The Queen of Hearts
Otherwise Known As: A fat, pompous, bad-tempered, old tyrant (by Alice)
Premiered in: Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Voiced By: Verna Felton
I make it no secret to those who know me and those who don’t that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is my absolute favorite stories from when I was kid and while likely remain so for several decades to come. Disney’s film Alice in Wonderland is my favorite film from the “Golden Age” of Disney Animated Films to such a point that I’m pretty sure that I can narrate the entire thing on my own like that one fellow with Star Wars… but I digress, let’s get on the case of the Queen of Hearts shall we?
The Queen of Hearts is distinct amongst the Disney Villains in that she has neither an end goal nor any true motivation as far as the titular heroine Alice is concerned. In point of fact, aside from having Alice’s head removed, which is the same of anyone else who happens to cross our short-tempered majesty, the Queen of Hearts couldn’t give two hoots about anything so long as she gets her way. Yes she’s rather vehement when it came to Alice but given that Alice had, through no fault of her own, led to the Queen of Heart’s losing her temper like never before… a little conviction is not so unwarranted even if the end result is beheading.
Rather ironic really given that, in the original novel, it is admitted that no one is ever actually beheaded and even in the comic book sequel to the film, Wonderland, the only thing that gets close to losing its head is an illustration of the Jabberwocky brought to life.
The Queen of Heart’s minions are the card soldiers of the Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, and Hearts suits, the former three of whom she had “inherited” with the sudden and abrupt disappearance of her siblings, her fellow kings and queens of the Royal Card Suits. This is explored a bit more in depth in the comic Wonderland but regardless, it can’t be argued that out of the many multitude of Disney Villains, the Queen of Hearts has the highest number of them from the beginning to the end of her story.
Though not necessarily a minion, I feel it should be mentioned that the King of Hearts has the most sway over his wife the Queen. He did, after all, manage to convince her both to spare Alice more than once from an immediate beheading. Considering how utterly miniscule he is compared to his wife, that’s a pretty astounding feat to say the least.
By the by, just because I found this to be utterly hilarious, you know that little voice that shouts “Hooray!” when the King of Hearts is introduced the first time by the White Rabbit? Yeah, that’s Mr. Walt Disney himself doing his “Mickey Mouse” voice.
Overall, given that her only true motivation was to see Alice executed, the Queen did fail in that regard though she still went on to rule Wonderland. Though not for long… As I had mentioned earlier, the comic book sequel titled simply as Wonderland continues the tale of the original film but is not based on the sequel book, Through the Looking-Glass. In fact, its main heroine is the mysterious maid Mary Ann of whom the White Rabbit mistakenly presumed Alice to be when she managed to corner him at his home. The comic explores elements of Wonderland left unexplored both in the Disney film and the original books, such as the fates of the rest of the Royal Card families, the three sisters who lived in a well, and even the age old question of whether a cat may look upon a throne or sit upon it.
Frankly, as far as villainy goes, I can’t really give the Queen of Hearts more than 3 out of 5 and even that’s a stretch. She’s a bully, there’s no denying that, and while her subjects are right to be wary of her, she is rather easy to overcome given that she was outwitted by a, quote, “little girl”. A little girl who put the fear of God into the Queen of Hearts via size changing mushroom but still, a child nonetheless.