claire underwood in season 3 of House of CardsAfter months of waiting, "House of Cards" has finally returned. Frank and Claire Underwood have worked their way to the top of the political ladder as President and First Lady of the United States. Frank is the ostensible protagonist of the show, Machiavelli with a Southern accent and a penchant for speaking directly to the audience. However, Frank's unceasing self-involvement can be tiring at times. He would never have succeeded without the help of his own Lady Macbeth, Claire, and it is she who is the real fascinating focal point of the show. Here are the reasons why Claire is the real hero (or antihero) of "House of Cards."

(WARNING: Mild season 3 spoilers ahead.)

1. She's brave
Claire has had to make a series of difficult choices throughout the three seasons of "House of Cards," often sacrificing personal comfort or happiness for political advancement. Admitting to having an abortion publicly definitely takes some guts, even if it is a politically calculated action. Claire always seems as if she is in control of the situation, even if this isn't the case, and fights for what she believes she and her husband deserve, no matter the consequences.

2. She's ruthless
There's a reason that Frank and Claire work so well together, and that's largely because they are both so conniving. Frank is willing to kill to get what he wants, but Claire is willing to publicly shame and humiliate anyone who gets in her way. Probably the biggest example of this would be her cancellation of a pregnant former employee's health insurance, depriving her of medicine so she'd drop a wrongful termination lawsuit. It's an undoubtedly cruel move, but one so savvy that the viewer can only look on with amazement.

3. She's brilliant
Before becoming the wife of the Vice President, and then President, Claire was the CEO of the nonprofit Clean Water Initiative. But beyond being the leader of an impressive organization, Claire is also half the brains behind Frank's political upward mobility. The two's late-night cigarette plotting sessions are a testament to their mutual ingenuity, as they plan to tear the world down to get what they want.

4. She has occasional doubts
Frank always seems to look upon his advancement with glee, and is willing to be ruthless without a second thought. This makes him an entertaining but not very complex character. Claire, on the other hand, is shown to have occasional doubts, or at the very least fleeting moments of regret. This can be seen in her decision to break off her relationship with Adam Galloway, who offered her happiness but not advancement. In the third season, it seems as if Claire is beginning to understand that she has sacrificed everything in her life for Frank's political career. This recognition is a crucial aspect of the newest season, showcasing Claire's doubts towards the life she has helped to create.

5. She has amazing style
Claire's fashionable sensibilities are actually a weapon, contributing to her aura of composed intelligence. She is always wearing a beautiful ensemble, which makes her seem even more intimidating and coldly aloof. Claire doesn't want to be put on a pedestal, but she does want others to know that she's smarter, better, and able to take them down. Her choice of clothes and hair are calculated moves, just like everything else in her life, designed to fill a person with awe.

Grace Segers is a student at Tufts University and a contributor to Moviefone's Campus Beat.