God Save Us From the Queen

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Off with her head!"

The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

The Kingdom: A lovely, wealthy country ruled by a benevolent king and a lovely princess loved by the populace. But what's that? There's a queen? Oh brother, we're in trouble.

While kings and princes can be good or evil and princesses are always good, queens tend to be the royalty version of Exclusively Evil. Restrained by a competent king, this usually doesn't show, but once a queen is in charge, things get nasty. Either the king is missing or died in an accident (the queen might have helped things along herself), or he's easily manipulated for some reason. Note that there are good queens in fiction, but they normally don't stay around for very long, or at all. And this trope comes into play whether they are ruling in their own right or as regents for the under-age king. (The latter group tends to fall under My Beloved Smother, as well.)

Subverted pretty much every time the lovely princess becomes queen mid or end-story, or when the queen was a princess in a prequel to the story, and when the princess rules the kingdom much like a queen would, and is only princess in title. Good queens don't need to be listed. They are simply The High Queen.

If the evil queen is in charge of a Hive Mind, she is by definition a Hive Queen. Also overlaps with Matriarchy (particularly the Sexist Matriarchy) and sometimes Evil Matriarch.

The idea that "only a fool would want to be ruled by a woman" played heavily into the lives of real life queens in history — even if their rule might have been decent or competent, many queens tended to be viewed with suspicion or contempt by their male underlings. This is particularly true if the queen's manners and sexual habits were similar to those of powerful men.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The High Queen, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, She Is the King, The Good King and President Evil. The next steps down are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The White Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step up is The Emperor.

Sister Trope and Evil Counterpart of The High Queen.

Examples of God Save Us From the Queen include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sailor Moon has both aversions of this and examples of it. It's averted by the benevolent Queen Serenity (no husband seen) and Neo Queen Serenity (husband seen but she appears to be in charge), the straight examples of the trope are Queen Metaria and her dragon Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom, and by Queen Nehellenia of the Dead Moon.
    • It's arguable whether or not any of the other Sailors (there as many Sailor Senshi as there are celestial bodies for them to come from) besides the ten that the story focuses on are royalty, but virtually all the royalty that is named is female (the only exceptions are Endymion and Prince Diamond) -- there could be hordes of good queens out there that we'd never know about.
    • And conversely, it's not clear that Queen Metaria really counts as a queen. She's just called that because... well, the Dark Kingdom is called a kingdom. Queen Beryl doesn't truly count either, as she was an oracle in her past life.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, Youko's predecessor Queen Joukaku. Even though her reign only lasted six years, not only she did not want to be Queen in the first place, but she fell in love with her kirin Keiki, killing every other women that crossed their path of jealously. But she redeemed herself by sacrificing herself, to not let Keiki die when her bad rulership literally caused him to get sick. But with Keiki being a Bishounen, it would be expected.
    • Later on in the series, it's mentioned that Kei has had three of these in a row- four if you count a female pretender to the throne. There are some people in Kei who are so used to this trope that they distrust Yoko as "just another lady-king". However, Yoko herself is an aversion, as are the queens of Kyou and Sai. A character even mentions that, after two excellent (and therefore long-lived) female rulers, the people of Kyou "pray that their next ruler will not be a man."
    • In the backstory, there's also the former queen of Hou, Kaka (yes, we know). While the king, Chuutatsu, was bad enough, believing that execution was a fitting punishment for any crime, the queen put this to her advantage, accusing maids and courtiers of whom she was jealous of petty crimes so that they would be killed. For this she and her husband were both beheaded in a citizen revolt.
  • Completely inverted in Futari wa Pretty Cure, where the Big Bad is the Dark/Evil King, while the Garden of Light is ruled by a benevolent (and very large) Queen.
  • The Queen Consort from Berserk joins a plot to assassinate rising star Griffith after Griffith had Guts assassinate her lover.
  • Mizumi, Queen of the Moraine Kingdom in the manga Return to Labyrinth.
  • In Dai Mahou Touge, the queen of Magical Land is ruthless, domineering and just plain evil. Her daughter Punie, also known as the heroine of the series, is following in her tracks.
  • Maestro Delphine of Last Exile, in all but name. Sadistic, Finger-Lickin' Evil and then some. On the other hand when Sophia, who was First Officer on the Sylvana becomes Empress, she's got the hallmarks of a good ruler, though she had the princess thing going for her.
  • Queen Himiko in the Dawn arc of Phoenix is portrayed as an insane tyrant whose only goal in life is to find the Phoenix and gain immortality.
  • In Kiyudzuki Satoko's manga Shoulder a Coffin Kuro, one of the short stories in the second volume features an incredibly spoiled princess who orders travelers to expand upon her favorite storyteller's fairytale featuring her. If she doesn't like where the story goes, she orders the traveler's beheading. However, this is eventually subverted when Kuro and the twins' story brings her to her senses, and her courtiers reveal that they've been using the guillotine to chop up pumpkins to fool her and let the travelers escape.
  • Queen of MAR is this, as well as Snow's Evil Stepmother and Dorothy's sister. King is there as well, but he's evil also and he didn't participate in the first war. Snow's father is supposedly trapped or something.
  • Crown: The heroine may be the rightful heir to the country of Regalia. Unfortunately, the current incumbent is one of these, and she's proactive about eliminating the competition.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, there is a story wherein the Host Club acts out Alice in Wonderland... And Kyouya is the queen. God save us all. To be fair, however, all of his decisions are entirely logical and justified.
  • In Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, Miyuki meets up in her dream with a (feared and in the same light idolized by her subjects) Dominatrix queen who rules over her queendom with an iron whip, which she invariably tries to use on Miyuki. who then wakes up
  • Interestingly played with in the My-HiME manga, where the Big Bad summons 3 girls called QUEENs. One of whom is his sister Mai, one of the main protagonists, who are evil and more powerful HiMEs.
  • Averted by Houki from Fushigi Yuugi, who started as a kind Hot Consort and after the death of her husband Hotohori was a rather good regnant Empress for the sake of the heir, their son Boushin aka the soon-to-be Emperor Reizeitei.
  • Done full on with the Queen of Shaluda in Knight Princess (Not the same manga as Princess Knight). She ordered the first prince to be tried for treason on trumped up charges and killed an entire tribe of secret guards for fear they would harm her son, the second prince. But averted with Yaxi's mother, Queen Weisha. She just has to deal with power hungry adviser.
  • Queen Iono from Iono the Fanatics is a half-example. She's a nice enough person, but she's really bad for the country.
  • Downplayed with Queen Mirellia from The Rising of the Shield Hero. The series is big on the Aristocrats Are Evil Trope, and while Mirellia is an ally of the protagonist, she is clearly Not So Above It All when dealing with the actual villains. The sentence handed down to Aultcray and Malty is initially death via beheading (with clemency granted later) but in the original Light Novel, Mirellia was rather vindictive towards them, recommending far harsher punishments, including having them crucified in public or worked to death via slave labor.

Comic Books

  • The Dream Queen, from Alpha Flight. Think sort of a combination of The Joker and Freddy Krueger; her father was Nightmare.
  • Winnowill from Elf Quest
  • Queen of Fables from Justice League of America.
  • Queen Marea from Megalex is an evil tyrant like her husband and daughter, and an ancient, withered harridan to boot.
  • Madelyne Pryor as the Goblin Queen and The Red Queen of The Hellfire Club from X Men.
    • Emma Frost and Jean Gray as The White and Black Queen of The Hellfire Club also qualified.


  • The Alien Queen who battled Ripley in Aliens. Not really a queen any more than a real queen bee is, but still a dangerous bitch.
  • If the Alien Queen goes in here, then the Borg Queen does too.
  • The "Demon Queen" Bavmorda, from the movie and novel Willow.
  • The Dark Queen in Mirror Mask. Also happens to be extremely pushy.
  • The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The Wicked Witch of the West, in all but name. Although being a Card-Carrying Villain helps.
  • The entire plot of Outlaws of Gor was subduing the one dominant female character, the queen.
    • Which sums up Gor's main theme about how all women should know their place, and that place is being slaves to men.
      • But in the books, free women outnumber slave by about forty to one, canonically, and Outlaw ends up with a queen on the throne of the city of Tharna after all, albeit a thoroughly reformed queen and a heavily revised society.
    • Especially compared to backstory about Amidala's predecessor.
  • The Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Galadriel is most definitely The High Queen and a good gal, but she refuses to go by that title; or even be acknowledged as the ruler of Lorien. The reason she refuses royal titles is because she and her husband feel that Lorien is merely a place they are guarding, not ruling.
    • The only moment when she does call herself a Queen is the moment of her temptation by the Ring. She resists it when she realizes she'll become one of these.
  • In Ran, King Hidetora thought it was a good idea to kill the father of his sons wife Kaede and make his new home in the newly conquered castle. Years later the King is thrown out of his home and his throne taken over by his son, making his wife the new Lady of her families old castle. May the Gods have mercy on the kingdom.
  • Technically not a queen, but Claudia, the Wicked Stepmother in Snow White a Tale of Terror is still a noblewoman.
  • Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, a thorougly psychotic Smug Snake who murdered her way to the throne and steals the youth and beauty from younger women so that she might stay young and pretty forever.


  • The Queens of the Winter and Summer Courts, from The Dresden Files. Mab is more clearly evil, but Titania's pretty damn vicious when she wants to be. And let's not get started on the Ladies.
  • Mercedes Lackey generally averts this, but she plays it straight in her book The Black Swan, in which the evil queen Clothilde used a love potion on the king to gain her position, encouraged him in dangerous hobbies until he offed himself, kept her son completely unfit to rule, and plots to distract or, if necessary, kill her son in order to keep the throne when his 18th birthday (and thus the end of her regency) is on the horizon. Unusually for this trope, she's a good ruler otherwise; Lackey even gives her at least one Pet the Dog moment.
    • Queen Cassiopeia in One Good Knight is a dead-straight example, up to and including causing horrific storms and shipwrecks to increase her wealth. Her daughter is horrified when she realizes that is going on.
  • The bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps taking this trope even further, in contrast to her the King of Hearts is a sympathetic character, who pardons everyone who's been sentenced. Not so much in the films though.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Ruling Queen, T'Rehu - Romulus' first and only dictator. The trope is perhaps particularly appropriate here, because while it's never made explicit, there is the possible implied suggestion that Romulans fear single female rulers more than male ones - simply because of T'Rehu. Both sexes serve in government and in the senate, in more or less equal numbers, yet interestingly the praetor is usually male. Possibly female senators find it harder to ascend to the position due to a bias connected with this trope. This is likely only subconscious - there are no actual legal restrictions and we do see some female praetors, but the disparity is interesting in a culture that otherwise demonstrates equivalence between genders at all levels of government. See in particular Star Trek: Vulcan's Soul.
  • Cersei Lannister, in A Song of Ice and Fire, is a cruel and paranoid despot who isn't quite as cunning as she believes she is. She quickly alienates her strongest allies and turns her kingdom into "a feast for crows." By the end of the first book, she's murdered her incompetent but well-meaning husband, and she goes on to become regent for her beloved sons. Some readers see Daenerys Targaryen as another example, due to her perceived arrogance and penchant for brutal conquest. Worse, while both women are pretty blind to their own faults, Cersei at least recognizes the brutality of her own tactics, while Dany sees herself as a fair and just savior. If she's not this trope yet, she may yet head that way.
    • Very few male rulers act as sociopathic as Cersei, though, and she's the only queen at the beginning of the series. So the male average is still far more positive.
    • Tywin Lannister is far more evil than Cersei, precisely because he's no sociopath. He uses psychopaths such as Gregor Clegane or Amory Lorch on purpose. Cersei is, however, following on Daddy's footsteps. And there are very good examples of reigning women. Lady Olenna Tyrell is far from psychopathic, and Lysa Tully, while undoubtedly wasted and losing the plot, does manage to keep the Vale out of conflict and prospering during her time as Lady Arryn.
    • Fortunately, Cersei starts to run herself into the ground the second the checks on her power are removed and, three books later, has been arrested for treason, adultery, and incest by the very Church Militant she resurrected. Nice going, Cersei.
  • Discworld:
    • The Queen of the Elves in the novel Lords and Ladies. Subverted somewhat in that the King of the Elves, with whom she doesn't get along too well, actually has the same goals — he's just more patient than she, or possibly smarter, and therefore approaches them differently.
    • Lady Felmet from the earlier novel Wyrd Sisters ought to qualify as well; she actually secures her position as queen by having her frail-minded husband Duke Felmet murder the King of Lancre, then proceeds to rule the kingdom with an iron fist from behind her husband (since the character is a parody of Lady Macbeth (See Theater, below), this is hardly surprising).
    • Lilith Weatherwax, who rules over Genua in Witches Abroad with an iron fist and makes sure that Happiness Is Mandatory. Anyone who isn't smiling and quiet, or doesn't abide by typical story archetypes, are fed to stories.
  • Queen Arrabel from Tanya Huff's "A Woman's Work" is highly competent, beloved by her people, treats her staff well... and is utterly ruthless to her enemies (and her friends, if she had any). She's the type of person who wears understated, sensible clothing while her son wears flashy, extravagant uniforms because she knows who assassins would instinctively aim at. And then she marries him off to a neighbouring country's princess (sole survivor of the royal family), the Queen expecting that the princess will quickly produce an heir, following which the prince is likely to have a fatal accident. Not that she minds, as she thinks the princess has the right stuff to inherit the job of Queen.
  • The Snow Queen.[context?]
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Magician's Nephew, Jadis (who later becomes the White Witch) is the Queen of the most powerful nation in her world, so what does she do when her sister attempts to overthrow her? She uses her magic to kill every other living being on the planet, then sits around waiting for someone to take her to another world so she can presumably do it all over again. Harsh. Even more blatant when you consider that she is the Satan to Aslan's Golden Feline Jesus. And while it was mentioned that while Aravis and Shasta/King Cor quarrelled quite a lot after they were married, the fact that the kingdom remained prosperous for so long would indicate that she was a subversion as well.
    • The Lady of the Green Kirtle from The Silver Chair is sometimes called the Queen of Underland, though given how her "subjects" were basically gnomes that she kidnapped, brainwashed, and enslaved and her "kingdom" was more or less a palace under the ground, it's uncertain how certifiable her claims for the title are. Still, she would have become that had her plan succeeded.
  • In the Tamír Trilogy, Queen Agnalain of Skala fit this trope, since she became so paranoid she was about to have her son and baby daughter executed for treason (after having numerous others killed), but she's treated as an aberration in a long line of warrior queens and her son killing her in self-defense and then taking the throne instead of his sister is presented as even worse, since the god in charge only approves of female rulers. Up to you whether this is an aversion or a straight example.
  • The Lovecraftian version of Queen Victoria presented in Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald is a particularly squicky variation on this.

She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before, and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious, and she was called the Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name.

  • Played with in Fred Saberhagen's Swords and Lost Swords series. Even though Kristin's father held the title of King, Kristin rules Tasavalta as Princess Regnant, not as Queen. Yambu, of course, holds the title of Queen, and is a bad guy, but abdicates her throne after she does a Heel Face Turn.
  • The Dark Queen in Connor Kostick's Saga. With a title like that, how could she be otherwise?
  • Redwall's Tsarmina, Silth, and Vilaya are examples. Lantur would have been one had she held onto the crown long enough to actually use the power. (Cruel people would suggest that Ublaz is a borderline example.) To be fair, most vermin are like that, regardless of gender or ranking, and they probably wouldn't want their royalty any other way.
  • Subversion: Queen Hemlock from Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series is rumored to be greedy, ambitious, and cut-throat (literally; rumors abound that she murdered her parents to gain the throne). When we finally meet her, she is ambitious...but is also very down-to-earth and cunning, immediately seeing through the disguise that Skeeve is using to impersonate the king. And then she says that she'd rather marry a powerful magician than a king anyway.
    • Late in the book, Skeeve tricks Hemlock into marrying King Roderick by giving them magic rings which he claims link their lives together; if one of them dies, they both do. Much later in the series, Skeeve receives a package from Hemlock...a severed feminine finger, ring intact, leading him to assume that Hemlock cut off her own finger just to escape the magic, then killed Roderick. In the end, it's revealed that Roderick died of illness, at which point Hemlock realized the deception; the finger was his, not hers, and overall she wasn't upset with Skeeve for the trick.
  • Invoked, sort of, in Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, where during the time between them, Kettricken has been a fair, just, and intelligent queen overseeing a time of much-needed peace for the Six Duchies... But because she's a foreigner who was married for political reasons, and her husband is dead, her political enemies love to spread these kinds of rumors about her.
    • Queen Desire, who was queen at the beginning of the first book, is a decidedly unpleasant if minor character. Kettricken escapes being evil through the "princess first" clause, as she doesn't marry a king till the very end of Assassin's Apprentice.
  • Mostly averted in Wheel of Time: there are many female rulers, some of them bad, some of them good, just as the male rulers. Actually, there are more good female rulers than good male rulers—women: Morgase, Elayne, Siuan, Berelain, Alliandre (arguably), men... err... Rand and the Aiel clan chiefs. It has never been implied that when a female ruler sucks, it is because of her gender. Not even with the Seanchan empresses: while Fortuona's decision to attack the White Tower in Book 12 bordered on Moral Event Horizon, it had more to do with her culture. Many of the Aes Sedai (such as Elaida, especially after becoming Amyrlin), while not ?queens,? do seem to conform to this trope, though.
    • The one brief time during which Andor had a king was not a great experience. First of all, the said king was an Evil Sorcerer.
  • Tamora Pierce both subverts this and plays it straight: Queen Thayet of Tortall is a progressive, level headed queen who's perfectly willing to get her hands dirty (and destroy expensive dresses (and her modesty (see the howler monkey incident)) in the process). Princess Imajane Jimajen, the regent of the Copper Isles in Trickster's Queen is ruthless, mentally unstable, and arranges the murders of the six-year-old King Dunevon and his similarly aged heir Elsren, so she can take the throne. Her successor, Dove, is implied to be another subversion of this trope.
  • Two queens in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy. The first book is about a nameless brat who rises to Mother of the Heir via slavery and soldiery with divine guidance. Her ambition is to use her son as a 'Hammer' to take over the world. The second book is about a Princess whose father and two brothers die, and she must fight to become Queen in her own right. 3rd book, both queens get to duke it out.
  • Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore in the Honor Harrington novels is very much the good constitutional monarch, justly admired by most of the population (even those who have issues with the rest of the aristocracy), except that she has a ferocious temper and is said to hold grudges so long she has them stuffed and mounted. When it comes to the People's Republic of Haven, she could be totally unreasonable and would be quite happy to see them all shoved into a black hole, what with that aforementioned anger issue and them having assassinated her father and all...
    • Eloise Pritchart, the President of the restored Republic of Haven from the tenth book on, is very much Elizabeth's counterpart. She's a brilliant, enormously capable leader, well-loved by most of her people, but her fiery temper, combined with some subtle manipulations by a mutual enemy of the Star Kingdom and the Republic, leads to a totally unnecessary and tragic resumption of hostilities between the two star nations, culminating in the near-total destruction of both their navies at the cataclysmic Battle of Manticore... just when their real enemy is about to unleash its campaign of conquest on all of human-settled space.
      • As of Mission of Honor, the twelfth book, both have been informed of said mutual enemy and have formed a military alliance. What's worse than facing one hardcore Determinator Queen with a Badass military that's been hardened and trained in the crucible of decades of war? Facing two.
  • The Bible has a few of these:
    • Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab (who himself was weak-willed and something of a spoiled brat). To be fair, she started out as an evil princess.
    • Queen Athaliah, who tried to murder the entire house of Judah so her sons could take the throne. She missed one.
    • The Bible in general didn't have nice things to say about kings who 1) married foreign wives and 2) succumbed to worshipping said wives' foreign gods.
    • In the New Testament, when Herod Antipas asks his unnamed stepdaughter (Christian tradition and some historical evidence indicates it as "Salome") to name any reward ("up to half his kingdom") for her dancing, her mother suggests "John The Baptist's Head on a Platter", thus trope-naming a popular expression. In both cases it's claimed that Herod Antipas enjoys John's preaching and is only forced to have him killed because he gave his word to a treacherous woman.
    • There are good queens, though: such as Bathsheba, Esther, and the Book of Revelations implies Mary (Jesus' mother).
  • Arthur's sister, Morgan, is married to King Uriens in Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. She kills a young servant for bowing too low and accidentally touching her knee. She continues to entertain her guests as the servants clean up the mess left after she stabs the boy.
    • Death isn't the only Disproportionate Retribution she deals out. When a peasant slights her, she takes him from his wife and five children and locks him up in her dungeon for twenty-two years, giving him a view of his house from his cell. She then orchestrates five fake funerals at intervals, leaving him to agonize over which of his family still lives. His crime? Saying she had red hair.
  • Queen Lionstone, in Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series, fits the trope quite nicely. She's even set up a holographic 'playground' of a throne room which has claimed quite a number of courtiers, just for her own amusement.
  • David Eddings' Belgariad/Mallorean brings us Queen Salmissira of Nyissa, the craziest and most dangerous person in her whole country of drug-addicted snake worshippers. At the end of her first appearance she is turned into a giant, immortal, highly venomous snake, which markedly improves her personality and her governance of the country.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs' Gods of Mars, Issus.
    • In The Master Mind of Mars, Xaxa.
  • Averted in Naamah's Kiss with Queen Jehanne. Also averted in Kushiel's Legacy with Queen Ysandre.
  • Queen Azshara from Warcraft World of the Ancients.
  • The Queen of Attolia in Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series is played almost-straight in book 1, then averted completely in following books. It's gradually revealed that although she rules with an iron fist, the conditions of her monarchy demand fair but stringent behaviour to maintain power and security.
    • That Eddis doesn't need to resort to such tactics to keep her throne has bred resentment in Attolia.
    • Attolia has a particularly bloodthirsty grudge against the protagonist Gen that tellingly exceeds her normally fair and politic judgement.
      • And then she goes and marries him anyway. Go figure.
  • L. Frank Baum's Oz was founded by a Fae Queen, who is revered through most of the land, and her descendant Ozma is just and reasonable ruler, as are the Good Witch of the North and Glinda, but you get plenty of rotten apples such as the East and West Witches, Princess Langwidere, Jinjur, and Coo-eh-oh.
  • In the Looking Glass Wars series, the main antagonist is a woman named Redd, who believes that she was robbed of her right to the throne even though it was for the perfectly logical reason of her reckless, uncaring attitude. When she finally takes over, Wonderland becomes a place where people are encouraged to spy on their neighbours, among other more evil actions.
  • The queen in Robin McKinley's Deerskin is universally beloved until she starts dying (of her own will, because she feels she's suddenly not the World's Most Beautiful Woman). Everyone but her husband very quickly winds up completely terrified of her, regarding her almost like she's some kind of witch. The really terrible consequences of what she does don't happen until several years after she's dead, though.
  • From Gail Carson Levine is Fairest's Queen Ivi, a foreigner who disbands the country's parliament, imprisons people for minor slights, obsessively seeks approval, and would have probably started killing people if Aza hadn't saved the day.
  • In The Once and Future King, Queen Morgause is empty-headed at best and downright treacherous at worst. She enchants and sleeps with Arthur for a grudge held between their deceased parents, completely ignores her children who worship the ground she walks on, (unsuccessfully) attempts to seduce Sirs Grummor and Palomides and King Pellinor, and eventually seduces King Pellinor's much-younger son, which leads to her death when her sons find her in bed with him. Her first appearance is killing a cat in a boiling pot of water and putting the bones in her mouth, just because she's bored and wants to try an invisibility spell. On the other hand, while Guinevere inadvertently screws up Camelot, she still is a good person who cares about her husband and tries her hardest to defy Mordred at the end of the book. The daughter of the Queen of Flanders presumably also subverts this trope (after she marries King Pellinor of course), since the two are completely in love with each other and she is remembered fondly by all after her death.
  • Averted by Mara of the Akoma. Just minutes away from taking orders at a convent, she becomes the lord of a greatly diminished house upon the deaths of her father and brother. For the next three novels, she plays Xanatos Speed Chess with everyone in the empire just to stay alive.
  • In Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned, the titular queen, Akasha, is the first vampire. Back when she was the queen of Kemet (Anient Egypt), she instituted harsh reforms on the people simply because she didn't like certain customs, like eating the dead by their loved ones (she didn't see a difference between honouring the dead this way and cannibalism). She then has her troops kidnap the witch sisters Maharet and Mekare just to see what they're all about. The troops slaughter anyone in their way. After she doesn't like their display of ghosts, she has them publicly raped by a servant and sent home on foot. Her tyrannical rule eventually causes her own subjects to fatally wound her. This allows a bloodthirsty spirit to inhabit her body, turning her into a vampire. This doesn't improve her disposition. Then she has the witches kidnapped again. After she doesn't like their explanation of her new existence, she has one blinded and the other one to have her tongue cut out. She then forcibly turns the same loyal servant, who turns the witches and tries to build an army to fight the queen. She catches them, puts them into coffins and sends them to the opposite corners of the world. The twins wouldn't see each other again until modern times. After waking, she proceeds to slaughter most of her progeny and has human women murder any man they see in order to create an all-female paradise. Her last act is to demand the remaining vampires to join her or die. Luckily, she gets Karmic Justice.
  • In the Emberverse, Queen Hallgerda manipulated her husband Mad King Charles, placed her stepsons Princes William and Harry in harm's way in the hope that they would be killed, and finally murdered Charles when he refused to disinherit Wills and Harry in favor of her own children by him. She also murdered or imprisoned anyone she perceived as a threat to her power.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome as the Fake King. All the worse in that the sister whose throne she usurped was the Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • In Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series, the Seelie Court is ruled by the evil queen Andais, a sexual sadist.
  • Queen Etheldredda in Septimus Heap.
  • In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, queens ruling alone are usually evil, ranging from My Beloved Smother to a Complete Monster.
  • In the Vanity Publishing children's fantasy Lundon's Bridge and the Three Keys, jellyfish Queen Darlina is described as "the best of the best" queens of the ocean, BUT as the story begins an advisor brings her the news that husband and daughter have been killed in the Decayed Sea that humanity's pollution has created. She vows revenge on humans, imprisons subjects who object to her plan, and kidnaps a human scientist (the heroine's dad) to steal his body so she can take human form. From there she orchestrates the kidnapping and brainwashing of human children, turning them into half-insect creatures to destroy their world as humans destroyed hers. As it turns out, the king and princess aren't dead -- the evil advisor kidnapped them, intending to take over the kingdom once her plans were carried out. When they are reunited, she frees/restores all her victims and is forgiven.
  • The empress Tatrini Malagash in Chronicles of Magravandias.
  • The Black Papess in The Orphans Tales. Granted she's justified in wanting revenge after she was used as a political pawn and punished for it, but she more or less wants to tear down Al-a-Nur from the inside centuries later when the current residents have done nothing to her.
  • Arpazia, the resident wicked queen of the Snow White retelling White as Snow.

Live-Action TV

  • Queenie in Blackadder II is a ludicrously exaggerated version of Elizabeth I, using the extremes of anti-Elizabethan propaganda to produce a Psychopathic Womanchild who orders executions on a whim. Miranda Richardson went on to play Queen Mab and the Queen of Hearts. (Given the portrayal of male monarchs in Blackadder, though, this probably isn't sexism as much as Aristocrats Are Evil.)
  • Morgana, at the end of season 3 of season of 'Merlin after she seizes the throne, she throws Uther in the dungeon and starts executing his knights. And again at the end of season 4.
  • An interesting variation in I, Claudius, where resident Magnificent Bitch Livia would fit this trope perfectly, in an I Did What I Had to Do sort of way, except she's not allowed to rule directly, so she rules vicariously through her husband Augustus, and later through her son, Tiberius.
  • Not quite a queen and not exactly evil but sweet mother of mercy President Laura Roslin will kill you.
    • Especially if you tell her that you killed her boyfriend.
    • "Not exactly evil"? She's not "evil" at all, certainly no more morally gray than any of the other core protagonists. On the flip side of that coin, "kill" is a bit mild. If you give her a good reason, she'll wipe you out of existence.
    • There's a reason why many fans refer to her as Madame Airlock.
  • Averted in The Tenth Kingdom. A "Golden Age" is referred to several times in which the nine kingdoms prospered under the rule of their queens, but played straight later on with Virginia's mom
  • Mercy Hartigan in the Doctor Who Christmas Special "The Next Doctor".
    • Two Christmas Specials before that, the Queen of the Racnoss.
    • Averted with Elizabeth the Tenth in "The Beast Below". When we meet her, she's a rebel in her own country, trying to find out the dark secret it's hiding. Turns out it's that Starship UK is built on the back of a star whale, who's being tortured to ferry them across space...and every ten years she has her memory erased so she forgets that she gave the order to do so. What averts this though is this is a case of Utopia Justifies the Means, and when Amy gets her to "abdicate", it turns out the star whale is doing this willingly.
  • In Tin Man, the heroes are on the run from the Sorceress-Queen Azkedelia, who seems (at first blush) analogous to the Wicked Witch of the West and certainly has the attitude to match. However, like everything else in this version of Oz, things aren't exactly as they seem. For one, she's a descendant of Dorothy Gale, just like her sister, DG. Second, she's not exactly doing the driving. There's also the "good" lavender-eyed Queen who is being held prisoner.
  • The Evil Queen/Regina Mills in ABC's Once Upon A Time. She's trapped every known fairy tale character in a dead-end town in Maine and made herself mayor so she can control their lives. Anyone who stands up to her ends up miserable or dead.


  • Bal-Sagoth worked this into musical form in their song "To Dethrone the Witch-Queen of Mytos K'unn (The Legend of the Battle of Blackhelm Vale)" on their album Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule. In brief, a witch queen of a powerful empire sends her army of questionable humanity to invade her neighbors, until said army is met in battle by heroic barbarians in the titular battle. Yes, this is all described in lyrical detail - and further elaborated on in the lyric book itself.
  • The Queen of the Forest in The Decemberists' Rock Opera "The Hazards of Love".
    • To be expected, really, as said Queen is a faerie queen not unlike Mab and Titania.
  • The 14-year-old queen in the Vocaloid song "Daughter of Evil" killed an entire kingdom of people because her crush loved one of its citizens and not her. Played with in that you actually feel sorry for the Queen later in "Regret Message" where she's shown to have been spoiled Jerk with a Heart of Gold who didn't understand the pain of losing someone.
    • Then there's the sordid tale of Conchita, The Epicurean Daughter of Evil. Suffice to say that this tale plays the trope completely straight.
  • "March of the Black Queen" by... Queen.
  • "The Queen And The Soldier" by Suzanne Vega, overlapping to some extent with The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.
  • "Queen Of The Dark Horizons" by Rhapsody of Fire.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Many villains in classic tales like "Snow White" and their Disney adaptations.
  • Guinevere cheated on Arthur with Lancelot, leading indirectly to his defeat at the hands of Mordred.
    • And that's the modern, sympathetic version! Older, Welsh versions had it that she cheated on him with Mordred and actively betrayed him. (In some regions of Wales, Guinevere is a euphemism for whore.)
    • Geoffrey Chaucer either plays this straight or averts this in "The Wife of Bath's Tale," depending on whether your sympathies lie with the knight whose life she saved (and whom King Arthur would rather have executed), or with the women he could potentially rape.
  • Older Than Dirt: Tiamat's turn as an Omnicidal Maniac following the death of her husband makes her the Ur Example.
  • The Unseelie Queen Mab/Maeve/Queen of Air and Darkness is almost always portrayed as evil, even though a lot of the same books that mention her also mention that the Faerie don't think of good and evil the same way humans do. She's nasty by any standard, apparently. And the Seelie queen is usually portrayed as good...ish.
  • This is cited as the "moral" of the Ulster Cycle story Táin Bó Cúailnge, or The Cattle Raid of Cooley, where Queen Medb, eager to prove an arrogant boast that she is equal to her husband, touches off a terribly destructive war in an attempt to acquire a bull the equal of the best of his.
  • Catholics avert this with the Virgin Mary, who is meant to be the benovelent Queen of Heaven and Earth. The Bible does play this trope straight with earthly queens though, such as Jezebel, though good queens, like Esther or Bathsheba, appear.
  • Jezebel, queen of Israel and notorious heretic. Along with her husband Ahab, she was associated with the promotion of the cult of Baal and Asherah, and was fiercely opposed by the Hebrew prophets of Yahweh.

Tabletop Games

  • Exalted's Scarlet Empress. Ruthless, rules over The Empire, sends her minions on a seek-and-destroy mission to hunt down new PCs, keeps her subordinates backstabbing each other to maintain her own power...on the other hand, she did save the entire world from obliteration by The Fair Folk in the backstory, and is currently being held prisoner by The Legions of Hell.
    • Then comes Return of the Scarlet Empress. You thought she was bad before? Now she's the Ebon Dragon's sweet baboo/hand puppet.
  • The Queen of Aundair in Eberron is like this. She's convinced it's her destiny to rule the entire world. Since she lacks the military power to pull it off, she's mostly scheming. She's got no problem with starting another world war, as long as she knows she'll come on top. The funny thing? The rules say she's Neutral Good. Compare the King of Karnath, a Vampire who pulled off a My Grandson, Myself combined with a Man in the Iron Mask to for the sole goal to save his country from ruin and famine, free it from the clutches of an evil church, fight a terrorist organization AND is one of the major architect of the continent-wide peace treaty that ended the century-long world war. His alignment? Lawful Evil. Word of God on this matter says that Aurala is a genuinely nice and decent person, but was raised to have an outdated, culturally myopic view of seeing war as the "game of generals", naively believing that resuming the Last War won't be so bad. King Kaius, on the other hand, knows just how utterly naive this viewpoint is, and while he is incredibly selfish and amoral, he's also quite honorable and actually gives a shit about his general image. In other words, Aurala is Naive Good and Kaius is Pragmatic Evil
  • In the Tormenta (D&D setting), the Fairy Queen Thanthalla-Dhaedelin is depicted as a vain, frivolous, omnipotent Cloudcuckoolander. Because your left canine is one tenth of a millimeter shorter than the others, she may simply wish you'll from now on work as a dung scavenger, and it WILL happen. The last one involved changing the calendar so her estimate would remain right.
  • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, "Prince" is the title given to the most important figure of the Vampire politics. The title can vary and some vampires may call themselves Sultans, Dons or even Presidents, yet most of them would humbly avoid being called "Kings", but the same cannot be said to some self-proclaimed "Queens".
  • Demon: The Fallen suggests that God of the Old World of Darkness is actually female. Let's just say that She didn't really take care of Her own Creation.
  • There are many female leaders in BattleTech who fall under this trope, but the two best examples are probably Romano Liao, the paranoid and insane former ruler of the Capellan Confederation known for her tendency to order the violent deaths of her citizens, often for no discernible reason, and Kathrine Steiner-Davion, who had her own mother assassinated then manipulated control of the Federated Commonwealth away from her brother before her tendency towards hamfisted control caused a civil war to break out.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has Dark the Dark elves hag Queen, Morathi, is one of the most powerful wizzards in the game and the reason the dark elves had been corrupted in the first place. The Hag Queens of the Temple of Khaine are berzerkers that go to battle looking like they are two thosand years old by human standards and wearing next to nothing. If that isn't frightening, nothing is.


  • In Shakespeare's Cymbeline, the Queen is pretty much pure evil, complete with a horrible son, a stepson to the title king.
  • Likewise, Lady Macbeth qualifies after she manipulates her husband into killing King Duncan and taking the throne.
  • And Queen Margaret in Henry VI Parts II and III is something of a harridan, keeping the Wars of the Roses alight long after everyone else would far rather just give up and go home. She's a bit more of a shrinking violet in the Prequel, Part I.
  • Queen Titania of A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't really evil, but spends most of the play bickering with her husband over a changeling boy in her care. Of course, Oberon isn't much better and responds by having her magically enchanted into loving a man with a donkey's head until she gives him the kid (and even then, mentions that he only is having her freed because he pities her). So yeah, the play seems to come off less as "queens are evil" than "fairies are jerks".
  • Once Upon a Mattress with Queen Agravaine. Heavy overlap with My Beloved Smother.
  • The Queen of Night from Mozart's The Magic Flute is not only murderously violent but also a walking symbol of human ignorance.
  • Clytemnestra, wife of the eponymous king Agamemnon.


  • In on of Bionicle's many side-dimensions, Toa Tuyet, a corrupted female Toa managed to take over the world, turning it upside-down. While not necessarily a "queen", she did rule over her universe with a trope-fitting evilness.
    • And if her plan had succeeded, probably Roodaka would have become something similar—but with the official title of a queen.

Video Games

  • Queen Brahne from Final Fantasy IX: no king in sight, though it's hinted that he died of (presumably) natural causes sometime in the past.
    • It's presumed he died before Brahne met Kuja and subsequently turned evil, so it's unlikely she was responsible. Remember, Garnet says she was really kind before previously spoilered event.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a number of sorceresses which play the role of evil queens. Edea becomes ruler of Galbadia, Adel was once the ruler of Esthar and Ultimecia is the sorceress who is the puppetmaster of them both.
  • Queen Asheviere from Battle for Wesnoth: has the prince murder the king during a war. Said prince ends up killing himself later, so she takes over instead.
    • The princess in that case does start out on the wrong side, but eventually joins forces with the good guys.
  • Queen Remedi from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: no king to speak of, but her husband is the Judgemaster Cid. She is in fact the embodiment of the Grimoire that created the world.
  • Queen Louveria from Final Fantasy Tactics, Remedi's predecessor. She confines herself to Offstage Villainy but her actions have ripple effects throughout the plot. If you read the character profiles over the course of the game, she eventually murders her husband and exiles/executes her way through most of his retainers just so her (possibly illegitimate) son has a better position in the coming civil war. She's apprehended and tossed in the dungeon of an impregnable fortress and the attempt to rescue her by her brother Duke Larg ignites the "War of the Lions".
  • In Oracle of Ages, Queen Ambi. Granted, she is being manipulated (and later possessed) by Veran...
    • Several NPCs' comments throughout the game indicate that Ambi herself is normally kind, fair, and a bit of a dreamer, so she's an aversion when outside of Veran's influence.
  • Luminous Arc 2 subverts it with a very kind and capable Queen who gives out the orders for most of the game. While she does try, at one point, to kill or imprison the party, she does so in order to try to prevent another war between magicians, and is quick to help the party once she learns that she has been mislead by a traitor in her inner circle.
  • Secret of Evermore has a queen and no princess. There's also a king, but the queen has the power. Even after you find the real queen, who is likable.
  • Chrono Trigger: The Queen of Zeal.
    • From the protagonists' perspective, Queen Azala. Then again, she seemed to do good for her people and ended up a villain only because the Reptites and Ayla's tribe were fighting each other for survival in the primeval world.
  • "Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-butt" from Earthworm Jim.
  • Ico has another Queen that fits this.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has an aversion of this with Queen Elincia, who in her arc of the game must deal with a rebellious noble who wants to be Crimea's leader and obviously doesn't have Crimea's best interests in mind. She later joins the rest of the cast in helping save Tellius. Of course, she was a princess in the previous title Path of Radiance. Also there is Micaiah, who becomes Queen of Daein in the game's epilogue; and (blunt but good-hearted) Nailah, Wolf Queen of Hatari. The last female ruler is Empress Sanaki, who is Wise Beyond Her Years and the only member of the Begnion ruling class not corrupted and evil.
    • Radiant Dawn also plays this straight with Queen Almedha, a mentally-broken woman who said that she was willing to sacrifice all of Daein to save her son... or at least, the man she thought to be her son.
    • An even bigger subversion occurs in Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi. The entire plot revolves around the band of heroes trying to remove Zephiel, the Axe Crazy omnicidal maniac King who once was a nice White Prince... before being broken from the throne and replace him with his younger sister, the compassionate and diplomatic princess Guinivere.
    • Let's not forget the original devil-incarnate, Queen Hilda of Freege from Seisen no Keifu. When the evil King Blume refuses to do child hunting, the Queen supports it whole heartedly and is actively sending innocents to the deaths, while trying to convince their Dark Magical Girl daughter to become a Gold Digger since her boyfriend is none other than the Imperial Prince. And let's not even talk about her process of breaking the genkiest girl (and her sister-in-law) from the first generation to death ( or said girl's younger sister, if she died early), all done not for political manuvers but For the Evulz. It makes all the more satisfying to see her go down at the hands of her nephew Arthur and/or her niece Teeny. Or nephew Amid and niece Linda, again if the Genki Girl died childless.
    • Averted in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. The Queen we meet, Ismaire, is very wise and well-loved in her kingdom of Jehanna and dies tragically in Eirika's arms. Likewise, when L'Arachel becomes Queen of Rausten, she's mentioned to be an eccentric but popular and wise ruler.
  • Sarah Kerrigan, self-styled (and earned through serious ass-kicking) 'Queen Bitch of the Universe', from StarCraft.
  • Played straight in Jagged Alliance 2, where Queen Deidranna Reitmann is petty, vain, abusive, and sadistic. The only things that get her to smile are the fawning of rich sycophants and the very painful killing of people who are bold enough to oppose her.
    • She is, in fact, one of the most frustrating evil queen's ever. Not because she's particularly effective at being evil (depending on the difficulty level, she's either stupidly easy or sickeningly difficult in her plans), but because when you finally, finally get to confront her at the end of the game, she says, literally, two words in surprise, and then dies just like any other enemy. There is absolutely no satisfaction in a final boss fight.
  • Almalexia from The Elder Scrolls fits this trope. She started as a queen of the Chimer, plotted with the court wizard Sotha Sil and the Magnificent Bastard Vivec, and they murdered her husband, King Nerevar, before using the Artifact of Doom to steal divinity from the dead god. And later she retained The High Queen public image for thousands of years, before facing Nerevar's reincarnation...
    • Incomplete interpretations of history aside, Almalexia demonstrates the trope irrefutably in the Morrowind expansion Tribunal.
    • Also the Wolf Queen, detailed through books in Oblivion as a perfect example of the trope. In Skyrim, there is a sidequest where you have to stop her from being revived.
    • Averted by Queen Barenziah, who throughout her life has been responsible for a variety of great deeds, and by Empress Regent Katariah, who despite taking the crown from her royally screwed up husband, being a woman and a Dunmer (Dark Elf), managed to lead the Empire into a golden age.
  • World of Warcraft has Elder Crone Magatha Grimtotem, chieftain of the Tauren's Grimtotem tribe and is one of the highest-ranking Horde officials in the game below the racial leaders. Her husband, the original chieftain, died in a "climbing accident." Her kinsmen are evil and stopping their schemes is the object of many quests for Alliance and Horde players alike. She has ties with the Undead and her ultimate goal is to make the Grimtotems the Tauren's ruling clan, even if that means killing Cairne Bloodhoof in the process, whom she loathes.
    • And who could forget Azshara original queen of the night elves. Almost succeeded in summoning Sargeas the biggest Big Bad in the series. After being defeated she and her followers were all turned into snake people.
    • Then there's Lady Katrana Prestor who, before King Varian Wrynn's return in Wrath of the Lich King, basically controlled all of Stormwind by socially manipulating the boy-king Anduin Wrynn and magically manipulating his guardian Lord Bolvar Fordragon. Oh, did I mention she's actually the black dragon Onyxia and is sowing chaos throughout the kingdom to bring it crashing to the ground from the inside?
    • Averted with Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, one of the great aspects who is called Queen of the Dragons in Wrath.
    • Also Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen. Yes, her history is tragic. Yes, you could argue that she's only ensuring the continuation of her people. But you can't get around the (self-admitted) fact that the only difference between her and the Lich-King is that she serves the Horde.
      • Even that can be argued, as she is now demonstrating an increasing willingness to ignore the Warchief's orders. He's explicitly forbidden her to animate new Forsaken, and explicitly forbidden the use of the Forsaken Plague, and she's ignored both commands quite blithely. One suspects that if Thrall were still in charge, he'd have yanked her choke chain by now, but Garrosh doesn't seem to have a leash on her.
  • Maplestory has Ariant Queen Areda, a greedy queen who cares only about jewels, and not about her kingdom. While Ariant also does have a king, he's portrayed as lazy and wimpy, and not wielding any actual power. In a series of quests, the player joins a group of rebels against the queen, steels jewels from Areda, and redistributes them to the villages.
  • The backstory of Soul Blazer is that King Magridd ordered Dr. Leo to summon the demon Deathtoll to the world, who would grant the king one piece of gold per soul. Although you at first think he's done this out of his own greed, it's later revealed that he did it with the intent of giving a gift to the queen, who is revealed to have manipulated the entire thing. While the king shows genuine regret at what he's done (considering that Deathtoll has taken every soul in the kingdom, including the Magridd's own), the queen is unrepentant to the end.
  • Oddly enough Merlina in Sonic and the Black Knight. The Reveal that she arranged the whole thing so that she could preserve the kingdom forever in a twisted state and sheer ruthlessness she had in achieving this goal was the most shocking moment in the series.
  • Queen Arshtat Falenas of Suikoden V. She's nice so long as she's not going insane from bearing the Sun Rune. Which is basically every time she acts as a monarch and not as a mom. And being a Queendom, of course, the Queendom of Falena has been in a state of near or outright-civil war for a few generations. Though it's more stable after the end of the game with Lymsleia as queen, though.
    • Among the back stories, the Queens before Arshtat had an assassination group—and during the last civil war, the competing princesses had each other's husbands killed, and when the eldest abdicated out of weariness, the younger (Arshtat's mother) had her sister killed.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The third game gave us Edenia's Queen Sindel, who was resurrected by Big Bad Shao Khan into doing evil things. She changed sides afterwards and is now on the side of good along with he daughter Kitana, making this something of a subversion.
    • Not so much in the reboot when Shao Kahn purposely gave most of Shang Tsung's strength to her, making her brutally kill the majority of the Forces of Good and was only stopped by Nightwolf's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Sheeva becomes Queen of the Shokan in X, and while not truly evil, she is not the type you want to anger.
  • The reclusive Queen Himiko from Okami. Given that the player character is the sun goddess Amaterasu, this seems to be a literal case of God Save Us From the Queen -- except that Himiko is actually trying to save the city through uninterrupted prayer, resulting in her disappearing from public view.
  • The Empress Endora from Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.
  • Another aversion: Queen Gwendolyn in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is, by all appearances, a benevolent ruler.
  • The Dark Queen, the main antagonist of Battletoads.
  • Mass Effect allows a player to set up a possible subversion of this trope if he/she frees the Rachni Queen on Novaria as opposed to ending the rachni once and for all. This results in the queen pledging her support against the Reapers in Mass Effect 2; however, she has to be rescued again in Mass Effect 3 before she can make good on her promise.
  • In Dragon Age, subverted; while willing to do what she has to to become ruler, if the player gives her the throne Anora turns out to be a pretty good one.
    • ...and then played straight in Awakening with The Baroness of the Blackmarsh. While not a crowned Queen, she was the Orlesian governor of the area during the Occupation, and a blood mage who used the blood of innocent villagers to keep herself young, then trapped the whole town in a Lotus Eater Machine. Depending on your decisions, the female player character can also exhibit elements of this trope as ruler of Amaranthine.
    • In Dragon Age II, Knight-Commander Meredith isn't the queen but is more or less the actual power of Kirkwall. She rules with a fist of iron and is particularly merciless where mages are concerned, but you'll find out that all of this is out of necessity (with the whole Mages and Templars' Vicious Cycle being much more complex in the city) being that she does keep order, and the mages truly are the danger the templars fear due to the Veil in and around Kirkwall being thin and full of holes due to the actions of the Tevinter Imperium. People need actual saving from her when she goes over the edge later in the game due to getting a sword made out of that evil lyrium idol you find in the Deep Roads in the first act.
      • Just how justified Meredith's persecution of the mages in Kirkwall was is subject to interpretation. The game casts her as a fairly sympathetic Well-Intentioned Extremist if you side with her and an Ax Crazy megalomaniac if you support the mages instead. Either way, though, quite a bit of the blood magic use in the city is caused by desperate mages reaching for the only available method of fighting back against her increasingly harsh policies against mages. Hence the previously mentioned vicious cycle.
  • In Guild Wars, Varesh Ossa. She's "Warmarshal" of Kourna (think a sort of shogun) rather than a crowned queen, but she fits this trope neatly as the Nightfall campaign continues, acting like a classic tyrant; she hits her Moral Event Horizon when she orders the massacre of the priests of Lyssa at their chief temple in order to clear the way for a key ritual to free the dark god Abaddon from his prison. This sets up a key Heel Face Turn when General Morgahn, Varesh's best general, defects to the player's side out of horror and outrage at the atrocity against the clerics of his patron goddess.
  • Queen Nanesi, a character in the PC adventure game Siege of Avalon, comes across as a sweet and bubbly subversion, charming the dickens out of everyone. It turns out that she's one of the major forces on the side of the Big Bad all along, and is part of the reason your character is suspected of treason at one point.
  • Enrique's mother, the Empress of Valua, in Skies of Arcadia. Because of the fortress-like nature of the terrain surrounding the city-state and the strength of the imperial navy, she takes this as carte blanche to pursue whatever variety of foreign policy she likes, and what she likes is forcible conquest. Not even her own people are safe; most of her legislation has created such a gap between the rich and the poor that in the outer city, bread soft enough to eat without breaking your teeth is the stuff of myth and legend. So convinced is she that Valua, and by extension herself, is invincible that she refuses to budge while her son is begging her to come with him because the palace is literally crumbling around their ears (this has predictable results). Her name? Empress Teodora (see real life below).
  • King's Quest: Lolotte and Icebella play this straight. It's inverted by many other examples, such as Valanice, Titania, Genesta, and Allaria.
  • Gears of War: The Locust Queen
  • Appears three times in Dragon Quest III:
    • One of the scenarios that can determine the hero's personality in the Updated Rereleases revolves around a queen who lies to her husband and leads him to declare war on another country... simply because she covets the jewelry worn by that kingdom's queen. While the hero overhears her Evil Gloating, they can't expose her outright; instead, the Secret Test of Character hinges on whether they choose to obey their ruler's orders despite knowing the truth.
    • The Elf Queen is a big fan of Disproportionate Retribution: when her daughter falls for a human, she forbids them to see one another; when they elope, she promptly curses his hometown to eternal, unaging slumber. She sees absolutely nothing wrong with this.
    • Meanwhile, Zipangu is led by Himiko, who encourages her followers to keep Dying Like Animals and sacrificing young girls to the Orochi. She refuses to entertain even the thought of trying to slay the beast... and when the heroes try, they discover that Himiko is the Orochi.
  • Queen Protea of Granorg in Radiant Historia bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Empress Theodora from Skies of Arcadia, right down to having an heir-apparent who futilely resists her greed, egomania and expansionist ambitions. In her very-first appearance, she goes on a lengthy rant about how living in outrageous opulence while the people starve is perfectly okay, since she's such an amazing individual that her mere presence imbues the life of the 'common rabble' with a purpose - they should be happy that they get to toil in poverty for her leisure. If nothing else, she does a great job of setting herself up as someone you REALLY want to slap.

Web Comics

  • Girl Genius: It's implied that Albia, the 'undying Queen' of Britain may be an example of this, although the only British character to appear so far is Ardsley Wooster, who's on her side (so far as we know) and wouldn't say anything to support this idea.[please verify]
    • Lucrezia could probably be nominated for this role as well - she was married to THE Heterodyne, and even better a beloved Heterodyne (instead of the usual 'feared') -- but outside of popular stories told by the public, she was not well thought of, particularly by the staff. She also was The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter and had her own powerful Sparky gifts, although the details on those are still fuzzy on the reader's end yet.
  • Jim as Padme Admidala in Darths and Droids, although Padme is no longer Queen of Naboo when he takes over, turning this into God Save Us From The Senator. Immediately after taking the role of the character, Jim interrogates Padme's body double after an assassination attempt while she is lying on the ground dying, threatens to eradicate Bail Organna's entire planet if he does not vote in favour of creating a Grand Army for the Republic, and constantly tries to have her Not So Evil Chancellor, Sio Bibble (which Jim keeps mangling as "Bubble"), executed just for having a goatee.
  • Homestuck has a particularly nasty Black Queen of Derse. Ignores the battle that's raging on Skaia, lets her agents go unchecked, pretty much lets her own king be slaughtered... oh, and she forces JACK NOIR to put on funny outfits. It didn't end well for her.
    • Averted with the White Queen, though. She isn't seen much in any incarnation, but when she does appear she's always gracious, level-headed and competent. In the Alpha session, she even stops Jack from murdering Jane by smashing him in the face with her staff.
    • The queen of the trolls, Her Imperious Condescension, flies around the universe in her ship greeting new civilizations with politeness. She then leaves and sends a portion of her vast army to annihilate her new acquaintances. And then once she signs on with Lord English, she becomes Betty Crocker and sets off a series of disastrous events, including taking over the Alpha Derse by dethroning the Black Queen.
      • Which she then tops when it's revealed what she did to Earth: Taking over, attempting to re-create her Troll empire and culture on humans (prohibition of natural breeding, the ICP nominated as subjugglators), death camps killing 5 billion, various experiments... To the point that Dirk and Roxy are the last human survivors of their time.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Played straight and subverted in Gargoyles. Lady Titania is one of the series' few benevolent Fair Folk, and was second in command only to Lord Oberon. He, despite sometimes meaning well, claiming to be fair and honorable, and trying to be considerate towards mortals, is nonetheless arrogant and drunk with power. Of course when a human notes that in Avalon, the Fair Folk's homeland, Oberon is always right, Titania notes that such a statement would be true, if not for the fact that Oberon is married. Word of God also has stated that Titania was once much less benevolent than Oberon, that it was her bad behavior part that got the entire race banished from Avalon for 1000 years, and that Queen Mab, Oberon's batshit insane mother, was even worse than them both. Even the Fair Folk are mostly glad she got overthrown.
  • Most Disney film queens would go here. A classic would be the unnamed witch-queen of Snow White;[1] a newer one would be Narissa of Enchanted.
    • Zira, the main villainess of The Lion King II was actually implied to be a queen somewhere about halfway through the first film, back when Scar was still in power. She was immediately removed from the throne after Simba took over as king (and Scar being dispatched by his own hyenas).
    • Another classic example is The Queen of Hearts of Alice in Wonderland.
    • Very much subverted in Tangled. Despite having very little screentime, the queen is clearly beloved by all of the kingdom. Heck, the entire opening of the movie is about every person there trying to save her from dying.
    • Another Disney aversion: Atlantis the Lost Empire actually provided us of a rare glimpse of a princess becoming a queen at the end of this (or any animated Disney) film.
    • Queen La from The Legend of Tarzan, who basically looks like an evil version of Princess Kida from Atlantis the Lost Empire. (Word of God even confirmed that as in the original novels, La too is an Atlantean.)
    • Other Disney aversions include Queen Sarabi from The Lion King (and you could say Queen Nala eventually as well), and also the Queen from Sleeping Beauty. You can even count Queen Athena from The Little Mermaid, who shows up in the prequel.
  • Usually the case in the My Little Pony series, with the queen typically being the villain of the day. This is so pervasive that Executive Meddling demanded that the ruler of Equestria in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic be referred to as Princess Celestia to prevent viewers from invoking this trope. (Not that it helps much, as a fair number of fans still see "Trollestia" as either a tyrant, or at best a cruel prankster).
    • "Cruel" is Fanon. "Prankster" is Canon.
    • Becoming this trope was arguably also the goal of Nightmare Moon, though since her attempt failed in only the second episode we'll never know just how bad her reign would have actually turned out to be.
    • Used in the second season finale, with the Queen of the Changelings.
      • In which case, a god really does try to save them from the queen and fails!
  • Played straight on Avatar: The Last Airbender, during Azula's short reign as Fire Lord. Justified by her being in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown but it's not like she was a nice person to begin with either.
    • Also, Azula was the fourth in a family of psychos, and her (male) predecessors were all evil too.
    • Averted with her mother Princess Ursa, as she was quite respectable and sought to protect Zuko from Azula.
      • In fact, the only thing that doesn't really add up with Princess Ursa is how they got her to bone Ozai-twice, even! I mean, the guy was so evil they had Mark Hamill voice him. You don't get that unless you're really evil.
        • Ursa and Ozai was a politically arranged marriage. And you can't really say "no" to the Fire Lord's son and heir, however much you might wish to.
  • The Queen of the Crown in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers is depicted as the ruthless tyrant of a crumbling empire. The episode "Tortuna" mentions that she destroyed all but a handful of cities on the planet Tortuna and nearly drove an alien race to extinction in her thirst for Life Energy. She also enslaved an entire planet to create a BFG she used to blow a hole in Earth's moon.
  • Played straight and averted in Teen Titans: Blackfire takes over her homeplanet "for kicks", then fakes an enemy invasion—of her own home planet. Starfire wins the crown but quickly gives it to her mentor and surrogate father, as she already has a job on Earth.
  • Subverted in Don Bluth's Thumbelina, in which the fairy queen is quite nice (if not present very often).
  • Argai the Prophecy's Queen Dark, definitely.
  • Played with in The Prince of Egypt. The Queen is a loving mother to both Ramses and Moses, and doesn't care at all that Moses was a Hebrew child that washed up in a basket. On the other hand, from the perspective of the Hebrew slaves, none of the Egyptian royal family is particularly sympathetic or kind.
  • On Young Justice, one of the main villains is Queen Bee, a Mind Controlling supervillainess who rules Bialya.
  • Played in and subverted with Marceline, The Vampire Queen in Adventure Time. Played straight with Quartzion the Crystal Queen (Tree Truks after eating the Crystal Gem Apple) and the Ice Queen. Totally averted with Lady Rainicorn, the "Rowdy Queen" of the Cloud Kingdom.
  • Downplayed with Queen Tyr'ahnee from Duck Dodgers, who often acts more like a Punch Clock Villain and Friendly Enemy. Marvin tends to be the bigger threat.

Real Life

  • Older Than Feudalism: Queen Athaliah of Judah who almost succeeded in exterminating the family line of David.
  • This trope was invoked by the Anglo-Saxons of Wessex to explain a period in which they refused to grant the title "Queen" to female consorts of the king. According to Asser's Life of King Alfred the Great, a Mercian-born queen named Eadburh, wife of Beorhtric of Wessex, was reputed to have been a power behind the throne, urging Beorhtric to execute or exile advisers displeasing to her. At those times where the king refused to follow through on the punishments, she would take matters into her own hands poisoning them... until the goblet she had "prepared" for one enemy of hers accidentally ended up in the hands of her husband, who died along with the intended victim. Oops. This necessitated a quick flee to France, where she compounded her error, so the story goes, by snubbing Charlemagne himself by telling him to his face that she preferred one of his young and virile sons to him. She ended her days a beggar in northern Italy. Asser claimed that due to this, until the advent of the Frankish-born Judith (the second wife of King Aethelwulf and stepmother to Alfred) -- whose father the Holy Roman Emperor refused any lesser title—the people of Wessex denied the word "Cwene" to the distaff royalty, allowing only "wife of the King".
  • Possibly parodied with the Buckingham Palace Guard playing the Imperial March. They were playing that as entrance music for the king of Saudi Arabia, who had no idea what the implications were.
  • Whatever the justice of Boudicca's cause, the practical upshot of her short reign was about 70,000 casualties, mainly civilian, in Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St. Albans), and the loss of probably as many Iceni warriors in her final battle at Watling Street.
  • Bloody Mary
  • Catherine the Great, Queen of Russia for 34 years in 18th century, might be considered an example. She came into power after her husband's (Tsar Peter III.) death, which she may or may not have orchestrated. Also, she surely fits the "behaving like a powerful man" part: She had several lovers, some of whom she dumped, when they stopped being useful to her.
  • Ranavalona I of Madagascar qualifies - a staunch defender of indignenous Malagasi beliefs, she made conversion to Christianity by her subjects punishable by death, and once executed 15 local church leaders by dangling them from thin rope over a 150-foot deep ravine.
  1. Traditionally known as Grimhilde