Ramonda

Let’s take a look at the last major female character in Black Panther, the elder woman we see in the snow: Queen Ramonda, portrayed by Angela Bassett. We don’t know absolutely anything of her role in the story, with the only fact being that she’ll be T’Challa‘s mother…and this already is quite a departure from the comics, where she’s indeed the Queen Mother, but she doesn’t have any blood relation to the young king, being just his step-mother. Bassett, however, looks exactly just like her, and it’s more than likely that she’ll have the same strong character of the comics’ counterpart. Let’s see together.

Ramonda was born in South Africa, and she lived a normal life in her country until she met a foreigner king, T’Chaka from Wakanda, who was visiting South Africa in a diplomatic trip. T’Chaka had just lost his wife N’Yami, who had died while giving birth to their son T’Challa, and Ramonda saw his pain through the official etiquette. The two became close, and eventually fell in love: T’Chaka proposed to Ramonda, and she agreed to become the new queen of Wakanda, his wife. Life wasn’t easy for her at first, as Wakanda was an extremely xenophobic nation, and she was seen as an outsider despite her role, with a few recognizing her title and the respect that came from it. Nevertheless, she was a loyal wife and a wise queen, and she raised both T’Chaka’s sons, T’Challa and Hunter, as if they were her own. The only family member who fully accepted her and even befriended her was her brother-in-law, S’yan. She stayed by her husband’s side for years, until her past came knocking to her door in the form of Anton Pretorius, a white supremacist from her home country. Pretorius kidnapped the queen, and brought her back to South Africa, where he enslaved her and raped her repeatedly. The worst part of it was that nobody was looking for her, since Pretorius had set up things so that it looked like the queen had come back home on her own will to be with another man (thus confirming the Wakandians’ prejudices). After years of imprisonment, Prince T’Challa found out Pretorius’ ruse, and he tracked him down in his mansion: he defeated him and freed his step-mother, bringing her back home and telling her story to the king and to the people. T’Chaka took her back to his side, and finally the population came to accept her as a rightful queen. Not much time later, Ramonda gave a daughter to T’Chaka, Shuri.

The following years were quite trying for the queen and for Wakanda: King T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner mercenary, Ulysses Klaw, and the young T’Challa took his place in the lead of his country. Ramonda witnessed her step-son winning the title of Black Panther from his uncle, and she never felt so proud, nor so worried, as now her son wore the same target as her husband did. Despite the lack of blood bonds between them, T’Challa confirmed Ramonda in her title of Queen Mother, and always listened to her advices with attention; he also gave her the task of administering the country’s law in his absence, an occurence that started happening quite often, as he grew close to the United States of America and to its superhero community, especially the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. When T’Challa became engaged to an American woman, Monica Lynne, Ramonda strongly opposed this union, as she belived T’Challa needed a queen who understood Africa and its people. She was far more satisfied with T’Challa’s following girlfriend, Kenyan mutant Ororo Munroe, and she worked hard to make that relationship work, being overjoyed and proud when the two actually got married. Ramonda formed a strong bond with the new queen, and the two women became good friends, with the elder one helping the other to cope with the people’s mistrust she had known far too well in her youth. A steady member of the Taifa Ngao, the royal high council, Ramonda helped her son and her daughter-in-law in their government, and when T’Challa fell victim of an attack that sent him into a coma, she helped Ororo to rule on her own. She strongly opposed Shuri as she stepped up to take the mantle of the Black Panther for herself, but she supported both her and Storm in the fight against the invading tyrant Doom. In every possible circumstances, Ramonda stood by her son’s side, at least until the threat to his government came from the people itself…

Ramonda is a wise and strong-minded woman, a queen who had to win the trust and the respect of her people and who lived through a number of trials that would have broken the strongest men. Determined to serve her adoptive country as well as her step-son, Ramonda can be quite harsh on him when she believes he’s not to being giving his everything for Wakanda, but she’s the only one allowed to speak to the king the way she does without blame, after all, and T’Challa rightfully trusts her total dedication to the country and its people.

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