Sunday, 16 August 2015

Why Hate On Confident Women?: Why I Love Celaena Sardothien



There are very few books and discussion topics that make me want to whip out my camera and actually film a video for them. This was one of those times where I got incredibly close, but got put off by the fact I can't be bothered to even try and attempt to edit a video. Plus... having to listen to and see myself on camera makes me want to cringe just thinking about it. I shall save you all from it! I do think this would be something I'd find easier to discuss when talking, rather than trying to get all my thoughts down in writing, but I am going to try my best. 

I'm currently rereading the whole of the Throne of Glass series - be warned, there will probably be many ToG related posts coming!!! - so that I am ready for the release of Queen of Shadows. Whilst reading, I was remembering back to all the comments I remember seeing people make in reviews about Celaena Sardothien, especially in the negative reviews. A lot of people didn't like her, they found her to be a highly unlikeable main character. They found her to be far too arrogant and full of herself, which she most definitely is. But they also commented a lot on the fact that she's beautiful and she knows it. Many hated this about her, but I actually really love Celaena for so many reasons but the fact she's a confident (sometimes ridiculously confident) women was definitely one of them, we need more confident women in YA.


Celaena Sardothien is most definitely arrogant, it's something even she is willing to admit. But I never understood why her commenting positively on her looks was seen as so negative. It's not like she ever declares herself the most beautiful woman on the planet, in fact she is more than willing to point out her flaws. She comments on the fact she has many average features, but it's her striking ones that make her beautiful.
In short, Celaena Sardothien was blessed with a handful of attractive features that compensated for the majority of average ones
Maybe some people don't like a character who is aware of their own beauty, but I found it quite refreshing. Throne of Glass lets us see from the perspective of more than one character, so we hear from more than one person that Celaena is beautiful. But I found it more refreshing, and less infuriating than most, that she was aware of her beauty. She is confident and I think that was something to admire rather than moan about. I feel it's more a sign of the society we live in, where it feels like we are constantly being told to find our flaws and change them, that we must look for our negatives, rather than love our positives. Celaena sees her flaws, so why shouldn't she be allowed to celebrate her strengths.

I don't like the fact people hate on Celaena for being aware of her beauty and the effect she can have on people. It kind of feels like 'Oh my god, how dare a woman have any self esteem!' It's not like she goes around telling everyone how beautiful she is. We're in her head, and sometimes she comments on how she looks. I like that she's not picking herself apart all the time. We're made to feel annoyed and angered by women who are aware of their own beauty. When you turn on the TV or look in a magazine all you'll find are adverts for products that are made for us to improve or change ourselves. While writing this post, three minutes of adverts between a TV show have had ads for wrinkle cream, hair dye and two separate workout dvds. I think maybe this gif sums it up best:


Celaena is a different kind of kick-ass heroine to the ones we usually find in YA. Yes, she's good with a weapon and can kill someone with her bare hands. But she also loves clothing, and make up, and fashion. She shows that being a strong heroine doesn't mean that you lose or lessen your femininity. She's no less feminine because she can wield a sword, but she's no less kick-ass because she has a love of fashion.

The other thing a lot of people hated was the Celaena seems all talk and no show in Throne of Glass. She is Adarlan's most deadly and notorious assassin and she's not afraid to let us know. She mentions it all the time, especially when she is forced to hold back during the trials so that her competition doesn't realise her full potential. It infuriates her! She's the best, is used to being the best and likes everyone to know she's the best. But, I admit, she spends most of Throne of Glass talking about what she could do rather than doing any of it. She talks about how she could disarm and kill the guards, or kill this champion or that champion. But she doesn't. And this annoyed people, but it's necessary for the story.

Yes, she doesn't go and kill those guards and she doesn't kill a champion. It's very simple why she doesn't: She would end up being killed or sent back to Endovier. The whole entire reason Celaena is taking part in the contest is because she wants her freedom. Freedom is important to her and it's something that is apparent throughout the entire series, not just the first book. She wants to be free, before her year in the slave camp of Endovier, she was trained as an assassin by Arobynn Hamel and basically belonged to him. So she wants her freedom and she's not going to mess that up just so the reader can feel like she really is a hardcore assassin.

I just find it silly to say that we are told she's the world's greatest assassin but aren't shown it very much in Throne of Glass. It's book one in a rather large series, so there is definitely more to come and more opportunity for Celaena to prove herself. It's commented on by all the characters that she's the most feared assassin, so it's clearly a true fact. And we do get stories that show this, like how she got over three hundred feet from the mines, when anyone else couldn't get further than three. Just because she doesn't assassinate anyone in book one doesn't make her any less kick-ass. I mean, when I think back to the first Harry Potter book, we're told that Dumbledore is the greatest wizard all the time, but it's not like we get massive evidence to this. But no one doubts it or hates on Dumbledore for not battling wizards every five minutes to prove his worth. We get evidence to this as the series goes on, but in the first book it's all tell and no show.

By this point even I am not sure what I am going on about! I just love Celaena so much and wish people wouldn't write her off as a shallow, arrogant character with little evidence of her skills just from book one. I feel like she just gets better with every single book and you see just how strong a character she is. I will defend Celaena forever, I have far too much love for that woman. And I can't wait to see how her story concludes in this series because I need to see her get a happy ending, this girl deserves and needs one. I love her for her confidence. I love her for her love of books. I love her for her love of sweets. I love her love of all things fashion, especially since that's something I suck at.


Are there any more Celaena Sardothien lovers out there? Or do any of you hate her and find her too over-confident? 

The amazing graphics here are free downloads from Behind the Pages

45 comments:

  1. While reading this whole post I just kept thinking YES YES YES. I hate seeing negative comments about Celaena :(. I love her so so much and she is probably one of my favorite characters ever. I too will defend her together. Her arrogance actually makes me love her more. The fact that people don't like Celaena because she LIKES HERSELF is just annoying.

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    1. I know, I find it so refreshing to find a female character who doesn't spend half the book doubting their abilities and looks. I liked that she was confident, why shouldn't a woman be allowed to have confidence.

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  2. Hmm... I am thinking I agree with you here. I actually haven't read this series yet although I really want to *the shame*. But I do know about her being confident and commenting on her looks. And I don't understand why so many people want her to be less confident? I mean, we complain when girls in books always have that line when they ask the love interest if they are beautiful or say that they aren't or whatever - and now we have a book that does the opposite and we still complain? Sometimes it can be hard to get things right for us xD

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    1. I hate that people hate on her confidence. When a guy is confident it seems like people love it, he's seen as cocky but not called shallow. I hate that she's judged for being happy with how she looks. I'd rather that than she be constantly picking herself apart like some heroines do.

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  3. Celaena is awesome! :D There, that's what it all comes down to.

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  4. So well said. She just gets more and more badass the more books we get. Give me a sassy, confident MC any day.

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    1. Me too!!! Who wants a character who is constantly picking themselves apart.

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  5. I ADORE this post. I saw a lot of comments hating on her love for fashion, and "shallow" things, and I just thought it was a bit ridiculous. It's actually realistic that she has these thoughts, don't we all?! As for her self-esteem, I too found it refreshing, yes at times it was very strong, but when you are the BEST in the world, and everyone else knows it too, you are going to have a certain amount of arrogance, or pride, in that. Love, love, love this post! R x

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    1. Thank you!!! I am so happy that others feel the same way as me. I was worried I might just get people commenting who didn't like her, so I am so happy to see so many people agree.

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  6. I love her character in the series, because not only is she confident, she's loyal to her friends and the people she cares about. Of course, she's going to have a lot of pride and arrogance, that's to be expected considering her background. She's not afraid to admit she's beautiful but she also points out her flaws and admits when she's wrong. Her love for fashion is normal, i mean she's still feminine, just because she's an assassin doesn't mean she doesn't have these thoughts at all. I love this post and i'm currently on the third book in the series. Can't wait to see how she develops even more throughout the series. :)

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    1. I love her character and I am so happy you agree with me!!! :) She's such a wonderful and strong character, I loved that she was confident and feminine, but had her flaws and was aware of those too.

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  7. my blog is http://lissangels.blogspot.com/
    you can come check it out, and i'll follow you back!

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    1. I'll be sure to check it out and give you a follow! :)

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  8. I'm sorry. I'm a hater. :( I think your points are great and make me rethink a little, but I only read about 20% of TOG when I quit so I probably shouldn't have much of an opinion on her.

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    1. That's fine, everyone is allowed to be a hater. She gets so much stronger as the series goes on, I think she takes a while to really shine.

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  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO HUG IT ENOUGH. ZOMG. YES YES YES YOU ARE 10000% RIGHT. This is why I get mad when people seem to snark at her for being "vain" or "stupid". She's not. SHE IS NOT. And omg the reason I fell in love with her in the first place was that she wa sa confident heroine. I'm so sick of the whimpering narrators who are "plain" and "nerdy" and wear sensible clothes. gAH. I just loved how Celeana was vain. I ADORED THAT. Because seriously, aren't most people?? We pretend we're not. But don't we leave the house looking nice?! And yes she likes cake and puppies and books and is a wickedly notorious killer. LIKE SHE IS SO GLORIOUS I CANNOT EVEN. *hyperventilates*
    I also love that gif and I think it sums up so much so well
    Thank god for Sarah J Maas who writes dimensional females who are realistic, care about their bodies, and have good self-esteem.

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    1. YAY!!! Thank you, Cait!!! So, so, sooooo happy people love this post. I was so nervous about it that I nearly didn't write it. I love Celaena, she;s so strong and there is not one thing I would change about her. She is an amazing heroine and Maas did a fantastic job with her. I am glad so many others appreciate Celaena and who she is. I love her and I think Maas writes fantastic female characters.

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  10. I agree with everything you said. Celena at first wasn't my favorite character because she seemed to always gloat. However I quickly realized it was her self confidence showing. It through me off since it's rare for other female characters to show it.

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    1. I know, so it was refreshing to finally have a female character who actually had some self esteem.

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  11. Great post, Charnell! I have only read the first book so I can base my opinions only on that one, but I totally agree with what you're saying. I've read many negative comments in reviews about dislike for Celaena. Her over confidence, her lack of humility. But don't we all applaud those same qualities in our male protagonists? "Oh, he's so confident! Oh, he's so strong and accomplished and cocky!" So why the double standard. As fare a physical appearance, I have to say I am sick to death of apparently Astoundingly Beautiful lead characters who supposedly have NO IDEA that they are beautiful. Their POV bemoans the fact that they are quite plain, their eyes are "too large"" and they are "too thin" but from any other POV it's obvious she's practically a runway model. Ugh! I say kudos to a character who is finally aware of her looks and says so! I enjoyed Celaena as a character and look forward to continuing the series.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. I know. I definitely felt like there would not have been anywhere near as many complaints about it if she had been a male character. I hate that double standard. She's such an amazing heroine and I hate that people write her off as shallow and arrogant, when she is so much more.

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  12. ALL THE YES. I'm feeling this post on so many levels. We always see readers moan about Mary Sues and how of course they're beautiful but don't see it, yet when we get a confident character, people riot. I don't understand it either. I love that Celaena is confident and looks after herself.

    About the Adarlan Assassin part - that annoyed me too. I mean, it's stated over and over again why she can't show who she really is, yet people are still complaining? I'd bet everything I had that if she DID show how good she was and completely disobey orders, people would have complained about how stupid that was.

    Great post! Sorry for blabbering on >.<

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    1. YAY!!! I am so wonderfully happy that so many people feel the same way as I do. She is amazing and incredible, and strong, and feminine, and resilient, and such an amazing character. I adore her and wish people didn't write her off so easily and quickly.

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  13. LOVE this post Charnell! I'll admit that Throne of Glass isn't one of my favorite series (I just never feel completely emotionally connected to it for one reason or another) but I really do love Celaena as a character. I love how she doesn't take any crap from anyone and how she stands up for herself and whatnot. Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous post! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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    1. Thank you! :) I became rather obsessed with the series and now consider it my favourite, just under Harry Potter. Most of that is to do with Celaena and how much of a wonderful heroine she is. She's strong and determined and I just love her. So happy to find so many others who love her as much as me.

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  14. I do really agree with this. I was taken aback a little by Celaena but she's different and that's so important. No one is perfect and even though arrogance isn't really attractive, the complaint is getting old. Also, the complaints about how she's supposed to be badass but she likes candy and dresses bothers me so much. Like how does badass relate to candy and dresses? OMG

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    1. I am so happy to see so many other people who agree with me on this point. I adore Celaena as a character and hate when she gets to much hate just for liking clothes and sweets.

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  15. Haha! Loves you! It's one of those things where when I'm loving on Celaena or saying I'm a ToG book again that a hater will arise and spew their hate over her being over confident, etc... I just roll my eyes. I know reading is subjective. And there's a fine line between cocky and confident. But like you Celaena absolutely never crosses it. She is the perfect juxtaposition of deadly and feminine. The fact is if she were a guy we wouldn't be having this conversation. It is only that she's a girl and knows herself to be the best assassin, well still being beautiful that this is even brought up. Ugh. I'm not anywhere as confident at Celaena, but there are days were you look in the mirror and think I like fantastic today. So what that she does it too?
    I love your Dumbledore comparison. On point. :)
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. EXACTLY!!! It frustrates me so much that we only get this conversation because SHE'S A WOMAN! If she was a guy it wouldn't even be something they would moan about. BUGS THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!! Gah, I love that girl. Thank you, glad so many people loved this post and love Celaena as much as me :)

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  16. What an awesome post!! I love Celaena for all of these reasons too. I hate that people are hating on Celaena, she's so brave and hilarious and she's a READER. We do not hate on fellow bookworms. Literally not okay. :0 Beautiful post <3

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Exactly!!! Us bookworms should stick together ;) I love Celaena, she's just so strong and wonderful, I admire her so much.

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  17. Hi - It's really nice to see a female lead character who shows confidence in herself instead of all the self-doubting that many take part in.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. Exactly! She's a very refreshing female character.

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  18. Totally love Celaena! I never had an issue with her confidence about her appearance and I agree – she should damn well be confident and feel good about herself :) So glad you're loving the series!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

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    1. It's one of my absolute favourites, and I can't wait to get my hands on the fourth book!!! I NEED IT!!!! :)

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  19. Lol! I'm one of those who didn't like Celeanea at all, haha. I didn't like the book either. My main issue with her isn't that she was confident and that she loved clothes and her own look. I did think she was too focused on clothes and look, though. I just didn't feel like she acted like an assassin. I wasn't expecting her to kill people or anything like that. But I just thought that for a feared and apparently experienced assassin, she was very careless. I do want to read Crown of Midnight. All of my friends told me that it's much better than the first book.

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    1. I would recommend continuing because Crown of Midnight really is so much better than book one, I think it's my favourite of the series so far.

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  20. I am totally with you on this topic! I really loved Celaena's character. It was super refreshing to see a MC who was aware of her strengths and sure of them. Tbh, I was actually a bit annoyed with her because she was all talk in ToG, but in Crown of Midnight, she proved herself!:)

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    1. She really proves herself in that, we really get to see why people feared her so much!

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  21. I know I'm going to be the odd one out here, but I don't hate Celaena because she's confident, that was what draw me to her in the first place. I hate her because she, at least in Throne of Glass, was a horrible person. She shamed every girl but Nehemia, simply because they looked at Dorian, she made snide comments here and there about their bodies, and appareance that were awful. She constantly had to put people down to make herself look good, and for a character that was praised as "strong" and "feminist" Celaena had no agenda in the book whatsoever, and everything she accomplished, like the trials were accomplished for her by men.

    She was a dissapointment to me, but not because she was confident, more because she was simply so misogynistic.

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    1. Awww, it's a shame you really didn't like her as a character. She's still one of my favourites! Although she bugged me a lot in Queen of Shadows.

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  22. Celaena is my favorite character in my favorite series (though I also have a fondness for Lysandra) and am so happy to hear someone defend her! I can't imagine anyone disliking her. I felt like her beauty was an important part of her character. It is so opposite to the supposed demons she has. Let's be honest, if she were an ugly 35 year old, I doubt she would have befriended Chaol or Dorian; her looks allow people to ignore her reputation long enough to really get to know her as a person.Yes, she is aware she is beautiful but also aware she is flawed. Her Scarring that is often hidden but clothing is a representation of this and works to reflect her personality. Overall, I agree that no book is perfect, but this book is right up my alley and I loved it so i'm willing to overlook flaws. If you disagree, honestly, why are you even here? I mean, seriously, why?

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  23. I was put off of this series because of the comments regarding Celaena. But then I really wanted to read the series since the fifth book just came out. So I read the five novellas and am just now starting Throne of Glass. I love Celaena! I think she can be annoying sometimes, but that is her character and I like her for it. I'm glad I started this series now.

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  24. I was put off of this series because of the comments regarding Celaena. But then I really wanted to read the series since the fifth book just came out. So I read the five novellas and am just now starting Throne of Glass. I love Celaena! I think she can be annoying sometimes, but that is her character and I like her for it. I'm glad I started this series now.

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