The High Queen
When it comes to women in positions of power with royal lineage, there are two flavors. One one hand, you have the evil, power-hungry bitches that power-wielding women are usually portrayed as. And on the other hand, you have this trope.
A woman of wealth, power and near-impossible beauty. She always has a calm demeanor and regal bearing. Her very voice, even if it doesn't ring with power (and it often does), still lets you know that, in some way, she's probably better than you, even if the lady herself doesn't look down on you at all.
Her beauty can often be so great, even simple robes look majestic on her.
Her beauty and goodness are usually to be admired passionately but from some distance. The High Queen is rarely a love interest, but the few times she is, expect a little warming up due to the charms of the hero.
A common characterization for non-evil regnant queens, princesses (the more mature ones) and goddesses (especially the non-evil/bastardy ones). May also be the polar opposite of the Rich Bitch. This is what The Ojou and Princess Classic want to be when they grow up. If she can fight, she's a Lady of War. Sometimes we get to see glimpses—or the whole story from the POV—of The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. She's also very likely to have a Lady and Knight relationship with one of her subjects at some point.
Like other Über-character types, The High Queen runs a risk of becoming a Mary Sue, though mostly an acceptable one at that.
The presence of a High Queen is sometimes an indication of a Matriarchy.
The Iron Lady is the non-royal version of this trope; because non-royals have to fight for their position, such characters generally combine elements of The High Queen and God Save Us From the Queen. If she literally fights, she is a Lady of War. If her fighting is more indirect and subtle, she is Silk Hiding Steel.
In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are God Save Us From the Queen, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, She Is the King, Iron Lady, 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.
- The Queen in Futari wa Pretty Cure.
- Who is, by the way, at least 10 feet high, CGI generated and has the voice of a great Goddess. Oh yes, and she never moves, not even her mouth, she seems to use telepathy. At least until Maxheart, where she's reduced to a plain, 13 years old girl and 12 fairies (because one single girl couldn't possibly hold her awesomeness!)
- Flora in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go Go.
- Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess has elements of this combined with Yamato Nadeshiko.
- Queen Serenity and Neo Serenity in Sailor Moon.
- The Queen in Ojamajo Doremi. The one that came before her, Majotourbillion, is the main antagonist of the series.
- Athena in Appleseed holds the office of Prime Minister of the City of Olympus, making her more or less the Supreme Leader of the World. She's not just good at her job and very capable of getting other national leaders in line, she's actually a member of a genetically engineered race specifically enhanced to govern humans.
- Arika of Mahou Sensei Negima. Also known as Princess Arika Anarkia Entheofushia of Vespertatia. She occasionally acts as a Lady of War.
- Relena Peacecraft from Gundam Wing tries her hand at this when she briefly becomes Queen of the World in exchange for the Sanc Kingdom citizen's safety. It starts more or less well, but it doesn't really work on the long run (especially after her brother, Zechs, the new leader of White Fang, declares war on Earth) and the Rebellious Princess hands the baton to the Magnificent Bastard Treize and leaves, instead of bowing to the Romefeller group that made her Queen.
- Lacus Clyne of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. In the original Japanese her speech pattern is incredibly formal. She is almost always calm (there are only two times she's very emotional: when her father Siegel is killed, and when her Body Double Meer dies in her arms) and is even nicknamed The Pink Princess and is referred to as The White Queen in Gundam Seed Destiny. She is also a Yamato Nadeshiko.
- Princess Feena Fam Earthlight from Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na.
- Helba from .hack easily qualifies for this. She's a Hacker in The World who's character stats are maxed out, has the ability to access regions of the game that no normal player would ever be able to access, and plays her name off as the Queen of Darkness mentioned in the lost poem the game was based around. She's not evil though. She prefers to stay behind the scenes to help players out.
- Queen Henrietta de Tristain from Zero no Tsukaima. With a minor in Lady of War.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Storm of the X-Men, who has been (or is) both a goddess and a queen.
- She was hailed as a goddess before joining the X-Men. Currently she's the Queen of Wakanda.
- Titania, Queen of Faerie, in The Sandman and Books of Magic. She's beautiful, imperious, and somewhat manipulative, though her motives are understandable and the miniseries that told her origin story made her more sympathetic.
- Depending on the writer and storyline Queen Hyppolita, Wonder Woman's mother and ruler of Themyscira, is usually portrayed as this. Even after she is shown going bat-shit crazy and creating an elaborate Gambit Roulette to humble her daughter and eliminate one of her opponents, she is eventually given an author-saving throw by going into the past and serving as the original JSA's Wonder Woman, returning and relinquishing voluntarily most of her authority to two elected amazons.
- The Light Queen from Mirror Mask, who represents everything Helena loves about her Mother. Granted, she's in a coma for most of the film, but she definitely falls under this trope.
- Mirana, the White Queen from the live-action Disney and Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland.
- In the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, the queens of Naboo are generally portrayed as just, kind and competent rulers (we only really see evidence of Amidala's rule, but there is nothing to suggest anything untoward about Jamilia and Apilana's rule). Possibly a big reason for this is, the royalty of Naboo is not hereditary; queens are elected.
- Langiva in Black Death.
- Elizabeth I of England was this in Real Life (as noted below in that category), but various cinematic representations of her don't always fit the bill. One which very much does is her portrayal by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
- Queen Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia becomes this in Prince Caspian and will probably grow into this role even more in The Horse and His Boy.
- Neytiri actually becomes a queen at the end of Avatar. Fans are not happy.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Lady Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings, though technically never a queen. Explained by her having seen the faces of the Angels, which grants a greater presence; having one of the Three Rings; and being older than the sun itself, and thus possessing the wisdom of many, many: about seven or eight millennia.
- The Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story.
- Titania from John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming is this, having grace, power, serenity and beauty, as well as being a Physical God. However, she is not The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask; when her lover shows up, she turns into a Genki Girl.
- Kahlan in the Sword of Truth series, despite the fact that the third of the world she rules loses its sovereignty to the main character, ruler of another third of the world (and her husband (would create lots of intermarital conflict, but those two are just excessive examples of overly perfect people thrown into stupidly contrived bad situations by the fourth book, so it doesn't).
- Land of Oz series: While Ozma of Oz holds the title of princess, in the later books she definitely has all the other qualities required.
- In the Live-action Oz adaptation/ sequel Tin Man, the lavender-eyed queen definitely shows signs of this, especially in her flashback with Ambrose, explaining how and why the trusted advisor became the lobotomized "Glitch".
- Queen Morgase in The Wheel of Time.
- Berelain is a really weird version, at least as portrayed after she stopped chasing Perrin.
- Queen Islanzadí in The Inheritance Trilogy is supposed to be this.
- The Faerie Queene Gloriana, an Expy of Queen Elizabeth... or so we're often told. The author died before ever writing a chapter where the eponymous queen makes an appearance.
- Alette of Kitty Norville certainly counts as this. She's even got the Really Seven Hundred Years Old thing going for her: a very long lifespan to allow her to accumulate wealth and power...and all used to protect and shelter her family. Even better, she's set up to look like the Rich Bitch by the local lycanthropes until we learn she's just The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.
- Gloriana is a fantasy version of Queen Elizabeth I in Michael Moorcock's Gloriana; or, The Unfulfilled Queen. She is so wrapped up in her duties as Queen of Albion that she cannot achieve orgasm no matter how kinky she gets. And, as Moorcock depicts, she gets damned kinky.
- Deconstructed by George Martin in A Song of Ice and Fire (of course) with Margaery Tyrell, whose reputation of purity and benevolence is largely the result of having a very PR-savvy grandmother like Lady Oleanna. In reality, while she's more savvy than Sansa Stark and tries to do what she can to free her "husband" Tommen from his evil mom Cersei's influence, poor Margaery is still nothing more than just one more pawn in the Game of Thrones.
- Daenerys Targeryen, on the other hand, may turn out to be the real deal. May. If the preview for the fifth book is any indication, she's definitely going to have to claw her way to this status.
- Ysandre de la Courcel in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy books, who once stopped an entire rebel army by virtue of her sheer High-Queen-ness.
- In Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell At Sealey Head, Ysabo hears a great deal about Queen Hydria and her court. In the ending, she helps rescue them and learns she was living in the queen's enchanted court.
- Rhian in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy.
- Queen Ehlana in the Elenium and Tamuli trilogies by David Eddings. At the beginning she is a Damsel in Distress that was poisoned and put into sleep in crystal to keep her alive until the heroes find a cure. When she is finally awakened she plots revenge against the one who poisoned her, easily Batman Gambits a church into choosing her own candidate for a pope, lectures another country's king on how to be a true Magnificent Bastard... She is on the good side, don't worry. Subverts the trope as well, as those who get beyond her carefully crafted image find she is very much sneaky, underhanded, cunning, and ruthless, though she genuinely cares for her kingdom and her people.
- As for warming up due to the charms of the hero? Somewhat reversed. She loved the hero since she was a child; convincing him she was no longer a child, overcoming his noble intention not to saddle her with an older husband, and convincing him that he wasn't taking advantage of her youthful infatuation, took a little work. She was... somewhat heavy handed.
- Another example was Polgara from The Belgariad when she had ruled her own realm in the past.
- Neferet in The House of Night has the makings of one, being the high priestess of Nyx as well as being incredibly beautiful (and it's probably not Maybelline). The fact that she's up to no good (and a wee bit power hungry) puts a damper on this, though.
- Queen Selenay and High Priest Solaris in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books, especially from a distance. To their closer associates, they also have a strong touch of The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.
- The Wicked Lovely series gives us Sorcha, the Queen of the high court.
- Queen Susan "the Gentle" in The Chronicles of Narnia was decribed as the most beautiful woman in the world (Narnia, not Earth). The Prince of Calormene did not take it very well when she refused his marriage proposal.
- Queen Regnant Swanwhite was mostly mentioned as the Narnian version of World's Most Beautiful Woman, but it's reasonable to think that she was one of these too.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Tamaris.
- Yasmina Devi in "The People of the Black Circle" fits this trope better still. Even Howard, who had an ambivalent attitude toward civilized society at best, describes her as "true aristocracy" in his narrative.
- Queen Irene of Attolia in The Queen's Thief Series and Queen Helen of Eddis are both this trope, though Eddis is not beautiful but is described as almost ugly.
- Queen Elizabeth III in Honor Harrington. She manages this even though she's in a constitutional monarchy.
- Thayet from the Tortall Universe. Empress Berenene from the Circle of Magic world is this with a wide, usually hidden but nevertheless well-known streak of God Save Us From the Queen.
- Woodcarver from A Fire Upon the Deep.
- Isabella Rossellini's Athena in the TV miniseries of The Odyssey has an affectionate, conversational, almost casual relationship with her mortal. Her relative lack of imperious posturing (along with a gently teasing/chiding attitude) serves to enhance her confidence and thus her authority.
- Delenn in Babylon 5.
- As of the end of series four of Merlin, Queen Guinevere Pendragon.
- Series four also introduced Queen Annis, though she was portrayed as slightly older than most versions of this trope.
- Deborah from The Bible, fourth Judge of Israel and Lady of War. So inspirational that her appointed military leader didn't think he could win the impending battle without her.
- Amaterasu from Japanese Mythology in a rare mythological example. She was made queen of heaven due to her radiant beauty and compassion and tends to be loved by all. She is rarely if ever overshadowed by any of the male deities or portrayed as having a dark side like Hera from Greek Mythology.
- Speaking of whom, Hera herself often fit The High Queen mold when interacting with anyone who wasn't involved with Zeus in an intimate way. Basically: don't have a tryst of any kind with Zeus, pay Hera her godly respects loyally, and she will bless and reward you quite generously.
- Queen Aurala of Aundaire in the Eberron setting of Dungeons & Dragons is an unusual High Queen: she's busy plotting global domination and aims to reignite the Last War. Her biggest adversary, and Eberron's foremost advocate of peace and tolerance, is a Lawful Evil vampire king. It's that kind of setting.
- The Scarlet Empress from the RPG Exalted. (To her subjects. To everyone else in Creation, it's God Save Us From the Queen.)
- Also Merela, leader of the Solar Deliberative for much of the First Age.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Rosalina in Super Mario Galaxy, who is not only a princess, but at least one person has made a pretty compelling argument that she's also effectively the Goddess of the Mario Universe. This trope page was inspired by a troper unlocking her in Mario Kart Wii, and finding out how bizarre it feels to see a person like this having that much fun.
- The Goddess Palutena from Kid Icarus.
- Sun Lian in Jade Empire.
- Zelda in The Legend of Zelda games, most notably Twilight Princess. Yet she's still called a "princess" for some reason. At least Super Smash Bros Brawl acknowledges her as "queen".
- In Twilight Princess, Zant invaded on what would have been her coronation day, according to Word of God.
- It was that very ceremony that Link was going to travel to the capital to attend and present the sword and shield as a tribute from Ordon Village to the new queen. The fact that the village was suddenly covered in Twilight as he's about to embark does a good job establishing the time frame of the background events.
- This trope was BRUTALLY deconstructed in The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal, when the local High Queen turned out to be a batshit insane, paranoid bitch whom you ended up fighting as the end boss.
- The goddess Azura may also count, though the 'goodness' part is highly debatable.
- Barenziah also counts, if her unofficial biography (implied to be written and published by her) is any indication.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had Elisif the Fair, whose title actually is High Queen of Skyrim, though it only becomes official after the Legion wins the Civil War. She strongly opposes Ulfric Stormcloak since he killed her husband Torygg in a duel of debatable officialism and seeks to become the High King of Skyrim.
- Xelha from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean fits this trope quite well, although her kindness comes more from her role as White Magician Girl.
- Also, Queen Corellia of Anuenue. Not quite as badass as Xelha, but still very much a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Ming Numara of Lost Odyssey, the "thousand-year queen" of the country of Numara.
- Queen Arshtat, the mother of the main character of Suikoden V, fits this trope rather nicely. It's played with somewhat, however, as although her reign has been something of a golden age, after taking up the Sun Rune in an act she believed was for the greater good, Arshtat had been gradually spiraling into power-mad insanity, finally culminating in her wiping out her own husband in a blind, anger driven swing. Of course, the scene turned... seriously heart-wrenching when Arshtat actually saw who her blast was in the process of erasing... And then she tried to nuke her whole queendom out of grief. Her husband's old friend Georg then, regretfully, fulfills his promise to them and impales her before she is able to. She regains her sanity for a short time and, after thanking him for stopping her, asks Georg to watch over her children.
- Yggdra, the eponymous heroine of Yggdra Union, gradually evolves into a combination of one of these and The Messiah as she matures.
- Queen Fay of Overlord II, the ruler of Light Magic creatures who serves as the Foil to your Evil Overlord and his Exclusively Evil Minions. Later on during an Enemy Mine situation with the Overlord she sacrifices her energy to power up his Artifact of Doom, with the side effect of being driven insane by his dark magic, thus becoming a Fallen Hero and one of his Mistresses.
- Princess/Queen Elincia from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn.
- Queen Rahna of Silesia in Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu. Also her sucessor, former Lady of War Ferry, according to the manga and the Thracia 776 game.
- Lady Eleanora of Pherae from Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken.
- And Princess Guinevere from Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi, after her brother King Zephiel dies and she's crowned as the first Queen of Bern. The same goes to Princess Lilina of Ostia, either if she rebuilds her lands alone or marries Roy.
- Alexstrasza, <Queen of the Dragons> from World of Warcraft takes the term Authority Equals Asskicking to a whole new level by being one of the most powerful, albeit benign creatures in Azeroth. As a matter of fact, she could take down the resident Big Bad by her own if she wanted to. Of course, that would be against her vows.
- Although, at this point, Deathwing is so absurdly powerful himself that when Alexstrasza and him finally fought in Twilight Highlands after the Cataclysm, it reached a stalemate of sorts with her severely wounded to the point that a mere mortal had to carry her off to safety, but yeah she is considered one of the most powerful creatures to ever have existed (that's about 60,000 years since she became the Queen of the Dragons/Life-binder via the Titans); it makes you wonder why she didn't just shit all over the Burning Legion, Lich King, the Old Gods, or even Malygos before the Big Damn Heroes did all the hard work for her. She has been pissed off enough to kill and enact revenge, especially when her own literal children are involved -- "Nekrosss... You had them ssslay my children! My children!" (seconds before eating Nekros).
- King's Quest: Valanice is the most prominent, but Genesta and Titania also do well here.
- Valanice is a good (as in non-evil) Queen, but she is not presented as a radiant untouchable goddess who is never wrong. The Fairy Queens fit this trope much better.
- Queen Anora of Ferelden in Dragon Age does her best to project this image in public. Behind the scenes, however, she's something of a power-hungry Magnificent Bastard.
- As far as we have heard, Empress Celene of Orlais is a great patron of the arts, a scholar, and willing to put past disputes with Ferelden behind her for the sake of peace.
- This may not be all there is to it. In a quest edited out of the first game, they were going to reveal that King Cailan was going to divorce Anora and marry Celene, putting her on the throne of a nation her predecessor tried and failed to conquer.
- As far as we have heard, Empress Celene of Orlais is a great patron of the arts, a scholar, and willing to put past disputes with Ferelden behind her for the sake of peace.
- Queen Alicia II from The Legend of Heroes Trails in The Sky
- Lady Shurelia, the Tower Administrator of Ar tonelico, and the other Tower Administrators, to the degree that the three are worshiped as goddesses.
- Nimwe of the Seelie, from A Tale of Two Kingdoms.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- CRFH, where Hazel Green combines this trope with being a Magnificent Bastard.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob. Princess Voluptua pulls off this image quite well. While not especially formal in her demeanor (as most of her immediate court are dragons, she's the only one who doesn't speak in pseudo-Elizabethan highfalute), she always exudes an air of supreme confidence and competence.
- In Drowtales, Sharess, legendary dokkalfar queen, and patron goddess to the drowolath and drowussu people, is regarded as having been this by those who still revere her. According to the legend, beseiged by Shapeshifting, Body Snatching Eldritch Abominations, she willingly sacrificed her (earthly) life to give her people a fighting chance of survival in exile. However, if she was at all like every other elven or human ruler in the comic, she was no heroine to her valet.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- In the Whateley Universe, Aunghadhail, Queen of the West, Daughter of the burning Oak, one of the nine queens of the Faerie Court, all of whom were destroyed a long time ago. She's gotten better.
- Octavia Augusta, Caesar of the Iormunean Imperium in the Backstory of Open Blue, who was a wise and benevolent ruler. In fact, one of her recorded actions was giving the credit for a well-placed strategic move that she was clearly responsible for to wisdom from their goddess. She was also a Lady of War who died fighting in defiance of her empire's destruction.
- And in the modern era, Khanzarina Misha of Yaman.
- Queen Elyon in WITCH, who starts as a princess but becomes queen after the evil Phobos is deposed at the end of season one. Still, she is still very much a young girl at heart.
- Queen Titania of The Fair Folk in Gargoyles was a True Neutral version of this after she dropped her Masquerade. Being voiced by Kate Mulgrew didn't hurt her regality one bit.
- The Dutchess Satine of Mandalore in the CG animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- Princess Kida actually becomes one at the end of Atlantis the Lost Empire. That's right—she's the only princess in the Disney Animated Canon to actually get promoted to queen in her film.
- Also her mother, the former queen of Atlantis, who is actually shown being sacrificed at the very beginning of the film.
- Other heroic Disney queens include:
- Queen Leah (Aurora's mother) from Sleeping Beauty.
- Rapunzel's birth mother from Tangled.
- Naveen's mother from The Princess and the Frog.
- Queen Athena from The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning.
- Hera (unlike the original) from |Hercules.
- Queen Clarion from Disney Fairies.
- Sarabi (Mufasa's widow and Simba's mother) and later her daughter-in-law, Nala from The Lion King.
- The Ant Queen (Atta and Dot's mother) from A Bugs Life.
- Another Pixar example: Queen Elinor (Merida's mother) from the upcoming film Brave.
- Princess Celestia of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in trope if not in actual title due to Executives believing that Everything's Better with Princesses.
- Note that Celestia differs from standard High Queens in that she's shown to be fairly down-to-earth and mischievous rather than the distant and mighty ruler that is standard for the trope. That doesn't stop most ponies from thinking of her as the usual High Queen though.
- The evolution of the trope is actually explored in "Nightmare Night". Post-Heel Face Turn Princess Luna fits the trope just as well as her elder sister does, but fits it as it was before she was sealed a thousand years ago. As a result, she comes across as evil due to expectations of how a high queen should act having changed in the interim.
- Well, unlike many others who fit this trope, Luna also appears to be a Nightmare Fetishist because of her role as a Physical God of night and darkness: she wears a cloak of living bats and her guards (unlike her sister's) looks positively demonic, for instance. This actually helps her in the end, since the first time she chooses to interact with commoners was on the local equivalent of Halloween; once the ponies realise she isn't really dangerous, they think she looks awesome.
- On the subject of My Little Pony, Rosedust, the queen of the Flutter Ponies, qualifies.
- Queen Lillian from the Shrek films.
- Quite possibly, there are no real-life High Queens, but many female rulers deliberately fashioned themselves as such during their reign or were described according to the trope by later historians and fiction writers (often involving Historical Hero Upgrade and/or Historical Beauty Update). A non-exhaustive list includes:
- Queen Cleopatra of Ancient Egypt.
- Queen Zenobia of Palmyra (combined with Lady of War).
- Queen Elizabeth I of England.
- Empress Catherine the Great of Russia.
- Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
- Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
- Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
- The Virgin Mary for Catholics (and Orthodoxes, to a lesser degree), both symbolically and by virtue of some of her titles ("Queen of Heaven" and "Queen of the Angels," for example).
- her eventual lover