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Lady Of War / Literature

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  • Ciaphas Cain: When we first see her, Jenit Sulla is the 597th's quartermaster with major Leeroy Jenkins tendencies. On Cain's recommendation, she's made a captain, and eventually becomes the first Lady General of the Imperium (the highest rank in the Imperial Guard), so clearly she had some sense knocked into her (but not literary aptitude).
  • The Chronicles of Narnia books have Susan Pevensie. Called Queen Susan the Gentle, she is armed with her bow and arrow, fighting more like a gentlewoman than her sister.
  • Codex Alera
    • Lady Placida is a calm, regal woman who cares about those under her charge and will stand up to the Citizens if one is about to harm those she has come to respect. She is the only woman to attain Citizenship by virtue of winning an Juris Macto battle in her teens while the other women, save Isana, earned the title by marriage.
    • Invidia is something of a hybrid of this and Dark Action Girl. Amoral and carefully calculating, she is a powerhouse on the battlefield and able to firecraft so precisely in a confined space and not hurt anyone present.
    • Gaius Isana, First Lady of Alera is not as combat-able as either of the two above, but she will not shy away from combat in later books, having fought a High Lord to his defeat by means of her own strength and willingness to sacrifice herself and opening his eyes to his own deep hatred and took down six powerful vord that were covered in metal with just water attacks.
    • Hashat,the Marat clanhead of the Horse Clan, is a powerful fighter on and off her chala. She fights in First Calderon, where Princeps Septimus died, and personally took on his singulares, his personal bodyguards. After the battle, she took one of their swords, baldric, and cloak pin as trophies. She also, in the traditions of her kind, ate their hearts to honor them.
      Jim Butcher: She shot a couple of them in the neck/face with arrows while riding by on her horse, killed one with a stone knife after her horse had knocked him down and stunned him, then took his sword and fought the last Aleran alive, one of the exhausted singulares, one-on-one, and killed him.
  • In Dragonlance, Laurana is an incredibly beautiful and graceful elven princess and a deadly shot with a bow. She is later promoted to General of the Knights of Solamnia.
  • Though usually The Vamp, Lara Raith of The Dresden Files has more than once proven that she's no slouch in physical combat either. She moves "blinding speed and utterly inhuman grace" and is implied to be even faster and just as hypnotic as her brother when fighting.
    Harry: (narrating) In that moment, Lara was more than simply a vampire of the White Court, a succubus, pale and deadly. She was a reminder of the days gone by, when mankind paid homage to blood-soaked goddess of war and death, revered the dark side of the protective maternal spirit, the savage core of the strength that still allowed tiny women to lift cars off their children, or turn upon their tormentors with newfound power. Lara's power, at the moment, hovered around her, deadly in its primal seduction, its sheer strength.
    Not long after
    Marcone: My God. It is the most beautiful nightmare I have ever seen.
  • The Felix Castor books. Juliet's fighting style is often described as graceful and balletic, albeit lightning-fast and incredibly destructive (and if you pause long enough to appreciate it, she'll have already disemboweled you with her fingernails).
  • Honor Harrington fits this description, up to a point, as a cool, reserved, unconventionally beautiful warrior woman. At the same time, she subverts some elements of it with her preferred fighting style, the Coup de Vitesse, and while her movements are graceful, the genetic modifications she inherited on her father's side make her extremely strong, even for her already large stature.
  • As a vampire, Camille from The Infernal Devices can fight, but as a lady of high social standing she carries herself with a dignified manner. Tessa has difficulty imitating her during The Infiltration.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Both Sabrina and Briza are described as fighting with deadly grace and elegance that is also a wonder to behold. The latter has the classy reserve while the former is simply aloof and focused.
  • Éowyn from Lord of the Rings manages to keep an air of grace and beauty while still being a very capable warrior.
  • Europe from the Monster Blood Tattoo series takes this trope a bit sideways. She is graceful, poised, dressed to the nines, and a duchess-in-waiting - but her weapons are electricity manipulation and a pair of staves, she's second only to the main character in how much damage she can take (a lot), and she kicks as much ass as it is possible for a single person to kick in the series.
  • Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments is the daughter of an old, prestigious, Shadowhunter family. She herself is a very talented Demon Slayer and manages to fight quite effectively even while wearing dresses and high heels. Her preferred tactic is to Whip It Good using her weapon of choice, an enchanted whip made of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver). Also noted for Beauty Is Never Tarnished — she can join her brothers fighting monsters underground without getting dirty even as they are covered in filth. When asked how she manages it, she remarks:
    Isabelle: I'm pure at heart. It repels the dirt.
  • Lyra, the mercenary Magic Knight from Passing Through evokes this even in very harsh circumstances. Despite being on the run, and in a cold and muddy forest a hundred miles from anywhere, she remains cool, aloof, beautiful and reserved. Before going into battle she takes time out to brush and arrange her hair, and never once fails to speak and act with elegance and dignity.
  • Since society in the universe of Red Rising does not have stricly enforced gender roles, this trope is fairly common. Notable examples include:
    • Antonia and her older sister Victra.
    • Mustang
    • Aja au Grimmus
  • China Sorrows is practically the poster child for this in Skulduggery Pleasant. Calm in every situation, she's more than capable in fighting some of the strongest people in the world.
  • In the Shadowmarch series by Tad Williams, Queen Saqri of the Qar is known for her calmness, elegance and grace, in battle as well as in her usual demeanour.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a notable inversion in Brienne of Tarth. Nobody can dispute the "of War" bit... it's the "Lady" part she completely pounds into the ground. She's not demure, ladylike, refined nor in the least bit pretty: even at rest, she moves more like a bloke. She's even called "Brienne the Beauty" as an Ironic Nickname. You won't catch her wearing a dress unless overwhelming force has been involved, mainly because she's all too well aware that she comes across as a fairly tall, well-built guy trying unsuccessfully to pass. Otherwise, she's one of the closest things to a Knight In Shining Armour you can find in the series.
    • There are some straighter versions: most of the younger women of House Mormont (and other women on Bear Island) are this trope. When they're not just a little too young, and being Action Girls, instead, of course. Or, have managed to survive to becoming a bit too old, and have graduated from well-trained Action Moms to Never Mess with Granny or Old Master levels. They pull the trope off a lot easier than Brienne manages, as Bear Island's culture is better adapted to accepting (and training) warrior maids to also be Ladies with it.
  • From the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, Sirella (Martok's wife). She holds herself with grace and dignity at all times, while retaining the fierce and violent aspect of a Klingon noble. Other characters comment on this all the time. In fact, Sirella goes out of her way to be a Lady of War, and in one scene is visably unhappy when she admits that the villain's Compelling Voice caused her to momentarily lose her composure.
  • The Star Trek: TNG novel Gulliver's Fugitives has Shikibu, a security officer. She is described as very soft-spoken and incredibly composed, and practices Zen Archery. This involves holding a (titanium) arrow in firing position in a heavy-draw bow, with emphasis on never consciously deciding the moment of release, which happens when it happens. This comes in handy when thought-reading robot probes menace the Enterprise; since they couldn't read her intent, they didn't realize the threat. This stands as a contrast to Worf, a Proud Warrior Race Guy whose people tend towards The Berserker as a hat.
  • While Sten is packed with Action Girls that kick ass and chew bubblegum, Lady Atago personifies this trope. She's The Stoic Aloof Dark-Haired Girl Proud Warrior Race Guy who puts Honor Before Reason and makes a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Jasnah Kholin, in stark contrast to her culture's strict gender roles, is completely at home on a battlefield. In Oathbringer, she strides through the final battle with perfect composure, using her Soulcasting with casual efficiency to transform enemies to smoke, transform stone to oil and then set it on fire, or even simply shore up holes in the walls or create a set of steps to climb up.
  • The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind features a number of them. Most notably, Kahlan Amnell fills this role in the books as well as in the TV series Legend of the Seeker. It is even noted in the book that Richard was amazed that Kahlan could fight numbers of merciless assailants and yet not get a drop of blood on her white Mother Confessor dress.
  • The eponymous lead of Jessica Amanda Salmonson's Tomoe Gozen Saga, based on the legendary 12th century lady samurai.
  • Although many of them are Lady by title, the Tortall Universe rarely depicts combat as elegant (it having very much a War Is Hell message) and the Action Girls are pretty pragmatic in battle, but there are some. Keladry of Mindelan prefers the naginata to swords thanks to her upbringing in the Yamani Isles and draws admirers whenever she practices its pattern dances in public. Queen Thayet is the World's Most Beautiful Woman and wields a crossbow during her travels with Alanna, as well as learning the glaive from her future daughter-in-law.
  • Cordelia Vorkosigan in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, given that she's managed so far to take out an entire mutiny using only her brains and a stunner and end a civil war by bringing the offending man's head back in a shopping bag without ever losing her dignity.