19. The queens
Especially in popular culture, queens are usually better rulers than kings.
In Game of Thrones, that’s proven true several times, though the show has an equal number of missteps when it comes to putting those queens, or not, on their rightful thrones. Star Wars, on the other hand, has the most memorable, relatable queens, and several systems where the ruling monarch is a queen by royal inheritance or election.
By the end of Game of Thrones, there had only been four women who had been called queen: Cersei Lannister, Yara Greyjoy, Daenerys Targaryen and Sansa Stark. Cersei was the only one who didn’t have a legitimate claim to the throne other than there was just no one else left because she killed them all. Yara gave up her title to be a Lady instead, legitimizing Bran Stark as the king of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys gets all the way to the Red Keep and is just feet away from finally claiming the Iron Throne when Jon Snow kills her to “save the kingdom” from her madness (we aren’t going to talk about that right now).
Sansa’s ascension to Queen of the North is the most satisfying and deserved of all the queens in Westeros, as the last Stark in Winterfell spent much of the series as a pawn in other people’s plans.
But none of those queens compare to Star Wars’ most famous queen, Padme Amidala.
The teen queen ascended the Naboo throne right before the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Unlike most monarchies, Amidala was elected to serve as queen and then moved on to representing her homeworld as a senator in the Republic. Beyond her elaborate gowns and headdresses and striking makeup when she was queen, Padme is best known for her passion for civic duty, her kindness and strength and, of course, her secret marriage to Anakin Skywalker. In the prequel films, much attention is given to her role in Anakin’s life, Padme’s full personality and motivations are further explored in The Clone Wars animated series and E.K. Johnston’s book trilogy.
And beyond Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme was beloved by almost everyone who met her. She was selfless even to the point where her passion for helping others almost got her killed on several occasions. And, of course, her love for Anakin did kill her shortly after giving birth to twins.
Padme’s legacy still lived in-universe and without, especially as a guiding light for her daughter, Leia, and all the characters who loved the princess-turned-general as well.