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|“||Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?||„|
| ~ The Evil Queen's most famous quote. |
|“||When she breaks the tender peel, to taste the apple in my hand, her breath will still, her blood congeal, then I'll be fairest in the land!||„|
| ~ The Evil Queen on her plans to poison Snow White. |
Queen Grimhilde, more commonly known across popular media as The Evil Queen (also simply known as The Queen), is the main antagonist of Disney's 1st full-length animated feature film Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, which is based on the 1812 German fairytale Snow White by the late Brothers Grimm. Her most famous incarnation is in the Disney film, but the origin of the story goes as far back as folklore itself - being a popular fairytale. Disney's film had a very tremendous impact on how she is seen as a villain and introduced the concept of her Magic Mirror and her ultimate transformation from a young and beautiful woman to an ugly old hag and she is also the Huntsman's former mistress. She is Snow White's stepmother and arch-nemesis.
She was voiced by the late Lucille La Verne (in her last film role) in the film, the late Eleanor Audley in the 1949 audiobook, the late June Foray in Disney on Parade, Louise Chamis in Disney Villains' Revenge, and Susanne Blakeslee in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. In the musical, she was portrayed by Anne Francine.
The Queen does not appear to be significantly involved in governing her kingdom (since she is solely focused on being the fairest in the land), though the skeletal remains of prisoners in her dungeon point to her being a villainous ruler. She wants nothing more than to be the fairest in the land. She is cold, violent, egotistical and possessive tyrant with an extreme vanity that made her utterly intolerant and conservative of rivals. Her vanity and jealousy of Snow White's superior beauty and the Prince's affections eventually drove her to unsympathetic and murderous insanity. She transformed herself into a hideous hag and conjured a poison named "The Sleeping Death" to achieve this end as a sign of her determination and desperation. Being an alternate form of the Queen, the Witch has some of her personality traits, most notably her vanity and unstable jealousy of Snow White, kept intact.
However, due in part to the transformation, she has also become more outwardly maniacal, sociopathic, vituperative, diabolical and sadistic, constantly cackling insanely as well as once trying to play an extremely heartless joke on her pet raven by making it seem as though she wanted it to eat the poisoned apple. Despite her insanity, she was also extremely intelligent, manipulative (using Snow White's pity of the seemingly harmless old lady to her advantage), perspicacious, and calculating, wanting to ensure that she does not overlook anything in order to make her plans an absolute success. This trait was especially evident in her stopping herself while gloating about how the poisoned apple will ensure Snow White's eventual demise in order to look up whether there was a cure for the effects of the poisoned apple that would be able to cause her plans to fail. However, the 2004 Daphne Skinner book My Side of the Story: Snow White/The Queen reveals that the Queen actually showed kindness to Snow White at first (she even has a portrait of her stepdaughter on one of the walls of the castle), but she gets too wound up in her jealousy, which ultimately results in her untimely end. The book also reveals her, when not in her castle, owning a grocery store (as seen in the last page of the book).
According to her explanation, she also made Snow White a servant in her castle to keep her stepdaughter from being lazy (The Queen also tells Snow White to do chores every day because it's a "good exercise" - this is proven in one scene from the book where Snow White eats some cake, only for The Queen to snatch it away from her stepdaughter, telling her not to eat sweets because she is "still in growth and needs to diet"). Also, according to The Queen, she never asks the Magic Mirror who is the fairest in the land. However, the Magic Mirror keeps complimenting on how beautiful The Queen is (in its opinion). In the scene where Snow White first meets The Prince and flirts with him, The Queen watches them from her window with a worried look on her face, concerned about Snow White's safety with an older boy (whereas in the film, she watches them with anger and jealousy of Snow White's beauty). In addition, the 2009 Serena Valentino novel "Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen" paints her in a far more tragic light, that of an extremely broken woman who (due to emotional abuse from her father) was feeling extremely insecure about whether or not she was truly beautiful. It was also shown that she did initially genuinely care for Snow White as if she were her own daughter before the king's untimely demise.
The Queen is an icily beautiful woman with a serene, unfeeling face and a slender figure. She has pale skin, green eyes, chest-length black hair (as revealed during her transformation into her witch disguise), red lips, brownish-gray eye shadow, pink blush on her cheeks, red fingernails, and seemingly penciled-on eyebrows. The Queen is seen wearing a purple long-sleeved ankle-length gown and a red rope belt tied around her waist. She wears a black balaclava that covers her ears, her neck, and her hair, leaving her face exposed. The Queen wears a long black cloak that appears to be part of the cowl. The cloak is lined with a red interior and the bottom of the cloak is lined with white fur. She has a high white collar attached to her cloak. She also wears a golden pendant that seems to connect with the collar.
She also wears orange-yellow high-heel pumps. To top off her royal appearance, the Evil Queen wears a golden crown atop her head with five spikes on the front and a jewel on the tip of the middle and tallest spike. The color scheme of her attire represents her pride and vanity.
In her witch disguise, the Queen's physical appearance changes from that of a youthful queen with an unfeeling look on her face to that of an ugly, old peddler vividly displaying emotions. She has long, tangled chest-length white hair, thick eyebrows, the same green eyes from her normal form, and dark rings around her eyes. Her nose becomes long and crooked with a large wart, and she only has one visible tooth on her bottom jaw. Her hands are gnarled and have pointed, dirty fingernails.
She dons a cowled black robe that retains the hanging sleeves of her gown. She also seems to wear gray slippers. Walt Disney described the Queen as "a mixture of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf... her beauty is sinister, mature, plenty of curves... she becomes ugly and menacing when scheming and mixing her poisons; magic fluids transform her into an old, witch-like hag.".
Grimhilde was a mysterious, cunning and icily beautiful woman who sold her body and soul to the evil spirits of the Harz mountains in exchange for the power to work black magic. She used her newfound powers and knowledge of the dark arts to enhance and maintain her beauty, hoping to always be the fairest woman in the land. She became Queen by marrying a widowed King who later died, giving her absolute control over the kingdom which she ruled with an iron fist, becoming feared among her subjects (the many skeletons in her dungeon suggest this). The Evil Queen also owned a magical mirror which she used to communicate with her all-knowing and omnipotent demon familiar (which took on the appearance of a haunted, smoke-like face).
She despised her stepdaughter Snow White, because of her beauty and forced her to dress in rags while treating her as a servant rather than a daughter: throughout the story it was made clear the Evil Queen's motive was her envy and vanity, she simply could never stand the idea of someone being more beautiful than herself and was cruel enough to take drastic steps to ensure this could never happen.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Jealous of her stepdaughter Snow White's beauty, the Queen forces her to work as a servant in her castle; even in rags and wooden shoes, however, Snow White's beauty shines through, causing the Queen to worry that Snow White's beauty may one day surpass her own. She has such vanity that she consults her Magic Mirror every day, ordering the slave within to reveal the name of the fairest in the land. Every day the spirit says that the Queen is the fairest, and she is content until the mirror informs her that Snow White has finally become the fairest in the land. Outside, as Snow White works, she sings to herself, attracting the attention of the Prince, who is passing by, and they are instantly infatuated with each other. The Queen watches from her window, unseen by the two lovers, and (jealous both of Snow White's beauty and the Prince's affections) closes the curtains furiously. Summoning her faithful Huntsman to her, the Queen orders him to take Snow White far into a secluded area of the forest, where she can pick wild flowers, and kill her. She presents him with a box, in which Snow White's heart must be brought as proof.
The Huntsman is reluctant to carry out such a deed, but (knowing the penalty for failure) takes Snow White deep into the forest. Just as he is about to stab the princess, he finds that he cannot bring himself to destroy such innocent beauty and (frantically warning Snow White of the Queen's vanity and jealousy) tells her to flee into the forest. He returns to the Queen, bringing in the box the heart of a pig to fool her. That night, the Queen once again consults the slave in the Magic Mirror, who tells her that Snow White is living in the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs and that the Huntsman has brought her a pig's heart after she believed that Snow White is dead in the forest.
Furious after realizing that she has been tricked, the Queen descends a spiral staircase, entering a dark chamber filled with arcane and magical artifacts, as well as her pet raven perched on a skull. She decides to go to the cottage herself, disguised as a peddler. Consulting a book on disguises and searching for a formula to transform her beauty into ugliness, she mixes the required potion ingredients (though exactly how she prepared most of them into a tangible form for the concoction can be anyone's guess), such as mummy dust to make her old, the black of night to shroud her clothes, an old hag's cackle to age her voice, a scream of fright to whiten her hair, a blast of wind to fan her hate, and finally a thunderbolt to mix it well.
After putting all of the ingredients together, she begins her magic spell as drinks the potion and magically transforms herself from a young, very attractive, regally and unbearably beautiful and insanely sexy queen to an ugly and hideous old hag, including her hair turning white, her skin and hands becoming wrinkled, her royal attire becoming a peddler's cloak and her voice is changed as well and she declares that it is a perfect disguise. She then decides to dispose of Snow White with a poisoned apple, which will send its victim into the Sleeping Death. The Witch brews the poison and dips an apple into the brew, turning it black, then, upon her orders, a tempting red, giving the poisoned fruit the appearance of an ordinary, otherwise exceptionally appetizing in appearance, apple.
She then voices her plot to her raven, before having her boastful declarations halted by the possibilities of her schemes facing failure. To ensure no antidote gets in her way, she consults her spell book, quickly finding that the victim of the "Sleeping Death" can only be revived by "Love's First Kiss". This brings no sense of fear or apprehension to her, as she firmly believes the dwarfs, as they would think Snow White is actually dead, will bury her alive. Cackling to herself, she puts the apple in a basket, and walks down through the dungeon below, emerging from the castle's catacombs in a raft. On her way down the catacombs, she passes by a skeleton who appears to be reaching for an empty jug of water and sarcastically asks if he wants a drink before kicking the jug into the skeleton, smashing it to pieces. As she makes her way to the dwarfs' cottage, two sinister vultures see her and, sensing that death is imminent, quietly pursue her.
She reaches the cottage and, according to plan, finds that the dwarfs have left and Snow White is alone. Catching her by surprise as she is preparing a gooseberry pie for the dwarfs, the Witch poses herself as an apple giver and offers her the apple, claiming apple pies to be the superior dish and offering the poisoned apple for Snow White to sample. As the meeting occurs, however, Snow White's bird companions spot the vultures darkly observing and anticipating what's to come, indirectly informing them that the Witch has evil intentions. They attack her before Snow White is able to take hold of the apple, successfully delaying the former's plot, though Snow White orders them to leave, as she still believes the Witch to be a harmless peddler. The Witch cleverly uses Snow White's kindness to her advantage and pretends to be shaken from the attack, asking for shelter within the cottage, to which Snow White obliges to as the Witch is ready to give Snow White the poisoned apple. This forces the birds and other forest animals to rush over to the diamond mines and alert the dwarfs of what is happening as the dwarfs realize that the Queen is up to no good and they rush back to the cottage.
Meanwhile, the Witch manipulates Snow White into believing the apple is actually a "magic, wishing apple", capable of making one's dreams come true with one simple bite; offering it in gratitude of fending off the birds. Snow White becomes taken with the idea once the Witch openly mentions speculation that her wish may have something to do with someone she loves, referencing the Prince. Wanting to finally reunite with him, she takes the apple, makes the wish to live a happy life by his side, and takes a bite.
In a matter of seconds, she falls under the curse and drops to the floor unconscious. The Witch cackles in joyous victory, declaring she'll now be the fairest in the land and makes her leave to return to her castle, only to find the dwarfs have learned of her villainy and have come to rescue Snow White. The Witch fearfully flees the furious dwarfs, and soon finds herself trapped on the cliff of a rocky mountain, with the vultures perched onto a nearby tree branch, watching the events unfold. Spotting a massive boulder nearby, the Witch tries to kill the dwarfs by crushing them with it, cackling diabolically as she does so. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes the cliff, destroying the portion holding the Witch, and causing her to fall hundreds of feet below to her death. The boulder tumbles down after her, ensuring her demise. The vultures then fly down the cliff to devour her remains.
A little later, the dwarfs returned to the cottage and believed Snow White was dead yet couldn't find it in their broken hearts to bury her so encased her in a glass coffin - she would later be awoken from the Evil Queen's curse by the kiss of her one true love: the Prince and the two would proceed to live "Happily Ever After".
The Evil Queen appears in one of the novels, and she is one of the Overtakers - the others Maleficent, Frollo, Chernabog, Ursula and Cruella and some others - who attempts to take over all of the Disney parks, and destroy Finn Whitman and his other Kingdom Keeper kids. She is one of the scariest and most dangerous villains, and she is just as scary and dangerous as Maleficent.
Kilala Princess Manga
In the manga, Evil Queen Grimhilde was the first Disney villain to show up. The scenes took place after the movie. Grimhilde's birds noticed that Kilala and Rei intruded the castle where the Queen and Snow White first lived, and where the Magic Mirror resides. The Queen was very interested in the tiara that Kilala and Rei had, since it attracts both good and evil, so she threatened them to give it to her. She also threatened to force Kilala to eat the poisoned apple that will turn her into an ugly girl, unless she hands over the magical tiara.
In other media
There was a villainess named Mizrabel in the 1990 videogame Castle of Illusion (Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse) whose own appearance is based on the Evil Queen and her elderly Witch form. In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the Evil Queen served as a minor antagonist. After the mirror tells her that Snow White is the fairest in the land, she discovers that Terra has been eavesdropping on her conversation with the mirror. Instead of the huntsman, she sends Terra to kill Snow White and bring back her heart in exchange for asking the mirror for the whereabouts of Master Xehanort.
When Terra returns and says he ignored the task, he also comments that while the Queen claims to be radient, he can see shadows of jealousy on her heart. Enraged, the Queen orders the mirror to consume Terra. The mirror replies by saying it cannot. Enraged, the queen throws a potion at the mirror (or in the Japanese version, glows red with her inner darkness), allowing it to turn it into an Unversed and pull Terra inside and attack him. When Terra defeats the mirror, the Queen, frustrated by her defeat asks the mirror for Xehanort's whereabouts. After Terra leaves, the Queen disguises herself as an old hag, makes the poisoned apple and travels to the dwarves cottage with the intention to trick Snow White into taking a bite. She accidentally drops it and it's returned to her by Ventus, who has been fooled by her disguise. They have a brief conversation where Ven learns Terra was present in that world. Afterwords the queen successfully tricks Snow White into taking a bite. She is not seen again after that. The mirror simply says that she is gone, hinting that she probably suffered the same fate as in the film.
The Queen also played a role as the main antagonist in the Dwarf Woodlands of Kingdom Hearts χ and Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, where she goes through the same motions as in the film, but is chased down by the dwarfs and the player's character in the final part.
Queen Grimhilde (the Evil Queen) appears only in a portrait painting of herself alongside a statue of herself at her castle in the 1990 Filmation film Happily Ever After (also called Snow White: Happily Ever After). It is also revealed that she has a brother named Lord Maliss who has sworn to avenge his sister's death.
A variation of the Evil Queen is portrayed by Lana Parrilla in the television series Once Upon a Time. She seeks revenge on Snow White by trapping all of the well-known fairytale characters in the "real world" town of Storybrooke. In the real world her name is Regina Mills and she is the mayor of Storybrooke.
- The Evil Queen is ranked #10 on AFI's list "100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains".
- She is ranked #4 in the Top 30 Disney Villains.
- The Evil Queen was Lucille La Verne's last film role before her death on March 4, 1945.
- In Snow White: Happily Ever After, the Queen serves as the posthumous Bigger Bad, since Lord Maliss is the main antagonist and is avenging her death.
- The Evil Queen is Disney's first antagonist and the first Disney villain to die at the end of the film.
- The Evil Queen is the first main antagonist in an animated feature film, because Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the world's first animated feature film.
- The Queen is also the first among many Disney villains to fall to her death.
- In a deleted scene, the Evil Queen prepares the brew to make the poisoned apple, though Walt Disney believed that it would frighten younger audiences.
- The Queen never interacted with Snow White in the film onscreen. She only interacted with her in her witch form. In the original story and even in alternate versions of Snow White, however, she does indeed interact with her stepmother.
- Her scream upon falling to her death is later reused for Maleficent when she gets stabbed in the heart by Prince Phillip.
- It was also used in the Thou Art Dead arcade game in the GameCube version of Monster House when the warrior slays the dragon so as to save the princess.
- The Evil Queen is pictured on one of the 10 USA non-denominated commemorative postage stamps celebrating "Disney Villains", issued as a pane of 20 stamps on July 15, 2017. The set was issued in a single sheet of 20 stamps. The price of each stamp on day of issue was 49 cents. The other villains depicted in this issue are Honest John from Pinocchio, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, and Scar from The Lion King.