Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/2/19: Savage Queens


Lost kingdoms and hidden cities are a staple of pulp adventure fiction — and SFF! — as are their rulers, which, most of the time, are gorgeous, powerful, scantily clad women. Often they serve as foils for the male adventurers and, occasionally, romantic interests. The magazine cover above illustrates Phorenice, the ruler of Atlantis. With her hypnotic Claudette Colbert stare and Tamara Lempick curls, she’s a worthy opponent for the characters of Cutcliffe Hyne’s “The Lost Continent.”

(Fantasy writer Richard Adams paid homage to this character by naming the evil, sexually deviant Priestess-Queen of the Beklan Empire Fornis after her.)

Other powerful ladies include Ayesha, of H. Rider Haggard’s She, Queen La of Opar from the Tarzan books, and Princess Yazmela and Queen Tamaris, creations of Conan writer Robert Howard.  Even C. S. Lewis played with the trope in The Magician’s Nephew, where Mage-Queen Jadis of the dead world of Charn emerges amusingly into Edwardian London, charming and dominating the old Magician of the title. (Later, she winds up as the White Witch in the original Narnia tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.) Fantasy art abounds with these ladies because of their dramatic and photogenic qualities, for which I’ll do a later post.

For now, I’ll include a list of suitable savage names for these characters, which are at once exotic and a little unpleasant, full of sibilant S’s, soft J’s, hard T’s, K’s, and V’s, and open-mouthed Ays.

Savage Queens

Shandazis

Shödna

Chalna

Jumanza

Tasza

Phosphania

Sadanza

Iphis

Kabrana

Shenlaz

Thurna

Velza

Gadamrija

Sochosis

Senra

Shulza

Diralva

Vaszina

Penangra

Aycha

Aytes

Mudhazya

Chunda

Tryphna

Lakaytes

Oceansa

Ailata

Kurvia

Angklar

Jekasia

Sungma

Arhoë

Lutrene

Byrolis

1 comment

  1. Compare the illustration to this well-known film still of Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra:

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