|The King of Hearts|
King of Hearts
The King of Hearts is a nursery rhyme character from 1782. Lewis Carroll later adapted the rhyme into the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, where he is the King Consort of the Queen of Hearts.
He seems to, when compared to the Queen of Hearts, be the moderate part of the Wonderland government. As an example, when the Queen, who enjoys ordering beheadings, attempts to have Alice executed (charged with being unable to answer who is lying down in front of her) the King of Hearts reminds her that she is only a child.
The King also quietly pardons many of the subjects the Queen has ordered to be beheaded when the Queen is not looking. This guarantees few people are actually beheaded. Nevertheless, when the Queen plays a game of croquet in the story, the only players who remain at the end are himself, the Queen, and Alice.
At the Knave of Hearts' trial, however, where he acts as judge, he is revealed to be quite juvenile, with such lines as, "don't be nervous or I'll have you executed on the spot" to the Hatter, or asking the Duchess' Cook irrelevant questions such as, "What are tarts made of?" Between the two of them, the King and Queen appear to present a fairly accurate reflection of the childish, reckless and confusing world of Wonderland.
Him and the Queen also have ten children (the numerical hearts suit of cards).
Public Domain Literary Appearances
- The Queen of Hearts
- The King and Queen of Hearts: With the Rogueries of the Knave Who Stole the Queen’s Pies by Charles Lamb (1805)
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
- The Queen of Hearts: A Dramatic Fantasia, for Private Theatricals by James B. Greenough (1875)
- The Knave of Hearts: A Fourth‐of‐July Play in One Act by Albert Lee (1895)
- Wonderland by Glen MacDonough, music by Victor Herbert (1905)
- Mrs. Goose: Her Book by Maurice Switzer (1906)
- Jingles for Singles by Ida H. Juillerat (1910)
- The Modern Mother Goose: A Play in Three Acts by Helen Hamilton (1916)
- The Human Touch with Fantasy and Poems by Leonard A. Compton‐Rickett (1921)
Public Domain Movie Appearances
- Alice in Wonderland (1903)
- Alice in Wonderland (1915)
- The King of Cups first appeared in Ganjifa playing cards in or before the twelfth century. The Germans changed the suit of cups to hearts around 1460. The French referred to the King of Hearts as "Charles," named after either Charles VII of France or Charlemagne.
- The King of Hearts is sometimes called the "suicide king" because he appears to be sticking his sword into his head. This is a result of centuries of bad copying by English card makers where the king's axe head has disappeared.