I grew up with a pretty tough mom. She was a self-appointed neighborhood watchdog, and if she saw that any of the local boys were up to no good, she would scold them on the spot. Although she is only 5 feet 2, she was famous in our neighborhood for intimidating men three times her size and getting them to do the right thing.
There are always signs that a reign is ending, and they are usually spotted not in the king himself but in his court. In the inner circle, latent jealousies between advisers spill into open conflict, as they angrily debate who is to blame for the calamity, chewing over each other's past errors and pointing the finger at old and nascent enemies.