She waits until she’s completed her mission before completely giving herself over. Beka has her relationships, her flirtations, even a deep love for someone, but she never lets it get in the way of doing her JOB.

Can you see why I’m madly in love with Tamora Pierce and her writing? Can you see why my life, my writing, my passion for books, my outlook, my morals, my values, my beliefs, my strength have been influenced so much from Tamora Pierce? The woman is amazing and creates worlds that you want to be a part of. She creates characters that you wish you could be…and then you realize that, no, you don’t want to be them, because they are unique and they inspire you to be unique, to go out there and be different, and to grab onto those things that you want and dream, everyone else be damned.

I’ve been rambling on for what seems like forever. I could go on for pages and pages, for days and days, because there is no way I’ll ever begin to tell you how important this author, and her books are to me. I only hope that you all have a chance to pick up a book by her and realize how fantastic they are, and how much they can change your life. Besides my dear Queen Rowling, there isn’t an author on this planet that I worship and strive to be as much as Tamora Pierce.

I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve loved a lot of books. I consume books the way some people consume food, or clothes or shoes, baseball games, even alcohol and drugs. I have a passion for books. But when you get down to it, I have two favorite books.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

and

Tricksters Choice

That should say something right?

Go out there, pick up a book by Tamora Pierce. You seriously won’t regret it. Then come back, and we can talk all about it. I can’t wait for it.

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Tamora Pierce’s Novels

Song of the Lioness Series

Alanna: The First Adventure
In the Hands of the Goddess
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Lioness Rampant

The Immortals

Wild Magic
Wolf Speaker
Emperor Mage
The Realm of the Gods

The Protector of the Small

First Test
Page
Squire
Lady Knight

Tricksters Series

Trickster’s Choice
Trickster’s Queen

Beka Cooper series

Terrier
Bloodhound
Mastiff

and many more series outside of the Tortall universe!

Top Twelve Fictional Places (Oh Why Can’t They Exist?!)

Some of the best things about all these fandoms I’m obsessed with are the awesome worlds that come along with them. I think that’s partly what makes some of these fandoms so damn awesome: the fact that they’re taking place in some mystical, fictional place where amazing things happen. There are so many fictional worlds out there that I wish really existed and there are definitely places that I wish existed. So, of course, I created a list. I had to. I love lists :D and what a better list than one describing all of my favorite fictional places!

WhataNerdGirlSays’ Top 12 Fictional Places 

12. Pokemon World (Kanto, Johto, Etc). 

Pokemon Blue, Yellow and Red are my favorite video games of all time. They were really the first video games that I got into. I adored the show, I collected the cards, I played the game. Of course I did. To this day, I still love watching the show and playing the game (not so much the cards, I just never could understand it haha). I love the world of Kanto. For one thing, you’re ten years old and you’re ready to leave home and go on an awesome adventure. I don’t think I was old enough to walk home from school when I was ten years old! Then there’s all the awesome people, the pokemon, the training, the cool places to go, the battles, and so on. I wish this place was real! I could totally train pokemon! That or I’d just catch them all and stare at them all day because they’re so damn cute.

11. The Kingdom in Howl’s Moving Castle

“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist…”

This mostly comes from Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli team. They do an amazing job in all of their movies; their animation is stunning and the artwork is beautiful. This is what makes me want to live in Howl and Sophie’s world, known as Ingary in the books. I don’t know that they ever call it by anything in the movies but its called Ingary in the books. Yeah, the kingdoms are a little screwed up in their pointless war, but once that’s all done, I feel like it’d be an awesome place to live. The city where the palace is located is bustling and busy and so fantastically metropolitan. Then there’s the beach front town where Howl’s other shop is located where there’s the vast ocean and street market. Plus there’s magic and fancy clothes and it’d be so fun to do all of that. Oh yeah, and I want a fire demon named Calcifer, voiced by Billy Crystal.

10. Hundred Acre Wood

“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”

 I have a completely unhealthy obsession with Winnie the Pooh for a fangirl of twenty-four. I ADORE Winnie the Pooh. I love the old A.A. Milne stories and I can’t get enough of the Disney adaptations. I will sit on that ride over and over again at DisneyLand and you can catch me singing various songs from the movies at any point in time. Is it no wonder that I think it would absolutely and totally brilliant to live in the Hundred Acre Wood. When I think of the Hundred Acre Wood, I think of childhood. It represents childhood so much; think of the last original Disney movie where Christopher Robin leaves the forest to grow up and go to school. And who doesn’t want to revisit their childhood when it involves adventures with a silly ‘ol bear and a nervous little piglet and a gloomy donkey and a bouncy tigger? I know this girl does.

8. Rivendell/the Shire

“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”

I’d like to say that I would love to just live in Middle Earth, but besides Rivendell and the Shire, Middle Earth kind of scares me, even after its saved. It’s so vast and unknown and there are so many creatures of unknown out there and it seems so dangerous. I like to stick close to home. Hobbits don’t stray to far from home, and some people may not like that much, but I don’t think there’s much harm in that. Of course, I want adventures and fun, but in the end, I love coming home. And the Shire is a quaint little countryside home that is perfect for those Hobbits. Besides, I would fit in sooooo well with Hobbits. And there’s Rivendell, where the lure is just the beauty and mysteriousness of it. Elves are such a mystery, even after all the encounters you have with them. They’re gorgeous (hello, Orlando Bloom in a wig. Hubba hubba). There is something very magical about Rivendell.

8. The Burrow

 

“It’s not much, but its home.”

I am part of a big family. I so know what its like to be a Weasley. There are seven kids in the Weasley family and there are six in my family. I think this is partly why Ron is one of my favorite characters; I can totally relate on the whole big family thing. That being said, the Burrow just sounds like everything I could’ve ever wanted in a home. It has the family together in once place, being a family together. It doesn’t have a forced feeling. It’s a real home, with messes in the rooms and the gardens, and homemade blankets and sweaters all over the place and a homemade dinner every night. Even though the Weasleys are poor, they have the Burrow and the Burrow is their home. It feels like a home. Its where their family gathers to be TOGETHER. Its where Harry gets his real, first experience on what its like to have a home and a family. And that fact that it’s a hodgepodge of rooms and additions makes it that much better. Like everything else Weasley, it’s a little crooked, a little out of place, but perfect in every way.

7. Narnia

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

Now I’ve probably said it about a million times already, but I mean MOVIE Narnia, not book Narnia. My quote is from the books, and don’t get me wrong, I do like the books but well that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. I like the idea of Narnia, as this secret place that the Pevensies escape to and its where they belong and where they are able to become themselves. If the Hundred Acre Wood was childhood, Narnia is that middle ground, where a child becomes an adult. All the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that pass into Narnia give to Narnia…but Narnia gives them just as much back. I like the idea of being able to find a secret, magical land in the back of a wardrobe where I’m going to have adventures and learn more about myself and the world.

6. Tortall

 

“Does anyone in this land act like they’re supposed to?”

The quote itself explains it. Tortall is a land of its own, where things happen that seem so out of the ordinary. The King’s Champion is a woman, one of the most powerful mages in all the world is a woman, there’s woman fighting, there’s schools for the lower classes, there’s so much. Tortall has everything a fangirl could need with knights and mages and fantastic creatures and all of that, but it’s so revolutionary at the same time. It shows equality and tolerance. It promotes the idea of educating your population, all of it. It has a king and queen, who get to know their people, who act like normal people. Girls are amazing in Tortall; they’re clever and ambitious and powerful, just as they are in the real world. I would live in Tortall, easily. I could become a female knight or a mage (if I had the Gift) or a scholar or a Queen’s Riders or join the King’s Own. Tortall represents a sort of crazy wishful world, an example of what we should be. It’s not perfect but its near enough and King Jonathan and Queen Thayet work their butts off to make it so.

5. Time and Space in The Tardis

 

“Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Outside those doors, we might see anything. We could find new worlds, terrifying monsters, impossible things. And if you come with me… nothing will ever be the same again!”

The Doctor has a way of pulling you, making you want to go with him, even though its dangerous. And it IS dangerous. The Doctor gets himself into crazy, insane, dangerous situations where your life, his life, a species life, the universe is at stake. And yet, you see amazing things as well. There’s a reason that his companions are so enamored with him; there’s a reason they’re so attached and they find it nearly impossible to leave. The Doctor gives you the entire universe, a life that is amazing and unique and different every single time. You literally have the entire universe in the palm of your hand. Anywhere in time and space.You can go anywhere you’d want to go. I couldn’t even begin to make a list of the places I wished to see. I wish that the Doctor’s world existed. I wish he existed and he’d take me along with him.

4. Camp Half-Blood

“Keeping Young Heroes Safe from Harm (Mostly) For Over Three Millennia”

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Greek mythology for a good chunk of my life. It’s fun and it’s interesting. It was the religion of these people; these tales were what they used to explain everything, whether it was to do with the body, or the nature or anything. I remember wanting to name my cat “Artemis” once and everyone made fun of me. It took me awhile before reading the Percy Jackson series because I thought of it as a little kids’ series. Mistake one. Harry Potter is a kids series and I ADORE it. And I adore Percy as well. How cool to be a demigod, with a god or goddess as a parent (though in the book, they all seem pissed at their parents) and to have cool powers and save the world. Camp Half-Blood sounds so COOL. I wish I could live there. Its like all my obsession with Greek mythology come to life! Obviously I couldn’t be a daughter of Artemis, even though she was always my favorite, but I’d imagine being a daughter of Athena. Athena seems like a good Ravenclaw counterpart.

3. The Galaxy

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes”

I want to be a Jedi. I want to live in the Star Wars universe. I want a lightsaber and a blaster. I want to be Princess Leia. I want to rip Han Solo’s clothes off. I want to fly an X-wing or the Millenium Falcon. I want to race pod-racers. I want to save the galaxy. I want to live by the Force and battle the Dark side. I want to be part of the Rebel Alliance. George Lucas created a wonderful, vast, epic world and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? The fact that the first movie came out in 1977, over thirty years ago, and still enjoys a crazy popularity just shows how captivating this world is. It has those classic elements of a typical fantasy, with the princess and the “knight in shining armor” with the swords (lightsabers) and the evil empire taking over. It has a magical component, it has the wide old man and the loyal retainers. And yet it is set in this badass science fiction world. Its the best of both.

2. Idris 

“To a Shadowhunter, Idris is always home.” 

Shadowhunters are humans who have angel blood and spend their lives fighting demons, and keeping the earth safe from demons. There are Shadowhunters stationed all across the world to keep it safe but their home is the country of Idris, and its capital city, the glass city, Alicante. It is described in the books as the sort of Jerusalem for Shadowhunters. I want to be part of this world and live in Alicante because I want to be a Shadowhunter and marry Jace Lightwood. I’m half-way kidding with that.There’s something intriguing about a glass city where the world’s most powerful warriors and protectors live.

1. Hogwarts

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

“Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here. ” 

How much do I really have to explain about this? Hogwarts is my home just as much as it was to Harry and Snape and Tom Riddle. It was the first time I ever felt like I was a part of something. I learned the meaning of good and evil, right and wrong, the meaning of friendship, of love, of bravery, of tolerance, of courage, of happiness and sadness, of gain and loss. I get teared up just thinking about it, just reading those quotes by Queen Rowling. There is nothing in this world that has touched me or changed me like these books have. How could I not want to go to Hogwarts? Its enchanting, and mysterious, and fun and wonderful. It’s every good word that is out there. There is no fictional place in the world of movies and books that I wish was real like Hogwarts. Its real for us. It will always be real for us. Always.

So that’s my list of favorite fictional places. I’m sure there’s about a hundred more that you all are thinking of so share them in the comments! You know I always love hearing from you :D

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