Evil Queen

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The Evil Queen
The Evil Queen with her mirror in an American illustration from 1913
First appearanceGrimms' Fairy Tales (1812)
Created byThe Brothers Grimm (adapted from pre-existing fairy tales)
In-universe information
OccupationQueen consort, witch (secretly)
ChildrenSnow White (daughter in the original version, stepdaughter since the 1819 revision)

The Evil Queen, also called the Wicked Queen, is a fictional character and the main antagonist of "Snow White", a German fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm; similar stories are also known to exist in other countries. Other versions of the Queen appear in "Snow White" derivative works, and the character has also become an archetype for unrelated works of fiction.

The Evil Queen is Snow White's evil and vindictive stepmother who is obsessed with being "the fairest in the land". The beautiful young princess Snow White evokes the Queen's sense of envy, so the Queen designs a number of plans to kill Snow White through the use of witchcraft. A driving force in the story is the Queen's Magic Mirror. In the traditional resolution of the story, the Queen is grotesquely executed for her crimes. The tale is meant as a lesson for young children warning them against the dangers of narcissism, pride, and hubris.

Various other versions of the Queen appear in subsequent adaptations and continuations of the fairy tale, including novels and films. In these, the Queen is often re-imagined and sometimes portrayed more sympathetically, such as being morally conflicted or suffering from madness instead of being simply evil. In some of the revisionist stories she has even been portrayed as an antihero or a tragic hero. In some instances, she serves as the protagonist of the story; one particularly notable version is Disney's depiction, sometimes known as Queen Grimhilde. The Queen has also become an archetype that inspired several characters featured in works not directly based on the original tale.

In "Snow White"[edit]

In the Brothers Grimm tale[edit]

The queen with her mirror, from 1921's My Favourite Book of Fairy Tales (illustrated by Jennie Harbour)

The Evil Queen is a very beautiful but proud and arrogant woman who is secretly dabbling in dark arts. When the King's first wife, the Good Queen passes away, Snow White's father marries again. The King's new and second wife is very beautiful, but she is also a wicked and vain woman. She owns a magic mirror, which one day informs her that her young stepdaughter Princess Snow White has surpassed her in beauty.

After deciding to eliminate Snow White, the Queen orders her Huntsman to take the princess into the forest and kill her. The Queen tells him to bring back Snow White's lungs and liver, as proof that the princess is dead. However, the Huntsman takes pity on Snow White, and instead, brings the Queen the lungs and liver of a wild boar. The Queen has the cook prepare the lungs and liver and she eats what she believes are Snow White's organs.

While questioning her mirror 10 years later, the Queen discovers that Snow White has survived. Intending to kill Snow White herself, she uses witchcraft to prepare poison and take the disguise of an old peddler woman. She visits the dwarfs' house and sells Snow White laces for a corset that she laces too tight in an attempt to asphyxiate the girl. When that fails, the Queen returns as a comb seller and tricks Snow White into using a poisoned comb. When the comb fails to kill Snow White, the Queen again visits Snow White disguised as a farmer's wife and gives Snow White a poisoned apple.

Eventually, Snow White and the Prince from another kingdom reveal the Queen's true nature and invite her to their wedding where she is forced to put on red-hot iron shoes and "dance" until she drops dead.[1]

Alternative fates[edit]

The Queen at Snow White's wedding in a 1905 German illustration

In the classic ending of "Snow White", the Evil Queen is tricked into attending Snow White's wedding and put to death by torment. This is often considered to be too dark and potentially horrifying for children in modern society. Sara Maitland wrote that "we do not tell this part of the story any more; we say it is too cruel and will break children's soft hearts."[2] Therefore, many (especially modern) revisions of the fairy tale often change the gruesome classic ending in order to make it seem less violent. In some versions instead of dying, the Queen is merely prevented from committing further wrongdoings. However, in the same 2014 nationwide UK poll that considered the Queen from "Snow White" the scariest fairy tale character of all time (as cited by 32.21% of responding adults), around two-thirds opined that today's stories are too "sanitised" for children.[3]

Already the first English translation of the Grimms' tale, written by Edgar Taylor in 1823, has the Queen choke on her own envy upon the sight of Snow White alive. Another early (1871) English translation by Susannah Mary Paull "replaces the Queen's death by cruel physical punishment with death by self-inflicted pain and self-destruction" when it was her own shoes that became hot due to her anger.[4]

Other alternative endings can have the Queen just instantly drop dead "of anger" at the wedding[5] or in front of her mirror upon learning about it,[6] die from her own designs going awry (such as from touching her own poisoned rose[7]) or by nature (such as falling into quicksands while crossing a swamp on her way back to the castle after poisoning Snow White[8]), be killed by the dwarfs during a chase,[9] be destroyed by her own mirror,[10] run away into the forest never to be seen again,[11] or simply being banished from the kingdom forever.[12]


Origins and evolution[edit]

The Evil Queen's origins can be traced to the character of Silver-Tree, a jealous queen who threatens her daughter, in the Celtic oral tale "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree".[13] According to Kenny Klein, the enchantress Ceridwen of the Welsh mythology was "the quintissential evil stepmother, the origin of that character in the two tales of Snow White and Cinderella".[14] Oliver Madox Hueffer noted that the wicked stepmother with magical powers threatening a young princess is a recurring theme in fairy tales; one similar character is the witch-queen in "The Wild Swans" as told by Hans Christian Andersen.[15]

The Queen in disguise, offering lace to Snow White (a late 19th-century German illustration)

Rosemary Ellen Guiley suggests that the Queen uses an apple because it recalls the temptation of Eve; this creation story from the Bible led the Christian Church to view apples as a symbol of sin. Many people feared that apples could carry evil spirits, and that witches used them for poisoning.[16] Robert G. Brown of Duke University also makes a connection with the story of Adam and Eve, seeing the Queen as a representation of the archetype of Lilith.[17] The symbol of an apple has long had traditional associations with enchantment and witchcraft in some European cultures, as in case of Morgan le Fay's Avalon ("Isle of the Apples").[18]

In some Scottish versions of "Snow White"-type fairy tales, a talking trout takes the place of the Queen's mirror, the Queen is the princess' biological mother, rather than her stepmother, the huntsman figure is the princess' own father, and the Queen's fate remains unresolved.[19] The tale varies widely from place to place, with the Queen using various tricks against the princess. For example, in Italy, the Queen uses a toxic comb, a contaminated cake, or a suffocating braid. The Queen's demands of proof from the huntsman (often her lover in non-Grimm versions[20]) also vary: a bottle of blood stoppered with the princess' toe in Spain, or the princess' intestines and blood-soaked shirt in Italy.[21] In France, a local tale features a poisoned tomato.[14] One of the early variations of the tale was Giambattista Basile's "The Young Slave".

The iron shoes being heated in an illustration from an 1852 Icelandic translation of the Grimms' story

The Grimm brothers invented the motif of the Queen's execution at Snow White's wedding; the original story sees her punished by the King. The Grimms noted on the margin of their 1810 manuscript: "The ending is not quite right and is lacking something."[22] Diane Purkiss attributes the Queen's fiery death to "the folkbelief that burning a witch's body ended her power, a belief which subtended (but did not cause) the practice of burning witches in Germany",[23] while the American Folklore Society noted that the use of iron shoes "recalls folk practices of destroying a witch through the magic agency of iron".[24]

The Brothers Grimm collected the German fairy tale in their 1812 Kinder- und Hausmärchen ("Children's and Household Tales", more commonly known in English as Grimms' Fairy Tales). In the first edition of the Brothers Grimm story, the Queen is Snow White's biological mother, not her stepmother. This motif changed in subsequent versions,[25] after 1819.[26] The earliest version was known as "Snow Drop".[27] Jack Zipes said "the change from 'evil mother' to 'evil stepmother' for example, was because the brothers 'held motherhood sacred'.[28] According to Sheldon Cashdan, Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, a "cardinal rule of fairy tales" mandates that the "heroes and heroines are allowed to kill witches, sorceresses, even stepmothers, but never their own mothers".[29] Zipes' 2014 collection of Grimm fairy tales in their original forms reinstated the Queen as Snow White's mother.[30][31]


According to some scholars, the story is constructed and characters are presented with ageist undertones. The University of Hawaii professor Cristina Bacchilega said, "I think there is still very much an attachment to vilifying the older, more powerful woman."[32] Roger Sale opined that "the term 'narcissism' seems altogether too slippery to be the only one we want here. There is, for instance, no suggestion that the queen's absorption in her beauty ever gives her pleasure, or that the desire for power through sexual attractiveness is itself a sexual feeling. What is stressed is the anger and fear that attend the queen's realization that as she and Snow White both get older, she must lose. This is why the major feeling involved is not jealousy but envy: to make beauty that important is to reduce the world to one in which only two people count."[19] Terri Windling wrote that the Queen is "a woman whose power is derived from her beauty; it is this, the tale implies, that provides her place in the castle's hierarchy. If the king’s attention turns from his wife to another, what power is left to an aging woman? Witchcraft, the tale answers. Potions, poisons, and self-protection."[19] According to Zipes, "the queen's actions are determined by the mirror's representations of her as exemplifying beauty and evil, or associating evil and vanity with beauty, and these mirror representations are taken as the truth by the queen. Had she perhaps doubted and cracked the mirror, cracked the meaning of the mirror, she might still be alive today."[33] Deborah Lipp, discussing the character's archetype, stated that "in fact Western culture had, for hundreds of years, associated the idea of powerful, commanding women with witchcraft and evil. That's why, I think, the most interesting women in stories have been villainesses."[34] Zipes opined that the Queen character is much more complex and "as a figure she is much more fascinating than this dumb, innocent, naïve Snow White. So why not focus on this figure who is tragic in many, many ways. We really don't know too much about her - where she gets her powers. She's mysterious."[32]

Whereas Snow White achieves inner harmony, her stepmother fails to do so. Unable to integrate the social and the antisocial aspects of human nature, she remains enslaved to her desires and gets caught up in an Oedipal competition with her daughter from which she cannot extricate herself. This imbalance between her contradictory drives proves to be her undoing.[35]

Bruno Bettelheim

Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar regard Snow White and her mother/stepmother as two female stereotypes, the angel and the monster.[36] The fact that the Queen was Snow White's biological mother in the first version of the Grimms' story has led several psychoanalytic critics to interpret "Snow White" as a story about repressed Oedipus complex, or about Snow White's Electra complex.[36] Harold Bloom opined that the three "temptations" all "testify to a mutual sexual attraction between Snow White and her stepmother."[37] According to Bruno Bettelheim, the story's main motif is "the clash of sexual innocence and sexual desire"[35] and Cashdan wrote that the Queen's "incessant query, 'Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?' literally reflects her fear that the king will find Snow White more appealing than her. It thus is the implicit sexual struggle between the young girl and the queen."[29] This struggle is so dominating the psychological landscape of the tale, that Gilber and Gubar even proposed renaming the story "Snow White and Her Wicked Stepmother".[21][38]

According to Bettelheim, "only the death of the jealous queen (the elimination of all outer and inner turbulence) can make for a happy world."[39] Cashdan opined "the death of the witch signals a victory of virtue over vice, a sign that positive forces in the self have prevailed," and "the active involvement of heroine in the witch's demise communicates to readers that they must take an active role in overcoming their own errant tendencies." The evil queen "embodies narcissism, and the young princess, with whom readers identify, embodies parts of the child struggling to overcome this tendency. Vanquishing the queen represents a triumph of positive forces in the self over vain impulses." According to Cashdan, "her death constitutes the emotional core of the tale" as the story could easily end with the resurrection of Snow White, "but there is one detail that needs to be resolved: the wicked queen is still alive. Her continued existence means not only that Snow White's life remains in jeopardy, but that the princess is apt to be plagued by vain temptations for the rest of her days. Unless the evil woman is eliminated once and for all, Snow White will never be free."[29] Similarly, the psychologist Betsy Cohen wrote that "in order to avoid becoming a wicked queen herself, Snow White needs to separate from and kill off this destructive force inside of her. The death of the wicked queen allows Snow White to truly celebrate her marriage, the bringing together of herself." Cohen further wrote that "the queen was forced to face her own mortality, the inevitability of death. As Snow White rids herself of her envious stepmother, she is, at the same time, next in line to become a mother herself—more able, we hope, to deal with envy than her stepmother had been."[40]

Regarding the manner of the Queen's execution, Jo Eldridge Carney, Professor of English at The College of New Jersey, wrote: "Again, the fairy tale's system of punishment is horrific but apt: a woman so actively consumed with seeking affirmation from others and with violently undoing her rival is forced to enact her own physical destruction as a public spectacle."[41] According to Sheldon Donald Haase, Professor of German, and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, "a measure of justice is achieved" with "the sadistic punishment to some extent fitting the crime. The glowing shoes, an appropriate symbol for her own unbridled envy, bring about her final demise."[36] Likewise, Mary Ayers of the Stanford University School of Medicine wrote that the red-hot shoes symbolise that the Queen was "subjected to the effects of her own inflamed, searing hot envy and hatred."[42] It was also noted that this ending echoes the fairy tale of "The Red Shoes", which similarly "warns of the danger of attachment to appearances."[43]

Should we cheer on Snow White's wicked stepmother as she dances to her death in red-hot iron shoes? Parents may believe in promoting high spirits, but they will not be keen about giving their approval to stories in which 'happily ever after' means witnessing the bodily torture of villains.[44]

Maria Tatar

John Hanson Saunders of the Pennsylvania State University wrote that the Queen's "rather barbaric...torture and death gives closure to the reader and the death seems more fitting...Her death can provide justice and allows the audience to see good triumph over evil."[45] Cashdan argued that, from a psychological viewpoint, the Queen could not flee or get merely locked up in a dungeon or exiled, as the story has portrayed her "as a thoroughly despicable creature who deserves the worst conceivable punishment." Furthermore, he claims "such a horrible death" is necessary because, like in several other fairy tales, "if the witch is to die — and remain dead — she must die in a way that makes her return highly unlikely," and so "the reader needs to know that the death of the witch is thorough and complete, even if it means exposing young readers to acts of violence that are extreme by contemporary standards."[29] On the other hand, Oliver Madox Hueffer wrote that "it is impossible not to feel a certain sympathy with this unfortunate royal lady in her subsequent fate."[15] According to Sharna Olfman, Professor of Psychology at the Point Park University, "when reading or listening to stories, children aren't assaulted with precreated graphic visual imagery. They don't have to see close-ups of...the agony of pain in the queen's eyes as she dances to her death." Nevertheless, Olfman's personal preference is to "skip the torture scenes when I read these stories to kids."[46] Anthony Burgess commented: "Reading that, how seriously can we take it? It is fairy-tale violence, which is not like real mugging, terrorism and Argentinean torture."[47]

In derivative works[edit]

An entertainer dressed as the Evil Queen at the Walt Disney World

The character was portrayed in a variety of ways in the subsequent adaptations and reimaginations of the classic fairy tale. According to Lana Berkowitz of the Houston Chronicle, "Today stereotypes of the evil queen and innocent Snow White often are challenged. Rewrites may show the queen is reacting to extenuating circumstances."[32] Scott Meslow of The Atlantic noted that "Disney's decision to throw out the Grimms's appropriately grim ending—which sentences the evil queen to dance in heated iron shoes until her death—has meant that ending is all but forgotten."[48]

Actresses who have played the Wicked Queen in "Snow White" stage productions (usually pantomime plays) have included Stephanie Beacham,[49] Lucy Benjamin,[50] Andrée Bernard (as Queen Lacretia),[51] Jennifer Ellison,[52] Jade Goody,[53] Jerry Hall,[54][55] Lesley Joseph,[56] Patsy Kensit,[57][58] Josie Lawrence (as Morgiana the Wicked Queen),[59] Joanne Malin,[60] Vicki Michelle,[61] Denise Nolan,[62] Su Pollard,[63] Priscilla Presley,[citation needed] Liz Robertson,[64] and Toyah Willcox.[65] The role was also played by "Lily Savage" (Paul O'Grady)[66] and Craig Revel Horwood.[67][68]

Reimagined adaptations in literature[edit]

  • Black as Night: In this adolescent novel by Regina Doman, set in modern New York City, Elaine is an egocentric stepmother to Blanche (Snow White).
  • Blancanieves: This 1992 short story by Carmen Boullosa explores the concept of female sexuality, focusing on the relationship between the Queen and the forester (the hunter), and the 'love' triangle between the two and Blancanieves (Snow White). In it, the sexually aggressive Queen dominates the forester, who, within his narrative, blames his sexual weakness on the magic potion that he was forced to drink.
  • Boy, Snow, Bird: This 2014 novel by Helen Oyeyemi is a reimagination of "Snow White" set in 1950s New England.[69] Oyeyemi said she wrote a wicked stepmother story because she "wanted to rescue the wicked queen from Snow White, because she seemed to find being a villain a bit of a hassle in a lot of ways. She wasn’t very efficient – it took her three tries to kill Snow White, for example. And I had read Barbara ComynsThe Juniper Tree, which is a retelling of the fairy tale from the perspective of the wicked stepmother, as well, so I began to see a way that I could do it for myself."[70]
  • Don't Bet on the Prince: In the "Snow White" chapter of Merseyside Fairy Story Collective's (edited by Jack Zipes) Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England, the evil queen is ousted by popular revolution.
  • Fairest: In this 2006 novel by Gail Carson Levine, Queen Ivi is an insecure 19-year-old new queen of Ayortha, who is assisted by Skulni, the mysterious, evil creature living in Ivi's magic mirror. The cold-hearted and power-hungry Ivi blackmails the 15-year-old protagonist Aza into becoming her singing voice in order to preserve her own reputation. She later plots Aza's death. However, it turns out that Ivi's actions were manipulated by Skulni so that he can take a vacation when Ivi is killed. In the end, Ivi turns away from her evil ways, loses her magically created beauty, and is sent away to a remote castle.
  • The Fairest of Them All: This 2013 novel by Carolyn Turgeon tells how Rapunzel became the evil queen from the story of Snow White.[71]
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns: Julie C. Dao's 2017 East Asian fantasy retelling of the tale where the young future evil Empress Xifeng is the protagonist.[72]
  • Knowledge and a Girl: In Howard Barker's 2002 play Knowledge and a Girl (The Snow White Case), the Queen is the protagonist, attempting to resist the patriarchal and misogynistic structure of the kingdom's court through her lewd sexuality. The Queen is infertile and, at first, the impotent and abusive King actually accepts his wife's promiscuity. Snow White envies the Queen's sexual experience and tries to outdo her stepmother's debauchery. Eventually, however, the King decides to get rid of his Queen. In the final scene, the Queen appears at the marriage of Snow White and is forced to put on red-hot iron shoes; and is determined to defy them by suffering in silence and motionless.
  • The Lunar Chronicles: A series of young adult fantasy / science fiction novels by Marissa Meyer that began with Cinder in 2012. Queen Levana is the books' villain, inspired by the "fascinating" stepmother of Snow White.[73] She is the ruler of the Moon colony of Luna who draws her power from the moon[74] and wants to take over Earth. Her stepdaughter Princess Winter is the protagonist. The series' 2014 prequel, Fairest tells the story of Levana's descent to evil, which begins when she is fifteen years old and covers the next ten years of her life. Meyer said: "In the fairy tale, she has the mirror, and I did a lot with mirrors and played with that element and that concept of what could make a woman so vain that she would commit unspeakable evil to remain the most beautiful woman in her country? I took all of that from that fairy tale and twisted it to match the world of The Lunar Chronicles. ... Some people are very sympathetic toward her and feel like they really have come to understand and pity her. Other readers are like, 'No, she's frickin' crazy.' I personally have always had a great deal of sympathy for her knowing the things she's gone through."[75]
  • The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf: This 2013 novel belongs to Tia Nevitt's romance series Accidental Enchantments. The evil Queen enslaves Prince Richard to her magic mirror so that whenever she uses it he must abide to her every wish and only answer her truthfully. One day, he meets a runaway Princess and is compelled to tell the Queen that she is no longer the fairest of them all. The Princess is then forced to team up with a female human dwarf Gretchen and a man called Lars to break the mirror's spell before the Queen kills them all.
  • Mira, Mirror: In Mette Ivie Harrison's 2004 novel, the titular Mirra was a young apprentice witch who was enchanted by her older sister and a fellow apprentice Amanda into a magic mirror so Amanda could transform herself into the most beautiful woman in the world. Amanda becomes a Queen, but later mysteriously disappears, while the story of Mirra continues.
  • "Mirror": Like a Queen: Lesbian Erotic Fairy Tales, the 2009 compilation of short stories by different authors, includes "Mirror" by Clarice Clique. In it, an unnamed witch embarks to eliminate Snow White, marrying the King for the purpose, but they both fall in love with each other. It is the witch's kiss that revives her after the Prince's had no effect, and she takes Snow White to her castle.
  • "Mirror on the Wall": In this 1993 short story written Connie Hirsh and published in Science Fiction Age in 1993, the fairy-tale is re-told from the point of view of the magic mirror.[76] Queen Adorée (originally known as Adorée Du Mont) received the mirror as a present from her parents. The mirror built Adorée's self-worth but also made her very vain. In the end, the mirror's reluctant testimony is essential to her conviction, as it replayed key events for the court, leading to the Queen's execution.
  • Mirror, Mirror (2003): This 2003 novel by Gregory Maguire casts the historical figure Lucrezia Borgia as the wicked stepmother's role. Bianca de Nevada (Snow White) is born as a child of a minor noble Vicente de Nevada in the 15th century Renaissance Italy. After her father is forced to embark on a quest for a magical apple tree by Cesare Borgia, Bianca is left in the care the beautiful and madly vain Lucrezia who becomes jealous of her lecherous brother Cesare Borgia's interest in the growing child. The seven dwarves are the creators of the quicksilver mirror, which makes Lucrezia increasingly paranoid and insane.
  • Mirror, Mirror (2004): In this short story by Jacey Bedford, the Queen's motivation is to sacrifice her stepdaughter in order to make a lasting peace in the country. (In: Twice Upon a Time, edited by Denise Little.)
  • My Fair Godmother: In this 2009 romantic comedy novel by Janette Rallison, the evil queen is Queen Neferia.
  • Pictures of the Night: In this retelling written by Adèle Geras in 1992, Bella is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents that she believes are being caused by her jealous, malevolent stepmother Marjorie.
  • Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: James Finn Garner included a satirical take on "Snow White" in his 1994 collection Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. The Queen pretends to be an old woman selling apples, which in truth are poisoned. However, during conversation she accidentally bonds with Snow White. Forgetting that the apple in question was poisoned, she shares it with Snow White and both fall comatose to the floor. When the dwarfs discover this, they decide to sell Snow White to the Prince so he can have sex with her. However, when they try to move the two women's bodies, the poisoned apple pieces become dislodged from their throats; the women awaken, angry and disgusted at what they overheard while comatose. The Queen then declares that the dwarfs are trespassers, and throws them out of her forest. She and Snow White later open a spa for women on the same spot.
  • The Princess School: In this children's book series (volumes Who's the Fairest? and Apple-y Ever After) by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens, Snow White's stepmother Queen Malodora is a powerful headmistress of the rival Grimm School for witches.
  • "Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer": In Tanith Lee's titular story in this 1983 collection, the Witch Queen is trying to stop the real villain, her stepdaughter Bianca, who is actually a vampire.
  • "Shattered Snow": Mara in a Snow White retelling by J.M. Sullivan in Blood From A Stone: Twisted Villains Anthology.[77]
  • Snow (2003): In this young adult novel by Tracy Lynn, Lady Anne of Mandagor is a duchess and magician/scientist in 19th century Wales, who needs the heart of her stepdaughter for an experiment.
  • Snow (2010): In this novella by Deborah M. Brown, the Queen's name is Queen Anais and is being manipulated by her huntsman lover Alvarez to hate her stepdaughter.
  • Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All: In Jane Yolen's 2011 Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All, the Queen is a dark magic-using stepmother simply called Stepmama.
  • "Snow Night": In this short story published in Barbara G. Walker's 1996 Feminist Fairy Tales, the King's master of the hunt tries to incite jealousy in the Queen towards her stepdaughter after having been rejected by Snow Night. However, the Queen laughs off her magic mirror's answer, claiming that people go through cycles and that it is impossible to challenge the will of nature. The story suggests that the traditional version of the tale was actually invented by the exiled and crazed huntsman, now imprisoned in a distant country. In the preface, Walker wrote: "Snow White's stepmother seems to have been vilified because (a) she resented being less beautiful than Snow White, and (b) she practiced witchcraft. One might suspect that female beauty was really a larger issue for men than for women, because male sexual response depends to a considerable degree on visual clues. ... A queen who was also a witch would have been a formidable figure, adding political influence to spiritual mana. Snow White's stepmother therefore seems to me a projection of male jealousies. As re-envisioned in this story, she may seem more true to life."[78]
  • Snow White and Her Queen: In the 2017 novel by Anna Ferrara, the Queen falls in love with Snow White but struggles to hide her feelings even as she grows undeniably jealous when Snow White moves in with seven men then marries a Prince.
  • Snow White and the Seven Aliens: In this children's book by Laurence Anholt, the jealous Mean Queen is a former famous pop star who was the lead singer of The Wonderful Wicked Witches.
  • Snow White and the Seven Samurai: In this 1992 comedy novel by Tom Holt, the wicked queen's magic mirror is run by the DOS operating system, which, when hacked, crashes so disastrously that all of the stories get tangled.
  • Snow White Blood Red: This 2012 short book by Cameron Jace is a narrated by the Queen as a letter to Wilhelm Grimm, telling the true story of how the beautiful but monstrous Snow White has fooled both the Huntsman and the Queen herself. In this version, the Queen is Snow White's birth mother. The book serves as a prequel to Jayce's 2013 Snow White Sorrow.
  • Snow White in New York: In this 1986 picture book by Fiona French, set in New York City in the 1920s, Snow White's stepmother is the Queen of the Underworld, "the classiest dame in New York", with the magic mirror's role replaced by the New York Mirror.
  • "Snow, Glass, Apples": The Queen is a tragic hero protagonist of the 1994 short story by Neil Gaiman. She is depicted as struggling desperately to save the kingdom from her unnatural and monstrous stepdaughter. At the end of the story, it all turns out to be a recollection by the Queen as she is roasted alive inside an enormous kiln on the orders by Snow White and the Prince.
  • "So What and the Seven Giraffes": In this short story in Gregory Maguires 2004 parody collection Leaping Beauty: And Other Animal Fairy Tales, Gorilla Queen tries kill the baby chimpanzee named So What by getting a hunter to tear out his heart.
  • "The Tale of the Apple": In Emma Donoghue's 1997 collection Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins, "The Tale of the Apple" is a modern adaptation in which it is the Queen who awakens Snow White from her slumber because she yields to her desire for the princess.
  • "The True Story": This revisionist short story by Pat Murphy, published in the 1998 collection Black Swan, White Raven. It tells a story of a queen who sent her daughter away to avoid the incestal advances of her pedophiliac and abusive husband, the King. The princess is cared for by seven witches in the forest, and when the king dies, she is brought back to rule the kingdom in her own right, instead of at the side of a prince.
  • Truly Grim Tales: This 1999 collection of short stories by Priscilla Galloway includes a version of "Snow White" told from the wicked stepmother's point of view.
  • White as Snow: In Tanith Lee's and Terri Windling's White as Snow, the authors mix "Snow White" with the tragic myth of Demeter and Persephone. In it, the Queen's name is Arpazia.[32]
  • The Princess and the Evil Queen (2019), a novel by Lola Andrews, retells the story of the Evil Queen as a young girl fated by a fairy spell to kill Snow White's father. After she does, the spell demands that she kill Snow White, too, but the story turns into a sensual love story between the queen and Snow White, and their love frees the queen from the fairy spell. In it, the Evil Queen's name is Harlow.

Reimagined adaptations in film and television[edit]

  • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs: This controversial[79] 1943 World War II propaganda cartoon reimagines all the story's characters as African-Americans. The "mean ol' queen" (voiced by Ruby Dandridge and Danny Webb) of the story represents food hoarders at the time of war rationing.
  • Faerie Tale Theatre: In the Snow White episode of this 1984 TV series, the Queen is played by Vanessa Redgrave. In the end, she is punished by a spell that prevents her from ever seeing her reflection again, which drives the Queen to insanity.
  • The Grimm Brothers' Snow White: In this 1916 silent film also known as just Snow White (not to be confused with the other film of the same title from the same year), the evil Princess Alice, played by Ruth Richie, has poisoned the good Queen Mary so that she can assume the throne and become Queen Alice.
  • Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics: The Evil Queen is featured in the "Snow White" episode of this anime voiced by Arlene Banas in the English dub. While her plans to dispose of her through the Huntsman and the purple laces are intact, she is shown to have an ally in the form of an old witch who provided her an old hag potion and a poison apple in exchange for a lovely room in the Evil Queen's castle. After leaving the Seven Dwarfs' house following Snow White eating the poison apple, she is then chased by Snow White's friend Klaus and the Prince. She fights the Prince and Klaus until the wolves that are allied with the Seven Dwarfs show up to aid them. The Evil Queen regresses back to her true form while trying to fight off the wolves "like a lionesses" until the wolves killed her offscreen.
  • Once Upon a Time: In this American TV series, the queen, also known as Regina Mills, is portrayed by Lana Parrilla in all seven seasons of the series. Regina saves Snow White's life when they are younger, leading to Regina's unwilling marriage to Snow's father. When Snow inadvertently causes the death of Regina's true love, Regina grows vengeful and becomes the Evil Queen. After years of failing to kill Snow White, the Evil Queen eventually casts the Dark Curse, provided by her mentor Rumplestiltskin, sending all the fairytale characters to the real world and erasing their true memories. During the curse, Regina adopts a son, Henry. Later, Regina's curse is broken by Snow White's daughter, Emma (who is Henry's biological mother), and Regina decides to try and redeem herself for her son. In time, Regina manages to make amends with Snow White, Emma and her other enemies. She also meets her long lost half-sister, Zelena the Wicked Witch, and falls in love with Robin Hood. In the fifth season, following Robin's death, Regina uses Dr. Jekyll's serum to separate herself from the darkness within her, creating the Evil Queen as a separate individual. In the seventh season, set many years later, Regina is crowned the Good Queen when the realms are united.
  • Grimm's Snow White: In this 2012 film, the Queen's name is Queen Gwendolyn and is played by Jane March. The Queen Gwendolyn plans to marry Prince Alexander and so orders to kill her stepdaughter Snow White who loves him.
  • Happily N'Ever After 2: Snow White Another Bite @ the Apple: In this 2009 animated film, the would-be Queen is Lady Vain, voiced by Cindy Robinson. She seduces King Cole in order to rule the kingdom herself and is aided by Rumpelstiltskin. Snow White is a thorn in Lady Vain's side, who wants Snow White to be gone from the kingdom. She does not poison Snow White; instead, she uses magic to compel Snow White to spread vicious gossip so that her friends and everyone in the kingdom will turn against her. Snow White foils Lady Vain's marriage ceremony by exposing her as a witch. Lady Vain attempts to kill her but a magic ray is deflected back to the magic mirror, breaking its magic and disfiguring her. Snow White tells her "you don't need to be a queen to be beautiful" and the Seven Dwarfs come to take her away.
  • The Legend of Snow White: In this 1994 anime series, the Queen is named Lady Chrystal (voiced by Mari Yokoo), famed for her beauty and ruling over a small neighbouring kingdom, comes to the Emerald Valley in order to marry King Conrad and raise his daughter, Snow White. The new Queen turns out to be not only an evil, selfish, ambitious woman, she also indulges in the black art of sorcery. After the king's departure, the evil Queen, aided by her bat familiar, makes an attempt to kill Snow White. Snow White ends up in a house owned by seven dwarves, who protect her from all harm inflicted by her stepmother. Queen Chrystal tries to take the life of Snow White several times. During the Queen's last attempt, she puts Snow White in an enchanted sleep - by means of a poisoned apple - in order to take over her body. At the end of the series, the Queen is forcibly absorbed by a powerful demon dwelling in her mirror, and the demon is then destroyed by the Prince.
  • Mirror Mirror: Julia Roberts plays the Queen in this 2012 comedy adaptation of Snow White. In this retelling of the original story, the Queen's name is Queen Clementianna.[79] She is portrayed as a vain, insecure woman, who married the king, and turned him into a savage beast using a special necklace. Queen Clementianna spends her time by organizing lavish parties in the palace and buying expensive dresses, while neglecting the kingdom which has caused the people to struggle to survive in harsh weather and poverty due to high taxes by her. She often uses her magic to do her bidding but it often backfires with unintended consequences. Her magic mirror is a portal to the magic mirror world, where she talks to a much younger reflection of herself (played by Lisa Roberts Gillan), and the reflection often warns her not to use her magic for selfish short sighted purposes as Queen Clementianna keeps asking what the price she keeps mentioning is. Queen Clementianna attempts to drugs the prince with a love potion in order to make him marry her and usurp his kingdom (the spell is broken with Snow White's kiss). In her attempts to kill Snow White, she creates two giant wooden puppets. In her final action, she commands the Beast to do so. Once Snow White destroys the neckace on the Beast, she begins to age and the Mirror Queen asks if she is ready to know the price for using magic. In the end, she eats her own poisoned apple offscreen when she is recognized at Snow White's wedding as the Mirror Queen states that it was Snow White's story after all.
  • Order of the Seven: In this cancelled[80] live-action martial arts retelling of the story, set in the 19th century China, the evil queen figure would be an Asian empress.[81][82] The project was previously known under some other working titles such as Snow White and the Seven.
  • Schneewittchen und das Geheimnis der Zwerge: A German movie from 1992 in which the king goes on crusade leaving his kingdom to the queen. The seven dwarves are royal craftsmen serving the crown. Actually they are eight: one of them goes to the court disguised as the black knight with the magic mirror that seems to have been commissioned by the priest who made the king go on crusade. This priest plays a somewhat enigmatic but apparently sinister role - and may indeed be the true villain of the piece. Finally the queen is driven completely mad by the mirror and whisked away to a nunnery by the priest who has been spying on her the whole time and now reacts with open malicious glee. Snow White's father however returns happily. She marries the prince who has lived incognito as a jester, once harshly threatened by the priest, at the court.
  • Snow White (1916): In this silent film, based on the 1912 play (see below), Queen Brangomar (played by Dorothy Cumming) and the Witch are also two separate characters, and it is the latter who demands to have the heart of Snow White. In the end, Brangomar is punished by being turned into a peacock.[83] This 1916 version of "Snow White" inspired Disney's film adaptation.
  • Snow White (1933): In this Betty Boop series cartoon short, the Queen resembles Olive Oyl. At one point, her mirror explodes in a puff of magic smoke that changes her into a hideous monster that chases the protagonists until the Queen's own former guard grabs the monster's tongue and turns it inside out.[83]
  • Snow White (1987): Snow White is one of the nine Cannon Movie Tales fairy tale musicals produced in the 1980s. Diana Rigg starred as the Queen.[83] The plot follows the story of the original fairytale including the three attempts by the Queen to kill Snow White (a tight bodice, a poisoned silver comb and finally the poisoned half of a red and white apple, the white half having no poison in it in order to trick Snow White into thinking the apple is harmless). When she is invited to Snow White's wedding, the Queen damages the mirror in rage, causing her to age rapidly. After arriving at the wedding, she shatters into glassy pieces and disintegrates.[79]
  • Snow White (1995): In the GoodTimes Entertainment adaption of the story, the Queen uses magic to disguise herself then tries to strangle Snow White with laces, give her a poisoned comb, and sell her poisoned apples. The Queen believes that Snow White is finally dead, until the day she leaves for a wedding held in the city. Before she leaves, the Queen asks her mirror who is the loveliest woman in the kingdom; she is horrified to learn that the answer is Snow White, still alive, whose marriage is the very one she is about to attend. In a fit of rage, the Queen begins to smash all the mirrors in her throne room. The mirror begins to suck the horrified Queen in, taunting her for her attempts to murder Snow White. The Queen is last seen banging on the other side of the glass before disappearing.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Charlize Theron played the Queen in the 2012 adaptation of Snow White titled Snow White and the Huntsman.[84][85] In this retelling of the original story, her name is Queen Ravenna. Queen Ravenna is depicted as scheming and power-hungry as well as vain. She kills the King on their wedding night, so her animosity toward Snow White is not rooted in competition for the King's favor. Rather, the Queen Ravenna fears that Snow White will challenge her rule over the kingdom. Queen Ravenna's obsession with power and beauty is explained by a reference to childhood trauma, in which her mother tells her that beauty is a weapon to be used for protection; additionally, the strength of her powers seems to correlate to her appearance, and both begin to fade as Snow White comes into her own. In fact, Queen Ravenna's mother is seen casting a spell on a young Queen Ravenna as men sworn to an unnamed king appear, presumably to raid the small settlement in which Queen Ravenna and her brother, who is also an antagonist in the film, reside. This iteration of her Magic Mirror assures her that the only way to render her powers and her youth permanent is to consume Snow White's heart. She is destroyed by the Huntsman-trained Snow White in the final duel. Director Rupert Sanders said: "It was very important that we didn’t have a terrible cut-out villain. We had someone who was doing evil things from a fear and weakness. I think it is important that you do sympathize with her to a degree, but also really understand why she is the person she’s become because she wasn’t born evil. It was a journey for her to become evil, and I think it was very important to myself and Charlize Theron to play a realistic version of the queen."[86] Theron said about the character: "At first, I didn't really understand why she was evil or losing her mind, but once I understood that it wasn't just the fact that her mortality relied upon finding Snow White, and that knowing that and not being able to do anything and being stuck in a castle. Well, I think that would be maddening for somebody like her. It reminded me a lot of Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining - that idea that you're stuck in this place and you can't escape it, that cabin fever."[87] Theron was reported as likely to return for the role of Queen Ravenna in the film's sequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War,[88] which opens with a flashback exploring Ravenna's relationship with her younger sister, Freya, whose ice powers are awoken after her lover apparently kills their daughter. At the film's conclusion, Ravenna is revealed to have hidden part of herself in the Mirror, allowing her to be restored to life when Freya tries to claim its power, but this backfires when Ravenna reveals that she was responsible for the death of Freya's daughter out of jealousy, prompting Freya to aid the Huntsman in destroying the mirror and thus apparently killing Ravenna. Although a golden raven flying away hints that a part of the Mirror, and thus Ravenna, may have survived.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Queen, usually known as the Evil Queen or the Wicked Queen, is the villain in the 1937 Disney animated film. This version of the character was sometimes referred to as Queen Grimhilde in Disney publications of the 1930s, and was originally voiced by Lucille La Verne. The film's Queen, in the form of an old witch, falls to her death after poisoning Snow White. In the film, similar to the Brothers Grimm story, the Queen is cold, cruel, and extremely vain, and obsessively desires to remain the "fairest in the land". She becomes madly envious over the beauty of her stepdaughter, as well as the attentions of the Prince from another land; such love triangle element is one of Disney's changes to the story. This leads her to plot the death of Snow White and ultimately on the path to her own demise, which in the film is indirectly caused by the Seven Dwarfs. The film's version of the Queen character uses her dark magic powers to actually transform herself into an old woman instead of just taking a disguise like in the Grimms' story; this appearance of hers is commonly referred to as the Wicked Witch or alternatively as the Old Hag or just the Witch. The film's version of the Queen was created by Walt Disney and Joe Grant, and originally animated by Art Babbit and voiced by Lucille La Verne. Inspiration for her design came from several sources, including the characters of Queen Hash-a-Motep from She and Princess Kriemhild from Die Nibelungen, as well as actresses such as Joan Crawford and Gale Sondergaard. The Queen has since been voiced by Eleanor Audley, Louise Chamis and Susanne Blakeslee, and was portrayed live by Anne Francine, Jane Curtin and Olivia Wilde, and in alternative versions, by Lana Parrilla (Once Upon a Time) and Kathy Najimy (Descendants). This interpretation of the classic fairy tale character has been very well received by film critics and general public, often being considered one of Disney's most iconic and menacing villains. Besides in the film, the Evil Queen has made numerous appearances in Disney attractions and productions, including not only these directly related to the tale of Snow White, such as Fantasmic!, The Kingdom Keepers and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, sometimes appearing in them alongside Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. The film's version of the Queen has also become a popular archetype that influenced a number of artists and non-Disney works.
  • Snow White and the Three Stooges: In this 1961 film, the Queen is played by Patricia Medina.[83] She transforms into an old witch and the Stooges inadvertently shoot her down from her broom, killing the Queen. She has a companion in the film, the evil wizard Count Oga, who is killed when he falls into a pot of boiling tar.[89]
  • Snow White XXX: Jessica Drake plays the Evil Queen in the 2014 adult film Snow White XXX: An Axel Braun Parody, which is said to largely follow the original story, "with a few added twists."[90] Drake said "playing the Evil Queen in 'Snow White XXX' was amazing. I’m not usually evil by nature, so it was quite a challenge to play such an irredeemable character, but my love of acting made it lots of fun."[91]
  • Snow: Dark Days: An upcoming film adaptation featuring a demonic Queen described as a re-incarnated "evil demon queen that can manipulate/possess humans," to be played by Meghan Chadeayne in an "aggressive" role.[92]
  • Snow White: The Fairest of Them All: In this 2001 television film, a self-loathing crone named Elspeth (Miranda Richardson), who is part of a race of strange humanoid creatures, is transformed into a beautiful queen by her brother, the Green-Eyed Granter of Wishes (Clancy Brown). She becomes jealous when the mirror reveals that her stepdaughter Snow White is the fairest in the land, but in this adaptation she is driven more by insecurities than vanity. She also envies the affection that Prince Alfred shows toward her stepdaughter. She disguises herself as Snow White's deceased mother Josephine and succeeds in poisoning her with an apple. At the climax of the film, the Green-Eyed One turns Elspeth into a withered old crone once again and she is throttled to death off-screen by the dwarves whom she had once turn to stone. Josephine is played by Vera Farmiga and the Old Crone form is played by Karin Konoval.
  • Snow White: A Tale of Terror: In this 1997 film, the character is not a queen, but rather a noblewoman named Lady Claudia Hoffman, played by Sigourney Weaver who was acclaimed for her role.[79] She marries widower nobleman Fredric Hoffman and tries to befriend his daughter Lilli, but Lilli rejects her. The nanny has a heart attack after looking into a mirror she and Lilli find in the Lady's room. By the time Lilli is a teenager, she and her stepmother's relationship has not warmed although they are civil to one another. By the ninth year of her marriage to Lord Hoffman, the Lady is finally pregnant with a son. The night of the celebratory dance, Claudia is enraged that Lilli is receiving all of the attention and suffers such a severe rush of stress that she collapses and goes into childbirth and the baby is stillborn. Driven mad by grief, she turns to her magic mirror for reassurance, but sees her reflection distorted and deformed. When the mirror blames Lilli for the baby's death. Claudia begins to plot her stepdaughter's assassination. Lilli goes to play in the forest, and Claudia sends her mute, inbred brother to kill her. When she escapes, the brother kills a pig and gives the Lady Claudia the organs as proof of Lilli's death. Claudia serves part of the organs as a stew which she eats with cannibalistic relish. When her mirror tells her that her stepdaughter is alive, she uses black magic to murder her brother. Then Lady Claudia learns Lilli's whereabouts from her ravens and attempts to kill her and the seven miners with whom Lilli hides. She first buries a bird in the falling sand of an hourglass to cause a cave-in at the mine, killing a miner, Father Gilbert. Later she pushes over her husband's statues of the Saints to make the trees in the miner's forest home fall over, killing another miner, Lawrence. Finally, she takes her mirror's advice to kill Lilli with the Serpent's fruit: the poison apple. Using the black magic to disguise herself as an old hag, Claudia poisons Lilli with the poison apple, placing her in a coma. When Lilli at last is healed, she, Gutenberg, and Will, the chief miner, confront Claudia. A fight ensues during which a fire breaks out. Lilli ultimately kills her stepmother by stabbing her image in the mirror, causing Claudia to rapidly age. As Claudia screams in horror, the mirror explodes and the shards of glass strike her; she screams in horror and blunders into the flames, catching fire. She flails around in agony until she is finally crushed by falling debris.
  • Sydney White: In this 2007 teen comedy film, Sara Paxton plays Rachel Witchburn, the mean leader of the student council and the head of the sorority that Sydney White wants to attend. Jealous of Sydney, Rachel hires a hacker to destroy Sydney's computer files using a virus called The Poison Apple. Nevertheless, Sydney wins the debate and the election, becoming the new president, while Rachel is stripped of her sisterhood by her sisters because of her cruelty to them.
  • Willa: An American Snow White: This 1998 television film places "Snow White" in the United States during 1910. Regina Worthington (played by Caitlin O'Connell) is a retired stage star jealous of her stepdaughter, Willa who has ambitions to become an actress and only wishes to gain her stepmother's approval, remaining quite oblivious to the older woman's resentment. When Willa arrives at a party Regina is throwing, Regina believes that her stepdaughter is more beautiful than her and flies into hysterics, ordering her henpecked butler Otto to kill Willa and bring her proof. Otto drives Willa into the forest where she takes refuge with a traveling medicine show sells her "Chief Tonka's Elixir of Life", a highly alcoholic potion that is supposed to reverse aging. Consumed by madness, Regina kills Otto then almost kills Willa, who is playing Snow White in a theater, but the girl is ironically saved by the false medicine and subsequently cast in a moving picture. A demented Regina interrupts the picture and drinks from the Elixir of Life before throwing it over near some candles, perhaps inadvertently setting fire to the stage and herself. Dr. Tonker who claims to have seen Regina perform Juliet in a Brooklyn theatre says that she was described as "the Tragic Queen" and "could bring an audience to its feet" adding that she serves as a cautionary tale against "the corrosive effects of fame and fortune." Regina is based not only on the Queen but also on Norma Desmond with aspects of Miss Havisham and Baby Jane Hudson.

Reimagined adaptations in comics and theatre[edit]

  • DC Universe: The Queen of Fables is a witch from the DC Comics universe. She was a scheming villainess who in her youth wrought hell on earth until she was trapped in a book by her own stepdaughter, Snow White. Centuries later, she was freed accidentally by Snow White's descendants and has since faced many Justice League superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, who the Queen thought was Snow White due to her great beauty.
  • Fables: In Bill Willingham's comic book series, Snow White and Rose Red's witch mother is ordered to kill Snow by the King. She fakes her daughter's death and arranges for her to live with her aunt, a widowed queen of a distant land (Snow's mother helped her to achieve this position). Years later, her aunt who is enraged by the fact that Snow is lovelier than her and decides to kill her herself in a manner similar to the fairy tale (first ordering the hunter and then delivering a poisoned apple). In the main series, Snow White is one of the main protagonists as the mayor of Fabletown. She broke up with Prince Charming when he cheated on her with her sister Rose Red. She had a close relationship with Bigby Wolf and eventually married him after giving birth to seven of his cubs.
  • Lost Seven: In this 2008 manga written by Kazuki Nakashima, Queen Rose, also known as The Witch of the Mirror, is a former court magician who usurped the throne and killed all members of the royal family except of Snow White, who managed to escape. She also appears to plan to open a portal to the demon realm through a magic mirror, here called Sephiroth Glass and crafted by Snow White's own family. Queen Rose is killed (as is Snow White), but as the castle crumbles she manages to rescue her own biological daughter, Red Rose, who 10 years later becomes the heroine of the series.
  • Snow White (1877): In this play by Henriette Kühne-Harkort, published in The Queen's Mirror: Fairy Tales by German Women, 1780-1900 in 2001, the Queen figure is Richilde, countess of Brabant, jealous for Prince Kunimund.
Queen Brangomar and Witch Hex in an illustration for the play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1912): In this 1912 play written by "Jessie Graham White" (Winthrop Ames), Queen Brangomar is jealous of Prince Florimond's love of Snow White. Brangomar summons Witch Hex (Hexy), a powerful godmother. In the end, Snow White forgives the Queen and, despite objections from the hunter (Berthold) who wants Brangomar dead, lets her go away unharmed.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1995): In the comedic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Musical Based Upon the Story by the Brothers Grimm by Carol Weiss, the Queen (Lucretia), Witch Wicked, and Snow White's mother Letitia are all sisters. In this version, the Queen is cursed with an ugliness spell and forced to remain this way.
  • Snow White and the Seven Robots: A Graphic Novel: In this 2015 comic book by Louise Simonson the Queen exiles the child genius scientist Snow White "so she cannot grow up and take the Queen's place as the most intelligent person on the planet."[93]
  • Snow White: The Graphic Novel: In 2009's Snow White: The Graphic Novel by Martin Powell, Queen Mara has the prince imprisoned inside the magic mirror and Snow White is unrelated and unknown to her until the mirror reveals the news about her beauty.

Sequels to "Snow White"[edit]


  • "The Dead Queen": Robert Coover's satirical erotic story "The Dead Queen" (1973) re-tells the fairy tale from the perspective of the Prince, deeply disappointed with Snow White and her creepy sexual relationship with the dwarves. At the Queen's funeral after her fiery execution, as she is buried in Snow White's former glass coffin, he suddenly realized that the Queen had loved him and had died for him. In desperation, he attempts bring her back to life by kissing her mutilated corpse, but in vain.
  • Half Upon a Time: The returning Wicked Queen is the main villain in this 2011 "fractured fairytale" children's novel by James Riley, as well as its sequels Twice Upon a Time and Once Upon The End. One of the protagonists is her young good granddaughter named May.[94]
  • The Land of Stories: In the 2012 children's novel The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, the Evil Queen has been spared by Snow White. She escapes her imprisonment, recovers her magic mirror and reunites with the Huntsman at a remote castle. The Huntsman is no longer able to serve her, but offers up his mute daughter as a replacement for his own duties. The Queen desires to complete the Wishing Spell and seeks and sends her new Huntress to collect the ingredients for it. She also sets up a plan to capture the protagonists Conner and Alex, Queen Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks, who are then taken to the Evil Queen's castle. There, she reveals to them her tragic story. Her real name was Evly, and she was once in love with, and engaged to, a man named Mira. When Evly refused to comply with the wishes of an evil enchantress, he was cursed to be trapped inside a mirror. Evly sought her revenge by killing the enchantress but there was no way for her to break the curse. A witch named Hagatha cured Evly's heartbreak by cutting out her heart and turning it to a stone heart and so Evly could only feel emotion when she was holding it. Evly then snaked her way up to the throne of the Northern Kingdom, killing Snow White's mother and marrying the King. Mira's condition began to deteriorate until he became a bland reflection, and he became enamored with Snow White rather than the Queen. This enraged her and made her order the Huntsman to kill Snow White. Using the Wishing Spell, the Queen manages to free Mira, but he is no longer capable of living outside the mirror and dies in her arms. As the castle is invaded by the army that set out to save the Queen's captives, they both are consumed by the mirror that once held Mira captive, which then shatters. It is later revealed that Snow White herself has let her escape the dungeon, knowing the Queen's story. In the sequel, The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns, Conner and Alex manage to restore the mirror and contact Evly, but find out that she has become insane and the mirror's curse is in process of taking over her soul completely, just as it did with Mira, who was Evly's boyfriend or fiancé.
  • The Mirror's Tale: P.W. Catanese's 2010 novel The Mirror's Tale (Further Tales Adventures) is a sequel to the fairy tale, taking place in the former castle of Rohesia. Before she went mad became known as Witch-Queen, Rohesia was using her magic for healing. Her fate is unclear and mysterious, but her ghost actually appears to heal a poisoned character.
  • Princesses: In Jim C. Hines's Princesses series, chronicling the adventures of Snow White, Princess Danielle Whiteshore (Cinderella) and former Princess Talia Malak-el-Dahshat (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White's mother, Queen Rose Curtana of Alessandria, was a powerful witch who trained her daughter in magic to later attempt transferring her soul into her daughter's body, but thwarted when Snow White proved to be more capable than she had revealed. Snow was banished from her kingdom for the crime of killing her mother (whose feet were burned by the dwarves, here elemental spirits that Snow can summon for aid at the cost of losing seven years of her life as 'payment' for their services, before they killed her). Rose is returned to life when she is summoned by Danielle's stepsisters (believing her to be their now-deceased mother), possessing the elder sister Stacia to acquire a new body, but she is finally defeated when the three princesses confront her with the aid of the seven dwarves. The fourth novel, The Snow Queen's Shadow, reveals that her magic mirror was created by her imprisoning a demon and binding it to her service, suggesting that the mirror's role in the original story was motivated by the demon attempting to create a set of circumstances that would allow it to escape, with the protagonists returning to Rose's former castle to rediscover the secrets she used to bind the demon in hopes of exorcising it after it possesses Snow White.
  • The Reflections of Queen Snow White: In this 2013 novel by David Meredith, Snow White's evil stepmother, Regent Queen Arglist, is long dead and an aging Snow White is struggling with her grief at the tragic passing of Prince Charming a year before. Snow White discovers Arglist's magic mirror, which allows her to relive both the horrific as well as blissful memories of her childhood and life with Charming as his queen, in an attempt to help her heal and her find herself again now that 'happily ever after' has come and gone.
  • The Untold Story of the Evil Queen: This 2012 dark comedy novel by E.L. Sarnoff tells the story of the Evil Queen, whose name is Jane Yvel, after she was released from Snow White's dungeon and exiled to Faraway. It was published in two parts, Dewitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen and Unhitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen 2.


  • The 10th Kingdom: In this 2000 miniseries the main villain is Christine White, usually referred to as the Evil Queen and portrayed by Dianne Wiest. Two hundred years after the events told in the story of Snow White, the original Evil Queen, who was left to die, uses her mirrors to spy on Earth, where she finds Christine Lewis, a troubled former socialite whose husband Tony lost their fortune through bad investments and whose daughter Virginia was unplanned. After almost killing her daughter in a psychotic break, Christine joins the Queen in the realm of the Nine Kingdoms to be groomed as an apprentice of the original evil queen (now an undead hag known as the Swamp Witch) to be her successor as well as her instrument of revenge. Having repressed the memories of her past, Christine insinuates herself into the House of White, first as the nanny of Snow White's grandson, Prince Wendell White, and later as Wendell's stepmother, after poisoning his mother. Prior to the events of the miniseries, Christine is finally imprisoned for the subsequent murder via poison of Wendell's father. As The 10th Kingdom begins, she escapes to cause further destruction, and at the climax of the series she is killed by the main protagonist, her daughter Virginia.
  • The Charmings: In this 1987 TV series, Queen Lillian "Lily" White, portrayed by Judy Parfitt, has been thrown into what they thought was a bottomless pit but returns to cast a powerful curse Snow White and her family. This curse banishes them all (including the Queen herself and her Magic Mirror played by Paul Winfield) into the modern world, where they live as the titular Charmings. The name coming from the fact that the prince who rescued Snow White is often called 'Prince Charming.' The Queen is forced to live with her family, while trying to find a way to return herself back to their own world.[83]
  • Ever After High: In this 2013 franchise by Mattel, Raven Queen is the daughter of the original Evil Queen, and is one of the lead character of the franchise, along with Snow White's daughter Apple White. She is a rebel, frustrated with her destiny to become a new queen of evil, and wishes to go her own way. Most people see her as evil and mean, but she is actually misunderstood and wishes to be herself and rewrite her own chapter and strives to try to make it work. The Evil Queen herself is locked up in Mirror Prison and often insults the things Raven talks about, including Raven's father, the Good King.
  • Happily Ever After: The villain of this 1993's animated sequel by Filmation (unrelated to A Snow White Christmas, their other Snow White sequel film) is the late Queen's brother, the evil wizard Lord Maliss (voiced by Malcolm McDowell), who arrives in the kingdom to avenge his sister by destroying those responsible for her demise: Snow White and Prince Charming.[95] The Queen herself does not appear in person and is only shown on a portrait and a bust statue, and the film begins with her monster minions actually partying and celebrating her death. Maliss himself is eventually destroyed when he is transformed into a dragon and turned into a stone statue.
  • Once Upon a Time: In this 2011 TV series, Queen Regina (played by Lana Parrilla) is the main antagonist of the series's first season. The series takes place after her defeat, when she casts a curse on the Enchanted Forest that trapped away all the fairy tale characters to the real world, where they now reside in Storybrooke, Maine, living early 21st century lives without any memory of their world. The Queen takes on the identity of the town's unpopular Mayor Regina Mills. Her backstory is gradually revealed throughout the series: she is the best friend of Maleficent, the former apprentice of Rumplestiltskin, the daughter of the Queen of Hearts, is responsible for separating Hansel and Gretel from their father, and drove Jefferson the Mad Hatter mad when rescuing her father from her mother in Wonderland. Regina is also the villain of the story of The Little Mermaid, she pretends to be the witch/goddess of the sea Ursula, with intent to deceive Ariel, who was helping Snow White, and takes her voice to prevent her from being with Prince Eric. In this version, the reason that the Evil Queen hates Snow White is that Snow White unwittingly caused the death of Regina's true love, Daniel, a stable boy, by revealing their relationship to Regina's mother, an evil sorceress named Cora, who killed Daniel and forced Regina to marry Snow's father King Leopold. Her mortal alias, "Mills" is reference to her mother's original identity: the miller's daughter from Rumpelstiltskin. In the Season 3 episode "Witch Hunt" it is revealed that she is the half-sister of Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Schneewittchen & Branca de Neve: In Robert Walser's 1904 opera (and João César Monteiro's 2000 film Branca de Neve), the adolescent, weak Prince has revived Snow White, but instead of marrying her he fell in love with the beautiful Queen. The Prince thinks the villain is the huntsman, who is the Queen's lover, while the King is oblivious of everything. The story centers on the conflict between the Queen and Snow White, and ends when the latter decides to forgive the former and they make a peace at last.
  • A Snow White Christmas: In Filmation's 1980 animated television film, the Wicked Queen (voiced by Melendy Britt) is revived when the block of ice in which she was trapped melts. In an attempt to rid of Snow White and King Charming, as well as their daughter who is also named Snow White, the Queen conjures an ice storm and freezes the entire kingdom, but the young Snow White escapes and enlists the help of the seven friendly giants to stop the Queen again. The Queen later turns herself into a giant rat to attack Snow White and then melts all the ice on the mountains to form a deluge, but each time she is foiled by the seven giants protecting the princess. The Queen then disguises herself as an old giant woman to trick Snow White into smelling the scent of a poisoned flower, just as she tricked Snow White's mother with the poisoned apple. Seeing Snow White dead, the giants attack the Queen's castle. The Queen tries to fend them off with lightnings and summons seven demons to fight them. One of the giants, Hicker, begins hiccuping and causes an earthquake and the magic mirror that is the source of the Queen's life and power is shattered and she is destroyed. With the Queen's final defeat, her spells are broken and all her victims are returned to life.

Other appearances[edit]

  • In a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch, housekeeper Alice Nelson portrays the Queen when the Bradys and Sam the Butcher help Cindy stage a re-enactment of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
  • In the two-part U.S. Acres segment titled "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves", Lanolin Sheep plays the Wicked Queen. Her costume slightly resembles the Disney version, but the hag outfit is just a purple hood.
  • In the Berenstain Bears 1989 book Trick or Treat, Queenie dresses as the Wicked Queen for Halloween.
  • Koopa plays the Queen in the third episode of Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros..
  • Ellen Reid's 2001 debut album Cinderellen features the song "In Defense of the Wicked Queen", which tells the story from the Queen's perspective.
  • In the season five of Charmed (2002), Piper reads the story of Snow White, where the Queen asks her mirror "who is the most powerful witch of all?"
  • One of the Famous Wizard cards in the 2004 video game Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is Malodora Grymm, a medieval hag who used a beautification potion to transform herself and married a king. She then used a charmed mirror to compliment her looks and became jealous of the most beautiful girl in the kingdom, plotting to get rid of her by using a poisoned apple.
  • The Evil Queen appears in the 2007 animated film Shrek the Third, where she joins the team of Prince Charming to take over Far Far Away, but at the ending she turns good and says that she always wanted to start a spa in France. (She also appears in the Shrek the Third video game as one of the bosses Shrek and his team have to defeat.)
  • In the 2009 novel Devoured by Amanda Marrone, the Queen's name was Helena.
  • In the erotic short story "Gold, on Snow", published by Alison Tyler in Alison's Wonderland in 2010, the jealous Queen is spying on her stepdaughter in the house of the dwarves.
  • In the lore of the video game series, Dark Parables, the jealous Queen enchants the King to put the twins Snow White and Ross Red to death for a false offense. She was exposed by a magic frog that Snow White had befriended sometime before and turned out to be The Cursed Prince, and fled the kingdom.
  • A Smile PreCure! play book story in the November 2012 issue of Japanese children's magazine Otomodachi told the tale of Snow White with Pretty Cure's Reika Aoki (in her Cure Beauty form) as the Wicked Queen.
  • In an April 2, 2013 comic in the Wizard of Id series, the King of Id asks Snow White to help him date the Wicked Queen.
  • Vampirella's mother Lilith serves as the Evil Queen in the 2013 comic book Vampirella: Feary Tales #2.[96]

The Disney version of the characters also appears in variety of other Disney media, also making some cameo appearances in other works such as the 1977 film Annie Hall.

Inspired characters[edit]

  • The Brothers Grimm: In Terry Gilliam's 2005 fantasy film, Monica Bellucci plays a villainous character similar to the Queen. Known as the Thuringian Queen (or Mirror Queen) she is extremely vain, obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty and being the fairest in the land, an ideology which backfires when she acquires a spell for eternal life that does not grant her eternal youth.
  • Enchanted: The villain of the Disney film Enchanted (2007), named Queen Narissa and played by Susan Sarandon, while not actually being the Evil Queen from the Snow White's story, is also heavily influenced by the character and also by Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (Early on in the project, the film was supposed to be an animated sequel to Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in which Narissa was the Evil Queen's sister who would kidnap six of the dwarfs to lure Snow White, the Prince, and their 13-year-old daughter Rose, aided by Dopey, into a trap).
  • Fantaghirò: Brigitte Nielsen said she has based her role as the Black Witch ("more than a witch, a queen") in the 1992 film Fantaghirò 2 on Disney's Evil Queen.[97]
  • Jupiter Ascending: In this science fiction film, the Queen figure is "a higher-evolved being known as the Queen of the Universe."[98]
  • Legends: The Enchanted: The main antagonist in this 2007 cyberpunk fantasy graphic novel is an old hag witch trying to free her beautiful sister from being imprisoned in a mirror. The story also features various other classic fairytale characters such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, but not Snow White.
  • Sailor Moon: One of the main antagonists in the 1990s manga and anime series, Queen Nehellenia is based on many evil sorceresses from fairy tales, with a particular emphasis on the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Snow Queen. Like the Snow Queen and the Evil Queen, she has a large magic mirror and like the latter she is very vain and arrogant.
  • The Serpent Shadow: The character was an inspiration for Shivani, the evil identical twin sister of the late mother of Maya Witherspoon, the main character in 2001's The Serpent's Shadow, second part of the Elemental Masters reimagined fairy tales by Mercedes Lackey. This story takes place in the London of 1909 and Maya's mother Surya was an Indian sorceress (but not evil), whose seven pet servants/friends take the place of Snow White's dwarf protectors in the story.
  • Stardust: Talking about his 1999 novel, Neil Gaiman said that "Snow White" has left him "with a fondness for wicked and magnificent witch-queens" and that is probably why he put one (Lamia) in this book.[99]
  • Tom Thumb and Little Red Riding Hood: In this 1962 film, the Queen Witch (Reina Bruja) is the mistress of all evil and the queen of all monsters in the world. She looks similar to the Disney version of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but has a green face like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty and dies when the Little Red Riding Hood tricks her to fall into a furnace-like shrine of the Devil at her castle.
  • Vivien and Time: Vivien in W. B. Yeats's 1884 (albeit published only after his death) verse play Vivien and Time, based on his own poem "Time and the Witch Vivien", was inspired by the Queen of Snow White and even asks the mirror who is the fairest of them all.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]