It’s been Such A Year, y’all, and we really needed some Powerful crone energy to make it through. Thankfully, these tough and, for the most part, somewhat bewildering 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 2019 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, 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 2019?
- 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 SHOUTING ABOUT THEM
We assigned extra points for:
- Age – the older, the better
- Likelihood of actual magical powers
The Top 10 Fictional Crones of 2019
10. Bo Peep (Toy Story 4)
As perhaps the biggest sleeper crone hit… ever…? We are delighted to honor Bo Peep as an official Crone of the Year. After essentially disappearing from Toy Story 3, Bo Peep returns to steal the show with an enviable jumpsuit, a cape made out of her old hoop skirt, and a few scars to toughen up her look. A true self-made crone, Bo Peep tires of living on the Ageism Shelf, makes peace with being “lost,” and wanders the wilderness with her herd, learning survival skills along the way. When an old flame crosses her path, she eagerly joins him for an adventure, but refuses to sacrifice her values or her way of life when they are threatened by her old man’s delusions of self-importance.
While we can honestly say we didn’t really ask for or need a Toy Story 4, we’re glad Bo Peep was finally given her time to shine. Whether her storyline appealed mainly to agéd and burnt out millennials such as ourselves — or succeeded in capturing the imagination of a new generation of Toy Story fans — we are not entirely qualified to judge. But we remain sincerely grateful for an arc in children’s media that takes character from a pretty romantic interest to a content and capable heroine, ready and willing to walk away from civilization in the name of self-determination.
Age: At least middle-aged? Who knows how long she was around before the Andy era.
Wizenedness: Mild; porcelain doesn’t show much age in this universe.
Cackling: None, but there’s a lot of good frowning.
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Well, she’s a toy that moves and speaks of her own accord, so, let’s say 100%.
9. Lujanne (The Dragon Prince)
Lujanne isn’t your average Mountain Crone That Lives On Top Of A Cursed Mountain. Sure, she loves terrifying travelers with giant spider illusion spells, but she also cares for weary travelers and three-legged dogs without even baking them in an oven, not even once. But even more inspiringly, Lujanne does her best to guide the protagonists while not having all the answers. Like all of us, she’s just making things up as she goes — giant spiders and all.
Unfortunately, Lujanne shows up exactly once in the show’s third season, but to great effect: she lends her rad-as-hell familiar, a moon phoenix, to the protagonists and opts to walk home through the Human Kingdoms in disguise, pranking (and flirting with????) those who cross her path. We would pay good money for a spinoff series focused on that journey alone, honestly.
On a serious note, we had some concerns about featuring a character from The Dragon Prince due to allegations about its studio’s toxic and misogynistic environment. Those who left the studio urged folks not to boycott The Dragon Prince, and while we want to respect their wishes, we also want to recognize these concerns. All things considered, we hope that the studio
takes real action to improve this environment unionizes.
Age: Extremely hard to determine, as Lujanne is a naturally white-haired elf with laugh lines (so probably like 5,000 years old).
Wizenedness: Supernaturally minimal
Cackling: Probably private cackling, honestly
Likelihood of actual magical powers: 100% confirmed, though she mostly uses illusion magic.
8. The Director (John Wick 3)
The character of the Director is mostly a mystery to us — she makes her first appearance in the third John Wick, does him a solid, gets a finger chopped off, and (presumably) continues to be mean to ballerinas. All we know about her is that she is the head of the Ruska Roma, which in this movie world is a crime syndicate that raised Jardani Jovonovich into the unstoppable death machine we know as John Wick.
The Director and her ballet are another expansion on the ever-expanding world of crime in the John Wick movies, but her addition to the canon of crime is noteworthy outside of her role in molding young Jardani. She’s survived this long and risen to this level of power because she played within the rules established by the crime world at large, but her true allegiance is to the Ruska. As soon as John presents his crucifix (his ticket), she makes the decision to uphold the pact it represents between the Ruska and its wayward son, knowing the consequences for her own standing among the crime powers-that-be. And you gotta love a crone that protects her own, no matter how many fingers it may cost her.
Cackling: meanly, under her breath
Likelihood of actual magical powers: would not be surprised if she could actually curse you
7. Great Nana Thrombey (Knives Out)
Knives Out is a terrific movie for many reasons, not least of which is the gift of an Absolute Crone. Great Nana Thrombey sees all and knows all (we assume). She is more than just a sounding board for Daniel Craig’s musings on grief (probably). And she totally dropped the damning evidence into Ana de Armas’s unsuspecting hands on purpose (I would bet).
Honestly, Nana doesn’t get a whole lot of agency, nor does she get more than a handful of lines. Her whole shtick is that she is Old — so her mobility is limited and her memory is going (but again, this is implication; who’s to say that she’s not secretly a mastermind??). In any case, she makes great use of what little screentime she gets! She has outlasted the vast majority of her horrible family, she seems (I would argue) visibly delighted by the murder mystery proceedings, and she absolutely Demolishes the salmon platter — Nana is everything I expect to be when I grow up, so she has 100% earned her place here.
Cackling: unconfirmed, but probably internal
Likelihood of actual magical powers: low; but who needs magic when you have ALL OF THESE COATS?!
6. The Horrible Goose (Untitled Goose Game)
I’m the type of player that always goes full paragon — I feel bad about being a dick to fake people in fake stories. That is… until the Goose Game. Fifteen minutes into being the Horrible Goose and I was terrorizing children with glasses and small business owners alike. Theft, honking, and property damage were all breathless acts of joy, and I had discovered that being the Horrible Goose felt good.
The Horrible Goose is on this list because she (I SAID WHAT I SAID) is chaos incarnate. She doesn’t care about your prized rose, she doesn’t care for your sinister brooms, and she doesn’t care about your rules. She puts the rake in the lake. She honks, and she is beautiful.
Wizenedness: smooth, white, pristine
Likelihood of actual magical powers: pure chaos energy
5. Agnes Nutter (Good Omens)
Agnes Nutter has been an #iconic crone these past 30 years, but with Amazon’s TV adaptation of Good Omens, we finally got a suitably disdainful face to put to the name. Aside from literally being right about everything all the time, Agnes Nutter exudes Big Crone Energy. She WILL scold you for being late to murder her, and she WILL ABSOLUTELY murder you right back. It’s called Justice, Pulsifer — look it up.
Honestly though, at some point, it’s not even about being a literal witch with the ability to accurately predict the future. At some point, what it really comes down to is the fact that she does not give A Single Shit about your morality systems if those systems require that someone (especially she) be MURDERED!! It’s bad and you should feel bad! And if you don’t feel bad, then she might have to Make you feel bad/dead about it. In our increasingly tribal and xenophobic world, this kind of Burn-It-All-Down mentality really scratches the itch. You truly love to see it.
Likelihood of actual magical powers: 100% known witch
4. Magda (Jane the Virgin)
After many years of delivering us incredibly thoughtful, wildly entertaining drama, and clever twists on telenovela tropes, Jane the Virgin finally concluded with its fifth season this year. In a move that could easily have fallen flat in less capable hands, the showrunners took a circular approach with the final season, calling back to themes and events from its groundbreaking first season — including the return of the show’s simultaneously most sinister and most wacky character, Magda Andel, manipulative mother to fan favorite Petra. Magda is such a quintessentially delightful take on the classic telenovela “bruja,” that you love to see her bested at the same time you want her to come back and deliver more theatrics.
Magda did not disappoint us in her final appearances: making threats, bargaining even when backed into a corner and probably facing (yet another) jail stint, acting with the vim, vigor, and vitriol of a Queen Crone. Without spoiling too much, Magda’s final scene is a true kneeslapper, revealing both her crone-like high constitution, and her ability to turn any set of circumstances, no matter how dire, into a scheme to get back on top.
Age: Late 60s
Cackling: Absolutely menacing, though sparse.
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Judging on her final scene…. Not entirely unlikely!
3. Sarah Connor (Terminator: Dark Fate)
In the first two Terminator films, Sarah Connor learns that her future son will save humanity from the robo-apocalypse. She becomes hardened and ruthless to better protect him from increasingly hardy murder robots. In these movies, Sarah is a badass Action Babe, blowing up Terminators, making morally ambiguous choices and carrying enormous guns.
But what toll does a life dedicated to the revolution take on a person? How did Sarah feel about being treated like an incubator for a future Great Man? Wasn’t Sarah — and not her son, John — humanity’s true great hope? What lessons would Sarah impart on a young woman setting forth on the journey she started back in 1984? And most importantly: how much more ruthlessly efficient would Sarah be at taking out murder robots after 30+ years in the fight? In the interest of avoiding spoilers for this under-appreciated modern action classic, I leave you with those questions.
Age: Confirmed 60s
Wizenedness: A normal and age-appropriate amount, but each crease on this woman’s face has the power of a thousand roguish video game eyebrow scars.
Cackling: Not observed in this movie but I imagine she’d cackle only after disposing of 10+ Terminators in a single explosion.
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Aside from an almost supernaturally potent scowl, none.
2. Professor Magnolia (Pokémon: Sword and Shield)
All of the other lady professors in the Pokémon games are young, hot babes. But finally, now, in the year of our lady 2019, we have been blessed with a wise and benevolent PokéCrone. Professor Magnolia has a lilac cane topped with a carved, wooden Corviknight and she lives in an ivy-covered mansion by a lake. It has a conservatory! A CONSERVATORY!! It’s very When Marnie Was There, except not even a little bit disappointing.
Because Magnolia would never disappoint you. She wears her glasses on a chain! She loves a cuppa! She understands the importance of work-life balance! Honestly, she is the gently chiding grandmother we all need right now.
Age: it’s Pokemon, so probably like 25?? But looks ~late 60s
Cackling: gentle and chiding
Likelihood of actual magical powers: I mean, it depends on how closely you think of science and magic?
1. Opal (Pokémon: Sword and Shield)
As unusual as it is for us to nominate two crones from the same franchise in one year, let’s be real: we were blessed not with one but two iconic PokéCrones in 2019 — two golden oldies that so thoroughly dominated the crone landscape that they couldn’t do anything other than dominate this list. If Professor Magnolia represents a wise, competent, gentle Ghibli granny crone-hood, Opal represents the opposite end of that duality: an aesthetically motivated elder who lives only for herself and is loving it. Magnolia is a tougher version of the grandma in Kiki’s Delivery Service struggling to light a fire in her enormous brick oven. Opal is Yubaba dressed like a pastel Witch of the Wastes.
Opal is a fairy type gym leader who lives deep within a mushroom forest. I know that’s pretty much all I needed to say, but it gets better: Opal’s gym is essentially a community theater, and young hopefuls must both defeat a host of tough granny trainers and successfully answer trivia questions. Some of those trivia questions are about Opal herself. And just a tip for those who have yet to face her: Opal doesn’t appreciate lies. It is truly the deepest sorrow of my PokéLife that there is no way to convince Opal to choose you as her successor — that a future of learning to channel the power of fairy Pokemon from glamorous old ladies in a mushroom forest will forever be beyond us all.
Age: Unfortunately, a literal spoiler!!
Wizenedness: Perfectly and aspirationally wizened
Cackling: 100% confirmed
Likelihood of actual magical powers: Pokémon are magical; fairy Pokémon are even more magical; therefore, Opal is a bonafide powerful PokéCrone (fight me).
Interested in our previous Crone of the Year offerings?
Happy New Year, POMEs! May 2020 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 2019, we had a tough time whittling down to just 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.