A brilliant short-story about a card gambler, by the Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin.
It has been adapted into opera and films, most notably the 1949 British film by Thorold Dickinson, starring Anton Walbrook.
Tropes provided by The Queen of Spades:
- Accidental Murder: Countess *** suffers a heart attack when Herman points a gun to scare her.
- Driven to Madness: Hermann loses all his money from the gambling and completely loses his mind as a result.
- Gold Digger: Hermann considers seducing the Countess to learn the three cards' secret. He only decides not to do it because it will take too long, and she is eighty-seven and might die at any moment, so he focuses on an easier target in Lizaveta.
- Karmic Twist Ending: It seems like Hermann is doing well with his combination, as he wins everything when he first goes for three, and then the seven, just as the formula told to him by the countess suggested. When it comes for the final showdown, however, he expected to get an ace, in accordance with the formula, and so bet everything. Instead, he got the titular Queen of Spades, and goes completely broke.
- Madness Mantra: At the end, Hermann is driven into utter madness, and all he can mumble is "Three, seven, ace! Three, seven queen!"
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Did the magic formula really work? Did it ever exist in the first place?
- Spell My Name with a Blank: The old countess is usually referred to as ***. Only once does Tomsky mention her first name (Anna Fedotovna)
- Villain Protagonist: Hermann deliberately tricks Lizaveta into falling in love with him and he never truly cares for her feelings. His only motive is to gain the mysterious magical combination of cards that always wins.