Firestone Key Character Study 2 – The Queen (Spoiler alert)

The Evil Queen, the Harpy – familiar name tags in fantasy lore, but I didn’t want to write an unrepentantly evil baddy; the one you boo at and are happy to see violently despatched. I once read that every person is justified in their own eyes. No-one believes themself to be evil and it was my intention to explore this facet of Elaine’s nemesis.

It is true that she carries out appalling crimes and justice may demand her demise, but exactly how did she start down this road to ruin? Was there ever a possibility of redemption or was her fate sealed from the beginning?

Warning signs were there from childhood, her roving mind and creeping boredom providing a fertile breeding ground for obsession and addiction, but did it need to be so? Reliance upon her, seemingly, more stable brother and, later, the internalised, accepting Elaine, serves to keep her anchored to the present. The betrayal of her closest friend and, to some extent, her brother, cuts the ties with reality and allows her to both fly and plummet.

The Firestone, spawned of a similarly bored Hunter, provides her with the addictive power rush that she has always craved, but proves to be the very heart of spiralling addiction, leading to further and further outlandish actions to fulfil its cravings. It’s worth noting, however, that her obsession with magic began before the arrival of the stone.

Could things have turned out differently? There were pivotal moments in her life:

  • Entering the vortex, rather than dying with Caleb – well we can hardly blame her for choosing to live, can we?
  • Escaping to the Darklands and the descent into murder and madness – again, if she had chosen to stay it would have meant a trial and inevitable execution. Once there, it became a fight to survive in the only way she knew how.
  • The obsessive search for Elaine that echoes down the years – what things in our own lives would benefit from a healthy dose of forgiveness?

In the end, her dying attempt to return to an idealised past, personified by the long-gone Caleb, could be construed as a final yearning to find redemption. That it is so cruelly denied her could be seen as just and right, given her sickeningly evil actions, but is she really so different from the others, especially her son and best friend?

Live it like it matters