Magic Mirror (Snow White)

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The Evil Queen in front of the Mirror Mirror in a 1916 illustration

The Magic Mirror is a mystical object that is featured in the story of Snow White.

Fairy tale[edit]

The Magic Mirror is owned by the Evil Queen and has been depicted in different versions as either a hand mirror or a mirror on the wall. Every morning, the Evil Queen asked the Magic Mirror the question "Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?". The mirror always replies: "My Queen, you are the fairest in the land." The Queen is always pleased with that, because the magic mirror never lies. But, when Snow White reaches the age of seven, she becomes as beautiful as the day and even more beautiful than the Queen and when the Queen asks her mirror, it responds: "My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you." This resulted in the Evil Queen enlisting a huntsman to kill Snow White and bring her Snow White's lungs and liver.

After eating the lungs and liver of a boar that the Huntsman passed off as Snow White's lungs and liver, the Evil Queen asked the Magic Mirror the question "Magic Mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?" The mirror replies: "My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White beyond the mountains at the seven Dwarfs is a thousand times more beautiful than you." This caused the Evil Queen to disguise herself as different women to kill Snow White.

After the latest attempt with a poison apple which was undone by the Prince and Snow White marrying him, the Evil Queen asked the Magic Mirror who the fairest in the land was, the Magic Mirror quoted "You, my Queen, are fair so true. But the young Queen is a thousand times fairer than you." The Evil Queen learned too late at the wedding that the young queen in question was Snow White which eventually leads to the Queen's death which varied per version.

Real-life influences[edit]

The “Talking Mirror” at the Spessart Museum in Lohr am Main

German pharmacist and fairy-tale parodist Karlheinz Bartels suggests, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, that the German folk tale "Snow White" is influenced by Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina von und zu Erthal, who was born in Lohr am Main in 1725.[1] After the death of Maria Sophia's birth mother in 1738, her father Philipp Christoph von und zu Erthal remarried.[2] Claudia Elisabeth von Reichenstein, the stepmother, was domineering and greatly favored the children from her first marriage.[3] The Queen's iconic mirror, referred to as “The Talking Mirror,” can still be viewed today at Spessart Museum in the Lohr Castle, where Maria Sophia was born. The mirror was likely a gift from Philipp Christoph to Claudia Elisabeth. It was a product of the Lohr Mirror Manufacture (Kurmainzische Spiegelmanufaktur). The mirror “talked” predominantly in aphorisms. The upper right corner of “The Talking Mirror” contains a clear reference to self-love (Amour Propre). Moreover, mirrors from Lohr were so elaborately worked that they were accorded the reputation of “always speaking the truth”. They became a favorite gift at European crown and aristocratic courts.[4]

Modern adaptations[edit]

Disney[edit]

Disney's Snow White franchise[edit]

The Magic Mirror appeared in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs voiced by Moroni Olsen. The Magic Mirror contained an imprisoned spirit who is referred to as the Slave in the Magic Mirror. In his first appearance in the film, the Evil Queen would consult with the Magic Mirror to ask who the fairest of one all was. The Magic Mirror always told the Evil Queen that she was the fairest one of all. When asked who the fairest of all is, the spirit replies that, while the Queen is beautiful, a fairer being exists. When the Queen angrily asks for the girl's name, the spirit describes her, making it obvious to the Queen that Snow White is the one being referred to. The Queen then orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White and bring her back her heart. When the Evil Queen asks the Magic Mirror who the fairest of them all was later that evening, the Magic Mirror told her that Snow White was the fairest of them all. Though the Queen at first believes the spirit to be incorrect and showed it the heart in question, she is told that she holds the heart of a pig and that Snow White still lives in the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs.

The Magic Mirror appeared in Disney's House of Mouse, voiced by Tony Jay and seen in the lobby of the club. It would always answer questions given to him by the guests or give advice to the staff members. The Magic Mirror also appeared in Fantasmic! voiced again by Tony Jay.

The Magic Mirror appears in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep voiced by Corey Burton. The Magic Mirror first appears in Terra's storyline. As per the movie, it told the Queen that Snow White was now much fairer than the vain ruler. However, it added on that her heart was a pure light than shone bright. It was then promised by the Evil Queen usage by Terra to find Master Xehanort if he brought her Snow White's heart. However, he did not do so and told the Evil Queen he never intended to. Terra then proceeds to tell her that unlike Snow White, she has much darkness in her heart. The Evil Queen, insulted and outraged, commanded the mirror to destroy Terra. The Magic Mirror refused saying it can only answer questions. The Evil Queen's increasing rage then caused the mirror to have a potion slammed on its face sucking Terra in and fighting him. However, he is defeated and releases Terra. The Evil Queen reluctantly has the Magic Mirror tell Terra where he can find Master Xehanort. The Magic Mirror quotes "Beyond both light and dark he dwells, where war was waged upon the fells." Upon learning this information, Terra takes his leave from the Evil Queen and the Magic Mirror where the Magic Mirror's cryptic response would direct Terra to the Keyblade Graveyard. The Magic Mirror later appears in Aqua's storyline. When Aqua looks for a cure for Snow White in the castle, the still-possessed Magic Mirror drags her into the mirror for a fight, but she also manages to defeat him and is released. The Magic Mirror then disappears stating to Aqua "The Queen is gone, my service done. Adieu, oh victorious one."

In the Disney Channel original movie Descendants, the Evil Queen has retained the Mirror after her exile to the Isle of the Lost, reduced to a small hand-mirror that is passed on to her daughter Evie. Although it is still controlled by rhymes spoken by the user and doesn't have an inhabitant in it.

A different version of the Magic Mirror appeared in The 7D voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. This version is a female that serves Queen Delightful of Jollyland.

Once Upon a Time[edit]

In Once Upon a Time, the Magic Mirror started out as a Genie (played by Giancarlo Esposito) where he and his lamp were discovered by King Leopold. King Leopold feels he no need to wish for anything and uses the first and second wishes to free the Genie from the lamp and to give the third wish to the Genie. The Genie expresses the desire to find true love, so King Leopold takes the Genie to his castle as he believes the Genie can find true love there. He falls in love with the King's wife Queen Regina and gives her a hand mirror. The King reads in the Queen's diary that she has fallen in love with the man who gave her the hand mirror and asks the Genie to locate him. The Queen is then locked in her room to prevent her from leaving the King. To free her, her father has the Genie bring her a locked box, which turns out to be filled with poisonous vipers from Agrabah so the Queen can kill herself. Instead, the Genie uses the vipers to kill King Leopold and allow the Queen to be with him. She tells him that since the vipers were from his country, the guards will find out that he was the murderer and flee. Realizing the Queen never loved him, he uses his wish to be always with her and to never leave her sight. This traps him in the hand mirror. As a spirit in the Magic Mirror, he is able to move between and see through all other mirrors in the Enchanted Forest. He is used by Regina to spy on and locate others.

In Storybrooke, he is Sidney Glass, a reporter for Storybrooke's local newspaper The Daily Mirror. On Regina's request, he researches Emma Swan's past to help Regina expel her from Storybrooke. After Graham's death, Regina attempts to appoint him sheriff, but the wording of the town charter calls for an election. He loses the position to Emma Swan. Regina has him removed from the newspaper staff, and Sidney goes to Emma, claiming that he wants to expose Regina as the corrupt person she is. However, the exposé reveals Regina's attempts to improve the community. Despite this, Sidney tells Emma that he will help her take down Regina, but it is revealed that he is secretly in league with Regina, who is using Emma's trust in Sidney to gain leverage over Emma. Emma later learns that he planted a bug in a vase glass after it is used to tip off Regina upon discovering a key piece of evidence that would have cleared Mary Margaret Blanchard of Kathryn Nolan's murder. Emma confronts Sidney and realizes that he is in love with Regina. Still, Emma presses him to help defeat Regina. However, after Kathryn is found alive, Sidney falsely confesses to kidnapping Kathryn and framing Mary Margaret so that he could "find" Kathryn and become famous. Later, a cell labeled "S. Glass" is seen in the hospital basement's psychiatric ward. The name "S. Glass" is visible on a door in the first season finale, suggesting that Regina had locked him in the Storybrooke Hospital's psychiatric ward after he confessed to the kidnapping. In "A Tale of Two Sisters," Regina frees Sidney Glass from the psychiatric ward to be her Mirror again in order to enlist him into helping get rid of the people that are in the middle of her happiness. Regina temporarily places Sidney in the mirror to find the exact moment in which Maid Marian was apprehended by Regina's men. Regina later consults with Sidney on how to change fate. Regina tells Sidney that the villains in the book don't get a happy ending and wants him to find the writer of the book so that she can make some changes like allowing the villains to get their happy endings. In "Breaking Glass," Regina has Sidney Glass look for the Snow Queen's hideout in order to force her into thawing Maid Marian from her freezing spell. When Emma arrives to know where Sidney Glass is, Regina states that she's too busy to tell her where Sidney Glass is. Sidney later reports to Regina about where the Snow Queen is hiding out after his failed attempt to get a leverage on Regina. Using a compact to remain in contact to Sidney Glass, Regina heads in the directions of the Snow Queen's hideout. Regina later admits that Sidney was in the mirror. Upon strong winds reaching Emma and Regina, Sidney states the Snow Queen had swayed him to her side as Elsa's ice bridge breaks. After Emma and Regina defeat a large Viking made of ice, the Snow Queen takes the compact that Sidney is and retreats. At her hideout, the Snow Queen frees Sidney from the mirror as she wanted the mirror that he was trapped in to go with her mirror that she is putting together. The Snow Queen states that she wants the mirror that Sidney Glass is in since it is filled with dark magic. Before declaring Sidney free, the Snow Queen advises Sidney to get a warm coat since it is "going to get cooler around here."

Other[edit]

The 10th Kingdom[edit]

In the TV miniseries The 10th Kingdom, a magic mirror is a key element of the plot, as protagonists Tony and Virginia Lewis travel from New York into the fairy-tale realm via a traveling mirror, which they subsequently lose and must spend the rest of the series searching for, while their enemy, the evil Queen and protégé of Snow White's deceased stepmother, spies on them with other magic mirrors. The travelling mirror that brought them to this world is destroyed in an accident, but an old mirror referred to as Gustav- which can only communicate and respond to queries made in rhyme- reveals that there were two other travelling mirrors made, with one sunk at the bottom of the ocean and the other in the possession of the Queen. With the Queen's defeat, Virginia returns to New York, although Tony decides to remain in the fairy-tale realm to enjoy his new status as a hero.

Faerie Tale Theatre[edit]

The mirror in Faerie Tale Theatre was played by Vincent Price, whose face appeared as if mounted on the top of the mirror (in reality, Price stuck his face through a hole). This mirror, as did all of the Queen's (Vanessa Redgrave) other mirrors, turned black as she found out that Snow White was alive.

Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics[edit]

The Magic Mirror appears in the "Snow White" episode of Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics. It is kept in a cabinet in the Evil Queen's chambers. Like the story, the Magic Mirror told the Evil Queen that she was the fairest of them all until the day when Snow White came of age. In this version when the Magic Mirror told the Evil Queen that the Seven Dwarfs freed Snow White from the deadly laces and that she can't be killed when she is in their protection, the Evil Queen breaks the Magic Mirror vowing to prove it wrong.

Happily Ever After[edit]

The Magic Mirror appeared as the Looking Glass in Happily Ever After voiced by Dom DeLuise. When Lord Maliss asks him where his sister the Evil Queen is and threatens it for information, the Looking Glass tells him that she has died trying to kill Snow White. After Snow White evaded Lord Maliss' dragon form, Lord Maliss consults the Looking Glass again as the Looking Glass tells him that Snow White and the Dwarfelles are heading to Rainbow Falls. When Snow White ventures to Lord Maliss' castle, the Looking Glass tells him that it will be tough for Snow White to find his castle. When the Dwarfelles enter Lord Maliss' castle and wonder where Lord Maliss has taken Snow White, the Looking Glass states that "beneath the Queen lies a secret door." After searching the area, they find a panel to the hidden door underneath the Evil Queen's bust.

The Hunters[edit]

In the 2013 SyFy film The Hunters, it is revealed that the Magic Mirror was inspired by a fabled mirror that is said to grant the wish of whoever looks into it; supposedly, the mirror triggered the Dark Ages. The mirror was sought by an ancient army known as the Krugen before the hunters- a group of scientist knights dedicated to protecting fairy-tale artefacts- acquired the mirror, breaking off four shards from the mirror and hiding them and the mirror away when destroying it completely proved impossible. The film focuses on a family of hunters, the Flynns, with the parents being experienced hunters seeking the shards to keep them away from the Krugen and their sons being forced to take up the hunt when their parents go missing. The mirror is eventually reassembled by the film's antagonist, but he is tricked into making a wish that caused the mirror to destroy him, with the protagonists subsequently wishing for the mirror to destroy itself.

The Huntsman film series[edit]

In Snow White and the Huntsman, the Magic Mirror appears as a golden gong-like mirror that oozes out a hooded robed being (voiced by Christopher Obi) whenever Queen Ravenna called upon it for information, although apparently, the being is only visible to Ravenna, as her henchmen observe her talking to thin air. The Magic Mirror first appeared where he told Queen Ravenna that Snow White was coming to the age where she will be more fairer than Queen Ravenna. The Mirror is last seen when Snow White defeats Ravenna, ending the Evil Queen's rule.

In prequel/sequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War, the Magic Mirror (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) is revealed to hold darker forms of magic. He is seen in flashbacks of Queen Ravenna's tyrannical reign, where it tells Ravenna that her sister Freya will give birth to a child who will exceed Ravenna's beauty as the fairest of them all. The Mirror also predicts that if the child was to be harmed, Freya will unleash powers, prompting Ravenna to orchestrate the murder of her own niece, both to preserve her own beauty and, in her own twisted way, help her sister. Freya, in horror at her discovery, releases icy powers that kill her lover and turns her hair white. Years later, after Ravenna's death, the Magic Mirror has gone missing while travelling to a Sanctuary where Snow White believes its evil can be contained. It is revealed to be in the hands of a troll in a forest, but Freya, seeking the mirror for herself, orders Sara- the Huntsman's presumed-dead wife- to retrieve it. Although Sara obeys this order, she tricks Freya by sparing Eric's life. Freya's subsequent attempt to use the Mirror herself reveals that Ravenna had hidden a part of herself in the mirror, restoring her to a form of life apparently formed of the Mirror's gold while still appearing human. In the final confrontation, Freya learns the truth about her sister's role in the death of her daughter (Ravenna was now the mirror spirit and was thus bound to answer Freya's questions truthfully), prompting her to aid Eric in destroying the Mirror at the cost of her own life. However, the final scene shows a golden raven flying away, suggesting that a part of the mirror - and thus Ravenna - may have survived.

Mirror Mirror[edit]

In the film Mirror Mirror, elements of the Magic Mirror are featured as a large mirror that serves as a portal to the Mirror House where Queen Clementianna consults with the Mirror Queen (played by Lisa Roberts Gillian). To access the portal to the Mirror House, Queen Clementianna would quote "Mirror Mirror on the Wall." The Mirror Queen would always advise Queen Clementianna not to use dark magic for her own gain. After the aged Queen Clementianna takes the slice of an apple she was to give to Snow White from her, the Mirror Queen declared that it was Snow White's story all along as the Mirror House and the Mirror Portal shattered.

Princesses[edit]

In Jim C. Hines' Princesses series – chronicling the adventures of Snow White with Princess Danielle Whiteshore (Cinderella) and former Princess Talia Malak-el-Dahshat (Sleeping Beauty) after their tales concluded with Snow and Talia being banished from their kingdoms and taken in by Danielle's mother-in-law – Snow White is a sorceress who uses her mother's mirror as a key focus of her spells, relying on various smaller mirrors to maintain a link to it when away from the palace; her power is commonly focused by using various rhymes as spells, although she can create other spells without speaking. The fourth novel, The Snow Queen's Revenge, reveals that the magic mirror was created by Snow White's mother imprisoning a demon and binding it to her service. The plot suggests 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, inspiring Snow's mother to attack her daughter so that Snow would inherit the mother and some day make a mistake that would let the demon out. The protagonists return to Snow White's kingdom to rediscover the secrets used by Snow White's mother to bind the demon in hopes of exorcising it after it possesses Snow White when the mirror shatters after she tries to perform a particularly complex spell. The demon attempts to recreate a larger ice-mirror to summon further demons into this world, using the part-fairy blood of Danielle's son Jakub – Danielle having some fairy blood in her from her mother's side of the family – but a reflection of Snow's untainted self helps to protect her friends long enough to destroy the demon.

Sesame Street[edit]

The Magic Mirror appeared in Episode 685 of Sesame Street with the Magic Mirror's face being the face of Jerry Nelson. In the "Sesame Street News Flash" segment, Kermit the Frog interviews the Magic Mirror on which question the evil witch will ask him and tells Kermit that it is the same question where the Snow White answer "drives her up the wall." The witch who is the fairest in the land, has two beautiful eyes, is green, wearing a hat, wielding a microphone, and is in the same room as the Magic Mirror. The Magic Mirror states that Kermit the Frog is the fairest. The witch then notices Kermit the Frog hiding behind the curtain and states that he is good-looking.

Snow White: A Tale of Terror[edit]

In Snow White: A Tale of Terror, this version has the mirror a property of Lady Claudia (Sigourney Weaver). It is a wooden closet with a statue as the door and hands acting as locks. It is regarded as a family heritage artifact by her. Snow White's nanny, tries to see what's inside while cleaning it and immediately suffers a heart attack. The mirror displays a beautiful and younger version of the Queen who advices her what to do. The mirror also contains her life force and she ages rapidly when Snow White stabs the mirror and then engulfs in flame of the burning room.

Shrek[edit]

The Magic Mirror appears in the Shrek franchise voiced by Chris Miller. It is depicted as a mirror with a live spirit communicating through it, and with magical displaying abilities.

  • In Shrek, the Magic Mirror is first brought to Lord Farquaad who asks it if Duloc is not the most perfect kingdom, exactly the same way the Evil Queen used to ask it if she was not the fairest of all. The Magic Mirror then presents Lord Farquaad with three princesses that he can marry (from which he chooses Fiona). This is done in a parody of Blind Date.
  • It is later seen to be with Shrek's posse who in Shrek 2 use it as a television set such as announcing that the show will be back after commercials.
  • In Shrek Forever After, Rumpelstiltskin has it and uses it on television broadcasting purposes.

Simon the Sorcerer[edit]

Near the end of the video game Simon the Sorcerer, the player can use the Magic Mirror in Sordid's tower as an surveillance monitor, using any reflecting surface like a camera.[5]

Sisters Grimm[edit]

In the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley, the Magic Mirror appears as a minor protagonist in the first six books, but is revealed to be the main antagonist in book seven and remains evil until near the end of book nine.

Snow White: The Fairest of Them All[edit]

Here, the wicked queen Elspeth possesses a hall of magic mirrors, and a hand mirror that displays several attributes not seen before. The Queen may command the hand mirror to terminate enemies (as she did to the Huntsman), use it as a means of transport or step through it to change appearances, even turning others into animals.

The Suite Life[edit]

A parody version of the Magic Mirror appears as a recurring character throughout The Suite Life of Zack & Cody voiced by Brian Peck. It is a high tech mirror that often compliments London Tipton's attire.

A direct representation of the Magic Mirror in The Suite Life on Deck episode "Once Upon A Suite Life" voiced by Michael Airington. It is seen when all the characters are dreaming of themselves in the classic fairytales such as Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk and Hansel and Gretel.

The Wolf Among Us[edit]

Appearing as a magical object in the Business Office, the Magic Mirror is a minor protagonist in The Wolf Among Us. Usually demanding its request be given to it in rhyme form, the Magic Mirror is capable of showing a brief vision of its requested subject. The Magic Mirror's shattering and the search for its missing shard play key aspects following the end of the second episode.

Magic Mirror inspired technology[edit]

In 2017 Amazon announced Echo Look, a “style assistant” camera that helps catalog your outfits and rates your look based on “machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karlheinz Bartels: Schneewittchen – Zur Fabulologie des Spessarts. Second Edition, Lohr 2012, publisher: Geschichts- und Museumsverein Lohr a. Main, the local historical society, ISBN 978-3-934128-40-8; cf. an academic review by Theodor Ruf: Die Schöne aus dem Glassarg. Schneewittchens märchenhaftes und wirkliches Leben. Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 1994, p. 12ff, 49ff; ISBN 3-88479-967-3.
  2. ^ Werner Loibl: Der Vater der fürstbischöflichen Erthals - Philipp Christoph von und zu Erthal (1689 - 1748), Aschaffenburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-87965-126-9.
  3. ^ Werner Loibl, Schneewittchens herrische Stiefmutter (The domineering stepmother of Snow White), Lohrer Echo, 28.08.1992 with further references.
  4. ^ Werner Loibl, Die kurmainzische Spiegelmanufaktur Lohr am Main in der Zeit Kurfürst Lothar Franz von Schönborn (1698-1729), p.277f, in the catalogue: Glück und Glas, Zur Kulturgeschichte des Spessarts, Munich, 1984; Loibl is the foremost expert in the history of 17th and 18th-century glasshouses in Germany, according to Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk, formerly Curator of European Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), since 2008 Director of the Hentrich Museum of Glass (Düsseldorf, Germany). Cf. now the history of the 17th- and 18th-century glasshouses in Lohr and in the Spessart written by Werner Loibl: Die kurmainzische Spiegelmanufaktur Lohr am Main (1698 - 1806) und die Nachfolgebetriebe im Spessart, 3 volumes, Aschaffenburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-87965-118-4.
  5. ^ Adventure Soft. Simon the Sorcerer. 
  6. ^ "Amazon's new $200 camera will judge how you look". The Verge. 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-04-26.