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Top 50 Older Women in Fiction - Grandmas Get Thing Done

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Nanajuna and the daughter of Aang and Katara would have been great choices, that I completely forgot about. From the characters that appeared already, most don't tell me much (if anything). I mean, I know Leiya, but have never watched more than the original trilogy, and I Miss Marple is a name I recognize, from a book series I never tried. I forgot about Miss Flitworth, though, but I haven't read that book in ages.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Sorry I haven't been able to give longer write-ups for these; in addition to trying to get out a good batch before leaving for Thanksgiving, I haven't actually seen/read/played any of the first ten sources here besides Leia. But meanwhile, hey look, an *actual* old woman playable character from a Japanese fantasy game!



#43
Niime

Age: 70s
Source: Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
Created by: Nintendo/Intelligent Systems (writers Masayuki Horikawa and Kouhei Maeda?)

Points: 46, Votes: 2, Highest: q 3

Niime is a scholar and sorceress famous for her research on dark magic and the Scouring, also known as the Mountain Hermit. She has four sons and takes part in raising her grandson Hugh. Apparently she's the best user of Warp magic in the game, and also one of the best dark magicians in general, capable of taking on Wyvern units.

Violentvixen said:
Her supports with Hugh are fantastic and she does not put up with his shit, it's great.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#42
Alice

Age: grandmother
Source: Spiritfarer
Created by: Thunder Lotus Games

Points: 48, Votes: 2, Highest: WildcatJF

Alice was a devoted mother and grandmother (the above hedgehog is her spirit representation) - in addition to excelling at domestic skills, she also loved fashion, travelling, and Swedish romance novels. At the end of her life she suffers from dementia, which appears to be given very thoughtful treatment in this game about escorting people to the afterlife.

Violentvixen said:
The ending of her arc is damned heartbreaking. In a game with a lot of highly emotional moments she hit incredibly hard, mainly because I saw similar degradation in older female family members. Oof.
 

WildcatJF

Valdez Museum of Video Game Box Art Intern
(he / his / him)
Alice was the first spirit that I believe I had a big emotional punch from in Spiritfarer, as watching her dementia take hold of her as her storyline progresses is brutal. Combined with another character I nominated, Alice is when I considered Spiritfarer one of the best games I've ever played. So incredibly written and animated...it's heartbreaking as she goes through the Everdoor and finds her peace from the torment of the disease that plagued her in both life and the afterlife.
 
Niime is great, and I found a video of all of her support conversations with Hugh:


Alice was the first spirit that I believe I had a big emotional punch from in Spiritfarer, as watching her dementia take hold of her as her storyline progresses is brutal. Combined with another character I nominated, Alice is when I considered Spiritfarer one of the best games I've ever played. So incredibly written and animated...it's heartbreaking as she goes through the Everdoor and finds her peace from the torment of the disease that plagued her in both life and the afterlife.

I'm so glad someone else voted for Alice! I wasn't sure how much that game got played by people on here since the thread is pretty quiet so I was totally prepared to be her only vote. Spritfarer is somehow brutal yet comforting at the same time, and as you noted the writing and the animation is a huge part of the game's ability to handle extremely complicated and potentially inflammatory topics.
 

WildcatJF

Valdez Museum of Video Game Box Art Intern
(he / his / him)
I'm so glad someone else voted for Alice! I wasn't sure how much that game got played by people on here since the thread is pretty quiet so I was totally prepared to be her only vote. Spritfarer is somehow brutal yet comforting at the same time, and as you noted the writing and the animation is a huge part of the game's ability to handle extremely complicated and potentially inflammatory topics.
Oh I loved it when I played it in January/February this year. I didn't know we had a thread here, haha. It's marvelous and I've been singing its praises for those very things you discuss.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Kirin, you said I was a workhorse but good work getting three entries a day for the last few. Hope you enjoy your turkey day break-y!
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Welcome back! Also welcome to the top 40, because there's a three-way tie here...



#39 (tie)
Madam Mim

Age: old
Source: The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Created by: Bill Peet, Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas
Portrayed by: Martha Wentworth

Points: 51, Votes: 2, Highest: Patrick

It looks like Mim, aka The Magnificent, Marvelous, Mad Madam Mim, is our first straight-up wicked witch, though she's a bit of an unconventional example of the type. Based on a character cut from the final version of T.H. White's Once and Future King, she's a boisterous but mean practitioner of dark magic, rivaled only by her nemesis Merlin. She seems as prone to mischief and bullying as outright villainy, and enjoys nothing more than a good duel she can cheat at.

Random fact I just learned: apparently later she crossed over into the Donald Duck comics and teamed up with Magica DeSpell!
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#39 (tie)
Rover #4

Age: 70s?
Source: Etrian Odyssey V
Created by: Atlas, Yuji Himukai

Points: 51, Votes: 2, Highest: q 3

This is a bit of an odd entry, as it's really just a blank-slate character portrait. Still, it's quite nice to have an elderly woman PC available, especially, as Lokii notes, given the other options (see: Rover portrait #2, which is the same pose but way more sexualized and looking like she's about 14).
Rovers are a new class introduced in EOV which summon hawks or hounds to aid the party.

Lokii said:
A country grammy armed with bow and battlehawk. Nice to older lady representation in a series the usually skews too far in the other direction.
 

Regulus

Sir Knightbot
I think Niime is the only playable FE lady that is older than 30-something, barring Dragons 'n Deities. She was the only one I could think of that truly fit the topic. Even expanding the list to non-playable characters, I have trouble coming up with anyone else. Pretty damning for a serious full of powerful older dudes.

The name "Niime" has always bugged me because it's just a straight transliteration of her Japanese name. It was actually updated in the initial run of the Fire Emblem Heroes "Choose Your Legends" event, where it was re-localized as 'Nimue' (which is also used in some Japanese sources). I guess in the years since, someone realized that she was mentioned once in the English localization of Eliwood's game, because they reverted it for subsequent events.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#39 (tie)
Agnes Skinner

Age: 90+?
Source: The Simpsons
Created by: Matt Groening
Portrayed by: Tress MacNeille

Points: 51, Votes: 3, Highest: Violentvixen

Agnes Skinner is primarily known as an overbearing mother of her middle-aged child, Principle Seymour Skinner, but also led a storied life, including performing wing-walking stunts in the 1920s and pole vaulting in the 1952 Olympics. She's also been romantically linked to several cast members including Comic Book Guy, Groundskeeper Willie, Grandpa Simpson, Barney Gumble, and Otto Mann. Get it, grandma.

(Simpsons ages are weird, but even if nobody aged since the first season around '90, she still has to be over 90 to have her past history make any sense.)

Anyway, y'all actually talked about her a bit so I"ll turn it over:

Violentvixen said:
Every "overbearing cranky old lady" trope rolled into one character. She's not that high on my list because she doesn't often go beyond just those stereotypes but man can she be funny.

Lokii said:
I donno how great a character she is on her own but a great vehicle for jokes. "I collect pictures of cakes that I clip out of the magazines. It all started in 1941 when "Good Housekeeping" featured a photo of a lovely cake."

JBear said:
Agnes has been reimagined a few times over the years, but mostly is known for being the crabby mother to Seymour Skinner, the doting son who never left his mother's home. She's at her best with other women, though-- I love her as a member of the Investorettes, or really just any time she's being unreasonably mean to Marge.
 

q 3

here to eat fish and erase the universe
(they/them)
While I don't name them Fight and Heal, I usually don't regard my Etrian Odyssey characters as much more than a collection of stats and skills. EOV was the main exception to that rule, as I eventually formed some concrete ideas about who my party members were and why they were together. Old Lady Rover being both a unique and cool design was a big part of my inspiration; she was the grumpy retainer accompanying a Princess Alena-ish Masurao on a quest to prove her worth as royal heir.
 

Issun

Avarice
I remembered Mim for cartoon characters, but again, I need to Google search to jog my memory for these things, and the best I could get out of searches for "Fictional Older Women" was authors and stuff. So yeah, a Top 50 meant to address a cultural blind spot was sabotaged by said blind spot.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#38
Kreia
Age: unknown
Source: Star Wars Knight of the Old Republic 2
Created by: Obsidian Entertainment; Chris Avellone
Portrayed by: Sara Kestelman

Points: 52, Votes: 2, Highest: Dr. Nerd

Kreia is perhaps the most important character in KotOR2, and is difficult to talk about without spoilers. A blind exiled Jedi master and historian, she begins the game as a party member and mentor to the player, but has hidden depths, motives, and history that are revealed throughout the game. She questions common knowledge of the Force from both Jedi and Sith perspectives, rejecting orthodoxies of both the light and dark sides.

JBear said:
The MC's stern taskmaster and teacher in the Force in KoToR2. An exiled Jedi master with some non-conformist views on the Force, it comes as little surprise when (end-game spoilers) it's revealed that she's both a former Jedi Master *and* a former Sith master who wants to free the galaxy from the influence of both factions.

Dr. Nerd said:
She's manages to be both a compelling companion and villain. She's a grouchy, disapproving contrarian who makes just enough valid points about the failings of the Jedi that it's at least a little easy to buy into her bullshit.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#35 (tie)
Oona St. Clare

Age: Mature
Source: Neocab
Created by: Chance Agency

Points: 54, Votes: 2, Highest: Dr. Nerd

Gonna be honest, there isn't a lot of info about this game online, but I have found out that Oona is a quantum statistician who claims to be able to detect when decisions result in crossing over from one possible future timeline to another. Which makes her sound like a very handy person to have in your corner indeed.

Dr. Nerd said:
You meet all sorts of eccentric characters of the course of Neo-Cab, but Oona is easily one of the most interesting and important ones. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't played it, but over the course of the game she easily becomes one of the main character's most knowledgeable and helpful allies. All the in-game interactions with her are a delight.

Violentvixen said:
New Life Goal after seeing this character: Be a Quantum Witch.
 
Eeeeee another one where I was sure I'd be the only vote! I really mean it about the life goals, I would love to live long enough to see tech like what she has and be smart enough to do the math she does. It's a wonderful and rare representation of an older woman in STEM who is competent but understands the impact of her work.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#35 ( tie)
Tsubone

Age: Grandmother
Source: Hunter X Hunter
Created by: Yoshihiro Togashi
Portrayed by: Ikuko Tani, Janis Caroll

Points: 3, Votes: 54, Highest: JBear

Tsubone is a butler to the Zoldyck family of assassins. She is very tall, very strong, extremely good at stealth, a master at anticipating people's moves, and, well... look, this is the thing:

JBear said:
She's a cool old lady butler who can *turn into a motorcycle*. 'Nuff said.

Johnny Unusual said:
She's an old woman who is supah-strong and can turn into a motorcycle.

 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I was the 3rd vote for Tsubone - I had her at #25 on my list. She wasn't on the show for very long but she is quite memorable and interesting. I certainly would have like to have seen more of (turns into a) motorcycle grandma.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#35 (tie)
Moira Rose

Age: 60s probably
Source: Schitt's Creek
Created by: Dan and Eugene Levy
Portrayed by: Catherine O'Hara

Points: 54, Votes: 2, Highest: Kirin

A consummate socialite, Moira took the Rose's fall from riches to rags perhaps hardest of any in the family. It takes a long long time, but even she eventually overcomes her initial disdain and dismissal for the small town they find themselves in to see its charms and worth. She also has a long journey from being a classic distant terrible mother to developing genuine relationships with her adult children. Along the way her combination of general savvy with complete obliviousness to her current situation never fails to provide hilarity. And that bizarre affected accent is just the most charming thing. O'Hara absolutely owns this role.

JBear said:
A drama queen, in every sense of the term, and a former actress/minor celebrity. Indolent, entitled, and selfish, with an out-sized personality, she is forced to bond with her family and grow as a person when she is suddenly torn from a life of luxury and forced to live out of a run-down motel in the middle of nowhere.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)


#34
Granny Goodness

Age: Granny
Source: DC Comics
Created by: Jack Kirby
Portrayed by: Amelia Bell, Christine Willes. April Stewart, Deborah Strang, Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman, Jessica Walter

Points: 55, Votes: 2, Highest: Ixo

Granny Goodness is one of the New Gods of Apokolips and a trusted lieutenant of Darkseid. Originally from the peasant classes, she was raised as a Hound of Darkseid, and eventually came to run the training facilities for new soldiers herself. She once manipulated the Amazons into war by posing as Athena and held the very gods of Olympus hostage, and has also stolen the body of a Lantern, overpowered Batman, and nearly conquered the planet of Oa. She enjoys a set of powers - super strength, endurance, near immortality, and high tech weaponry - that's very common among superheroes but almost never seen in an older woman character.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
With a name like that, how can she be a villain? I've never heard of her before, but I love buff granny.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Tsubone is a butler to the Zoldyck family of assassins.
One thing everyone seemed to forget to mention is that Tsubone's granddaughter also works as a butler for the Zoldyck family so they get to work together. Isn't that nice? (Well... More or less.)
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)


#39 (tie)
Agnes Skinner

I did not think of this one and specifically she would have ranked higher if I remembered the Investorettes. "Gimbles is gone Marge. Long gone. ... YOU'RE GIMBLES!"


#35 ( tie)
Tsubone
She barely made it on my list when she popped up in a HxH re-watch. Togashi is deeply invested in his whole mythology and it feels like every new corner could be it's own series. And the relationship between the Zoldycks and their butlers who are unquestioningly loyal to the family but also have a complex system to deal with infighting and subordination is interesting. Despite the family being evil assassins, they engender tremendous loyalty and Tsubone is both loyal but also caring towards the family. And she's willing to tear out her own fingernails at a moment's notice to de-escalate a situation.


#34
Granny Goodness
With a name like that, how can she be a villain? I've never heard of her before, but I love buff granny.

Oh, Goodness. Jack Kirby was super-influenced by the Prisoner at this time and that certainly extends to this evil broad who runs an "orphanage" that is basically a creepy fascist factory that Mister Miracle escapes. And after that she designs death-trap after death-trap to get him. (Maybe someone should shoot him. With a gun). There are some of DC best heroes introduced during Kirby's time (Big Barda #1) but the villains often get overlooked. They are goofy but also evil in a way comic book villains often didn't get to be at the time, specifically very interested in breaking not the heroes but their wills.
 
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