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The Queen of Hearts is the main antagonist of Disney's 1951 animated feature film, Alice in Wonderland. She is the tyrannical and deranged ruler of Wonderland with a sadistic penchant for beheadings. When Alice arrives in the kingdom and inadvertently humiliates the monarch, the Queen of Hearts becomes obsessed with decapitating the girl.
Among Disney's animated rogues gallery, the Queen of Hearts is easily recognized by her iconic red, black, and gold color scheme—as well as her motif of hearts and playing cards. Backed by her iconography, and catchphrase, "Off with their heads!", she serves as one of the primary members of the Disney Villains franchise.
According to the Cheshire Cat, all of Wonderland is under the Queen of Hearts's authority. She completely dominates her weak husband, the diminutive King of Hearts, who acts more like an advisor than a monarch. The Queen resides in a nearly colorless kingdom surrounded by a series of maze-like hedges and guarded by an army of anthropomorphic card soldiers. She is known for her unruly and extremely fragile temper. Those who upset the Queen in any way are immediately subjected to a gruesome death by beheading. The most frequent victims of this cruel practice are none other than her own card guards.
The Queen of Hearts has a very psychotic personality. All the residents of Wonderland are mad (insane) in some way, but the Queen of Hearts is the most dangerous of them all by being the ruler of the land. She is very egotistical, as she likes to hear the words "Yes, Your Majesty" and insists that "All ways are my ways!" She is also shown to be a rather childish character, even in the face of Alice, as she is incredibly impatient, irrationally sensitive, prone to temper tantrums, and, as stated above, rather egotistical.
Like any insane person, she has huge uncontrollable mood swings, from content to enraged at a moment's notice. Her immediate solution to every problem is beheading; whether her roses have been planted white, she misses a shot in croquet or feels insulted in any way. The Queen of Hearts seems to enjoy her anger management problems in a way. She reminds Alice at one point, "If I lose my temper, you lose your head," indicating that she is fully aware of her power and wants everyone else to as well. When she orders the beheading of the cards that painted her roses red, the crowd cheers, and she looks very pleased that she made this decision and that the crowd approves of it. Most of all, at Alice's trial, when the White Rabbit is taking a long time to read all the charges, she snaps at him, "Never mind all that! Get to the part where I lose my temper!" She says it with a sense of glee, twiddling her fingers giddily and with a tone of excitement in her voice, indicating that hearing about her outbursts is something she thoroughly enjoys.
Though she clearly overpowers her husband, the King of Hearts, he appears to be the only resident in Wonderland to have any effect on her actions and opinions, to the point where he can cease (or at least, delay) a beheading, as seen a few times throughout the film. With these facts in mind, it can be concluded that the King is the only person for whom the Queen has any knowledgeable care, interestingly.
The obese Queen of Hearts has a massive physique (which, in turn, makes her physically powerful). She has fair skin, black eyes, and black hair tied in the back with a red headband. She dresses in a black-and-red gown with black-and-yellow stripes. Beneath her gown are a pair of white bloomers with a heart pattern and she wears red heels on her feet. Atop the queen's head is a small, gold crown, signifying her authority. She also dons matching gold earrings.
In the Disney animated feature, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen appears as Alice puts it, as a "fat, pompous, bad-tempered old tyrant." Her presence is all the more striking because of how tiny her husband is made to look in comparison to her. Similar to the book, Alice meets three cards painting the roses red, since they planted white roses by mistake. She decides to help but they are soon interrupted when the Card Guards of the Queen of Hearts arrive, announcing that her majesty is underway. The three cards scramble in an attempt to quickly paint the roses and dispose of the evidence, but they are too late. When the Queen arrives, she immediately notices the paint and interrogates the trio, though she doesn't notice Alice just yet. After becoming frustrated with whoever committed the crime, the Queen of Hearts simply sentences all three of her cards to death via decapitation (especially for having blamed each other instead of admitting their own parts).
Alice tries to plea for the cards, catching the Queen's attention. However, instead of becoming furious, the Queen of Hearts actually takes a liking to Alice, who tries to explain she is trying to find her way home. When she does, however, the Queen flies into a rage, declaring "All ways are MY ways!" She then switches from anger and sweetly asks if Alice would like to join her for a croquet game out of literally nowhere. The game begins, during which the Queen appears to be a terrible player, though her card guards and servants merely cheat for her to keep her majesty happy, as well as to keep themselves from being beheaded. In the mix of the game, the Cheshire Cat arrives and purposely gets Alice in trouble by aggravating the Queen, all while keeping his presence a secret, getting the Queen to threaten to have Alice beheaded if she angers her one more time. Eventually, the cat goes a bit too far, and the Queen of Hearts is humiliated in front of all her subjects. Infuriated, the Queen immediately blames Alice for the embarrassment and sentences her to death. The King of Hearts, however, asks the Queen if a small trial could be held first, as it would be fair, and her majesty reluctantly agrees.
At the trial, the Queen rebuffs Alice's insistence having a verdict before sentence. Just as she is about to have Alice beheaded, the King insists that the Queen have some witnesses to the incident. The White Rabbit calls the March Hare, the Dormouse, and the Mad Hatter as the witnesses. The trio holds an Unbirthday party for the Queen, but during the party, the Cheshire Cat reappears and sets the Dormouse into a panic. The mouse runs all over, with the characters attempting to pacify him with jam; when the Queen yells "Let me have it!", she is misunderstood and gets it in the face. To add insult and injury, the King of Hearts manages to hit the Queen with the gavel while trying to crush the mouse. The Queen, of course, blames Alice for it and is going to have her beheaded. But Alice eats mushrooms she had procured earlier, which make her grow bigger. Although Rule #42 says that anyone more than a mile high must leave the court immediately, Alice feels free to call the queen a "fat, pompous, bad-tempered old tyrant." Unfortunately, she subsequently shrinks down to her normal size. Apparently looking forward to punishing Alice, she asks to repeat what she said. As the Cheshire Cat repeats those words, she furiously orders "OFF WITH HER HEAD!" but Alice flees the trial, with the Queen, King, the card soldiers, and eventually all the infuriated inhabitants of Wonderland in hot pursuit, chasing her out of her own subconscious and back into reality.
In "Goofy's Valentine Date", the Queen whacked Mortimer Mouse with one of her flamingos after he attempted to flirt with her. At the end of the same episode, an advertisement came up about her and the King of Hearts' greeting card business.
As a young woman, Cora (played by Rose McGowan) serves as a popular bar wench and has her hand asked for in marriage by a man named Jonathan claiming to be a Prince. He proposes to her and gives her a straw ring, claiming to give her a real one made of gold in two weeks. When Jonathan tells Cora that he has to leave the next day, Cora decides to give herself and her body to him that night. The two conceived a child though Cora discovers he is really a gardener, and that the whole thing was merely a ploy so that he could bed the naïve young beauty. Hurt and upset at being used she demands that at the very least, Jonathon provides enough for her to raise their child, but he laughs it off and leaves her destitute.
She then meets Prince Leopold and the two formed a bond until Cora learned he was engaged to Princess Eva. Jonathan later blackmails Cora, threatening to reveal her pregnancy, and so she then promises him gold for his silence on the matter. Unbeknownst to her, however, Eva was listening and after Eva learns of Cora's pregnancy, she informs Leopold. Cora is then banished from the kingdom and abandons her daughter, Zelena, in the woods, who is sent to Oz, in order to become royalty.
Sometime after she returned to her father's house, Cora finds herself exasperated by his constant drunken misgivings placing their lively hood in danger. After the Miller forgets to deliver flour to King Xavier, she fed up with his foolishness delivers it herself. She is then purposefully tripped by Princess Eva who she insults. The King tells her she will receive no money for her flour and to apologize to Eva. Cora angrily begs her pardon. The same night Cora sneaks into a castle ball with a stolen dress and mask to disguise herself. She unknowingly meets the King's son Prince Henry and criticizes the King's actions to sell off his son Henry to a bride to solve the kingdom's financial problems. When she discovers that the man she is talking to is Prince Henry, she immediately apologizes to him who laughs it off. The two dance but are interrupted by the King who asks to dance with her. He informs her that he knows of her identity and tells her she be nothing more than a miller's daughter. Claiming she is more than the miller's daughter, she tells the King that she has the ability to spin straw into gold. He tells her that if she is able to do so, she will have the Prince's hand in marriage, but if she fails to do so, she will be killed.
While locked in a tower left to spin straw into gold for the night, she encounters Rumplestiltskin, who offers to spin straw into gold for her in exchange for her first-born child (not knowing she has already given birth to her first-born). She has him change the deal however so that he teaches her how to do so instead of him simply doing it for her. The two later embark on an affair and the deal is changed so that Rumplestiltskin is promised his own child with Cora. She becomes engaged to Prince Henry and the two plan to run away together, but the King convinces her otherwise. She states to the King that she does not love Henry, which the King agrees is understandable, showing disdain for his own son's lack of a backbone. He does tell her that the Prince can offer her something love cannot provide, power. Taking the King's words to heart, she marries Prince Henry and rips out her own heart leaving an angry Rumplestiltskin behind. She later gives birth to her second daughter Regina.
Years later she is then responsible for the death of Queen Eva, mother of Snow White, by launching an incurable disease by magic. Posing as the Blue Fairy, she gives Snow White and Enchanted Candle that can heal her mother, but the price is by taking the life of another and Snow refuses to do so. Once Eva dies Cora looks at her body and promises to destroy her legacy by turning Snow White's heart to darkness.
Cora watches her daughter ride a horse, with annoyance, telling her that she rides like a man and that a lady must be graceful. Angered at her constant criticisms Regina walks away only for Cora hold her up in the air telekinetically for her insolence. She ties Regina up with a saddle until she complies with her mother's wishes to more lady-like. Manipulating events to make her daughter Queen, she causes Snow White's horse ride away with her stuck on. Regina saves Snow and in turn, the King proposes to Regina. Cora answers on behalf of Regina who is now to be Queen. Cora later converses with a young Snow, telling her that she only wants her daughter to be happy. Believing what she is doing for the best despite being against Regina's wishes, Snow then goes on to tell Cora about her daughter's affair with the stable boy Daniel, and that the two are planning to run away together and get married. She confronts her pair and angrily blasts them with her magic across the room, and then tells Daniel that it is a parent responsibility to do what's best for their children. She then proceeds to rip out his heart and crushes it, telling Regina she knows what's best. Regina is then forced to marry King Leopold and become a mother to Snow White, leading her to become the Evil Queen.
On the wedding day, Cora finds a looking glass, given to Regina by Rumplestiltskin, and tells her daughter about Regina's future role as Queen. Regina once again voices her desire to be nothing like her mother. She lunges to push her mother into the mirror, but Cora is too fast and uses magic to restrain her daughter in place. Cora reminds her she can't get rid of her that easily but is unaware of Rumplestiltskin appearing in the mirror from behind, urging Regina to do what must be done. Gathering strength in anger, Regina breaks free of the binds and uses magic for the first time, causing Cora to fly back towards the looking glass. Cora manages to hang on briefly with a look of surprise and sadness on her face before slipping through the looking glass, which shatters into pieces almost immediately.
Cora is sent to Wonderland and becomes the Queen of Hearts. At some point, she captures Henry, Regina's father. She shrinks him in size, puts him in a box, and seals him in one of her vaults. As he is her husband, he is, presumably, not harmed in any other way. Regina, determined to get her father back, enlisted the help of a magician, Jefferson, and took Henry back. However, as only two people could leave Wonderland through the Looking Glass, she concealed the information about her father from Jefferson, who ended up being left behind. The Queen of Hearts' guards captured Jefferson and brought him to her. The Queen interrogates him on how he got to Wonderland, and he refuses to answer her. As a result, she orders his head to be cut off. Jefferson panics at the loss of his body and tells her the truth. The Queen tells him thought her knave that in order to get out of Wonderland, he must make another hat of magic that will allow him to do so. He is imprisoned in a room filled with hat-making materials, and that is where he becomes the Mad Hatter.
Sometime later, Captain Hook is tasked by the Evil Queen with traveling to Wonderland and killing her mother, Cora. He arrives in Wonderland with a dead body in tow and is brought before the Queen of Hearts. She asks through the Knave of Hearts why Hook is there, and Hook tells her that he is seeking a woman who goes by the name Cora in a native land. She lowers her mask to reveal that she is, in fact, Cora, and immediately dismisses the Knave and the Courtiers so that she can speak with Hook in private. She asks why Hook is here, descending her throne, and Hook lunges forward and plunges his hook into her chest to take her heart. But he is stunned to find that there is no heart there. Cora throws back her head and laughs and states that she is the Queen of Hearts, and she would be a fool to keep her heart where everyone else does, and so easily accessed. She then plunges her hand into Hook's chest, and grabs his heart, forcing him to tell her that he was sent by Regina to kill her. Rather than rip out his heart, Cora leaves it and goes back to sit upon her throne. Cora instead allies with Hook, traveling to an island, casting a barrier to protect them from the curse, frozen in time for 28 years.
After the curse on Storybrooke is broken, Mary Margaret and her daughter Emma Swan are transported to the Enchanted Forest, where they encounter Cora. Cora learns that Regina and her adoptive son Henry are in Storybrooke and retrieves a magical bean, following the two back to Storybrooke with Hook. Once she and Hook travel to the town, they part ways, and Cora frames Regina for the murder of Archie Hopper, turning Regina into her ally when everyone turns against her. Cora and Regina then go out to find the Dark One's Dagger so they can control Mr. Gold and kill their enemies, but after Cora learns that Rumplestiltskin is dying, she chooses to kill him and transfer the Dark One's powers to herself instead. While she proceeds to do this, Regina returns her heart which has been poisoned by Mary Margaret, with the same candle that Cora poisoned Snow's mother with. Upon repossessing her heart, she admits that she loves Regina until she dies in her daughter's arms.
Cora is later summoned from the Underworld by Regina and Snow White to find out their parent's dark past involving Zelena. She possesses Mary Margaret and gives her a vision of her past involving the situations surrounding her abandoning Zelena. She also shows Snow her mother's cruel and vindictive nature that Cora constantly had to endure in all of their encounters.
She returns in the second half of the fifth season in the episode "Souls of the Departed", when the heroes travel to the Underworld. Originally, she does everything she can to make Regina leave the Underworld even trying to send her father to a place of eternal suffering. When this fails, it is revealed that she made a deal with Hades and because she did not succeed, he makes a miller's daughter once again and she is forced to work for him for all eternity. She is later rescued by the heroes in order to stop Hades. It is then revealed that she had both of her daughters meet each other during their childhood years, but she took away their memories because Zelena would have interfered with Regina becoming the next queen and sends the former back to Oz. When her daughters are fighting Cora restores their memories and apologizes for how she raised both of them and for also abandoning Zelena. With Cora making everything right, she is able to go on to a better place in the afterlife.
After receiving an invitation to the upcoming wedding of the Red King, she shows up at the royal castle to greet the soon-to-be Red Queen, Anastasia. As they casually talk, Cora manifests vases of roses hall, despite that she knows the Red King dislikes magic since he believes it separates them from their subjects. Seeing Anastasia's likeness to herself, as Cora came from humble beginnings as well, she offers to teach her magic without the Red King's knowledge. Anastasia declines, not wishing to start a marriage with a secret, to which Cora departs, or so it appears. She eavesdrops on a conversation the future Queen has with a former beau, Will Scarlet, who pleads for Anastasia to meet him at their old wagon and run away together. The next morning, Cora sabotages any reconciliation between the two lovers by telling Will that Anastasia decided to marry the Red King.
As he expresses a longing hope that his beloved, in time, would've changed her mind and returned to him, she gently pushes him to give up. Cora consoles him, stating that he helped Anastasia realize her calling as a Queen, and now is the time to move on. When prompted with a request to take out his heart, she warns him of the consequences, but he insists. Once the task is done, she sends him off from the wagon and pockets the heart in a bag. Later, Cora stops Anastasia from leaving the castle for her sweetheart by giving the girl a glimpse at the wagon where Will is nowhere in sight. She manipulates a heartbroken Anastasia into believing all hope of regaining Will's trust and love is forever lost and that her place is a Queen. Eventually, Cora teaches her how to conjure fire by channeling all the unworthiness she feels like a person into power, to which Anastasia successfully uses magic.
The Queen of Hearts also appeared in this game, and she changes Alice's ending by decapitating her head, then placing it at the center of the hedge maze and leaving Alice's headless body (which was still as alive as her head) at the maze's entrance. During the final battle, she and her card soldiers launch croquet balls of various colors at the player, who had to use the magic storybook to reflect them back. After having 3 projectiles sent back to her, the queen retreats to her giant topiary in her image, where she fires card suit symbols (purple spades, red hearts, yellow diamonds, and green clubs) from the topiary's mouth at the player in addition to more croquet balls. After the topiary gets hit enough times, it loses its head, forcing the dazed Queen of Hearts to surrender. What goes around comes around.
The Queen of Hearts appears as a minor antagonist in the video game series, as an inhabitant of the world of Wonderland. She is voiced by Tress MacNeille in English, and by Sumie Ozawa in Japanese.
In the original Kingdom Hearts, she is assaulted by a Heartless and wrongfully accuses Alice of the crime, sentencing her to decapitation before Sora, Donald, and Goofy intervene. The trio claim Alice is innocent, but until proof is given, the Queen declares her a suspect and keeps her locked away in her garden. However, Alice is eventually kidnapped under the plans of Maleficent, leaving the Queen baffled.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, she appears as a figment of Sora's memory, where she accuses Alice of stealing her memory and sentences her to death. However, Sora claims to be the true thief, resulting in a battle. After defeating the card soldiers, Sora seeks the true culprit, only to find himself confronted by the Queen in the Bizarre Room, where the true thief—a Heartless—appears. Afterwards, Alice tricks the Queen into letting them go by claiming she gave Alice and Sora order to hunt the Heartless down, using the Queen's faulty memory against her.
In Kingdom Hearts coded, she returns and has her memories "stolen" again, though this time, it is a result of the Bug Blox corrupting Wonderland. Though Sora tries to explain this, the Queen merely accuses him of conspiring against her, alongside Alice.
The Queen appears in this game as a meet-and-greet character in Fantasyland, near "it's a small world". She also appears in the Croquet Game section of the Alice in Wonderland mini game. Among the quests that the player gets from her are to turn some white roses red using the magic wand that was given to them by Cinderella and fetch some cards to watch those roses, as well as to help plan an Unbirthday Party for the Queen, who will then appear in the Mad Tea Party section of the aforementioned mini game.
The Queen of Hearts appears in the game as a ten-token unlockable character, previously she had the ability to summon the cards with the white ability but now her abilities have changed places and now she can also speed up allies.
The Queen of Hearts is a character commonly featured in the Disney theme parks around the world; mostly in material centering the Disney Villains franchise, such as promotional animation, entertainment, and merchandising.
In the Disneyland Park, the Queen of Hearts appears as an audio-animatronic in the dark ride based on the film, Alice in Wonderland. She's also featured for meet-and-greets in Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A., and occasionally joins in the popular musical chairs game hosted by Alice and the Mad Hatter.
The Queen of Hearts serves as inspiration for the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, which appropriately features her likeness throughout. A statue of her and the King of Hearts is prominently displayed overlooking the hall, in regard to this.
The Queen of Hearts appears (as a face character) as a featured villain in Villains Cavalcade. Interestingly, her float is accompanied by the Red Queen's guardsmen that appear in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, rather than the card soldiers of the 1951 animated film.