We needed powerful crone energy to make it through the dark times we faced in 2018. But despite the many awful aspects of our current hellscape, one thing we did not lack for in 2018 was fictional crone role models. Thankfully, these tough (and for the most part, somewhat terrifying) crones were there for us when we needed them, inspiring us and lighting the way ahead. So without further ado: we present our top ten 2018 Crones of the Year.
About Crones of the Year
Conventionally, the word “crone” is used in a pejorative context. But here at POMEmag, “crone” is the absolute highest compliment we could possibly pay anyone. Crones are badass oldies who don’t care what anybody thinks about them. Crones are fearless, dangerous, and have a style all their own. In a culture so fixated on youth, it’s rare to find examples of what you want your golden years to look like, especially if you are a young woman navigating this patriarchal pop culture hellscape.
Due to (obvious) representation issues in pop culture, our definition of “crone” is pretty broad. In our book, anybody can be a crone, regardless of gender, age, or actual arcane knowledge and abilities. Basically, cronedom is a state of mind that anyone theoretically can achieve. So we asked ourselves the following questions when determining our crones of the year:
- Would we mind being this person when we reach their age? How amazing of an end game would that be?
- Did this person do something badass in 2018?
- Did this person make us feel more powerful? Did watching, playing as, or reading about this person impart a little of their magic onto us?
- Are we intimidated by and/or at least a little afraid of this person?
- How long can we describe this person before we JUST CAN’T HELP LOSING CONTROL OF THE CAPSLOCK
We assigned extra points for:
- Age – the older, the better
- Likelihood of actual magical powers
The Top 10 Fictional Crones of 2018
10. Rose Weissman (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
In Season 1 of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Rose Weissman was portrayed as a pretty one-note fragile and judgmental 1950s mom. BUT, right out of the gate in Season 2, Rose is taking charge of her life and her self. She doesn’t like the person that her circumstances and the expectations of those around her have forced her to become, so she changes those circumstances! She removes herself from that environment and from the people who were telling her who she was, and she decides who she wants to be for herself! She is her own master, goddammit. And it is through that journey of self-discovery (really of self-re-discovery) that she is better able to return to her life and her partnership as an equal and as an individual. She is absolutely a role model for what our golden years could be.
Age: early-mid 50s
Wizenedness: as light as reasonably possible for a wealthy older woman living in Manhattan
Cackling: more like a dignified and condescending chuckle
Likelihood of actual magical powers: low, unless you could emotional manipulation as a magical power
9. Great Aunt Charlotte (Mary and the Witch’s Flower)
Great Aunt Charlotte begins the movie as many of Studio Ghibli’s elderly ladies do — extremely cute, very loving, and of a generous disposition. What we and Charlotte’s young niece discover is that Great Aunt Charlotte was once a wild and rebellious witch who sabotaged the magic school she studied at when she saw her beloved teachers embrace horrible magic for selfish reasons, fleeing with movie’s MacGuffin (a flower that grants inordinate power and magic to the user). After her flight from the school, Charlotte settled into a quiet muggle life in order to hide from the teachers who would pursue her. This is honestly the greatest feat I can think of — imagine being an actual witch and then forsaking your awesome powers for the greater good for your whole dang life. Honestly, I wouldn’t have done it, so major kudos to Great Aunt Charlotte for being a better witch than us all.
Age: maybe 60s??
Wizenedness: more friendly grandma than wizened hag
Cackling: none, only gentle laughs filled with grandmotherly love
Likelihood of actual magical powers: extremely likely!! An actual witch!
8. Aunt May (Into the Spider-Verse)
The weirdest thing about the glut of Spider-Man #content in our current pop culture zeitgeist is that we’re almost as lousy with Aunt Mays as we are with assorted Spider-Men. Stacy’s Mom Aunt May in the MCU! Werther’s Original Granny Aunt May in Marvel’s Spider-Man (the PS4 game)! Schrodinger’s Aunt May from the 616 Universe! And now, thanks to Into the Spider-Verse, we might have the coolest Aunt May iteration yet: Nick Fury Aunt May. Nick Fury Aunt May rallies the Spider-People, maintains the tech, and operates an impressive swivel chair with the best of them. Aunt May is here to eavesdrop on your conversations, push giant buttons, and make one of you Youths help her figure out Tinder. Get it, May!
Age: Eternally 65ish
Cackling: Not a lot of cackling, but Spider-Verse May is the queen of smug, knowing grins
Likelihood of actual magical powers: pretty likely, as she’s supernaturally unflappable
7. Queen Ramonda (Black Panther)
Black Panther took the world by storm at the beginning of 2018 with its awe-inspiring Afrofuturistic vision and truly magnificent ensemble cast. While there were so many characters to look up to in this film, Queen Ramonda, played by the incomparable Angela Bassett, truly radiated noble crone energy. Her absolutely celestial debut look reflected her serene wisdom in guiding a new king through ancient traditions, even while mourning. In a time of great loss and fear during Killmonger’s coup, she was unafraid to break convention by asking Nakia, a woman outside the royal family, and a spy instead of a warrior, to take on the mantle of the Black Panther. Queen Ramonda also gained mega crone points for her excellent use of ancestral magic to summon the powers of the Black Panther and bring her son back to life. Her clear-eyed insight into the strengths of those around her, and her ability to act in difficult situations with elegance and resolve, inspire us to embrace and learn from our past, in order to make bold strides into the future.
Age: 60-ish that doesn’t look a day over 45
Cackling: Too royal for this
Likelihood of actual magical powers: 100% canon, counting the heart-shaped herb ritual
6. Eleanor Young (Crazy Rich Asians)
Eleanor Young lives in a complicated world. While it might not be full-on Game of Thrones, she does have to navigate a complex familial structure where obligation to home and hearth is constantly balanced against personal fulfillment. In order to survive in the family she married into, Eleanor gave up her own ambitions, dreams, and sense of self. She allowed her mother-in-law primary care of her own son in order to ensure that he would find favor with the family matriarch, something she couldn’t achieve for herself. Her self-sacrifice hardened Eleanor Young into a cool, chic, cunning figure, a fashion icon who mastered her situation by mastering her own needs and desires. This, I think, is what ascends her to crone-hood — a cool approach, a calculated word, a cutting look to enforce her will on an unfriendly world.
Age: maybe 50s
Wizenedness: not even a little bit
Cackling: no cackling, only a knowing and penetrating half-smile that lets you know she’s better than you
Likelihood of actual magical powers: I honestly would not be surprised
5. Dezmelda (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
While Dezmelda gets about five minutes of screen time in Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, she’ll always live on in our hearts. Superficially, Dezmelda is a centuries-old woods witch living in a spooky hut away from the prying eyes of mankind. She has a spooky eye and a spooky staff made out of bones and probably cooks stews with actual eyeballs and live frogs from an enormous pewter cauldron from her candle-lit hearth. If you tried to distill crone energy into a concentrated liquid, it would just solidify into Dezmelda and she’d hex you and eat your bones for supper on her way out the door. Dezmelda might even be the most powerful crone in Netflix’s Sabrina, and not just because she lives every day like she’s trying to win a contest to get on the cover of some theoretical Crones Weekly magazine — after facing childhood abuse at the hands of the Church of Night, she refuses to sign the Black Book and forges her own path. In a perfect world, Dezmelda would be at the forefront of an imminent witch #matriarchy, but we hope she can at least impart some hardened crone wisdom on us in Sabrina season 2.
Wizenedness: An optimal level of wizenedness that we should all aspire to, honestly.
Cackling: Do you SEE her up there?? No WAY she doesn’t get up to an inordinate amount of cackling in that thatched hut
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Dezmelda is a woods witch unfettered by the Dark Lord and his gang of Warlock’s Rights Activists, so we’re willing to bet that her magical abilities are pretty powerful.
4. Lingerie Crone (Party For One Music Video)
Bless Carly Rae Jepsen, legendary queen of supporting and glorifying fellow legends. Her Party For One music video not only became an instant self-care anthem, but also gave us a whole host of lonely hearts to identify and dance along with. The video’s eldest star, who we’ve affectionately dubbed the Lingerie Crone, captured our hearts for knowing how to show herself a good time. We’re talking badass trench coats, glorious glass butt plugs, and candy bikinis FOR ONE! We can only dream of embodying such confidence and self-love as this grandmommi icon, who, after partying in the hotel lobby with the youngs, takes her coat off to get into a crowded elevator, wearing only a black lace bra and panty set. Lingerie Crone, we will forever hold you in our hearts and minds when we need to call upon supreme No Fucks Given energy.
Age: Likely 80s
Cackling: If swinging a dildo over your head with a smile on your face doesn’t count, is life really worth living?
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Moderate — she’s got charisma to spare, at the very least!
3. Haggar/Honerva (Voltron)
Warning: everything in this section includes deep cut spoilers for Voltron Season 8.
Haggar (aka Honerva) isn’t just a powerful, dark magic-infused crone with a Flemeth In Space aesthetic — she’s a wife, a mother, a scientist, and a cat owner, but more than any of these things, she’s a woman willing to crush every single alternate reality aside from the one where she loves people and is loved by them in return.
If you’ve ever felt achingly depressed and isolated — like you were literally drowning in your own loneliness, sinking farther and farther in until you found it hard to breathe — some part of you can probably understand Honerva’s impulse to reclaim what the quintessence took from her. “If there is no place in this universe for me, then there will be no universe at all” is a hell of a line, but also one hell of a Mood.
But as the series draws to a close, we see that there is still a person deep in there, under all that pain and anger. Despite pretty much burning the entire multiverse to the ground, Allura is still able to remind Honerva of who she was, and Honerva finds within herself the capacity for self-sacrifice as she and Allura exchange their lives for everyone nearly wiped out by Honerva’s indiscriminate vengeance against the vast unfairness of things. (Or: the vast unfairness of the unforeseen consequences of our own mistakes? Your mileage may vary on that one.)
But also, at the end of the day: her actual pseudonym is Haggar, and what could be more crone than that?
Age: Doesn’t look a day over 10,045
Wizenedness: The minor accent wrinkles of a multi-millennium-aged crone
Cackling: Too angry even for cackling
Likelihood of actual magical powers: was literally preserved by evil space magic for thousands and thousands of years
2.Madame Razz (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)
Appearing in episode 3 of the delightful She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Madam Razz has all the trappings of an archetypal crone, and much more! Yes, she lives in a hut in the woods, surrounded by winged insects, and keeps apparently invisible beings for company. But she also has a powerful ombré aesthetic, a love of fresh fruit, and a powerful athleticism (outrunning even a high-ranking young soldier!) that gives us hope that maybe we aspiring crones truly can have it all. Madam Razz bucks crone stereotypes by refusing to deliver clear guidance or prophecy: when Adora insists that there must be a reason for their meeting and asks for help, Razz pushes back, telling Adora that only she can make her own decisions. As undaunted by the reincarnation of her friends as she is by climbing a colossal ancient temple, Madam Razz looks upon total impending environmental collapse and is not afraid to give it her best broom-whacking. This charming and guileless crone teaches us that friendship doesn’t mean always knowing what to say, that sharing joy is necessary even in times of great crisis, and that even the humblest tools can be used in a fight, especially if you work in collaboration with others.
Age: Old enough to not bother with distinguishing her old young blonde friend from her new one
Wizenedness: God-tier, including bad eyes and a stoop
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Confirmed! Magical escape by berry-bomb
1.Ms. Wardwell (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
She is the Mother of Demons, the Dawn of Doom, Satan’s concubine. She is Lilith — yes, that Lilith. Both life goals and wife goals, she is literally the most crone to ever crone. We featured the comic incarnation of Madame Satan in our 2016 Crones of the Year list, but Netflix’s adaptation has only grown her power.
In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Madam Satan primarily takes the form of Sabrina’s teacher, Ms. Wardwell — a modest spinster who lives in the cutest little cottage and who is the perfect vessel for possession by the eternal spirit of deviant femininity. Madam Satan is a force of nature; her femininity IS her power, and she will not apologize for it. Throughout the first season, she demonstrates her ability to manipulate the world around her through magic and through cunning over and over again; she demonstrates that she is the ultimate corrupter of the innocent, the most capable servant of Satan.
That said, the Dark Lord may think that she is a pawn in his game, but she is playing a game all her own. Madam Satan has lived a million lifetimes under patriarchal oppression; she has been biding her time, waiting for the right moment to ascend to her rightful throne as the Queen of Hell. I mean, what could possibly be more crone than that?
Wizendness: tasteful, but really it depends on her human host
Likelihood of Actual Magical Powers: Magic Powers 100% #confirmed
Interested in our previous Crone of the Year offerings?
Happy New Year, POMEs! May 2019 be a year full of successes, accomplishments, and a wide selection of increasingly wizened role models to inspire you through the days ahead.
While the list above honors our favorite crones from 2018, we had a tough time whittling down the list to come up with our Top 10. If you’d like to see even more of the powerful crones that inspired us this year, head on over to our Patreon for a full assortment of wizened heroes you can hitch your star to in the days ahead.