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The Dark History Of Snow White

The 1819 Grimm version of the story begins like many fairy tales, with a queen wishing for a daughter. After pricking her finger while sewing, three drops of blood land on the snow, and the queen is struck by the beautiful contrast, thinking, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame.” Soon after, the queen is blessed with the birth of a daughter, but the queen dies during childbirth.

Within a year, the king remarried “a beautiful woman, but she was proud and arrogant” (per Grimm). The new queen worries someone will eclipse her beauty, so she asks her magic mirror if she is still the most beautiful. All is well until Snow White becomes more beautiful, and then there is hell to pay. In this version of the Grimm story, the king is never mentioned again, leaving us to wonder if he also died, or if he allows his new wife to mistreat Snow White.

Disney’s version skips Snow White’s origins, setting the stage by telling us Snow White lives with her “Wicked Stepmother” who dresses Snow White in rags and makes her work as a “scullery maid.” There is no mention of Snow White’s parents in the Disney classic, leading audience members to assume both parents were dead. Mari Ness with Tor suggested they streamlined the story because of the time constraint of an 88-minute running time.



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