Sleeping Beauty, vintage illustrations in Ladybird books
I’m on the imdb page for Snow White and The Huntsman, and anyone who’s into that may know that there has been rumours already of a sequel. The idea that keeps appearing, whether or not this happens, is that of Snow White becoming corrupt as the queen. Some people are complaining that that’s “lame” and “goes completely against the original fairy tale” FALSE. Well that may be lame to you, fair enough, that’s a subjective matter. However, it does not go against the original fairy tale.
Fairy tales come from all over the place and differ from version to version. If we look at the collected fairy tales of Charles Perrault, he made the stories morality tales of sexuality- a lot of focus on the colours red and white as a symbol for virginity and loss of innocence into sexual experience. This was because his stories were typically read to young and wealthy girls, they were designed to teach them the dangers of straying from the path and being the prey of wolves (meaning male predator incarnate), and that it’s their snow white purity that makes them special. Very few fairy tales go on to say what happens after the prince and princess get married, a teacher of mine once suggested that it’s because the wedding has since been consummated, she’s no longer a virgin and the prince has stripped her of what made her “fairer” than all others. I know I sound like a bit of a pretentious dick reading too much into basic stuff, but there is a logic and I hope that’s visible here.
Then there’s the Grimm spin on things. They focused on violence, evil doers are punished violently, we’re not meant to feel sorry for them in the slightest, their gruesome demise is supposed to be regarded as justifiable. Rumpelstiltskin rips himself in half, Sleeping Beauty’s ogress mother in law throws herself into a bath of deadly animals and the wicked queen of Snow White is forced to dance to her death in hot metal shoes, at Snow White’s wedding. So take those two ideas together. The focus on purity and it’s loss by the end of the happily ever after. She watches her stepmother tortured to the death at her wedding.
To me it seems perfectly realistic that she could become corrupt if we’re following the true storylines. Even in the movie adaptation there’s a sign of darkness and the potentiality for corruption. She thought she couldn’t kill someone and though she does struggle with the idea, knowing it’s for the greater good, there’s vehemence in her as she goes in for battle against the queen.
Now I’m going to be a read-to-much-into-possibly-irrelevant-things douche. The apple. Look at it from a literal point of view, when an apple is in it’s prime it’s a beautiful shade of red, it’s white on the inside and full of flavour. But in time it rots, it loses it’s taste and it’s colour, sometimes it can just rot from the inside- still looking the same on the outside but (obvious pseudo witty line here>) poison on the inside. Continuing off this point in art it’s always an apple that Adam and Eve eat in Eden, despite the bible never explicitly saying what the fruit was that the tree of knowledge bears. I’m not actually going to argue a point here I’m just throwing some buzz words at this point so here goes: apples, the difference between what’s on the skin and what lies within, youth=beauty, inexperience=purity and desirability. I regard the fruit as an introduction of poison to the body that corrodes lively beauty. In matrimony and losing her virginity, post marriage, it’s the introduction of other people of knowledge and loss of innocence.
Ironically I’d say this post started off decently written and slowly corroded because I was trying to make too many points all at once. Point is, Snow White going evil does make sense when you think about it, and it’d be interesting to see how it’s dealt with, if it’s done well. Because the only time I’ve ever seen that done before was an episode of Animaniacs where Dot was named the fairer than Snow White after her happily ever after so she went nuts and tried to kill Dot for being the cutest of them all. Went from making fair points to referencing Animaniacs… yeah, I’m ending it on this note. And if you read this I am so sorry, but my ramblings were ready to go and the internet was available.
So these were illustrations from a twisted idea I had of combining sleeping beauty with the little mermaid. Wherein a prince is on his way to marry a princess but falls in love with a mermaid. The princess has to kill the prince before the sunrise but is cursed to fall asleep before she can complete it.