Round-Up: Headcanons

Round Up of Submissions

Welcome to the round-up of submissions on the topic of ‘Headcanons.’ You can see the call for submissions here: Thank you to everyone who participated! We had four responses, from students at Smith College.



  1. Keladry of Mindelan, of Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet (middle grade/YA fantasy), is word-of-god asexual and aromantic. Of course, I first read these books in third or fourth grade, so I didn’t pay any attention to that, enamored with the school story and the girl training to be a knight. But Tamora Pierce remains one of my favorite authors, and as I got older, I enjoyed how refreshing it was that Kel didn’t just fall in love with her *one true man* and live happily ever after. Yes, Kel had a few crushes, but her not wanting to marry, settle down, or have children (right then) was a more important character trait. Even the few crushes she had, she was confused by them and questioned whether her feelings were real when her crushes faded. She didn’t instantly *know* what she was feeling and how romanced worked, and nor did I.

The series ends before Kel turns 20, when she still has most of her career and life ahead of her. We fans don’t know exactly what would happen to her, but there’s been many guesses. My personal favorite is that Kel would live with or next door to her (married) friends Neal and Yuki, in a sort of QPR, being “Aunt Kel” to their children. She would raise her adopted children, care for the animals that adopted her, and be the Protector of the Small. Kel’s story, or at least my headcanon of her happily-ever-after, was the first story of that type that I could see myself in. In a world that emphasizes hetero romantic and sexual relationships so heavily, her story provided hope and inspiration for my own future. Not alone or abandoned when friends start pairing off into relationships and marriages, but still present and with her best friends.


2. I feel like there is such little ace/aro representation in the media, that I would really appreciate anything at this point. Of course, not all representation is good representation (here’s to looking at you, awful episode of “House” that treats asexuality as a medical disorder). I don’t want to see characters written off as ace as a plot device or to make the public happy with a weak attempt at representation. I’m pretty tired of seeing lists of ace characters that include folks like Dexter or Hannibal who made it on the list in the first place because “they’re too interested in murder to have time for sex.” I mean, what is that? I’d like to see representation that covers the entire asexual spectrum: characters that are ace, aro, aroace, demi, graysexual, and so forth. I want characters in queer platonic relationships, sexual relationships, romantic relationships, polyamorous relationships, and just living their best life. I want characters of different ages, ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, etc. I want the ace community to be able to see themselves in these characters, and I want allosexuals to better understand the ace community by seeing asexuality and aromanticism so honestly and thoroughly depicted.


3. I have a tendency to headcanon any female lead as ace, probably because I’m projecting onto her. This can get complicated when the character is portrayed as sexual, but the complications have actually led to some of my favorite ace headcannons. For example, when the female lead is supposed to be “sexy” and is sexualized by other characters, but rarely, if ever, expresses sexual desire herself, I find myself clinging all the more strongly to my ace headcannon. A classic example of this is Jessica Rabbit, though I tend to apply it to classic literary and mythological characters, like Lady Macbeth, Jane Eyre, Persephone, and Circe.

As far as ace representation, I haven’t seen that many that interested me, mainly because they seem to always be men and/or heteroromantic. I would really love to see some sapphic ace representation, because that’s what I am, and of course we all want to see ourselves in media. One ace representation I did like despite this was Todd Chavez from BoJack Horseman. What I liked was that they didn’t just have the character come out and then leave it at that, but they actually worked his asexuality into the plot of the show, dug into some of the struggles of being ace, and made some genuinely funny jokes around it. For example, Todd starts dating the first ace girl he meets, and eventually it becomes apparent that they have nothing in common, so they break up when they realize they were only dating each other because they’re both ace. He feels discouraged about how small the dating pool for fellow aces is, but eventually he finds someone he clicks with. It was nice to see an ace character have an arc like this over the course of a show.


4. Keladry of Mindelan from Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet is canonically aroace and has long been one of my favorite characters, since long before I learned she was aroace. While she does have a couple crushes, they are never the focus of her life, and looking back on it now, I wonder whether that was one of the reasons I liked her so much.

Thinking about characters I headcanon as ace and/or aro, there’s a lot of them. I think it’s my default to assume a character is ace and/or aro unless I have strong reason to think otherwise. Some favorites would have to be Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings, neither of whom shows any interest in dating or marriage but both of whom deeply value their friendships. In fact, Tolkien is one of the rare authors who emphasizes friendships and family relationships far more than romantic relationships across his works.