This week's character first appeared in a novel in 1988, and then in a fairly faithful film adaptation in 1996. Her name is Matilda, the star of Matilda by Roald Dahl.
Matilda Wormwood is very intelligent five-year-old girl whose parents don't recognize her scholastic aptitude (or any other positive aspect of her character, for that matter). Matilda enjoys reading books, much to the chagrin of her parents, who are devoted to the TV. When Matilda starts school, a whole new world opens up for her. She has a wonderful teacher and makes new friends. But she also encounters Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress, who abuses the children in her charge. Eventually, Matilda develops psychokinetic powers. These help her come to the aid of her teacher, Miss Honey, and also bring about a happy ending to her own story.
I like Matilda because it's a story about finding the power within yourself, even if you feel small and insignificant. Roald Dahl was very good at portraying this aspect of childhood (probably due to his own experiences growing up, as detailed in Boy).
Matilda also introduces us to one of the most delicious villains. It's been a while since I read the book, so I can't remember if the book version of Miss Trunchbull was as formidable as she appeared on screen. Pam Ferris played her to scary perfection. (I'll never be able to look at women's shot put the same way again. "Tally-ho!") Such a villain ultimately makes the heroine's triumph that much more satisfying... especially when said heroine is just a tiny child.
The Favorite Fictional Character meme was started by Ryan G. at Wordsmithonia.