Who doesn’t love a good villain? Sometimes it’s just fun to root for the bad guy. But the bad guys aren’t always “guys,” of course. For Colleen Oakes, the author of Queen of Hearts, there’s something extra special about female villains. Whether they rule a kingdom or a cafeteria, they can be some of the most compelling characters in all of literature. Oakes knows a thing or two about villains. Her latest young adult book explores the origins of the Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Here, Oakes shares some of her favorite female villains.
How excited am I about the Suicide Squad movie? I saw the preview when I went to see Batman v Superman, and I thought the preview stole the show. For someone who started as a sidekick to the Joker, Harley Quinn has grown into a cultural icon of her own; she’s hilarious and expressive with a dose of insane brutality. More than a match for both Batman and Joker, she’s everything you want a female villain to be.
Fiercely protective of her children, stunningly beautiful, Cersei Lannister’s character is clever like a fox with the bite of a viper. In the books, she is ruthless, quietly raising her family’s sigil from behind the scenes through murder and manipulation. She is the nemesis of her brother Tyrion (often called the hero of the books), and spends the vast majority of her time either fighting to keep a child on the throne or trying to have him killed. Hell hath no fury like a Lannister woman–and that’s why I love her.
Also known as the White Witch from Narnia, Jadis captivated me from the minute she showed up, determined to keep Narnia in winter forever by bribing sniveling little boys with Turkish delight–which, spoiler alert, is not actually that good. She is an extremely powerful sorceress who was banished to the North by Aslan, and has now returned to enslave talking beavers and turn Mr. Tumnus to stone. Her heart is as cold as her kingdom, and her tyranny inspired an uprising that led to the glorious return of a king rising from the dead. (This is my favorite childhood book, can you tell?)
“Stop trying to make fetch happen! It’s never going to happen!” With those words, I fell head over heels for Regina George. Though her kingdom is a small Midwestern high school, she rules over it with cruelty and a league of minions which includes the girl whose dad invented Toaster Strudel! With an iron fist and perfect hair, Regina George sashayed her way into our hearts, and made viewers cringe with memories of the high school bullies that tormented them during those formative years.
The Queen of Hearts
This one is a tad obvious, but she is one of my favorites: a woman who loses her head regularly to her growing rage, and who physically manifests anger in a violent, screaming manner. Her solution to problems? Beheading. She has to have some semblance of awareness though, seeing as her husband quietly goes behind her back, canceling her bloodthirsty plans. This is a woman who is a force to be reckoned with, a woman who gets her way through aggressive control. This is a woman I want to read about.
Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series, the Wendy Darling Series and the upcoming YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga (Harper Collins Summer 2016.) She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She has two tiny dogs and an Underwood typewriter. Colleen is currently at work on the final Elly novel and her third YA fantasy series.