Are You the Heroine of a Tamora Pierce Novel?

1. Your boss is giving you a really hard time at work in a way he never does to the men you work with. You handle it by:

a) Going to HR with documented proof of his mistreatment
b) Say nothing, but phone in your work and steal office supplies to redistribute amongst your artist friends
c) Grinning and bearing it; hopefully someone will push to unionize soon
d) By excelling stoically and without complaint in a series of increasingly hazardous ordeals, you will silently shame him into regretting his conduct and recognizing the purity of your fealty

2. You’re on a road trip with friends! Fun! What do you contribute to the group?

a) I’m driving the entire time; a few other people halfheartedly offered to take shifts but let’s be honest, it’s just gonna be me
b) I have Waze open to check for speed traps up ahead on the freeway and I’m posting videos to Instagram stories anytime anyone falls asleep in the car
c) I made three different six-hour playlists for different moods!
d) I have packed a leather rucksack with good brown bread, a knob of cheese and berries gathered from the field as well as the amulet the woman at the wayside gifted us. It will sustain us on our long journey

3. The race for a hotly contested seat in local government is heating up; you’re hoping the progressive candidate can pull it out but you’re worried about the bigoted, conservative incumbent. Do you:

a) get involved in grassroots organizing and phone banking for your preferred candidate
b) dig through years of the opponent’s personal online presences until you discover something shady to make public
c) figuring out talking points to take to your family and friends via memes
d) With a ragtag group of beleaguered comrades, you will mount a daring mission into the heart of the enemy’s camp, hoping to discover a previously unknown vulnerability and make unlikely allies to come to your aid at the eleventh hour

4. You’re stuck babysitting your little niece at the last minute. Faced with the task of entertaining her for a few hours, you:

a) get out your Wonder Woman and Storm action figures for her
b) teach her swear words
c) let her dress you up in whatever costume she wants for your role in her complex make-believe scenario
d) it’s time for her to learn the correct grip for a broadsword, even if she can’t lift one on her own yet — she’ll need a head start if she’s going to be able to stand up to the boys in her training class. The threat of war looms ever closer

5. Everyone knows you’re super devoted to your pet! What kind of pet do you have?

a) A dog who follows you everywhere and whose thunderstorm anxiety you take more seriously than your own mental health
b) A cat who violently despises everyone but you
c) A bird whose erratic mood swings you’re a little afraid of tbh
d) Everyone said that the weak, mewling foal wouldn’t survive the night and should be abandoned; only you stayed by his side to nurse him to health, knowing in your bones that he would grow into a great-hearted warhorse worthy of carrying your family crest into battle

6. Your crush barely knows who you are! How do you get their attention?

a) Do they need help carrying that box? Maybe they need an explainer on the debates last night! Whatever it is, you’re ready to do it!
b) Make a point of looking stupid hot while picking a fight with their worst ex where they’ll see
c) Tentatively react to their instagram stories with the laughing/crying emoji and ignore them when you see them in real life
d) You begin rising at dawn to train silently in the yard on the same schedule as they do, never acknowledging them directly over the sounds of the practice sword in the damp morning fog, until the day they gruffly ask if you want to spar

7. You’re on the subway and someone starts harassing the woman next to you. You respond by:

a) Standing between the harasser and their victim, speaking calmly and reassuringly to the person being bothered until the next stop when they can get off
b) Record the harasser with your phone and post it on your alt, asking your followers to find out their info and call their job
c) Wait for another subway rider to call them out and then back them up
d) You have already wrestled the miscreant to the ground with surprising strength, and bound his wrists behind him with leather cords you carry on your person so you can transport him to the constabulary for a citizen’s arrest

8. What do you keep in your bag at all times so it’s never far?

a) An extra set of keys to your best friend’s place just in case
b) Pepper spray
c) Advil, band-aids and a nail clipper
d) The very first dagger you ever forged with your own hands — it’s misshapen and unremarkable, but you know it will protect you even when everything else has failed

9. It’s the middle of the night and you hear a strange sound. Your reaction is:

a) Getting up and quietly locking your bedroom door
b) Grabbing the bat from under the bed just in case
c) Texting your roommate across the apartment to ask if they heard it too
d) Slipping your dagger out of the sheath you keep tucked beneath your pillow, you pad toward the door to meet the threat; you’ve known this day was coming for a long time, and you feel more determination than fear.

10. How would your friends describe you?

a) The mom/dad of the group; your bailout phone call from jail
b) The one making the phone call from jail
c) The designated driver
d) Pure of heart and strong of will; far too honorable to have ever betrayed the Crown as the perfidious duke suggests

Find out your results on the next page!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. this is VERY good, I feel VERY affirmed in my place as the backup companion to the hero, and “taking initiative may not be your strong point, but that’s fine, as there’s always an iconoclastic, headstrong yet grounded soft butch with some leather burnished armor ready to tell you what to do” is truly #goals

  2. I mean if we’re going to get PEDANTIC (why not?) “C” is Dane, “D” is Kel, and “B” and “A” are combinations of Alanna and Alianne…

    • B is George. Meh. I was soooo disappointed when he arrived on the scene, although he was better than that wanker Jonathan.

      I’m almost equally split between A/B, with D’s aesthetic.

  3. and I feel Seen in this chili’s tonight… specifically by the Goddess and the Crooked God

  4. Goddess bless you for this content. I got “sidekick,” which is fair. I’d like to be Kel, but, in my heart of hearts, I am Futch Neal. Catch me supporting my heroic friends, pining after pretty girls, sassing authority figures, and complaining snarkily about the things I signed up to do.

    • Oooh I would hang with Futch Neal, I love a pretty boi with dramatic airs and a dash of altruism

      • I think technically that’s Aly with the shaved head, but Kel’s got plenty of overlap!

  5. THIS MADE MY MONDAY! I’m only ever describing myself as “practical, helpful, loyal, grounded and also gay” forever and always and am vindicated in rereading these delicious books as an adult.

  6. This is the content I have always needed from autostraddle and never known until now! WEEK. MADE.

  7. This is PERFECT, thank you! Tamora Pierce’s books legit saved my life as an 11 year old. I loved those heroines but never quite picked up a broadsword myself, so it’s nice to get mostly A’s and still have a place for me in her pantheon.

  8. Also I’ve been meaning to write a piece called “the unbearable almost-queerness of Alanna the lioness” for years, so lmk if you want more Tamora Pierce content…

  9. Help, I am almost evenly split between A’s and C’s with like 2 D’s for seasoning.

    Also, this is a godly quizlet and I give you much laud.

  10. “As a youth you found yourself deeply drawn to stories about tomboyish girls pretending to be boys so they could become sword-wielding knights; as an adult, you are practical, helpful, loyal, grounded and also gay.” Exceedingly accurate!

    Still my #1 favorite author, still waiting for someone irl to recognize my Kel tattoo.

  11. I can’t wait for my wife to wake up so I can tell her I’m a chaotic good pirate baron and have her tell me she already knew that

  12. So I lived on these books growing up and then having gone back and read them post high school – can we just acknowledge the serious racism involved in some of these? The Trickster’s Choice books have an awful, awful white savior situation going on with I think unintentional but still really fucked up condescension to the people of color in the story who have been doing the work for years.

    • I love Tamora Pierce with the fire of a thousand suns, but Trickster’s Queen is… difficult this way. Very difficult. And don’t get me started on Battle Magic.

  13. I liked Tamora Pierce’s butch heroines as a kid despite not being butch at all myself. In retrospect, how much I liked YA books with female protagonists while not, in general, liking ones with male protagonists should have been a clue to the whole trans thing.

    • Funny, I always got really disappointed at the scenes where they “scrubbed up nice” in a frock, although there was less of that as the books went on.

      And as an adult, since I really appreciate femme women rather than feeling threatened because I can’t conform to feminine ideals, I think it’s cool that Alanna likes a nice big sword to swing around and nice big earrings ditto.

      • Those never bothered me, probably just because I would have been really happy to be able to have that experience of scrubbing up nice in a frock? Likewise, have a nice big sword and earrings too :).

  14. Can I still count as a Tamora Pierce heroine if my response to most situations is just fiber crafts? I was always a big Circle of Magic fan.

  15. Yesssss for Tamora Pierce!! Kel’s books got me through some crappy times as a kid and go strong female role models!

  16. More Tamora Pierce content always especially making them all the more queer!!! (especially as I wait for more episodes of the Tortall Recall podcast to give me my doses of that..)

    I hold Kel responsible for me silently repeating to myself that I am stone, or envisioning the surface of my favorite lake in times of stress/anxiety…

  17. I am pleased but not surprised to learn I am equal parts Heroine and Chaotic Good Foil. Now I just want to reread all my Tortall books for the twentieth time!

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