“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!
This week’s trope is DARK LADIES:
DARK LADY. There is never one of these – so see DARK LORD instead.
So in the Tough Guide there’s a joke that there aren’t any Dark Ladies, and while I know for a fact this isn’t true, I still struggled to come up with examples of books that I’ve actually read. So I decided to open it up to any female antagonist who’s a leader and also evil. Deal with it.
|Queen of Hearts – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Queen of Hearts is the insane and homicidal ruler of Wonderland. She settles all disputes – big or small – with an “Off with his head!” All of Wonderland fears her because she’s so unpredictable, but thankfully the King of Hearts usually cleans up her messes. You know you’re evil when Helena Bonham Carter portrays you in a movie adaptation, just saying.
|Jeanine Matthews – Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Jeanine is the highly intelligent and cunning leader of the Erudite faction, and the mastermind behind the alliance against Abnegation. If she can undermine Abnegation’s control of government then Edudite can control their society. She thirsts for power, ruthlessly orders killings, and believes that one group (the intelligent) is superior to all others. Sounds like a Dark Lady to me!
|Cersei Lannister – A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
Okay, okay. So maybe she’s not a villain. And she sure as shit isn’t a lady, if ya know what I’m saying. But Cersei Lannister is a major antagonist, more powerful than lesser characters like Melisandre and more evil than other dark characters like Dany. Cersei is willing to get blood on her hands – even the blood of a child – to keep her evil secrets…plus she killed Lady! NOT OVER IT.
|Queen Levana – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Levana is the power hungry ruler of Luna, a moon colony. Her rule is so awful that people fled the moon to go to Earth…where they spread a plague that has decimated much of humanity. She can also cast a glamour that forces people to do her bidding. She’s modelled after the Evil Queen from Snow White – the classic Dark Lady.