Here on Earth, at this very moment, humans are all abuzz about the eminent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton (pictured above joyously making the Death Star run). This got us thinking about all the emperors, kings, queens, princesses and princes, and so forth that occupy the dimensions of science fiction and fantasy. But royal characters in SFF don’t always get married and live happily ever after. Here are five royal characters from the dimensions of science fiction and fantasy who, for whatever reason, are single.
5. Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
If you think about it, it’s a real drag that Palpatine didn’t ever have a girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, or husband. Giving Palps a lover would actually help us relate to him a little more. What makes him happy after he becomes Emperor? The gloating? With who? Anakin had the right idea here; he was thinking about ruling the galaxy with his wife who was also mother of his children. This makes sense on the very basic level that Anakin could keep all this dark side/Empire business in the family well after he died. Palpatine had no family and no chance of extending his Empire past his own reign. Basically he was just adopting new “children” constantly, even though he secretly knew they were all going to kill him. As a royal decision maker, Palpatine was pretty shortsighted.
4. Borg Queen (Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Voyager)
Now it’s pretty obvious the Borg Queen wasn’t planning on being single forever. She was totally into finding a Borg King to share assimilation time with. But after neither Data nor Picard wanted to rule over all of Borgdom with her, she sort of gave up hope. True, she technically was killed and then randomly returned on Voyager as a different actress and then reverted back to the previous actress just in time for Janeway to blow her up, but still, she was probably really lonely during all of that. And just because the Borg Queen rules over automatons who all do exactly what she says, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want love.
3. Queen Amidala (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
Yes, Padme Amidala did get married to Anakin Skywalker, but it was totally a secret! And by that time she wasn’t even the Queen anymore! The royalty on Padme Amidala’s home planet Naboo is also pretty interesting insofar as they seem to always be extremely young, unmarried women, elected by their people. Considering that Naboo puts very young people in charge of planet-wide administration, it’s no wonder they got overrun by the Trade Federation in three seconds. Would things have turned out better if Amidala had been Queen later in life? Then would Anakin have become King of Naboo and maybe calmed down a little? Maybe running an entire galaxy was a little too much for that guy. A small planet with friendly, ridiculous aliens might have been the perfect kingdom for the two of them.
2. King Triton (Disney’s The Little Mermaid)
It’s a pretty long-standing tradition that parents in Disney films are almost always single parents, but we think the King Triton case is particularly damaging. Presumably there was a mother at some point, but then again, we’re not to clear on how the fictional mermaids of this universe reproduce. King Triton is pretty much one of the worst fictional royal figures of all time. He rules over the entire ocean and yet doesn’t really have a grasp on what’s going around just a few miles outside of his castle (i.e. lots of junk/sharks), he has a bizarre isolationalist policy with absolutely no way to enforce it, and he seems to have unlimited power contained in his magical trident and yet is totally unwilling to do anything with it. We think if King Triton had had someone in his life, there’s a chance that person could have put some of this stuff in perspective.
1. Théoden (The Lord of the Rings)
Now we know for a fact that this guy was married at some point, because we’ve got Eowy and Eomer. And while some other kings and queens do okay with being single, Théoden seems to have some issues. It is possible that the absence of someone in the King of Rohan’s life was the window Wormtongue needed to creep his way into his role as advisor.
Or maybe not. Once Théoden gets rid of this particular jerk, he does just fine. Though he temporarily wavers, Théoden is a good example of a single royal who can handle things on his own.
Ryan Britt is a staff blogger for Tor.com.