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Lady of Adventure

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"Miss Vesper Holly has the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear fluently in all of them. She understands the use of a slide rule but prefers doing calculations in her head. She does not hesitate to risk life and limb — mine as well as her own. No doubt she has other qualities yet undiscovered. I hope not."
— The very first lines of The Illyrian Adventure by Lloyd Alexander

She is a high-class lady (though usually not a member of royalty), self-sufficient, but not willing to get tied down in marriage (though she may find love in her travels, she will always choose adventure over love — not even defrosting will help). Sometimes, her Big Fancy House will contain mementos of past adventures. At home, she may be a Proper Lady but as a rule, crosses over into Spirited Young Lady; quite frankly, her activities would frighten her more domestic counterparts.

For you see, she doesn't just find excitement — she specifically seeks it out. She thinks nothing of beating up pirates off the coast of the Trucial States or outwitting remnant tribes of Mayincatec humanitarians.

Most often, she will have no powers of her own to speak of (though she may have some small degree of physical prowess) but will surround herself with a band of friends that will help her on her travails. She will almost certainly live to become a Cool Old Lady.

Usually filled to the brim with British Stuffiness and almost always wears Gorgeous Period Dress (while still fitting for the high seas and hot sun). Often found in The Edwardian Era.

Compare and contrast Lady of Black Magic and Lady of War. The Distaff Counterpart and likely wife of the Gentleman Adventurer. Often wears a ladylike Adventurer Outfit.


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  • Secret of Cerulean Sand: After hearing the news that her brother, George, was allegedly shot for treason while on a desert expedition, Jane Buxton decides to learn the truth of what happened for herself. So she sets off on a grand adventure across the globe though her butler Chambellin insists on going with her. She's only 14, after all.

    Comic Books 
  • Mina Murray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • The writers tend to forget this, but Captain Britain and his sister Psylocke are members of a fabulously wealthy family. While Captain Britain sometimes resents his calling, Psylocke fits this to a 'T', even after her Stripperiffic ninja makeover.
  • Lady Johanna Constantine of Hellblazer and The Sandman (1989).
  • Emma Bishop of Ruse is described as "A fetching beauty whose spirit craves adventure." Her day job is as the assistant to a danger-prone Insufferable Genius Victorian detective (sound familiar?), compensating for his lack of social and linguistics skills. Not mentioned: mysterious time-stopping powers, which she's not supposed to reveal under any circumstances...
  • Jane Porter of Tarzan gets this characterization in her Dynamite Comics appearances, most notably in the Swords of Sorrow crossover.
  • Dejah Thoris in Warlord of Mars is also like this, especially in her prequel series where she takes all kinds of crazy adventures that rival those of her husband John Carter like visiting other worlds, fighting vampires, finding lost civilizations and fending off alien invasions. What makes it impressive is that she is a Badass Normal instead of a Heavy Worlder like Carter.
  • Nightwing foe Lady Vic is a villainous version of this trope. Lady Elaine Marsh-Morton is descended from a long line of British soldiers and mercenaries, and a genuine English aristocrat. The money she earns from her secret career an assassin, bounty hunter, and mercenary helps prevent foreclosure on her impoverished family estate. She uses the vast collection of weaponry from the world accumulated by her ancestors as her personal arsenal.

  • Kit Bennett, PhD., alias Kathy Watson in Children of Time: a Badass Bookworm from a respectable family, born in Victorian London. By chance (we think), she's also a Time Lady. She is a physicist, she is a century old by World War II, and she's been all over Time and Space with the Doctor. (Yes, she's a River Song Expy.)
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, marginal canonical character Miss Alice Band is this. Daughter of an archbishop and now a senior tutor at the Assassins' Guild School, the elegant and ladylike Alice combines taking on interesting Guild contracts, relaxes with a little recreational Stealth Archaeology, and then passes her skills and knowledge to the student Assassins she teaches.

    Film — Animated 
  • Tarzan: Jane Porter, a well-off English gentlewoman is happy to explore the depths of the African jungle with her scientist father. In fact, she enjoys the jungle so much she decides to stay there permanently, lives in a treehouse, and even learns tree-surfing and vine-swinging from her husband. The spin-off TV series The Legend of Tarzan has her involved in all manner of adventures from rogue elephants, leopard men, and escaped fugitives.
  • A senior witch in Kiki's Delivery Service flies past Kiki to greet her while Kiki flies towards a new city. You can tell by the senior witch's prim and proper voice as well as expensive jewelry that she comes from a luxurious life style. She also talks about returning home from various adventures regarding fortune telling.

    Film — Live-Action 


In General:

  • Older Than Print: The Damsels Errant found in knightly romances (the lovely mysterious young ladies who guide and advise the knight on his adventures) are an early form of this trope.

By Work:

  • Kate De Vries from the Airborn trilogy fits this reasonably well, although she's probably quite a bit younger than most of the other examples. In the second and third books in particular she's right on board with going on dangerous adventures.
  • Evadne Stephens from The Extraordinaires is a version of this in her late teens. She is from an extremely wealthy family, but she has run away from home because of the restrictions placed upon her ambitions. She is highly intelligent, hugely inventive and she is also a fine juggler with an arresting stage presence.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Irene Adler is a globetrotter known for seducing high-ranking political targets for pay and pleasure.
  • Lady Sylvia in Sorcery and Cecelia has the most amazing widowhood in all Regency England, involving international travel, politics, and spying.
  • Olive Nolan in Tranquilium. She is well-acquainted with many interesting people including Chri Williams, is very good with handguns, and has had run-ins with pirates even before the beginning of the novel.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Romana (both of her), an actual Time Lady who travelled with the Fourth Doctor.
    • Lady Christina de Souza in "Planet of the Dead" combines this with Classy Cat-Burglar, as she steals for the risk rather than the reward. The Doctor's parting gift to her is a flying double-decker bus so that probably won't be a problem anymore.
    • River Song can be this or the Classy Cat-Burglar, depending at which point on her personal timeline the Doctor catches her.
      "Careful? Tried that once. Ever so dull."
    • Sarah-Jane Smith to a small extent in The Sarah Jane Adventures. She's not blue-blooded, but she is a grown-up former companion with an alien supercomputer in her attic, who now mentors several young adventurers.
      "Maria, there are two types of people in the world. Those who panic, and then there's us. Got it?"
  • What Arya ends up being during the series finale when she travels outside of Westeros, in Game of Thrones.
  • The Honourable Phryne Fisher from Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Upper-class (and titled) lady in 1920's Australia with a liberal attitude towards love and many globe-trotting adventures under her belt. Competent pilot and motorcycle rider. Solves mysteries.
  • Miss Ruby Ogden from Murdoch Mysteries (set in late Victorian/early Edwardian Canada). She comes from an upper-middle-class family (her father and her sister are medical doctors). She pursues travelling, becomes a journalist and aspires to be a writer. We hear for example that she's in South America.
  • QI: Ronni Ancona did a lengthy impression of one of these (and read an actual journal entry from one) in the "Dictionary" episode.

  • Charlotte "Charley" Pollard in the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, who (originating in the actual Edwardian era) frequently describes herself as "Edwardian adventuress". She has many amazing adventures with the Doctor, a Time Lord who can travel anywhere in space and time.
  • Lady Alexandra Faversham, mother of The Brothers Faversham and "The British Empire's greatest, sexiest and most pregnant spy". We never actually see much of her own adventures as she's always the Hero of Another Story, but her sons are invariably born slap-bang in the middle of them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Several of the Seven Sisters in the Dungeons & Dragons setting Forgotten Realms. Blessed by the goddess of magic to be her chosen servants, they are all powerful mages and almost immortal. Laeral, Dove, and Storm are all well known to have spent a lot of time digging through ancient ruins, but they also have very great reputations and are filthy rich.
  • Space 1889 The main book makes this a career for female player characters. Since this is in Victorian times she is theoretically the loyal companion or servant of a male adventurer. This is just social camouflage, though.
  • Despite it being the 1930s in Rocket Age lady adventurers are not uncommon. Exposure to alien cultures and a massive societal shift can cause that. The US Rocket Rangers even allows women into their ranks, though they are the only branch of the armed forces to do so.

    Video Games 
  • Nalia De'Arnise in Baldur's Gate II is actually a noble, but has decided to actually do something instead of just sitting around at her families castle. Though she's not exactly very good at that before she joins the players group.
  • Madeleine from Bug Fables is a rich cicada killer wasp lady who goes around exploring dangerous corners of Bugaria with her butler Seb, requiring Team Snakemouth to help them out of various scraps. She even has a pith-colored summer hat, a leaf parasol, and dress-like color patterns on her skin that give her the stereotypical "19th-century aristocratic Englishwoman" look.
  • Leliana in Dragon Age: Origins first appears to be a kind of nun and later a pious thief who found refuge in a monastery. However, she really is a professional spy and assassin who worked for the high society of her home country. She occasionally complains that even though traveling on the road and fighting the undead horde is fun, she really misses the fine clothes and art of her country and the company of other more sophisticated people.
  • Estellise in Tales of Vesperia—even though Flynn constantly tells her she should get back to the castle.
  • Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider games.
  • Lady Jane and Lady Jayne from the TimeSplitters series. (They might be the same woman- it's hard to tell with the difference in graphics between games.)
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has Lady Aurelia Hammerlock, an Egomaniac Hunter who comes from a wealthy family of upper-crust British stereotypes who travels the galaxy seeking dangerous game to hunt in order to alleviate the boredom that comes with being an exorbitantly wealthy heiress. As far as she's concerned, vault hunting on Elpis is simply a safari that gives her the chance to shoot lots of things.
  • Phoebe from Battleborn is a rich heiress who happens to be an inventor and adventurer.
  • After the events of Final Fantasy X, Lady note  Yuna donned a skirt and twin pistols to hunt artifacts with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Unlike most examples of the trope, Yuna had a rather repressed childhood, so she's more making up for lost time than pursuing a lifelong career.
    "We fly all over Spira... I'm really enjoying myself."
  • The Alliance Alive has Vivian von Esmerode, who is one of the Daemons who rule over all humanity but also a self-taught scholar who has just a lovely time fighting frontier beasts and clambering down factory ladders. (Her Battle Butler is less enthused.) She gets involved in the plot because she's helping a famous scientist do field research.

  • Delilah Dirk is this to a tee. Her dad was an ambassador, she adventures constantly, and has an appropriate outfit.
  • In Darken, Duchess Jill d'Avron is quite happy to feather her nest as a serial Black Widow, but happily joins Gort's group of Villain Protagonists — first for the hefty reward for harvesting a rare monster's eye, and then because collecting Artifacts of Doom for a Duke of Hell in an infernal power play helps one cultivate all sorts of contacts.
  • Jade English of Homestuck: Adoptive granddaughter of Betty Crocker and Colonel Sassacre, something of a Gadgeteer Genius, and a counterrevolutionary who maintains a secret base on a tropical island filled with fantastic beasts.

    Web Original 
  • Eleonora from Greek Ninja. Sasha and Electra somewhat qualify, but adventure found them rather than them seeking it out. Eleonora was quick to hop in on the adventure when the opportunity presented itself.

    Real Life 
  • Gertrude Sanford Legendre (1902-2000) was an American socialite who served as a spy during World War II. She was also a noted explorer, big-game hunter, environmentalist, and owner of Medway plantation in South Carolina. She spent 1923 to 1929 travelling the world as a big-game hunter in South Africa, Canada, and Alaska. Shortly after exploring Abyssinia for the American Museum of Natural History as part of the Sanford-Legendre Abyssinia Expedition, Gertrude Sanford married the expedition's co-leader Sidney J. Legendre on 17 September 1929. During WWII, Legendre worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), essentially as a spy. She was the first American woman captured on the western front in France by the Germans. Legendre was held as a prisoner of war for six months and then escaped into Switzerland. She lived to be 97 and wrote two autobiographies, one in 1948 and another in 1987. She once said, "I don't contemplate life. I live it."
  • Karen Blixen. The Real Life one.
  • Among her many pursuits Clare Boothe Luce who was an Intrepid Reporter during World War II.
  • Jessica Mitford, who was born into the upper class but rejected her Upper-Class Twit family because of their far-right political leanings and became a political activist (notably involved with the Communist Party and civil rights activism) and an investigative journalist.
  • Legendary British traveler and authoress Isabella Bird. A condensed list of the places she visited and wrote about: Australia, Hawaii, Colorado, Japan, Manchuria, Indochina, India, Tibet, Persia, Kurdistan, Turkey, and Morocco. Small wonder she was the first woman inducted into the Royal Geographical Society.
  • Lady Jane Digby, aristocratic beauty and adventurer, she ditched her husband the Earl of Ellenborough to elope with her lover, the Austrian statesman Felix zu Schwarzenberg. Felix abandoned her in Paris, but Jane soon found a lover of means — King Ludwig I of Bavaria. She wed another nobleman, Baron Karl von Venningen, and had a son with him, only to fall madly in love with Spyridon Theotokis. Her husband challenged Spyridon to a duel; although Karl wounded her lover, he agreed to release Jane from her marriage and astonishingly enough continued to be her friend. Her marriage to Spyridon survived her affair with King Otto I of Greece, but after their only son died tragically, he and Jane divorced. She took up with an Albanian brigand named Hristodoulos Hadzipetros, fighting alongside his men and living in caves, only to walk out on him after catching him with another woman. At forty-six, Jane Digby traveled to Damascus and enchanted Sheik Abdul Medjuel el Mezrab, twenty years her junior. She refused to marry him unless he sent his other wives back to their fathers, which he did. They were happily married for the rest of her life. Jane Digby died at 74, after a lifetime of passion and adventure.
  • Gertrude Bell (1868 – 1926), was a Real Life Adventure Archaeologist who served as a spy and diplomat in the Middle East during World War I, was a mentor to the famous Lawrence of Arabia, and played a major role in reshaping the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman Empire following the war. She founded the Iraqi Archaeological Museum (which was sadly extensively looted during the 2003 invasion) and is still remembered with fondness among the people of the region, no small accomplishment for both a foreigner and a woman.
  • Lady Florence Baker, wife of explorer Samuel Baker. When Baker first met her she was a white slave destined for the harem of an Ottoman noble. Baker fell in love with her, and first tried to purchase her freedom. When that failed he bribed the guards and ran away with her. Then they fell in love and married and she followed him on his expeditions into the most unknown and dangerous parts of Africa. This story is so melodramatic few writers today would use but it really did happen.
  • Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative reporters in the world and almost certainly the first female investigative reporter. Her adventures included a race to travel around the world in fewer than 80 days; she sent telegrams to her publisher from every country she visited as a means of tracking her progress. She also once faked insanity in order to be admitted to an asylum and write about conditions on the inside, which prompted severe changes to the inhumane system for treating the mentally ill.
  • Ginny Fiennes (AKA Lady Virginia Frances Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes), late wife of explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and, amongst other achievements, the first woman to receive the Polar Medal.

Alternative Title(s): Edwardian Adventuress