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5 Video Game Damsels Who Didn’t Stay Distressed

As we gear up for the exciting release of the new game, Princess Peach: Showtime I have been hearing whispers and comments all over the internet. Comments about how it is nice to see a princess (particularly Princess Peach) as the main protagonist in a game for once. While I admit that it isn’t overly common, there are many examples of princesses in videogames taking up arms (Sheik for example from The Legend of Zelda series). So in honor of Women’s History Month and the release of Princess Peach: Showtime, here are five damsels who did something about their distressed state!

Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2)

Emily Kaldwin from the Dishonored franchise is another example of a princess—and eventually, an empress—who refuses to wait passively for others to rectify the wrongs against her kingdom. Thrust into a dire situation following a coup from her aunt that usurps her throne, Emily doesn’t shrink away but instead rises to the occasion, embodying resilience, determination, and a fierce will to reclaim what is hers. Unlike traditional portrayals of royalty in distress, Emily actively seeks to dismantle the forces that threaten her realm and her authority.

Princess (Empress) Emily about to do something dangerous.

Her journey is one of personal growth, empowerment, and the mastering of both stealth and combat skills, alongside supernatural abilities granted by the mysterious Outsider. Emily’s proactive approach to her circumstances demonstrates a deep sense of responsibility and a refusal to be victimized by the circumstances. Her character arc from a dispossessed princess to a powerful, wise ruler who restores order and justice to her kingdom is a testament to her strength, intelligence, and indomitable spirit.

Ashe (Final Fantasy XII)

Ashe from Final Fantasy XII is a standout example of a princess who actively takes her destiny and the fate of her kingdom into her own hands, diverging from the traditional narrative of a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. Unlike many of her counterparts in similar roles, Ashe refuses to be a passive figure in the shadows of turmoil. She even goes as far as faking her death and taking on a new identity in order to fight. She later emerges as a formidable leader, rallying allies and fighting on the front lines against the oppressive forces of the Archadian Empire.

Ashe (Right) contemplating something during a cutscene.

Ashe grapples with immense personal loss and the heavy burden of reclaiming her kingdom’s independence, yet her resolve never wavers. Before the game even really starts she loses her father and her husband to the war with the Archadian empire and she can barely grieve before being burdened with the annexation of her kingdom, Dalmasca. Her unwavering determination is coupled with her intellect and political savvy, as she navigates complex alliances (sometimes with enemies) and morally questionable factions.

Her character development is a testament to the idea that true strength comes from the courage to stand up for what is right (regardless of what level you are compared to a tough boss). By taking control of her destiny and fighting for her kingdom’s freedom, Princess Ashe represents a new kind of princess, one who leads with both heart and sword, making her an inspiring figure in the world of video games.

Yggdra (Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone)

Yggdra from Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone is a compelling example of a proactive princess who defies the traditional trope of waiting for a hero to rescue her kingdom. After the brutal invasion of her homeland by the Bronquian Empire, Yggdra doesn’t succumb to despair but rather takes the initiative to reclaim her kingdom. She flees her kingdom, along with the royal family’s heirloom the sacred sword Gran Centurio, to gather allies and lead the charge back against her enemies.

Princess Yggdra with her big chunky sword.

Yggdra’s leadership and strategic prowess set her apart from most princesses. For one she is a tactical genius and heeds the military advice of her supporters and commanders. Unlike the stereotypical princess waiting for rescue, she actively participates in battles by leading the charge with her massive sword, making critical decisions that affect the course of the war. 

Princess Peach (Super Princess Peach)

I know everyone is focusing on the new game, Princess Peach: Showtime , but this isn’t the lady’s first rodeo as the heroine! Back in the days of the Nintendo DS there was a little known game called Super Princess Peach where in a strange twist of brilliance Bowser kidnaps Mario and Luigi instead, leaving Peach to be the one in the role of the rescuer for once.

Each of Peach’s four primary emotions are attributed to a unique skill/power of hers.

What makes Peach a great example of a princess who doesn’t wait around for someone to solve her problem is her active role in her own story, utilizing her unique emotional powers—Joy, Rage, Gloom, and Calm—to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies. While making emotions her power is certainly a questionable choice, the variety is nice. Ultimately it was just nice seeing the script flipped around.

Princess Garnet (Final Fantasy IX)

Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, of Final Fantasy IX, stands out as a perfect example of a princess who actively engages in the fate of her kingdom rather than waiting for salvation to come from others. From the very beginning, Garnet demonstrates a strong will and an awareness of the political and social turmoil engulfing her kingdom, Alexandria. Distinctively, she chooses to flee the castle not to escape from her responsibilities, but to seek help and find a way to save her people from the impending dangers orchestrated by her own mother, Queen Brahne.

Garnet as she appears in an early cutscene.

Garnet’s journey is marked by her determination to learn about the world outside the palace walls, understand the complexities of the conflict, and gather allies to restore peace. Her evolution from a sheltered naïve princess to a decisive and compassionate leader is compelling. By taking control of her destiny, actively participating in battles, and making difficult decisions for the greater good, Garnet demonstrated her love for her people is above her concern for herself. It’s no wonder that Final Fantasy IX is considered one of (if not) the best Final Fantasy games ever!

Closing Thoughts

What do you guys think? Are there any video game princesses who took on the role of a hero that I missed for this list? Leave your thoughts in the comment section, I would love to pick all your thoughts. Also a special thank you to the ladies of the GirlGamers subreddit for the inspiration! Make sure to check out our other geeky related articles on our site. Also check out our Facebook page and our Twitter/X over here. As always stay geeky out there everyone!

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