Created By: epsilonseven on September 5, 2010 Last Edited By: FuschlatzOReilly on September 5, 2010
Troped

Badass Princess

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Try to put this damsel in distress. I dare you.

Chances are, you're probably familiar with the typical concept for a princess, aren't you? They get abducted by some Big Bad, and helplessly wait for a brave and charming hero to come and rescue them. Then, they fall in love with this hero, and they get married, and live happily ever after. Chances are, you might see this concept so many times, you might get tired of it, weather you regard it as repetitive, sexist, or both.

This is pretty much the total opposite. These are examples of princesses that become brave and headstrong warriors instead of relying on any to protect them. At times, they would serve as the sidekick to the hero, instead of the damsel in distress, even if they do fall in love with him, like a princess traditionally would. And sometimes, they would serve as the hero altogether.

While this and the Rebellious Princess sometimes go hand in hand, they do not equal each other. In fact, a badass princess would often fight because she's loyal to her nation, and would fight to defend it at any cost. Every Badass Princess qualifies as an automatic Royal Who Actually Does Something. It can be a Tomboy Princess, a Lady of War, whatever. Anything's fair.

Examples:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • How could Xena possibly not qualify?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • Princess Natalia, (Pictured above) from Tales of the Abyss is very proeffecient with a bow and arrow, accompanies Luke and his palls on their journey, helps solve political issues, never gets kidnapped, and stands for her nation no matter what.
  • Fire Emblem has a lot of badass princesses. There's Princess Ayra from the fourth game, with her punishing Ryuuseiken, and she even threatened to kill her "master."
  • Kitana is so badass, she isn't afraid to kill.
  • Until near the end of Ocarina of Time, Zelda has been the typical distressed damsel, but at that point, she helps unlock barriers keeping them from escaping the castle, and she helps Link pin Gannon down so he could land he final blow. And during the final confrontations with Ganondorf in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, she actually battled alongside Link with her light arrows. But she maxes out this trope in Spirit Tracks, where she possesses Phantoms, and actually fights beside Link, even becoming playable for certain segments.
    • I guess Midna may qualify as well, given that she helps Link out in fighting enemies as well, paralyzing a group of enemies in an energy field, leaving them weak and defenceless while Wolf Link attacks them, and even throwing a large Beast Ganon across the room, leaving him vulnerable.
  • All three playable female characters in Odin Sphere are this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]] [[/folder]]

Community Feedback Replies: 73
  • July 22, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Princess Jasmine was Disney's attempt at making a princess who didn't need to be rescued.
    • Princess Fiona, parodying Disney, came much closer.
    • Then there's Mononoke Hime.

  • July 22, 2010
    epsilonseven
    Princess Azula? Do villainous princesses count?

    Juliet from Romeo X Juliet is technically not a princess, but she's got the heiress/nobility thing going on. When the series starts she's kicking ass as a vigilante.

    Reply: Actually, I just counted Azula as an evil example.
  • July 22, 2010
    Meophist
  • July 22, 2010
    KZN02
  • July 22, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Princess Fala from the Go Lion half of Voltron.
  • July 22, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    If this is a trope, we should make it clear how it's distinct from Lady Of War.

    Also, the picture is too close up to tell she's a princess.
  • July 23, 2010
    aurora369
    It's a subtrope. A Lady Of War who is, well, a princess.
  • July 23, 2010
    neoYTPism
    Princess Zelda from The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time, where her powers help her and Link escape from a collapsing tower, by lifting barred doors in their way.
  • July 23, 2010
    AlirozTheConfused
    I wish I had more examples for this.
  • July 23, 2010
    Tiiba
  • July 23, 2010
    mandrke
    bump
  • July 23, 2010
    Lale
    So this would be the Warrior Princess, where there's no need to be a Rebellious Princess to be a warrior.
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Oh yea, we have Warrior Prince, which is actually unisex, so this trope is already covered by that.
  • July 23, 2010
    epsilonseven
    Maybe Warrior Princess can be a redirect to Warrior Prince?
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Or just tweak the description to make it clear it's unisex. Redirects that just add letters are not encouraged here, since you can just slap them on after the curly brackets.
  • July 23, 2010
    epsilonseven
    No, this is very different from Warrior Prince. Warrior Princesses were never common in real life (which isn't to say they didn't exist at all), and were fairly rare in mythology as well. Because, you know. Most Writers Are Male No Guy Wants An Amazon as applied to Real Life.

    This trope is a subversion of the traditional Damsel In Distress and Save The Princess. You may note that Save The Princess is not a gender-neutral trope that applies to princes just as often as to princesses (and when it does, half the time it's a joke), and that the Distressed Dude, though it's a trope that's Older Than They Think, is still treated very differently by modern media from the Damsel In Distress (for starters, he often has to save himself, or if he's saved by a female, she will do it in some meek, feminine way, rather than by being an Action Girl; and when it is an action girl, we're often invited to laugh at the male character "getting saved by a gurl!"), and it is also a rarer trope.

    This is a sub-trope of Action Girl, and is distinct enough to be a trope. It can be a "sister trope" to Warrior Prince, but the trope description should note the differences. Then the female examples from Warrior Prince can be moved here.
  • July 23, 2010
    Lale
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    "No, this is very different from Warrior Prince. Warrior Princesses were never common in real life (which isn't to say they didn't exist at all), and were fairly rare in mythology as well."

    Just because it became unisex recently does not mean it doesn't cover this.
  • July 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    ... Okay, now respond to the rest of my argument, beyond the first two lines.

    Also, there may be more of a tendency to play it as gender-neutral in very recent times, but it still makes sense to have a trope to cover all those works that weren't made in the past five years (and all those that were, but didn't play the trope in a gender-neutral way).

    This is a related, but distinct, trope. It should mention Warrior Prince as a Sister Trope (perhaps with an Incredibly Lame Pun :P), but it should have its own page.

    There's a reason why Action Girl isn't a gender-neutral trope, and the same applies here.
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Your reasons are dubious. The Warrior Prince trope has none of the restrictions against this trope that you think it does.
  • July 23, 2010
    Nyktos
  • July 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    @Dragon: What restrictions? I'm arguing the Warrior Prince does not fully describe the substance of this trope, and a non-gender-neutral trope is needed to do so.
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Well I don't see much in the description other than noting she's not the typical damsel princess, and that's already covered by Lady Of War.
  • July 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    A Lady Of War is a feminine female fighter... A Princess does not necessarily have to be feminine, and a Lady Of War may not be a princess. A warrior princess specifically is an interesting trope because it contrasts with the common tropes Save The Princess and generally the fact that princesses are often Distressed Damsels. This would be a sub-trope of Action Girl that is interesting and distinct enough to warrant its own page.

    Warrior Prince, being gender-neutral, does not get any of these ideas across.
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    The problem is that assumes all princesses are Distressed Damsels by default. That is not the case.
  • July 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    No, the assumption that "all" princesses must be that way is not made. The assumption is made that that is how princesses were traditionally portrayed for most of the history of modern media. This assumption is entirely and completely accurate. Anyway, on to more productive discussion:

    I think in fantasy and pre-medieval settings, this trope often takes on another, quite specific form -- the Hot Amazon (often literally an Amazon) Warrior Princess, a la Xena, or that green-haired woman from Girl Genius. Stripperiffic armour is often involved. These characters tend to have much less in common with the Lady Of War trope, and are a much more complete inversion of how a princess would typically be portrayed.
  • July 23, 2010
    NorthernDruid
    Princess Zelda from The Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks Follows Link as a sidekick (after being pushed into it by Anjean) even if she's a ghost. And does her share during the Tower of Spirits by possessing Phantoms.
  • July 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    "The assumption is made that that is how princesses were traditionally portrayed for most of the history of modern media."

    But if it's trying to avert that, then Girls Need Role Models already covers this.
  • July 23, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    Possibly Princess Nausicaa and/or Princess Kushana in Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind.
  • July 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    @Draggy: Erm... Girls Need Role Models is a very broad trope that is not necessarily related to this trope (in that it's a bit of an assumption to hold that every time a trope like Save The Princess is subverted, it must be because Girls Need Role Models). O_o What are you even talking about? How does the existence of Girls Need Role Models mean we shouldn't have tropes about notable kinds of female characters?
  • July 25, 2010
    Starry-Eyed
    Princess Diana of Themiscrya, of course, in both the comics and in Justice League Unlimited.

    Starfire, Tameranean Princess, from Teen Titans. Her sister Blackfire is another evil example.
  • July 25, 2010
    BlackDragon
    Assuming this actually gets made...

    Jim C. Hines 'Princess' series is basically about this. Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty kickin' ass as a fantasy-medieval take on Charlie's Angels. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are technically 'exiled royalty', in that they don't have kingdoms (anymore), but Cinderella DOES have a kingdom, and she'll kill to protect it.

    Hmm... that reminds me... I haven't read it, but I've heard of the Fables graphic novel series. Apparently, their Sleeping Beauty/Cinderella/Snow White are pretty badass too. But I dunno if they're also PRINCESSES. Someone who've actually read them can probably fill in the blanks...
  • July 25, 2010
    Sarcophilus
    Cassandra from Rangers Apprentice becomes this.
  • July 25, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    So far, the only thing this looks like is Action Girl, but a princess. Now that could be acceptable, but only on the "we've got enough examples for a split" reason. Any other reason I've seen actually is covered by action girl.
  • July 25, 2010
    girlyboy
    At a glance, there already seem to be quite a few examples. And Action Girl is quite a broad (... I swear I can't think of another way to word that) trope, anyway.
  • July 25, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    But there isn't anything distinct from it other than it's a princess.

    Also, I haven't seen a convincing reason this isn't covered by Warrior Prince. Just because the male version is older doesn't mean this doesn't include it.
  • July 26, 2010
    neoYTPism
    Also, the "folder" thing seems unnecessary, doesn't seem to work, and just makes the example list harder to read. Might be an idea to replace it.
  • July 26, 2010
    Prime32
  • July 26, 2010
    girlyboy
    Folder mark-up doesn't work in YKTTW. It'll work once the same text is put into a proper trope page.
  • July 26, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    I do support this as a trope, but only if it doesn't pretend it's anything special, when it's pretty much a Sub Trope of Action Girl (which in itself is seen as the answer to Distressed Damsel).

    BTW, how about Princess Asskicker?
  • July 26, 2010
    girlyboy
    Badass Princess seems fine. A re-direct from Warrior Princess might be nice too.
  • July 27, 2010
    neoYTPism
    Thing is, the term "Badass" is used in various senses on this site. If the emphasis is on her toughness, then badass is probably the best term to use. If the emphasis is on her status as an action girl... well, then action princess might be a bit more fitting.
  • July 27, 2010
    Sackett
    I thought Zelda was an Action Girl well before Ocarina of Time. At least the cartoon always depicted her as action oriented. Half the time she was saving Link.
  • July 28, 2010
    neoYTPism
    I added that example @ Sackett

    I wasn't claiming she wasn't an example before Oo T, so much as that she WAS an example there. I am only partly familiar with the Zelda series... I used Oo T for my example because that's the game I'm most familiar with. I'm relatively less familiar with Zelda games after it, less familiar still with the ones before it, less famliar still with the cartoon.

    Just because I used that particular game for my example doesn't mean I'm implying that she's less of an example in other games or the cartoon.
  • July 28, 2010
    JoeG
    Princess Ariel from Thundarr The Barbarian could be pretty badass when she had to be.
  • July 28, 2010
    AweStriker
    Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz of Yggdra Union.
  • July 28, 2010
    GKJG
    Sister trope to Plucky Girl ?
  • July 29, 2010
    TBeholder
    2 KZN 02 ...Iron Lady, Lady Of War, Warrior Prince[ss].

    Already existing ones need to be sorted and discerned better already.
  • July 29, 2010
    girlyboy
    This trope is very clearly distinct from all three of those. Also, all those tropes are very clearly distinct from each other.
  • July 29, 2010
    AllanAokage
    Not worth a post, but is this not worth launching? Plenty of examples, just needs to be cross-referenced with a few other pages.
  • July 29, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    "This trope is very clearly distinct from all three of those. Also, all those tropes are very clearly distinct from each other. "

    Could you tell us how, and not just insist that they are?
  • July 30, 2010
    girlyboy
    I already spent a while explaining why it's distinct from Warrior Prince. It's distinct from Lady Of War because that trope is specifically "a female fighter who retains grace and femininity," and it's distinct from Iron Lady because that trope is "A female non-royal leader will always appear stoic, no-nonsense, and emotionally tough." Basically, they're three different tropes and I have no idea where the claim that they're too similar to each other and are in need of being "sorted" and "discerned better" comes from.

    Or why it's my job to prove that three different tropes are, in fact, different, as opposed to your or TBeholder's job to prove that three different tropes are somehow the same. Hey, I'm gonna claim that Anvilicious, Space Opera, and Kobayashi Mario need to be sorted and discerned better because they're practically the same! Could you prove to me why I am wrong?

    Anyway, I thought you already agreed that this is a distinct trope that we need, DQZ? In your comment on the 26th you said "I do support this as a trope," as long as it's noted it's a sub-trope of Action Girl. So... really, there's only one person who thinks we shouldn't have this trope, and a whole bunch who think we should...
  • July 30, 2010
    Vree
  • July 30, 2010
    MasterKnight
    Nobody mentioned Hinata Hyuuga at all?
  • July 30, 2010
    neoYTPism
    "Tomboy" and "badass" aren't necessarily the same thing @ Vree
  • July 30, 2010
    Vree
    Just a useful link.
  • July 30, 2010
    neoYTPism
    Fair enough, but I just felt like pointing out that a princess can be a tomboy without necessarily being badass. (The converse could probably apply too, although that could be seen as contradictory) @ Vree
  • July 30, 2010
    jatay
    Lucy and Susan Pevansie?
  • July 30, 2010
    Specialist290
    • Princess Leia. She starts out as a Distressed Damsel, but even then she's "defiant to the last," and when she's rescued, she grabs a gun and starts blasting her way out right alongside Luke and Han.
  • July 30, 2010
    jatay
    Real Life : The Kahena Dahiyan, a Jewish-Berber female sheik who led a coalition of Berber tribes against the Arabic incursions.

    She is described in the military history work Victory and Deceit by James Dunnigan, however I could not find her in the Other Wiki which is to bad because it sounds like a cool story.
  • August 3, 2010
    neoYTPism
    WTF @ "fights the man she loves"
  • August 4, 2010
    henke37
    The first Zelda to be this in my opinion is the only one who isn't named Zelda. Being a pirate helps.
  • August 4, 2010
    arromdee
    I'm not sure Murder Princess counts since it's another woman in the princess's body.
  • August 4, 2010
    Pickly
    Talkhora in Guild Wars turns into this over time.
  • August 4, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    "The first Zelda to be this in my opinion is the only one who isn't named Zelda. Being a pirate helps."

    From the games, but the adaptation Zelda counts.
  • August 5, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Just launch this.
  • August 8, 2010
    neoYTPism
    "fights for the man she loves"

    That's better. :D
  • August 8, 2010
    Kizor
    I came here to suggest Action Princess. We could use more of a distinction between "non-non-combatant" and "badass."
  • August 29, 2010
    Vree
    Yeah, "Badass_" titles blow.
  • August 29, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    • Camilla, in The Aeneid (c. 25 BC)
    • Brandamante, in Orlando furioso (1516-1532)
    • Clorinda, in Gerusalemme liberata (1581)
    • Britomart, in The Faerie Queene (1590-1596) (Princess Britomart shows up in "The Mathematics of Magic," the second installment of the Harold Shea series)
  • August 29, 2010
    AFP
    Arguably, Princess Leia counted before becoming a Damsel In Distress because she got in that situation due to her using her political clout and senatorial status to take part in a clandestine Rebel Alliance spy mission.
  • August 29, 2010
    Unknown Troper
  • September 5, 2010
    neoYTPism
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=oz7jaglpp3af6qy8flz1bqhy