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She is an adventure novel by H. Rider Haggard, first published in serial form in 1886. Cambridge don Horace Holly and his handsome ward Leo Vincey are guided by a Vincey heirloom to a lost African kingdom ruled by the immortal queen Ayesha, whose subjects call her "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed". Ayesha believes Vincey to be the reincarnation of a man she loved and lost centuries ago, and becomes vengeful when he becomes romantically attached to a local girl, Ustane.
She was Haggard's second big success after King Solomons Mines, and was followed by a sequel and two prequels, one the story of Ayesha's early life and the other an Inevitable Crossover in which the protagonist of King Solomon's Mines visits the hidden valley. It has been filmed multiple times.
She provides examples of:
- Darkest Africa
- The Faceless: She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed usually appears draped from head to foot in gauzy, mummy-like wrappings because, according to her, her beauty drives men mad.
- Godiva Hair: Ayesha's hair is long enough and thick enough that it doesn't just cover her nipples, it covers everything. She fastens a belt around her hair and wears it like a dress.
- Identical Grandson: Leo Vincey bears a striking physical resemblance to the man he's supposed to be the reincarnation of.
- Jungle Opera
- Lost World: The kingdom ruled by She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. Haggard was one of the trope makers.
- Mighty Whitey: She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, immortal ruler of a primitive African tribe, is white, and the book implies that white people made up the oldest civilizations.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Poor Ustane.
- No Immortal Inertia: Ayesha dies at the end, and shrivels as all her centuries catch up with her.
- Reincarnation: Leo Vincey is apparently the reincarnation of a man Ayesha loved and lost centuries ago.
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: According to Ayesha, her beauty drives men mad.
The sequels and prequels provide examples of:
- Inevitable Crossover: She and Allan
- Reincarnation: Although Ayesha dies, she's reincarnated in time for the sequel.
- Reincarnation Romance: The original novel is ambiguous about whether there's really one going on between Leo and Ayesha, but the sequels and prequels embrace the idea.
- Start of Darkness: Wisdom's Daughter: The Life and Love Story of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed details the origins of Ayesha.
Adaptations provide examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Horace Holly is described as being hopelessly ugly, even ape-like in appearance. He's never that bad in the films (in which he's been played by Nigel Bruce and Peter Cushing, among others).
- Mysterious Antarctica: The 1935 film adaptation changes the setting from Africa to the Arctic.