Fairy tales often get a bad rap, but fairy tale princesses get the worst rap of them all. Perhaps, though, the reputation is unfairly earned — because although they’re often thought of as “damsels in distress,” fairy tale princesses are actually incredibly badass. In fact, even some of the most maligned princesses are tougher than most people think.
When you go back and look at the tales themselves — particularly the oldest versions of them — it becomes clear that the princesses that feature so prominently in them often withstand trials that the average person would probably have some trouble handling. I mean, think about it: What would you do if you were locked in a tower by a witch or an ogress with no means of escape? Honestly, I would probably just sigh and ask my captor to at least bring me a Kindle and maybe a Netflix subscription the next time she came to visit.
But these folktale and literary princesses? They’re not content to just let things lie. Sometimes, they show their badassery through deeds of derring-do; indeed, “Rapunzel’s” inspiration is something of an action hero. Other times, it’s their smarts at play as they match wits with their antagonists — and win. Sometimes, we see their strength in how they refuse to accept the status quo, while other times, we see it in their fortitude and in the way they support the people they love. And sometimes, they straight-up subvert familiar tropes.
There’s more than one way to be a badass — and these 10 fictional royals demonstrate them all.