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If you're hiding her, you will lose your heads.
~ The Knave of Hearts threatening the Mad Hatter and his friends on the whereabouts of Alice Kingsleigh.
He is the right-hand of the Red Queen. Although feigning loyalty to her, however, the Knave is actually even more malevolent than the mad tyrant and plays upon her insecurities in order to skillfully manipulate her into doing what he wants. He is taken from the traditional English nursery rhyme, The Queen of Hearts, and is based on the Jack of Hearts playing card as well as the late Niccolò Machiavelli.
The Knave of Hearts is first seen obtaining the Oraculum and taking it to the Red Queen as he shows her Alice slaying the Jabberwocky. Soon after, Stayne is briefly seen talking Bayard the Bloodhound, getting him to believe that if he found Alice for him, he would let his wife and pups go free, a deal he had no intention of upholding.
Stayne is next seen talking to The Mad Hatter, The March Hare and the Dormouse, unaware that the Hatter is hiding Alice in a teapot. As the Hatter attempts a random distraction, Stayne threatens that if they were hiding Alice, they'd lose their heads as he chokes the Hatter, who then remarks that they'd 'already lost them'. He releases the Hatter and then leaves as Bayard runs off, pretending to have found Alice's scent.
Later on in the film, Stayne is seen in the hallway of The Red Queen's castle, telling Alice, who was posing as another person named Um, that he likes her, but Alice immediately turns away from him. One of The Red Queen's subjects overhears this and tells the Queen. She gets infuriated with Stayne and, when he convinces her that Alice was the one obsessed with him, she screams 'off with her head'. Stayne is then seen attempting to take the Vorpal Sword away from Alice, but is interrupted by the Bandersnatch (who had become friends with Alice after she returned its missing eye). Further into the film, during the final battle, Stayne duels The Mad Hatter and would've been killed by him if Alice hadn't slayed the Jabberwocky and stopped the battle. After The White Queen declares to banish both Stayne and The Red Queen, Stayne attempts to kill The Red Queen, much to her shock due to her genuine feelings for him, but fails due to The Mad Hatter's interference.
He is then banished from Underland and sentenced to the Outlands for eternity with The Red Queen, pleading for death at the White Queen's hands rather than a life with the Red Queen, who is now infuriated at him for his treason. He is denied the mercy of death, for the White Queen owes him no kindness.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Knave's skeleton appears in the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Time was sitting on a chair next to him and saw his skeleton, with a blade embedded in his chest, and wondered what happened to him, either the Queen killed him for trying to kill her or she hired one of her men to kill him for the very same reason. His head later falls off at one point.
In the TV miniseries Alice, he appears as a protagonistic character named Jack Chase (real name: Jack Frederick Heart), who after he got captured in Wonderland, found out that he is the son of the King and Queen of Hearts. He is also engaged to the Duchess.
In the novel series "The Looking Glass Wars", he is re-imagined as the Jack of Diamonds, one of Alyss's friends who is a coward and intends to become her fiance. She works for both the Alyssians and Queen Redd, but when Dodge finds out of his actions, he is sent to prison.
In the otome game Heart no Kuni no Alice, he appears as Ace, also known as the Knight of Hearts who usually gets lost and one of the characters who fall in love with Alice.
In Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland, the Knave of Hearts makes a cameo appearance.
In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland game for Wii and PC, he is the second boss of the game. He uses a red sword to attack. The player must distract him from capturing Alice and traps him on a cage. As he tries to escape, he tripped, and his sword fell. In this chance, the player must make the sword invisible with Cheshire Cat. He will rage and draw up his twin sword. In this time the player can damage him. The player must repeat the same thing, on the second time the player must use The March Hare's Telekinesis to throw a rock at him as he escapes. On the third time, he rages and break the cage with spinning attack. The player must attract him to a pole near the Bandersnatch's cage. As he strikes, his sword will strike on the pole. The player must use The March Hare again to throw a javelin at the ferocious Bandersnatch. As the Bandersnatch rage, it will kick him, throwing his sword away. The player must make the sword invisible immediately and attack him.
In the anime and manga series Pandora Hearts he is re-imagined as Jack Vessalius, the instigator of the tragedy of Siberia all for in his love for Lacie.
In the Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland game for Nintendo DS, he is the boss of Chapters II and III. Using any of the characters, the player must roll behind Stayne and hit him in the back to slowly deplete his health. In Chapter II he attacks the player near the Mad Hatter's tea party. His most powerful move is where he spins around like a tornado - the player can dodge this continuously using the roll until he falls dizzy and can be hit a large number of times. After his defeat, Stayne flees.
When he reappears in Chapter III at the Red Queen's castle bridge, Stayne must be defeated using a similar pattern except he now has more health. He also now has another move where he pulls out a spiky sphere and rolls it towards the player. As the ball rolls, Stayne will quickly regenerate health, and if it hits the player it will almost entirely deplete his/her health. However, the player can use the White Rabbit to reverse time over the sphere and send it back towards Stayne; this will cause him to run but fall and lose a fairly large amount of health. After his second defeat, Stayne falls unconscious and drops a piece of Underland which allows the player to venture deeper into the castle.
Stayne's corpse in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Tom Hiddleston was considered for the role of the Knave of Hearts before Crispin Glover was cast.
The Knave of Hearts was going to return as a supporting antagonist in Alice Through the Looking Glass and Crispin Glover will reprise his role. But all of his scenes are deleted from the final cut and he was revealed to be killed.