To say that Princess Leia was a game-changer for me is an understatement of epic proportions.
Until having seen Star Wars, I can't recall a "movie princess" being little more than a set decoration in need of saving. Yes, Princess Leia started out that way... she was every bit the damsel in distress for the story's two male heroes (and a walking carpet) who set out to retrieve her from The Death Star... but once Princess Leia actually hit the screen, all that went out the window.
This princess wasn't taking any shit, and the fact that she could hold her own against Vader and Tarkin was pretty amazing. But the moment I totally fell in love with her was when the door on cell 2187 opened...
What I was expecting: "Oh, thank goodness you've come to save me!"
What I got: "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"
And Leia's sarcasm, strength, and wit didn't end there. As anybody who's seen the Star Wars films (which would be everybody, I'm guessing), Princess Leia was kick-ass whenever she made an appearance.
A great deal of this can be laid on the doorstop of George Lucas who first wrote her that way.
But it was Carrie Fisher who made her that way.
And now Carrie Fisher gone.
Despite some incredible contributions to writing and cinema that went well beyond Princess Leia (she wrote Postcards from the Edge and was a highly-in-demand "script doctor" for a surprising number of films), it's this legendary fictional character to which she will be forever remembered.
My guess is she made her peace with it. Even those times she was wrapped in chains and wearing a metal bikini... something she had strong feelings about.
For which I'm grateful. Because she'll always be royalty to me.