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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Analyzing the Disney Villains: The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)


Origin: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

The Queen of Hearts is a comic villain. Not especially threatening and she gets minus points for only appearing at the end, but her personality makes up for it. Granted, it seems like everything in Wonderland is trying to kill Alice (floods, apathetic dodos, broom dogs, setting fire to a house she's in), but the Queen of Hearts is an active participant in the manslaughter.


Motivation: I have no idea. It's so hard to find the motivation for anything in Wonderland. The only character with any real goal is the White Rabbit, and he achieves it by the time we get to the Queen of Hearts. Given her penchant for punishing anyone who slights her, she has a healthy dose of power hunger and insanity. Alice intrigues her, but she can't let the upstart foreigner usurp her absolute authority. So she must balance between regal relations, and asserting her will.

Also, she likes her roses red.


Character Strengths: She's determined. You'll never find her waffling on any issue. You might say her decisive resolve is a bad trait. But clearly, you've never been to the video rental store with your girlfriend. Now whether she's an effective leader or not could not be determined. I assume she's the queen of all of Wonderland, since she can subpoena others at a whim.  But most of her territory appears to be rural or underdeveloped. However, she makes the trains run on time.


Evilness: "Off with their heads!" Need I say more? It's become it's own meme when describing any snap-judgement dictator (I'm looking at you, Assad). No ruling class in Disney has ever been as tyrannical or merciless as the Queen of Hearts. She could give Tywin Lannister a run for his money.


Tools: I assume that heart stick doesn't count.

Like all royals, she has an army at her disposal. In her case, it's an army of cards. They have the advantage of two-dimensionality, which makes them harder to hit. Though it seems she has more than 52. Well, 51, minus herself. Wait, why isn't the queen a card? Wait, the King of Hearts is in the picture too -- does that mean there's only fifty? What about the knave? What is a knave anyway? Is that like a rank or position? Can I be a halfling knave in D&D?

But better than that is her LOUD VOICE which she uses to command everyone in her presence. It's how she makes Alice do things, perhaps because she sees her lost youth in her. And more on that later.


Complement to the Hero: And it's later. The Queen of Hearts is a roaring lion, and Alice is a mouse. The Queen of Hearts has decided the only way to deal with Wonderland's whimsy is to control it with an iron fist. But somewhere down the line, maybe through her journey, Alice finds the strength to talk back to the adult nonsense surrounding her. Rules that don't make sense. Meaningless puzzles. The constant threat of death. The Queen is a bunch of talking points, and Alice's innocence challenges that.


Fatal Flaw: The queen has some significant flaws, but none of them result in her downfall. Not really. The nature of Wonderland is to blame. When she orders her entire forces to kill Alice, the dream collapses on itself a la Inception -- too many nonsensical things result in the dream attacking her and revealing its true nature.


Method of Defeat/Death: After Alice accidentally grows to twice her size, Alice gains the confidence to assert herself. Until it wears off. This makes the queen so mad she gets everyone in the army, everyone in the kingdom, everyone in Wonderland after her ass. Alice runs, but the regions start merging, ending with the doorknob. As the queen closes in, the dream ends. Presumably she disappears back into the technicolor ether from whence she came.


Final Rating: Four stars


PREVIOUS ANALYSES:
Jafar (Aladdin)
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Man (Bambi)
Clayton (Tarzan)
The Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Cobra Bubbles (Lilo and Stitch)
Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Amos Slade (The Fox and the Hound)
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Scar (The Lion King)
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Edgar (The Aristocats)
Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective)
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
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