Queens, and Why They’re Cool Guest Post by T.D. Thomas
Queens, and Why They’re Cool
1) Queens of Myth
Hera: The queen of badass-ery herself. This chick with a chip on her shoulder has gotten a really bad rap. Sure, she may seem like a major b* with a huge A (attitude), but take a second to think about things from her perspective. She’s stuck with a cheating husband, who finds himself a new lover by the second. She can’t even cheat on him herself, because, well, she’s the goddess of marriage and she’s supposed to be the perfect wife. Those are some solid reasons to be majorly p.o.ed. Hera is the goddess of marriage who can’t even fix her own marriage! Now that’s ironic AND humiliating. No wonder she’s got some anger management issues.
Frigg: Queen of Asgard a.k.a. Thor’s mom! ‘Nuff said. Or is it? Apart from her totally epic son, we tend not to hear too much about Frigg. Or at least we don’t realize it when we do. But Friday is actually named after her: Frigg’s Day. Not bad for a “nobody.” And consider this: when her son Baldur starts having recurring nightmares about his own death and has a celestial meltdown, it’s up to dear old mom to travel the world and ask EVERYTHING ON EARTH not to hurt her son, just so he can feel better. Though the story has a sad ending, Frigg did her best for her son, and that deserves a solid nod for Mom of the Year in my books.
Kali: Queen might not be the most accurate term, but as consort of Shiva (Hindu god of change and destruction), Kali is a chart-topper, regardless of what you call her. “The Black One,” Kali existed before time. Before. Time. That’s pretty impressive. Add to her resume that she’s the Slayer of the demon Bloodseed. Every drop of his blood that fell to the ground would create a perfect duplicate of him, so he was essentially undefeatable. Until he met Kali. She just ate him, and every one of his duplicates too. Talk about a queen-sized appetite.
2) Ancient Queens
Queen of Sheba: Fabulously wealthy, the Queen of Sheba (whose name is Bilqis, Nicaule, Nakuti, or Makeda, depending on whom you ask) is a mystery: not much is known about her, except that she had a weak spot for nerds. She trekked all the way from her kingdom just to see King Solomon, the wisest man on Earth, so she could pepper him with some questions. She was so impressed with his brainpower that she showered him with incredible wealth, including four and a half tons of gold! But she must have been pretty impressive herself, since he returned the favour and gave her everything she desired. Clearly the Queen of Sheba was a woman who knew what she liked and how to get it.
Queen of Carthage: Elissa (also called Dido) was a cunning queen who survived by her quick wits. After her father died and left his kingdom to Elissa and her brother, her brother dethroned her and claimed the kingdom for himself. (Selfish!) If that weren’t enough, he murdered Elissa’s husband to steal his vast wealth. (Greedy!) Fearing that she’d be next on her brother’s hitlist, Elissa lied and told her brother that she’d join him at the palace. (Gullible!) When his servants swung by to pick her and the gold up, Elissa concocted a ghost story so convincing that she was able to persuade her brother’s servants to throw all the bags of gold into the sea to appease her husband’s spirit. This was all a ruse, of course. Elissa had already hidden the gold, and the bags the servants threw into the sea were actually full of sand. Elissa took the gold and fled all the way to Africa, where she used her sob story to convince a local king to give her some land. The king agreed, but he’d only give her as much land as could be encompassed by a single oxhide. So what did Elissa do? She cut the oxhide into thin strips and encircled a huge hill. There, she founded the city of Carthage. From hunted fugitive to self-made queen and city-builder, Elissa’s one weakness was love, and it turned out to be a fatal weakness. But that’s a story for another day.
Empress Wu Zetian: The most controversial queen of ancient times, by far. The one and only Empress of China, Wu is difficult to put in a box. To some, she was simply a self-serving, power-hungry concubine who didn’t know her place. To others, she was a hypocrite, who preached compassion to the masses but used vicious, even sadistic, tactics to terrify and eradicate anyone who stood in her way. Or anyone who was even close to being in her way. Or anyone who could possibly eventually maybe even stumble accidentally into her way at some point in the future. But the truth is probably somewhere in between. Empress Wu was ruthless. She used false accusations, trumped up charges, executions, and even plain murder to get her way. But she was also a gifted ruler: she was sly, smart, and successful, and when it came to handing out promotions, she cared more about a person’s talents than their aristocratic background. In the end, whether you love or you hate Wu is up to you, but there’s no denying that she was a woman on a mission.
3) Modern Queens
Queen Latifah: Okay, not technically a queen. But she’s still pretty amazing: singer, rapper, model, comedian, and actress with over six major awards and eight major nominations. As a woman of colour above size 0, that can’t have been easy to accomplish. And from the looks of it, she shows no signs of slowing down.
Queen Elizabeth II: She’s synonymous with the very term “queen.” Say “the Queen,” and this is the one everyone thinks about. Queen Elizabeth II is a paragon of British stoicism, reigning for 60 years through four wars, countless familial scandals, and the deaths of her parents and sister. Intensely private, she typifies what it is to be a modern monarch, where carefully-scripted public relations have replaced the salacious palace politics of ancient times. The U.N. called her “an anchor for our age,” and it’s hard to imagine a greater compliment than that. Still, I bet there are days when she wishes she could order a solid execution or two.
Queen (the band): Okay, not even remotely an actual queen. But if you were to play a soundtrack to the queens in this list, don’t tell me that “We are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” wouldn’t make the cut. Those songs exemplify a queen’s life: moments of triumph tempered by moments of tragedy. Besides, having sold between 150 million to 300 million albums, Queen has touched and transformed lives around the world, begging the question: in today’s society, are celebrities the new queens?
That concludes my list of queens. I’m sure you can all think of others. Here’s a thought: why not write your own story about one? I did.
Author of “Hera, Queen of Gods”
When he's not battling to save Azeroth from its latest calamity, T.D. Thomas lives with six of his closest friends in a tiny house in the frosty north known as Canada. There, they are all ruled over by a little white dog named Teo, who firmly believes he's a reincarnated Egyptian pharaoh and demands to be treated as such. T.D.'s favourite things include personal space, temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius (he’s heard those exist), and cats who don't take guff from pretentious little white dogs.
The Fates are missing.
Hera has no choice but to lead a handful of gods to the human world to search for the missing goddesses, even though it means giving up her powers and temporarily becoming mortal. But mortality begins to change Hera in unexpected ways, and it gets much worse after she meets Justin, a boy who defies every prejudice she once had about mortals. Torn between who she's becoming and who she needs to be in order to fulfill her duty, Hera must survive a horde of murderous creatures sent to exploit her new weakness.
In the end, only she can stop a traitorous plot conceived by a secret alliance of ancient and new enemies, a plot that threatens to destroy not only the order Hera is sworn to protect, but all of existence itself.