The Legend (and Evolution) of Snow White

When one is asked about Snow White, there is a good chance that the person will think of the incredibly popular Disney film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. But the Disney version of the fairy tale is just one of many, and the legend of Snow White goes back much further and is much more complex than meets the eye. The original story has origins throughout all of Europe. The most famous is the version by the Grimm brothers, two German authors who also are often associated with the stories of Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Cinderella. The Grimm brothers version consists of a thirteen year old princess named Snow White, who is described as incredibly beautiful with blood red lips, pale white skin, and black hair. Snow White’s maternal figure (either her mother or step mother, it changes depending on the story) is known as the Evil Queen, who is jealous of Snow White’s beauty and tries to kill her throughout various points in the story. Initially, the Queen’s magic mirror tells her that Snow White is fairest in all the world, making the Queen incredibly jealous. Then she sends a huntsman into the woods with Snow White and demands he cut out her heart. Unable to do so, the huntsman cuts out the organs of an animal and returns them to the Queen, saying they are Snow White’s organs only to be betrayed by the mirror later. The Queen herself then tries to kill Snow White by using disguises, such as dressing as a farmer’s wife and magically binding Snow White with ropes. Luckily, the princess is saved by a group of seven dwarfs that she lives with in the enchanted forest each time. The Queen then succeeds in killing Snow White when she feeds her a poisoned apple and the dwarves are unable to revive her. A travelling prince sees her body, which the dwarfs have placed in a glass casket, and asks to bring the body home with him. As his servants carry the body of Snow White to the prince’s castle they drop the casket and dislodge the piece of the poisoned apple stuck in her throat, thereby reviving Snow White and allowing the Prince to marry her. The Queen, having returned to the mirror thinking Snow White is dead, asks who is now the fairest of them all. The mirror then tells her that the young queen is fairest, sending her again into a jealous rage as she goes to see the young queen. To her horror, it is Snow White. As a punishment for the evil she has done in the past, the Evil Queen is forced to wear a pair of red hot shoes and forced to dance until she drops dead. There are minor differences throughout the different versions of the story. In one, the Evil Queen takes Snow White into the woods herself to pick flowers, where she then abandons her. The role with the most variation within the story, however, has got to be that of Snow White. Over time, Snow White has evolved from a teenage princess into characters ranging from an independent warrior to a modern day teenager. Here’s a list of the top five versions of Snow White, and why these versions are the best. 1. Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) -The classic representation of Snow White that is almost as timeless as the legend itself. The Disney film completely perfectly portrays Snow’s kindness and purity of heart through their character of Snow White, a girl abused by her wicked stepmother who hopes for a brighter future somewhere else. Through songs, dancing, and adorable animals, Disney brought Snow White’s name to Hollywood and made her a lifelong star. 2. Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White from Once Upon a Time (2011) -The representation of Snow White in the hit ABC series Once Upon a Time gives new light to the character and portrays her in a more human light. Independent, tough, and a spunky thief to boot, the representation of Snow White definitely draws the viewer in for more. It abandons the pure and innocent concept and allows Snow White to me a little more rugged and a little less perfect, making her all the more lovable. 3. Snow White from The Tenth Kingdom (2000) -The mini-series representation of Snow White was one that is rarely discussed but was incredibly unique. This Snow White, unlike any other example, proved to be a mentor as opposed to a damsel in distress. Instead of getting poisoned by the apple, she aided the young heroine in overcoming her obstacles and defeating the Evil Queen. To see Snow White in a powerful position as opposed to her usual portrayal allows for her character to be developed into one that is more complex. 4. Sydney White from Sydney White (2007) -Amanda Bynes’ fun and quirky portrayal of Snow White in this modern update is one that definitely deserves to make the count. In the update, Sydney White (based upon Snow White) must save her seven nerdy friends’ from losing their home to the evil queen bee on her college campus. The story is basically the same, except without magical powers, but the character of Sydney is so sweet and lovable that one cannot help but love her just as much as they love the original Snow White. 5. Snow White from Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) -Kristen Stewart portrays a warrior Snow White who is on a mission to stop the Wicked Queen by waging a war against her. This representation of Snow White is one that is not blinded by emotional attachments or sentiment and is truly a warrior, a unique take on a character whom so many see as a pure and loving princess. The film is due out June 1 of this year, and will surely make an imprint on the cultural understanding of the character of Snow White.