Keladry of Mindelan may be described as stolid, but she was never that to me. She was calm and centered; driven and kind; wise and honorable.
And fictional. Definitely fictional.
You see, Keladry of Mindelan is a character in Tamora Pierces' Protector of the Small series and a much loved portion of my childhood. When the Kel series was released, I was already a rabid Pierce fan, having devoured her works in The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, and The Circle of Magic repeatedly in my 6th grade year. But I wasn't always the literary fan.
Before I discovered Pierce's Tortall Universe, I loathed reading. Reading was a chore; boring and painful. I read (and still read) at a pace that is all my own and often felt sub-par as a result. I avoided reading aloud in class, even when I recited the passage in my head over and over and again. I didn't want to stumble and blush and be stared at like I was incompetent. Reading was painful; and then, one day while I was wandering in the library, I met Alanna of Trebond.
I don't know why I decided to pick up Alanna: The First Adventure, but I do have a clear image of bending down to select that book. The book was short - just over 200-pages - and it has a girl with a horse in medieval dress on the cover. I loved the idea of medieval fantasy - the deep colors, the dress, the castles, and adventures - so I made the choice to ignore my bibliophobia and took the book home. I've been a bibliophile since that day.
Which brings me back to Kel, my favorite Tortall heroine. You see, she's only the second girl to choose to go through the training to be a lady knight in over 600 years (Alanna, being the first). She's brave, in a word, and I wanted to be like her. She overcame huge odds with poise and honor - she appeared stolid to others, but that was merely in appearance. Inside, she was passionate and roaring to act. I liked that; as a middle schooler, I thought I could be like that.
While I can't attest to ever reaching the level of "Kel," I can say that her series was and is one of my favorite to this day. If I don't re-read the series at least once at year, I feel completely and irrecoverably stolid.