Choose Your Dinner Party Companions

OK, so you’re throwing a small, intimate dinner party; half-a-dozen’s a good number, don’t you think? So pick five women you’d have as your dinner guests, weather it be based of wit, charm, style or the great stories they have to tell.

My picks:

1 & 2. Lucky Santangelo and Venus Maria from Jackie Collins’s series colloquially known as the Santangelo series. OK, it’s definitely cheating to have two women from the same universe, but Lucky and Venus have been best friends for thirty years. Not only would it be mean to invite only one, but they’re likely to neither go if one is snubbed. Venus is an expy of Madonna – controversial, envelope-pushing singer/songwriter/actress still going strong at forty-plus, and Lucky builds empires the way most of us buy cars; that is, several in a lifetime. She’s been a property tycoon, shipping magnate, boss of a Hollywood studio that produces smart movies featuring strong women.

3. Phryne Fisher from Kerry Greenwood’s series. She’s intelligent, stylish and makes a routine job out of out-smarting the Victorian Police Department.

4. Inara from Firefly/Serenity. Glamorous, intelligent and without the slightest bit of snobbery in her; she’s good friends with women like Zoe and Kaylee who would be considered ‘beneath’ her. Why, I don’t know. I would have invited them both, except I was already cheating with Lucky and Venus, and besides, I wanted…

5. Darla from Buffy/Angel. OK, so she might be inclined to see us as dinner, but can you imagine the stories she has to tell? The people she’s met, the history she’s seen? So, how did you start that Russian Revolution…?

OK, so I’d probably be acting bartender/cook/maid to these awesome, glamorous, intelligent women, but still, I’d get to boast that I had them at my dinner party…

Comments

  1. Maartje says

    Oh great category!

    1 Thura from book 3 of the ‘Kinderen van moeder aarde’ trilogy by Thea beckman. In the first two books she’s young and awesome, but in the third she’s a grandmother and OMG awesome. She sees things as they are, not as she’s like them to be, she handles situations herself and knows her own strengths and limitations.

    2. Marie-Claire from Thea Beckman’s 80jarige oorlog trilogy (Thea Beckman is totally my hero for her ya books) Marie-Claire is an entertainer travelling through war-torn France during the 80year war, refusing to let anything or anyone get/keep her down for long. She’s called God’s Butterfly because she (and her family) bring joy and music and beauty to where there was only suffering.

    3. Devon Adair from Earth 2. It was very hard trying to choose between her and Cpt Janeway but Ms Adair won out because I just read a fanfic about her so she’s more on the forefront of my mind. Devon’s an incorrigable optimist, stubborn as a mule and expects things she orders to just happen because of the giant silver spoon she’s grown up with.

    4. Aeryn Sun from Farscape. Because the virtues of frontal assault is a totally viable dinner topic! Plus the whole ‘you can be more’ aspect of her character arc. Can you imagine Aeryn if she had role-models such as those above? She and Thura would totes have a connection.

    5. Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, to mix it up, because the ladies would so not be impressed with her bullshit but if she let that go for a little while maybe they could help her see the world as it is instead of the weird fantasy she so desperately tries to live in.

    Now just have to figure out what to serve women from a post-apocalyptic Greenland, war-torn France, G-889, the other side of a wormhole and the upper east side.

  2. says

    1) River Song from Doctor Who. Really, any of The Doctor’s companions would have great stories to tell, but we regularly get tantalizing glimpses about the adventures River has on her own, as well.

    2) Lady Sandry from Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce. She’d put everyone else at ease because she’s the sort of noblewoman who believes good manners is whatever makes people comfortable, not the other way around.

    3) Ellie Quinn from The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. A soldier in a mercenary unit, she hides her military cunning behind cheerful banter and a drop-dead-gorgeous face. She would also make everyone feel comfortable through humorous anecdotes and lighthearted conversation.

    4) Miss Alexia Tarrabotti from Soulless by Gail Carriger. A practical and no-nonsense spinster who’s only ever invited to parties because her intellectual conversation entertains the scholarly sort of gentlemen who can’t make small talk with debutantes. I think she’d have a blast discussing space-time travel with River, magic theory with Sandry, or wormhole politics with Ellie.

    5) Allie Gale from The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. As a member of an eccentric and powerful witch family, and the proprietor of a magic shop catering to minotaurs and leprechauns, she’d both have some great stories and have a higher bar for accepting the other guests’ quirks.

  3. SunlessNick says

    Now just have to figure out what to serve women from a post-apocalyptic Greenland, war-torn France, G-889, the other side of a wormhole and the upper east side.

    Chicken. It’ll seem familiar, whatever they’re used to. :)

    1. Amanda of the many aliases – but Montrose is the one that sounds best with her name (from Highlander). She’s 1200 years old, and has broken into places the rest of the world has forgotten existed. And she got shortchanged of a starring role in her own spinoff series – so she deserves a chance to tell some stories where she’s the real star.

    2. Is it too obvious to say Shahrazad?

    3. Verity Chase, from Imogen Robertson’s Instruments of Darkness and sequels. She’s a pretty minor character, but charming, disarming, and good at ferreting out the heart of someone. She’ll be a spark to those with stories to tell.

    4. Ariadne Oliver – usually one of Hercule Poirot’s sidekicks, though she does get one story of her own. She’s a storyteller herself, and is keen to look for them, those that confirm or refute her biases as to what makes a good one. Ie, she’ll turn others’ stories into subjects of discussion rather than just exercises in raconteuring.

    5. And finally, Madame Xanadu, aka Nimue, from the Vertigo comic of the same name (and assorted guest appearances elsewhere). Even older than Amanda, and has seen more of the esoteric than many deities.

  4. says

    Sarah Jane Smith from DOCTOR WHO

    The first Romana from DOCTOR WHO

    Leela from DOCTOR WHO

    Ann Mitchell from MEET JOHN DOE

    Bonnie Lee in ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS

    Kit from FAILURE TO LAUNCH

    Agent Ziva David and Agent Caitlin Todd from NCIS

  5. Ara says

    1. Morwen from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She’s a witch living in the Enchanted Forest with a bunch of cats, but she’s a very no-nonsense sort of witch who breaks all the stereotypes. (And makes great apple cider.)

    2. Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sure, she’s got no social skills, but she’d cut through any kind of awkwardness (while sometimes creating her own) and she’s lived through thousands of years of stuff happening. Granted, most of that involved cursing men, but she’s still seen some cool stuff.

    3 and 4. Kate and Cecelia from Sorcery and Cecelia. They’re another one of those “inviting one isn’t polite without inviting the other” pairs, and I’d want to hear all about their studies of magic, plus the details of their adventures that didn’t get mentioned in their letters.

    5. Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius. She’s a freaking *spark* who builds war machines from scratch and already proved that this talent can be turned to hilariously fantastic adventures with a coffee machine. Imagine what she could do with a dinner party…

  6. says

    Ara: Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius. She’s a freaking *spark* who builds war machines from scratch and already proved that this talent can be turned to hilariously fantastic adventures with a coffee machine. Imagine what she could do with a dinner party…

    Oh gawd I’m imagining it. The party would be a disaster. …but a memorable disaster. :D

  7. Gabriella says

    Ara:
    2. Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sure, she’s got no social skills, but she’d cut through any kind of awkwardness (while sometimes creating her own) and she’s lived through thousands of years of stuff happening. Granted, most of that involved cursing men, but she’s still seen some cool stuff.

    Actually, I was sorry I could only pick ONE Buffy/Angel party, I wanted them ALL. Buffy, Willow, Anya, Cordelia, Fred, Darla, Lilah, Jasmine, even Dawn and Joyce… they all have something to contribute to the kind of dinner party that gets talked about forever.

    (OK, maybe not Dru. Because you can’t make any sense of her.)

  8. Gabriella says

    Oh, and Faith. Though Kendra and the Slayerettes weren’t given enough characterization to interest me, though. And if I DID have all those opposing factions in my house, well, I don’t think I’d have a house anymore :p

  9. Maria says

    I’d love to see a “choose your own research consortium” — but I feel like you’d need like 4 core researchers and up to 6 affiliates, and maybe that’s too long a list!

  10. Maria says

    Gabriella,

    Ha! Okay, a research consortium is basically a faculty collective at a university that researches a particular topic that normally crosses over into different disciplines, or is of interest to different disciplines. So for example, there’s research consortia that look at race/class/gender, and include faculty from women’s studies, American studies, and history; animal surgery, w. reps from biology, neuroscience, and chemistry; Anne of Green Gables, w. faculty from English Lit, Canadian studies, film studies, and women’s studies; etc etc. Normally in campus novels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campus_novel) you’ll get jokes about research consortia that look at either overly broad topics and have “enemy faculty” participating or who look at super specific topics and have only a few, really weird, members.

    Oh, and core faculty are like the main members, whose job it is to keep the consortia organized and funded; affiliates normally help organize events, present research, and help mentor undergrads and grads who are involved. And, of course, there’s normally a long-suffering, talented administrative assistant, who manages to keep the whole shebang running on a shoestring budget while managing the egos of various faculty and herding the flakier ones into one room for meetings.

    The main reason I suggest it is because there are SO many shows where there’s a “smart girl sidekick” and I have this constant dream of them all getting together and nerding it up one day, with a killer research budget, publication opportunities, and facilities for experiments. Can you imagine Luna, Willow, Fred, and Hermione on a panel together, sharing the latest research on Nargles?!

  11. Gabriella says

    Maria,

    Ah, that’s actually kind of what I had in my head (although I was being an undergrad arts student and just calling it ‘choose your research assistant’). I had Bones, Andy McDermott’s Nina Wilde and Sophie from the Dan Brown books researching women in history.

  12. Anna M says

    Xena-the stories she could tell. Her table manners might be messy, but who cares?
    Ilyana Rasputin/Magik from New Mutants-your averge demon sorceress must have seen stuff beyond the wildest imaginations.
    Alexia Tarabotti from the Parasol Protectorate books-Someone with manners and stories to tell.
    Clea-of Doctor Strange fame, extra-dimensional princess with some intriguing experiences of magic and mystery.
    Lucy Pevensie from the Narnia books-she is awesome and would be an interesting dinner guest.

  13. Anna M says

    Didn’t see someone had already chosen Alexia–so I’ll go with Mina Harker from Dracula instead. Bet she can tell some cool stuff.

  14. says

    Mavis Freestone from the Eve Dallas books. She’s insane, brightly colored at all times, and will not be boring.

    Lady Alys Vorpatril–once she understands that she is not in charge of the party, and has had some brandy down her, would probably have a good time unwinding for a change. Poor woman hasn’t had fun for eons.

    Abigail Freemantle, THE STAND. Yes, she’s 102. That just means she knows more wicked stories. Plus, she can play the banjo. Always a plus.

    • Maria says

      I just rewatched The Stand! I think my pick from that movie/book series would actually be Nadine Cross. While Mother Abigail might have more wicked stories, Nadine’s probably a more barbed conversationalist. :)

  15. says

    Maria,

    That would depend if Nadine felt like being honest or was just gaming us. With her, it could go either way. Then again, my son needed a speech therapist when he was younger (her original job before the whole Captain Trips virus went down)–if she didn’t mind talking a little shop, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.