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Examples of Samus Is a Girl in literature.


  • Jack in the NaNoWriMo novel And Then There Were Monsters turns out to be short for Jacqueline. Of course, it takes place in the 12th century, where such a thing is pretty much literally unthinkable.
    Wreth: No wonder you go by Jack. I have never heard of anyone named Jacqueline who was not a giiirl oh crap.
  • Downplayed in Animorphs: in one of the last books, the team has to see the governor, and narrator Marco admits that he doesn't know much about "him." The governor is a woman. For what it's worth, an earlier book established that their state had a male governor, but a few years have apparently passed In-Universe.
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  • In the first in the A to Z Mysteries series ("The Absent Author"), our detectives try to get reclusive mystery author Wallis Wallace to show up. Wallis doesn't show up, but the gang finds him kidnapped... then realizes Wallis is really tourist Mavis Green, and the kidnapped man is her brother, Walker.
  • Bas-Lag Cycle: The evil, oppressive mayor of New Crobuzon in Iron Council is revealed to be a woman when she finally turns up in person in the story. For readers aware of this trope, it's heavily foreshadowed by the way the characters and narration twist themselves into knots to avoid calling the mayor by a gendered pronoun. The reveal that Toro is also female is more legitimately surprising, since even her own allies didn't know that and has been calling her "him" all along.
  • Black Amazon of Mars, by Leigh Brackett. Lord Ciaran, who always appears in black armor and full helmet, is unmasked during battle with the hero Eric John Stark, to the shock of everyone (well, except the reader) including her own soldiers. Given the morals of the time, her men have a choice between killing her on the spot or following her into battle. Fortunately the enemy see this as an opportunity to attack, so everyone has to rally behind her or be killed. She thanks Stark afterwards for his Dramatic Unmask as the secret was bound to come out sometime, so best it occur when no-one has a chance to think things through.
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  • In The Black Company novels, Soulcatcher, one of the Ten Who Were Taken is an interesting example. It's well known that three of the Taken are female, but owing to the Taken's habits of concealing their true features, no one's quite sure which and just call them all "he" indiscriminately. Soulcatcher herself further confuses matters by the fact that her voice changes continually to reflect the souls she's stolen, so her voice is sometimes male, sometimes female. However, it is noted that Catcher's masculine clothing doesn't fully conceal her shape and "he" has fairly effeminate mannerisms- at the end of the first book, Catcher's ubiquitous helmet comes off and she's revealed to actually be a woman. Later in the series she makes no attempt to disguise her gender, even when hiding her face.
  • In Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God, it's a surprise to the main character (and the reader) that the alien with whom he has been working is female.
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  • Crackers, George and Harold's pet pterodactyl in some of the Captain Underpants books, likely falls into this. After being hypnotised (along with Sulu the bionic hamster) into being evil, Crackers in fact does good. It was previously established that the doohickey that does the hypnotising causes females to do the opposite of whatever they are commanded to do. Plus, all of the pronouns relating to Crackers are highlighted-a fact which George and Harold notice.
  • Chops the gremlin of City of Devils is assumed to be male, due to her lush muttonchop sideburns. She is revealed to be female only after Nick Moss views the film of her creation.
  • Kitai from Codex Alera gets this twice. From the same person.
    • In the first book, Kitai is an adolescent Marat (a Neanderthal-like human) without any secondary sexual characteristics. Her father calls her "whelp", as is the case with all adolescent Marat. It isn't until she falls in some cold water and lifts her tunic to keep it dry does Tavi see that she lacks male genitalia.
    • In the second book, it has been two years since the first one, and Tavi is studying in the capital city and tasked with finding a mysterious burglar who is getting past the magical defenses. Tavi, as the P.O.V character, uses male pronouns when thinking about the criminal, only to change when he finally catches her.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story The Flame Knife Conan is forced to leave a battle because of additional forces coming in for their own reasons. While trying to work out how to extract the girl who was hiding in a building the far side of the battlefield, one of his soldiers tells him it's taken care of and takes off "his" helmet.
  • The Coronation: Fandorin's Arch-Nemesis Dr. Lind is revealed to be a girl in the final showdown, who kept her tightly-knit gang together with The Power of Love.
  • Dead Mountaineer's Hotel by the Strugatsky Brothers has Brun "The child", a teenager of ambiguous gender who wears unisex clothes, large shades and avoidance of gender endings in words). Her full name is Brunhilde.
  • Discworld:
    • In Sourcery, the mysterious thief turns out to be Conina, the daughter of Cohen the Barbarian. Although in this case, it's less a matter of bulky clothes, the book simply avoids gender specific pronouns at the start.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, everyone in the regiment is revealed to be a girl/woman. The readers only know this unambiguously about the main viewpoint character, since the book opens with her deciding to enlist and disguising herself as male to do so.note  The other members vary from "yeah, obvious" to "wait, I thought the big secret [name] was hiding was being a [vampire/werewolf/whatever]."
    • The noble dragon in Guards! Guards! is one, too.
    • In Feet of Clay, it's revealed that Cheery Littlebottom is a female dwarf to the reader fairly quickly. As a lampoon on Our Dwarves Are All the Same, Dwarfish culture is so male-centric that females typically behave and masquerade as men stated that all dwarfs are considered dwarfs without distinction of sex. This can cause confusion when two dwarfs like each other and need to delicately find out if they have met a friend or a mate. Angua detects her secret and coaches her to slowly adopt feminine behavior, which causes a lot of confusion among her other co-workers. She ultimately comes out of the closet and renames herself Cherry. She also starts wearing dresses. Chainmail ones with an axe... she said she was female, she never said she wasn't a dwarf. She also keeps her beard for the same reason.
    • Carrot himself is shocked when Angua mentions that one of the other Watch dwarfs is female as well, albeit still closeted.
    • Subverted earlier in the series as well. When Angua is introduced in Men at Arms (But she's a w...), it is obvious right away that she is female, but it's not until later that the reader finds out that she is a werewolf, and some of the characters don't find out until the end.
  • Veckert Rainer in Distortionverse, much for Kari's dismay.
  • The Dresden Files: In Cold Days, the fairy Dresden nicknames "Captain Hook", for wearing an armor made of fishing hooks and nearly took his eye out, is revealed to be a girl named Lacuna after she is captured by the heroes and her armor comes off.
  • The Edge Chronicles: Twig's father's Sky Pirate band has a mysterious Stone Pilot named Maugin, who always wears heavy body-covering protective gear. When the hood comes off, not only is she female, but she's a permanently physically immature Termagant Trog and thus looks like a little girl.
  • Britomart in The Faerie Queene has three distinct "Bobs": The reader learns she is a woman after she defeats Guyon, but the first character to learn she is a woman is the Redcrosse Knight, after she saves him from a gang of six other knights. Her love interest is Artegall — Love at First Sight for her, Love at First Punch for him.
  • In Firebird, Brennen Caldwell initially assumes Firebird Angelo is a man, simply because she was a pilot in the attack phalanx of the Netaian invasion force. His assumption is corrected after she is captured.
  • Vieve Lefoux in The Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger. While those familiar with Carriger's previous series, The Parasol Protectorate, will recognize her as the Gadgeteer Genius Genevieve Lefoux, the protagonist is unaware of Vieve's true gender until informed.
  • This happens in one of the Flashman novels, where he and a rebel against the Russian empire are rescued from prison by a group which includes a woman whose face is veiled. He is at first offput when she kisses him, knowing the cultural tradition of male bonding among warriors, but then relaxes when he notices her female attributes.
  • In Fortunately, the Milk, the narrator-protagonist goes on an entire adventure with the eccentric inventor Professor Steg before they meet another of the Professor's people who casually mentions that Professor Steg is female. The protagonist does at least have the excuse of Professor Steg being an entirely different species with none of the usual human gender indicators, but he's still embarrassed to realize he automatically assumed that an adventurer-inventor would be male.
  • In From Russia with Love, Ian Fleming goes into detail describing the hideous appearance of Dirty Communist Rosa Klebb, before ending with the words "She pulled up her skirt and sat down".
  • Another superhero novel called Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities has the protagonist, Vincent, learn that his local superhero, Captain Stupendous, is Polly, the girl whom he has a crush on, transformed into a muscular man. She actually just inherited her powers from the first Captain Stupendous, who was their male teacher.
  • In one of the cleverest examples of this trope, Joanne Harris' Gentlemen and Players has the narrator. This is revealed close to the end of the book.
  • Harry Potter: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback is revealed to be female by the series' end. In light of this, her name was changed to Norberta.
    • The tie-in book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them says that male basilisks have a scarlet plume on their head, identifying the basilisk in the second book as female.
  • At a Worldcon panel, an anecdote about an accidental, out-of-story example from The Hunger Games was discussed: The author, Suzanne Collins, works as a teacher, and at one point a boy in her class, who was most of the way through the first book, gushed about Katniss to her, saying "He's so cool!" Collins pointed out that Katniss was a girl, to which the boy responded, "Girls don't hunt!"
  • In the Hurog series, Ward's aunt Stala managed to get a decent warrior education before she was found out to be a woman. At one point in the story, a couple of bandits is killed with a small knife. Ward wonders who did it, knowing that the male owner of the farm that was attacked would have used an axe. Later, the badass who did it is revealed to be a woman, who used the small knife because it was the only weapon she had. The little daughter of the house is delighted it was a girl who did that feat of badassery, Ward only shrugs and says "My aunt could have done the same."
  • In Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster, it's not revealed that Sagyanak the Death is female until well after the Horde has been driven from Sofold.
  • In the Inspector Morse short story "Neighbourhood Watch", Morse and Lewis stake out a house where Morse is sure there's going to be a burglary, the burglars having ensured the victim is out for the night, and see nothing more suspicious than a woman delivering free newspapers. It later transpires the apparent victim had also deduced he was being targeted, but had taken it a step further: he knew that the burglars knew Morse knew, and had therefore changed their plans. Just in case he was wrong, he also hired a private detective to keep an eye on things, whom he describes to Morse as a judo black-belt who could easily have taken care of any trouble. Morse is surprised they didn't spot him, and the victim corrects him; she was the paper woman.
  • P. Berling's "Die Ketzerin" ("The Heretic") begins with a knight tournament, and the winner is a woman, namely the main heroine.
  • Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings. She does appear previously in the story, but when she disguises herself as a man she's introduced and referred to as a new male character, until she reveals herself.
    • In the book, anyway. In the movie, she never introduces herself as the male character and nobody's fooled by the disguise; the director's commentary has Peter Jackson stating that they deviated from the book in that regard because they had to - it was simply impossible to make it convincing and they didn't want to insult the viewers' intelligence with a Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Director Inoue Sato in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. No awesome armor, but a surgically raspy voice and a cell phone connection do the trick.
  • In Esther Friesner's Majyk By Accident trilogy, at one point the hero is rescued by a masked swashbuckler who identifies himself only as "a blade for justice." This eventually turns out to be the hero's wife, disgruntled at being left at home while he's out on an adventure. Even after The Reveal, she keeps up the masquerade, finding swashbuckling to be a rewarding career.
  • In one of Akutagawa's short stories, "The Martyr", the young man who was adopted by the Catholic church had been assigned the name "Lorenzo". Later, "he" was excommunicated from the Catholic church because a girl accused "him" of fathering her child. After "he" had saved her child from a burning house and the mother revealed the truth about the child's paternity, Lorenzo was revealed to be a woman all along. This was based loosely off a true story: Saint Marina the Monk.
  • Éponine in Les Misérables. She's introduced early on the novel, but at one point she disguises herself as a boy and the reader won't discover she's the boy who drove Marius to the barricade until she's wounded and dying in his arms.
  • Brady in Mr Blank disguises herself as a man — a garden variety government spook, complete with sleazy blond mustache — in order to double dip among several conspiracies.
  • A reader picking up Lawrence Watt-Evans' Nightside City and starting on the first-person narrative would immediately understand that this is a Hardboiled Detective mystery, with all the typical attributes of the genre - even if it takes place on the exotic background of a future interstellar civilization. But it takes several pages before the first-person narrator casually lets slip the fact that she, Carlisle Hsing, is a woman detective.
  • In James Herbert's Nobody True, the ghost protagonist spends a lot of time stalking a hideously deformed serial killer with psychic powers named Alex, and even ends up possessing the killer's dead body to use it to save his family...only to find that Alex was short for Alexandra, and she was too deformed to notice her breasts. Alex even walked like a man.
  • "Once and Future", a non-Discworld story by Pratchett available in the collection A Blink of the Screen: the lost heir of Uther Pendragon is revealed to be female only after she has pulled the sword out of the stone and been declared the true king. She knew enough about sexism in her society to keep that a secret until it was too late.
  • In John Varley's ''The Opiuchi Hotline", taking place on the Moon and in the Asteroid Belt during the 27th Century, the dissident scientist Lilo is trapped - seemingly hopelessly - in the nefarious schemes and plots of the powerful corrupt politician calling himself "Boss Tweed". The demagogue and blatantly macho Tweed consciously emulates the corrupt politicians of late 19th Century America, even to renaming the Lunar Presidential Mansion as "Tammany Hall". Tweed's trademarks are his paunch, pin-striped suit and top hat - all hopelessly archaic in the 27th Century but beloved by Tweed's grassroots following. In the book's cataclysmic end, Lilo turns the tables and Tweed is unmasked and is wanted for several heinous crimes, each carrying a mandatory capital punishment under Lunar law. However, Tweed had a contingency plan for this eventuality, too. He goes into a deserted tunnel deep under the Lunar surface and undresses. He lets fall his paunch, which had been no more than a kind of artificial attachment developed by 27th Century medical science, and the true Tweed is shown to be tall and slender. The paunch falls on the floor and chemically self-dissolves. It is immediately followed by Tweed's penis, which had also been no more than an artificial attachment (though bio-engineered to seem like the real thing). Where it was is revealed a female sexual organ which had been kept hidden for many decades. Boss Tweed was a woman all along.
  • Bradamante in Orlando Furioso, of whom Britomart is an expy, does this as well in the... unusual tale of her and Princess Fiordispina.
  • Lampshaded straightforwardly in John Nichol's novel Point of Impact, in which Jane, a female member of aircrew, is advised, after stepping down from an aircraft, to remove her helmet and shake out a mane of blonde hair - and she does. Nichol is an ex Tornado navigator famous for failing to set up an aircraft correctly on the final run into an Iraqi airbase in January 1991; understandable mistake, but not really the time to make it since the blunder earned him and his pilot a multi-week stay at the pleasure of the Iraqi regime and their baseball bats. Ironically, Nichol probably left the RAF around the time female fast-jet aircrew began to appear.
  • While the audience finds out that Mach from Rumor's Block is a girl, most of the main cast still doesn't know. And those that do still refer to her as 'he' during conversation.
  • Matt Ruff's Set This House in Order when we find out that despite the personalities of the first person narrator being predominantly male, the body is female.
  • Shown to be Older Than Print in The Shahnameh: When Sepid Dejh’s (the white fortress) champion Hojhir challenges Sohrab to single combat, is beaten and taken prisoner, the fortresses chief, Gazhdahm and his daughter Gordafarid realize that the fort will eventually fall. Gazhdahm sends a messenger to Key Kavus, the Shah of Persia through a secret passage and starts to evacuate the city through it, while Gordafarid wears armor, hides her hair under a helmet and challenges Sohrab to buy time. A fierce and long clash ensues and the fight gets closer and closer, culminating in hand to hand combat on horseback. Finally, in the heat of battle Sohrab tears the helmet from Gordafarid’s head and is astonished to realize he’d been fighting a beautiful girl.
  • Sidekicks by Jack D. Farraiolo is a superhero novel where the main character, Scott/Bright Boy, has a rivalry with supervillain sidekick Monkeywrench. It's only after "his" mask comes off in a fight that Scott realizes Monkeywrench is a popular girl from his school (who quickly also becomes his Love Interest). Well, that explains the high voice and new, less form-fitting costume...
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Catelyn watches Brienne of Tarth win a tournament and assumes she's a man because she's encased in plate armor. Because Brienne is hulking, ugly, flat-chested, and often wears warrior garb, she admits to being frequently taken for a man.
    • Horribly deconstructed with the story of "Brave Danny Flint" who was raped and murdered by her Nights Watch comrades.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Boba Fett's estranged daughter Ailyn Vel impersonated her father for a period of time. So deadly and ruthless was she that everyone who met her during this period thought she really was her father — but her utter lack of ethics went beyond even Fett's harsh methods, and years later the truth was eventually discovered.
    • In Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, Dao Stryver is a tall, tough Mandalorian wearing full body armor and helmet. The novel consistently refers to Stryver as "he." He has a deep, male voice, filtered through his armor. At the end, Stryver turns out to be a Gektl female, although one character knew it all along. Since most Mandalorians shown in films and games tend to be male humans, this was a big shock. This is even more jarring in the audiobook, where the narrator makes an effort to make Stryver to sound like a tough guy, using special effects to add to the feel of the character. Then comes the Gektl female with Sssssnaketalk.
    • John Jackson Miller avoids pronouns when it comes to the Tusken warrior A'Yark in Star Wars: Kenobi until halfway through the novel, when he starts using feminine pronouns for the character. The other characters learn A'Yark's true identity later.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Several examples. This is helped by the extremely strict gender roles of the Vorin religion. The idea of a woman fighting is as inconceivable as a man writing a book.
    • The Way of Kings: In one of Dalinar's visions of the past, he is shocked when one of the Knights Radiant turns out to be female. No one in the vision finds this at all odd. Later, he inspects one of the Parshendi warpairs, and comes to the conclusion that the clean-shaven "apprentice" of the pair is actually female. It helps that Parshendi are covered in carapace armor while in warform, and have very small breasts except in mateform.
    • Words of Radiance: At the end of the previous book, Dalinar fought the last Parshendi Shardbearer, who was obliquely named Eshonai (it was the name of the chapter, but never actually came up in the text). When Adolin runs into Eshonai after a plateau run, he is flabbergasted when he realizes she is female. Again, the armor helped conceal her gender, plus her thick accent.
    • Oathbringer: Highmarshal Azure is referred to as male by her men, despite the fact that she makes no attempt to hide the fact that she's a woman. Alethkar's strict gender rules mean women are not allowed to fight under any circumstances, but since she was one who stood up to lead the city's defenders during a siege, she's the only option, and her men don't want her to get in trouble. Since the reason Azure was the only one available is because the city's leaders have gone insane, that's not an unreasonable thing to be worried about. Kaladin has more experience with badass women due to the return of the Knights Radiant and doesn't mind, while Azure herself finds the whole thing amusing. She's actually from another world entirely that isn't anywhere near as strict on women fighting.
  • Jane Yolen's Sword of the Rightful King, a King Arthur retelling, has an interesting twist when the apparent Canon Foreigner Gawen turns out to be a young, disguised noblewoman named Guinevere.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: Sir George, the knight who saves Princess Andromeda from a dragon in One Good Knight, is actually Georgina.
  • Temeraire: An internal short-term version is seen, or rather read, in Blood of Tyrants when an amnesiac Laurence checks the correspondence in his cabin for clues as to the eight years he is missing. As he reads one letter from an Aerial Corps Admiral stationed on the Spanish front, he rapidly generates a mental image of the writer; a working officer in his mid-forties, confident in his judgement and secure in his position, indifferently educated by his own standardsnote , but clearly a good friend of his and close kin of his Midwingman Emily Roland. This mental image is shattered, despite every particular but one unspoken assumption being correct, when he reaches the signature: "Yours, etc., Jane."
  • In Those That Wake's sequel, the Librarian is revealed as a girl.
  • Andre de la Croix in the Time Wars series. Also a Sweet Polly Oliver, but the reader doesn't find out until after she's kicked serious butt at a tournament.
  • Tamora Pierce plays with this trope a bit in the Tortall Universe. The readers know very well that Alanna/Kel is a girl (especially Alanna); it's the various characters who get the shock. The best example is when Daine meets Alanna in Wild Magic.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Lorn tells Xhea of an assassin who killed many members of Edren during the last war. Everyone assumed that the assassin was male, but Xhea later learns that the assassin was in fact her mother, Nerra.
  • Jack in Robert A. Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky. Rod Walker spends several days with her and never guesses. His friend Jimmy deduces the truth after an hour or so of being acquainted. Guess which one she marries.
  • This is the Twist Ending of The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp. Throughout the book, goodhearted troublemaker Tyke has been the narrator, so we don't get any gender-specific pronouns and only occasional references to "my real name, the one I hated". It's only at the end, when Tyke climbs the roof of the school in imitation of possible ancestor Tom Tiler, that we hear a teacher screaming "Theodora Tiler, you naughty, disobedient girl!"
  • Warhammer 40,000: In the Ciaphas Cain novel Duty Calls, Cain is saved by a warrior in Powered Armor who turns out to be Amberley Vail. It's not her first appearance, but the unidentified warrior is separately established under that description before the reveal.
  • In Warren the 13th, Paleface, the bandage-faced stranger is revealed to be Petula's mother.
  • In Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory, the protagonist himself only finds out at the end that he is physically female. He was attacked by a dog in childhood, and his father claimed that the dog had castrated him. His father fed him male hormones in the meals.
  • In Patricia Briggs' When Demons Walk, Sham is often mistaken for a pubescent boy, a resemblance she augments with masculine dress and hair. Kerim has an entire conversation with "him", Talbot watches "his" interrogation, and when Kerim is attacked Sham throws the knife that kills the attacker. When they try to find him again, they can't figure out how he managed to disappear so completely, until an amused informant finally reveals that they should start asking about local women.
  • In the first tome of Zaregoto the main character assumes Aikawa Jun is male. Turns out wrong at the end of the book.
  • In the Baby Sitters Club Special Edition: Readers' Request book Logan Bruno, Boy Baby-Sitter, the babysitting B-plot is all about how the club's charges are getting harassed by a bully named "E.J." and why they won't let their parents or the babysitters intervene. In the last chapter, as they're discussing the outcome, Jessi reveals that her sister invited the bully over after the kids' show of solidarity caused her to cry: E.J. is short for "Eleanor Jane," and the bully was a girl all along. And why not? If boys can babysit, then girls can be bullies. In this case, the gender is hidden by the babysitters' assumption that the bully is a boy, and the fact that they don't go to the younger kids' school. The Pike triplets actually are about to reveal that E.J. is a girl to them, when Mallory demands to know why they aren't doing more to protect their siblings and their friends, but the other Pike kids beg them not to admit it. Stacey then says that Charlotte Johanssen's mother, who is a doctor, told her about how patients are always addressing her as 'nurse,' and always calling the three male nurses on her staff 'doctor.'
  • Gender-Inverted Trope in Double Standard, a 1952 sci-fi tale by Alfred Coppel. The protagonist wears an elaborate body disguise to get into space, because of the belief that he's not suitable to withstand space conditions. He proves otherwise by stowing away on board a rocketship, only being captured by the crew after they're in orbit. It's only when he removes his fake breasts that we get The Reveal that the crew are an Amazon Brigade. Turns out women were used as the first astronauts for their small stature and stamina, then monopolized the space profession afterwards.

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