The unidentified witch is the unseen overarching antagonist of the Shrek film series.
She was the enchantress who cursed Princess Fiona into a human princess by day and an ogre by night. She has only been referenced and never physically seen, but she is known to have recited a poetic spell when turning Fiona into an ogre at night.
It is not known exactly why, but when Fiona was little, an unknown witch cursed her to turn into an ogre every day from dusk to dawn.
At some point, Fiona was locked in the tallest tower of a decrepit castle guarded by a dragon, where she waited for a true love's kiss, the only thing that could break the curse placed on her.
The witch is never seen in the films but she does play a massive role in them, since Fiona's curse is their driving force. While she is never seen, Fiona mentions her a few times when recounting how she got her ogre form to begin with.
Along with the curse, the unknown witch also left a poem for the curse that goes like this;
By night one way
By day another
This shall be the norm
Until you find true love's first kiss
And take love's true form.
- In the original William Steig's 1990 book Shrek!, which inspired the original Shrek film, a witch that brews potions in the forest foretells Shrek's future in exchange for his rare lice, but does not curse anyone. Also, the princess Shrek marries in the end is never named and, although described as uglier than Shrek, is never said to be an ogre nor resembles one.
- Even though the witch is never identified or seen, she has the most influence in all four Shrek films.
- There have been multiple theories that the witch might have been the Fairy Godmother, but it is all up for speculation.
- One theory is that Fairy Godmother claims only 'true love's kiss' can break the curse, which is stated in the spell, but she insists Harold and Lillian must lock Fiona in a tower, and secretly plots with Harold for Prince Charming to save her, as Harold refers to him as 'the man we picked out for her' to his wife. However, Charming is not her true love, but Godmother could easily 'undo' the curse as they kiss or could have slipped Fiona the 'True Love' potion she tried to have Harold give her. She is a potion maker and could very well make one powerful enough for Fiona to be human permanently.
- Another theory is that King Harold was in debt to Godmother after she helped him with his "Happily Ever After" by turning him from a frog to a human, sealing his form after Queen Lillian and him shared their first kiss (similar to Shrek and Fiona). She may have set up the entire thing with Harold as payback.
- However, Harold and Lillian were willing to go to Rumpelstiltskin to help Fiona from her curse, so Harold may not have known Fairy Godmother was behind it. However, he seems to insist Fairy Godmother's word is true, as only true love's kiss can break her curse rather than signing away his whole kingdom for Fiona.
- Fiona says she was cursed when she was a little girl and is able to recite it, so it is possible she may remember being cursed. However, in her diary she wrote as a child, she seems confused by it, as she mentions being disappointed by not being able to go to her friend's slumber party as her father "never lets her outside after sunset" and how she believes that going to the tower of Dragon's Keep will be a "finishing school".
- It is also possible she was too young to remember it, but her parents told her when she was old enough.
- It was never explained why Fiona was cursed; this may just be another fairy tale trope. A possibility could be that she wanted to get back at Harold and Lillian for some reason much like the evil fairy toward the royal family from Sleeping Beauty for disrespecting her.
- The unidentified witch was intended to appear in the first Shrek, likely as the main antagonist, but she was scrapped for unknown reasons, and thus she is only mentioned. In the early drafts, she went by the name "Dama Fortuna".
The Poison Apple