I am reading Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil. I have just started, am at 15%, according to my Kindle, so this post isn’t really about that book.
The story is about private investigator Cormoran Strike (there is nobody who can do names as well as Rowling can) and his assistant, Robin. 15% into the story, I am noticing that this is as much Robin’s story as Strike’s, this is more in the way of Peggy and Don Draper than Della Street and Perry Mason.
Which reminds me of Lockwood and Co. Have you read those books? Please, please do. (This link goes to amazon rather than Wikipedia, to persuade you, and I don’t make any money of this blog.)
Lucy and Lockwood have a relationship which echoes Robin’s with Strike. In the Bartemius series, The heroine ( I think her name was Kate) had to have power in an entirely different way than the hero. Inspite of being the more interesting character, she was never allowed to eclipse the hero. Just like Hermione could not be the main character even though she was by far the most competent one, and just like Pratchett’s witches had to have their own books because they could not be a part of the wizard books.
Fiction reflects the real world in more ways than we think it does. Both Harry Potter and Bartemius were books of the turn of the millennium, and granted their women the place they thought women belonged in at that time. Since then, Twilight, and the Hunger Games have changed publishing and the real world has changed to the place where Shonda Rimes can make this speech.
And so we have the stories of our times. There is lots of loves me/loves me not, but the relationship between the male and female leads has evolved into a kind of mentor/apprentice one. The female leads get the chance to upstage the men in charge, and do so. By authorial fiat when Sussane Collins does it, but by their own skills and personality in the books of Rowling and Stroud, who are both great writers.