One of my Top 5 Favorite Series Ever is The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. A central character in these 4 books is Irene, The Queen of Attolia. Here she is as imagined by Paola at deviantART
You can tell that this woman is fierce. The Queen of Attolia has had to fight for her place on the throne. As a teenager, Irene overheard her fiance's plans to take full power as king once they were wed. She was to be only a Shadow Queen. So - what could she do - she pretended to be stupid and shy until their wedding day, when she killed him.
The Queen is feared by her subjects. When threatened, she doesn't hesitate to hang barons upside down on the castle wall until they die screaming. She is ruthless.
Which is what makes her relationship with Eugenides, the royal thief of neighboring Eddis, so interesting. Are they enemies, lovers, friends? Or maybe they are all these things.
Attolia and Eugenides as imagined by Leng at deviantART:
This post is part of the A to Z Challenge