Snow, Glass, Apples

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"Snow, Glass, Apples" is a 1994 short story written by Neil Gaiman. It was originally released as a benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and was reprinted in the anthology Love in Vein II, edited by Poppy Z. Brite.[1]


The short story retells the famous fairy tale of Snow White from the point of view of the Evil Queen, who is traditionally the villain of the piece.

A woman has had magical powers from a very young age, including visions of the future. She marries a king whose six-year-old daughter the queen describes as a mysterious, vampiric girl. The king ultimately dies from abuse, both physical and sexual, by the princess and leaves her stepmother to reign as queen. The queen has her huntsmen kill the princess and cut out her heart, which continues to beat even after being removed and is hung in the queen's private chambers.

Six years into the queen's reign, a large number of disappearances and murders happen in the kingdom, depriving the people of their livelihood and causing a famine. The queen looks into her mirror and sees the undead princess killing a pedophilic monk before feasting on his blood. To save the kingdom from her monstrous stepdaughter, the queen uses magic and her own blood to create enchanted apples which she brings into the woods to the princess.

The queen flees but knows that the princess had eaten the apples when the girl's heart finally stops beating. Come spring, the people are able to trade in business again. Although the queen is displeased to see dwarves buying pieces of glass, she does not respond due to her stepdaughter's heart being silent, thus ensuring the safety of the kingdom.

Two years later, a prince visits the queen and she plans to marry him and unite their kingdoms. However, the queen is unable to sexually satisfy the prince, who is clearly a necrophiliac, and he leaves. On his way home, he encounters the princess's corpse encased in glass and being guarded by the dwarves. Indulging his necrophilia, the prince rapes the princess and unwittingly dislodges the piece of apple stuck in her throat, resurrecting her. In her chambers, the queen awakes to blood dripping from her stepdaughter's heart which has begun to beat again. The prince and the princess barge into the queen's chambers and have her arrested on the charge of witchcraft. The princess then reclaims her heart, reinserting it into her chest. The necrophiliac prince and the vampiric princess announce their plans to marry and unite the kingdoms.

The prince and the princess have the queen imprisoned throughout the autumn, turning the people against her by vilifying her with lies that would morph into a fairy tale with a "happy ending."

Come midwinter, the prince and the princess have their wedding, the queen is incinerated in a kiln, and the story is revealed to be her final thoughts as she begins to burn to death.


"Snow, Glass, Apples" was written in 1994, and was first published by Dreamhaven Press as benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.[2] It was included in Gaiman's short story collection Smoke and Mirrors (1998).

The story was adapted by the author into an audio drama, which was produced by Seeing Ear Theatre in 2001, starring Bebe Neuwirth. This was the second of two collaborations between Gaiman and Seeing Ear Theatre, following Murder Mysteries, and the two adaptations have been released together on CD under the title Two Plays for Voices. In 2012 it was adapted into a play by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company.[3]

In 2019 it was adapted by Colleen Doran into a graphic novel published by Dark Horse Comics.[4] The adaptation won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium.[5][6] The Horror Writers Association also presented the "Snow, Glass, Apples" graphic novel with the Bram Stoker Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel Award.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaiman, Neil (1999). Smoke and Mirrors. London: Headline Book Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7553-2283-1.
  2. ^ Gaiman, Neil (1998). Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions. p. 43. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Snow, Glass, Apples - Bedlam Theatre".
  4. ^ "Snow, Glass, Apples HC :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Eisner Awards Current Info". Comic-Con International: San Diego. San Diego Comic Convention. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  6. ^ "32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". YouTube. San Diego Comic Convention. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  7. ^ "2019 Bram Stoker Awards Winners". Bram Stoker Awards. Retrieved 5 June 2020.