Of all the conventions of chick lit, my favourite by far is the quartet of queens – feminine foursomes. Like a deck of cards, each character has her suit. From Little Women to Mean Girls, from The Robber Bride to Sex and the City, this elemental formation of four recurs again and again.
Raised a skeptic, this has become my favourite kind of claptrap. I like the simplicity of the symbolism, the way it orders chaos neatly into quarters, and the way it provides a shorthand for describing essential personalities. Of course I identify with one even as I aspire to be all four. What about you?
The Queen of Diamonds is the female fire element. She is creative, combative, explosive. Beyond bright. A live wire. Fierce passions that rise and subside like lightning strikes. Intense ideas that burn bright and burn out. She signifies second chances, she loves a makeover, she lives to gamble, she deals in both delight and destruction.
The Queen of Spades is the female air element. She is an intimidating intellect. She articulates and manipulates. Her power is invisible, scentless, impossible to touch, yet it is a fantastic force. She has an untouchable quality – she’s analytical, dispassionate. She is an authority in contrariness and control.
The Queen of Clubs is the female earth element. She is practical verging on prosaic. She is a nurturer, a manager, someone who makes things happen, someone who takes care. She is deeply sensual, super sexy, comfortable in her own body, feet firmly on the ground. She bestows abundance and obstinance.
The Queen of Hearts is the female water element. She is empathetic, emotional. Her romanticism is both refreshing and ridiculous. She takes the shape of her vessel, and easily escapes a tight grasp. She reflects those around her. She envelopes and evaporates, deserts and drowns. She deals in both despair and divinity.