Bonus Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Literary Queens

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics


What a strange day it has been, as I am writing this on Monday 19th September.

The funeral of the Queen. An unexpected bank holiday. A closure and cancellation of, well, everything… My daughter decided (very robustly!) that today was a pyjamas day! She had a PJ day and I barely achieved 4,000 steps!

And, as the Queen was known to be something of a reader – in real life as well as in Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader – it seems apt perhaps to just mark the moment, perhaps as a extra (albeit brief) TTT post, lets consider my favourite literary queens!


Perhaps the list below should carry the caveat that, beyond their shared status as Queens, I make no other comparison between the literary ladies below and Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II!


Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Elemental, petulant, deliciously other, Shakespeare’s fairy queen is delightful – and a victim of one of the cruelest practical jokes in Shakespeare…

Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety

Cleopatra, as well as being beautiful, is mercurial, spirited and changeable. She loves and hates with equal passion – and gorgeous poetry.

One of the most powerful deaths in Shakespeare.

Lady Macbeth, MacBeth

Some are born to queenhood, some attain it through marriage, others through regicide and take up the crown with hands dripping in blood!

But, oh that hand washing speech!

Anne Boleyn, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies

Like many of these queens, there is something mercurial about Hilary Mantel’s Anne Boleyn. She is manipulative, terrified, manipulated…

And Mantel’s depiction of her execution is extraordinarily powerful!

Cersei Lannister, A Song of Fire and Ice

Give Cersei her due, once she married into the royal household, there is nothing anyone could do to remove her from it! Terrifying, yes, but you have to admire that ruthfulness.

Daenerys Targaryen, A Song of Fire and Ice

Yes, I know, two queens from the same book series… but Daenerys development from terrified child bride to something approaching an equal of Khal Drogo, to the brutal Mother of Dragons is a great arc.

We wait to see whether the books send her into the same downward spiral the TV show did.

Sabran Berethnet, The Priory of the Orange Tree

Sabran like Daenerys in many ways, developed from a child being manipulated by her advisors into an independent self-governing queen.

It was also just a refreshing change to see the term Queendom and to celebrate all the diversity in the world of The Priory.

Jadis, The White Witch, Chronicles of Narnia

This is a character totally identified with Tilda Swinton for me. The perfect casting!

Where Lady Macbeth is all heat and fury, Jadis is cold and ice…

Clytemnestra, The Oresteia

The ultimate blood-soaked queen of Ancient Greece.

On the one hand, Aeschylus may have intended us to despite Clytemnestra for the murder of her husband, Agamemnon. Spoiler alert, but you have had 2,500 years to read it!

On the other hand, she has a powerful motive: Agamemnon’s sacrifice of their daughter! For the sake of a wind!

And for fifth century BCE Greece, Clytemnestra dominates the stage and owns it in the same way that she owns the city state that she has run single-handedly for ten years (with a much reduced working population because every able bodied man is in Troy.

Queen Elizabeth, The BFG

And finally, her Majesty herself, written tenderly into The BFG and maintaining that typically British resolve not to scream in the face of an unexpected giant in her garden!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes


September 20: Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List
September 27: Typographic Book Covers (Book covers with a design that is all or mostly all words. You can also choose to do books with nice typography if that’s easier!) (Submitted by Mareli @ Elza Reads)
October 4: Favorite Bookstores OR Bookstores I’d Love to Visit (The UK celebrated National Bookshop Day on October 1, so I thought it would be a fun topic!)
October 11: Books I Read On Vacation (bonus points if you tell us where you were!) (Submitted by Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)
October 18: Favorite Words (This isn’t so much bookish, but I thought it would be fun to share words we love! These could be words that are fun to say, sound funny, mean something great, or make you smile when you read/hear them.)
October 25: Halloween Freebie

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