Alice in Wonderland has had quite the cultural impact. Dozens of movies, games and other stories are either directly inspired by this tale, or overtly live in it’s ideas and imagery. No other story is quoted or referenced as a short hand for “this story is going to be quirky”.
However, very little is made of the Queen. Alice is named or quoted, lots of stories throw in a white rabbit, so many characters emulate the cocky, spirit-guide, Cheshire Cat model, but the Queen of Hearts (or characters like her) are few and far between.
The journey Alice goes on is more fascinating than her destination.
Which is not a good start for the Queen of Heart’s chances as The Ultimate Disney Big Bad Evil Guy.
Presence – 1 out of 5
I’m all for a villain that lacks subtlety. Whilst a quiet and broody and ‘real’ villain has their place, I’m a big fan of a Big Bad that can chew the scenery, monologue themselves into their own downfall, and generally just feel larger than life.
The Queen got the memo, but interpreted all of that as ‘be really loud’. At the end of the day, the final threat for Alice is just a big shouty person that can be easily distracted by her husband or an Unbirthday present.
People condescend to her too. All the people around her seemed scared at times, but the fear is as fleeting as her mood. Everyone’s mainly scared that she’ll say those four words that will cause their heads to roll; no one’s really scared of her.
Atmosphere – 2 out of 5
You add a Queen of Hearts style villain to your campaign, you get her court and all the frills. That’s not a terrible way to bring an adventure to the close, but when you consider the first two acts of that story, the Queen of Hearts isn’t really bringing anything extra. In a world of size-altering funghi omnipresent felines the Queen just isn’t as weird and wonderful as the world outside of her garden.
Omniscience – 1 out of 5
I actually went back and gave Cruella an extra point in this category because of the Queen. At least, de Vil has some guile. The Queen of Hearts in oblivious to the world around her beyond her immediate proximity.
Alice broke a house with a temporary growth spurt, and engaged with multiple people of the realm, but none of her antics were brought to the Queen. She blusters about, demanding proper etiquette and yelling for people around her to be murdered, all the while lost in her own importance.
Henchmen – 1 out of 5
The Queen gets a point for having henchmen. That’s all she gets. A disorganised, bumbling rabbit and a pack of living player cards that fold at the first suggestion of danger is not going to add any amount of punch to your TTRPG.
Threat Level – 1 out of 5
Easily distracted, her main weapon is having a tantrum and yelling “off with their head!”, easily bewildered by even the most transparent nonsense. If the party opts to sweettalk her, she will be totally oblivious to danger until its too late. Your heroes won’t feel in danger, even when standing trial.
She does earn that first point out of five for her strength though. I don’t know if you’ve ever uprooted a small tree or bush before, but it takes time and effort. It is not meant to be something you can do with one hand. Just a shame she never uses that strength effectively.
Finale – 2 out of 5
In spite of the lack of real menace or any real danger level, the Queen puts on an amusing ending. Wacky ball sports, crossed with a sham trial, followed by a frantic escape, that’s a fun narrative for the ending of a fantasy game.
It’s all spectacle, little substance however. Characters will be making the odd ability check to part in the crocket and trial, but it’s hardly the final fight most players will expect. Of course, this can end with a fight, but as mentioned early, the Queen isn’t bringing a huge amount of clout with her.
Final Score = 1.33
No frills, no fancy powers. The Queen of hearts is a big, brutish thing with a commanding presence and wicked mallet swing.
This is the best example of my completionist approach to things. There was never any chance for the Queen of Hearts to get anywhere close to the top of the board, but I’m going through all the villains, on after another.
|Cruella de Vil||2.00|
|Queen of Hearts||1.33|
Though I should point out, I shall be skipping movies. Sequels are out for the most part, mainly because that’s a rabbit hole of a different kind, and because villains in Disney sequels are generally not on the same tier. Or they are the same villain again, with lower stakes.
I’ll also be skipping Bambi. Not just because the villain in that story is a random dude who does his ‘evil’ thing off screen, or because they don’t actually make an appearance. It’s mainly because that’s too sad.
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