Celebration of Wickedness Day 19: THE EVIL QUEEN
This woman tried to kill her stepdaughter because the child was prettier than she was! I can’t even give you a good, “Welcome to the Wickedness” intro because today’s villain takes the cake on fuckedupedness. We’re talking about the Evil Queen from Snow White and she takes villainy to unprecedented heights.
Let’s face it, there are often good reasons to kill someone (and I’m marginally serious here): they stepped on your brand new kicks, they put your baby in the back in the ballet recital, they cancelled Friday Night Lights. Look, no matter how seriously or insignificantly you value life, I’m certain you never really considered killing someone because they looked better than you, right? Have you? Oh dear God, you have…we’ll talk about this later…
We all know the Snow White story by now. Snow White is a beautiful maiden with pale skin and a short bob who can sing to the animals and make them clean up for her. Her stepmother is the Queen—and is not a bad looker at all—who has a magic mirror that she consults to feed her fragile ego. When the mirror suggests that Snow actually has a little something something on her stepmother, the Queen sets about killing her. She took the word of some RANDOM DUDE and decided murder was best. Doesn’t this sound like an episode of Snapped? The Queen hires a guy to do the vile deed; he takes Show White out to do the deed but, once he beholds her beauty, can’t bring himself to kill her so he sets her free. Snow White stumbles upon Little People, Big World and hangs out with the dwarves until the queen disguises herself as an old woman and brings a poison apple. Apparently the queen hadn’t dusted off her magic skills in a little while because the apple doesn’t kill Snow, just puts her in a coma and the dwarves end up killing the Queen.
Now, I’m no fan of this movie—I think I’ve seen it once because my daughter loves it. I don’t actually care if the Queen kills Snow White or not. The whole singing to the animals thing just bugs me. But something has to be said for the fact that Disney—America’s family film studio—Disney decided a shallow, cruel, vindictive, narcissistic woman that tried to kill the protagonist for being prettier than her was the best way to launch the first full-length animated feature EVER. This woman set the bar and NO ONE can touch it.
I like to imagine my villains talking as though they were in a prison yard, sharing those “what are you in for?” stories. “I’m here for killing puppies and turning them into coats,” says Cruella. Nice opening. “I bite women, suck their blood and turn them into immortal zombie creatures,” Dracula counters. Impressive. “There’s this guy from another world, and he’s stronger and faster than the rest of us and, even though he says he’s a good guy, I don’t trust him. I’m trying to kill him,” and Lex Luthor enters the fray. “I tried to kill my stepdaughter,” says the Queen, “because she’s prettier than me.” And we have a winner!
In the end, the Evil Queen is one of the most incredible villains because no one has a reason for villainy as shallow as hers. That’s it. Her rationale for murder is one of the most callous and inhumane we’ve seen, and we’ve looked at puppy-killers, child-eating clowns, and a child-molester turned nightmare. I don’t even know what to say to take from her as a writer: my imagination isn’t that cold.
So that’s my letter Q. Tomorrow, we’re bringing out one the most popular villains in literature and film: He Who Shall Not Be Named—Tom Riddle AKA Lord Voldemort!