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Fantasy novel with female mentor/elder character

In my reading of fantasy I see that the 'obiwan' role of mentor/wise person/elder is mostly fulfilled by men who mentor male protagonists. Dumbeldore, Belgarath, Macros the Black, Dr Morgenes, Gandalf, Masterharper Robinton, Uncle Iroh the list goes on. Of course there are exceptions where there is no mentor, like Song of Fire and Ice, where I see the elders being just as confused and challenged as the young. In many cases the mother/grandmother of the protagonist is conspicuous by her absence presumably to deny her emotional support/guidance to them.

Does anyone have any good fantasy novels they'd recommend with a woman in the mentor/wise person/elder role? I thought Polgara from the Belgariad and Moiraine from Eye of the World came close, though they didn't really fit that classic mentor/elder role.


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Granny Weatherwax. She'd wipe the floor with any of the names you mentioned above, and I don't even know half of them. ;)
She's a fairly prominent character in the Discworld books by Terry Prattchet. In the earlier ones she's more of a main character kind of figure, but in the books of Tiffany Aching, her role is closer to that of the mentor.

Another example, which might be more far fetched, is the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Mab, the queen of winter occasionally steps in to fulfil the role of (tor)mentor for Harry. She doesn't appear in the first few books though, but only later on (iirc).
Dug around on TV Tropes, and found someone called Bluestar from a series called Warrior Cats. Everything else I can think of is a cartoon, a video game, or a fanfic.


I've noticed this observation as well. I feel like I've seen exceptions, but none come to mind right now.

And this is at least partially why, for my magnum opus that likely won't be started for years to come, I chose an elder, female mentor for my young male protagonist/MC. (a sort of hidden theme for this work is that people are thrust into roles that they might not normally have been in, but a particular aspect of the setting causes this to happen much more often than it might have otherwise. The idea is that people can 'rise to the challenge.')

It seems like females are found more often in roles like 'oracles' rather than 'mentors'. It's like they are used to point they way for the 'hero', but don't actually help much.

In the comedy-fantasy movie, Erik the Viking, The Eartha Kitt character sends the Tim Robbins character on his 'quest'.


Sevenwaters saga by Juliette Marillier often features the "Lady of the Forest" who provides minimal guidance, as well as strong female protagonists. The heroine of the first novel is the mother in the second novel, and the novels focus on one family. There is a druid uncle though, who also provides a lot of guidance...
Thanks guys, its as I thought its pretty slim pickings. Thanks heaps Svrtnesse, I checked out Granny Weatherwax on Wikipedia and she's fantastic! And she's inspirational material for me to consider given that one of the characters is my story is a magician with an older female magician as a mentor. I reckon elderly women aren't shown as mentors as they aren't associated with power in western society, they may be healers and seers but not holders of power / movers of destiny. Perhaps after a few more generations of women in the workforce and holding more positions in government this association will change.


In my novel Saving Fate the hero's love interest could also be seen as his mentor in some ways even though she's younger than him.
Reviving this thread because I just this morning finished reading Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillop - not a new book by any stretch, but worth unearthing from your library - which not only had a female ancient magic-using mentor-figure, but a female hero, a female antagonist, and a female pivot point. It was great!
Its not a book but I include Fin Raziel from the movie Willow. Her image was stirring around in the back of my mind as I thought of a mentor and then it just came to me. I love the assurance she gives Willow before Queen Bavmorda's army are about charge them. The magical duel she had with Bavmorda was 15-20 years before the on screen duels of Gandalf vs Saruman or Dumbledore vs Voldemort, I wonder if that scene influenced the directors of those films.