If you’re British like me, or have a particular regard for the United Kingdom, you may well feel a wave of patriotism today as we celebrate the 90th (official) birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.
Street parties and all other sorts of festivities have been taking place to mark this special day. As ReadandReview2016 is a book-themed blog that promotes reading, I decided to mark this day in a book-themed way.
So, to celebrate all the excitement around the Royal Family today, I thought I would discuss my 5 favourite fictional queens in literature. If you have different thoughts to me, please share them below – I welcome fresh opinions!
- The Evil Queen from Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm
‘She was beautiful woman, but proud and haughty, and she could not bear that anyone else should surpass her beauty.’
Snow White is one of my favourite fairy-tales (pst it inspired me to write my short story: White Winter Mist) and I really like the character of the beautiful, but evil, Queen. The lengths she goes to in order to secure her own position by Snow White’s death are truly gruesome. In literature, I think I much prefer evil queens to nice ones.
- Lady Macbeth from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
‘the cruel ministers of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen’
Although Lady Macbeth is rarely referred to as Queen, when her husband Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland, she inherits royal status. Despite her murderous ideas, and she calls on evil spirits to assist her plans, I like the powerful role of Lady Macbeth. She supports her husband throughout the play and takes charge, when he falters, and is another fabulous example of an evil queen.
- Queen Medusa from Greek Mythology
Medusa was the Queen of the Gorgons who was hideously ugly and had hundreds of hissing snakes for hair. She was dangerous to encounter because she could turn mere mortals into stone with just one look. I remember hearing this story when I was younger, and finding it so frightening! You can read the story of Medusa here: http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Medusa/medusa.html
- The Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
‘Off with their heads!’
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a much more child-friendly children’s story than Snow White and so the antagonist here is much tamer. I always found the Queen of Hearts quite ridiculous, due to her shrieks and demands for beheading whenever she feels it necessary, and I particularly enjoyed Miranda Richardson’s interpretation of this in the NBC TV adaptation, Alice in Wonderland.
- The White Witch / Queen Jadis from The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
‘Her teeth were bared, her eyes shone like fire, and her long hair streamed out behind her like a comet’s tail.’
Another evil queen! Queen Jadis or, as she is more commonly known as, The White Witch is an abominable lady who curses Narnia to an eternal winter and seeks to cause cruelty and misery wherever she goes. In a similar way to the Queen of Hearts, I found her somewhat ridiculous in the first book, The Magician’s Nephew, but I like her recurring presence in the other stories.
Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth is nothing like these atrocious queens, but I hope you enjoyed reading this post nonetheless.
That’s all for now!