Unlike many viewers who tuned into Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I was wholly unfamiliar with the world of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that the original She-Ra spun from. What drew me in was showrunner Noelle Stevenson. I knew of Noelle’s work from her comics Nimona and Lumberjanes. Both of those stories are filled with strong female characters and emphasize the importance of friendship, love, and found family. Based on that alone, I knew I would LOVE this She-Ra reboot.
Here’s a quick rundown of She-Ra’s origin story in case you were like me and knew nothing about it! She-Ra is actually a girl named Adora who, along with her best friend, Catra, was brainwashed into fighting on the side of the evil Horde. Adora comes upon a magic sword and learns that her destiny is to fight on the side of the Rebellion. She helps the Rebellion rebuild the Princess Alliance, but in doing so, is forced to go up against her (now) former best friend, Catra. Throughout this adventure, Adora is joined by Glimmer, Princess of Bright Moon, and Bow, an archer who’s one of the OG members of the Rebellion.
Stevenson injects so much heart into this reboot, but besides that, she gives us and, frankly, other showrunners a lesson in How to Do Representation Without Becoming an After-School Special. Almost all the characters are coded queer, or at the very least, not heterosexual. And it’s not a Thing™! They just exist, the same way we all just…exist. The relationships between these characters are complex and deep, and range from intense friendships to a friendship-turned-frenemy-turned-crush (I’ll let you watch and figure out who’s who). Season 1 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was a love letter to anyone who has ever felt “othered” or who is going through any kind of transformation.
If you loved She-Ra, check out these books with similar themes!