Does Snow White Really Need a Prince?

Hear ye, hear ye! Come one , come all, and bring your little doggie, too.

Today, SMART GIRLS launches a new feature:  FANTASY FRIDAY

(Imagine bells, whistles and dandy streamers to experience the full, surround-sound effect. While you’re at it, throwing in a laser show would be A-W-E-S-O-M-E.)

So, what’s all the hoopla about?

In a peanut shell–every Friday, I’ll blog about fairy tales, myths and legends, and the evolution of the hero and heroine through the ages.  Now close your eyes and clap your hands and repeat – I do believe in faeries. I do believe in faeries. I do believe in faeries.

Whew! Tinkerbell dodged another one. Thanks for that.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. Fairy tales.

For my first post, I thought it prudent to begin with the first fairy tale I remember.

I was six when my parents took me to see Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was playing  in one of those old theaters that showed the movie continuously, all day long—that tidbit is important, so remember it for later.snowwhite

The cartoon’s bright colors and music and liveliness mesmerized me. Snow White was pretty and sweet and lived in the forest with all the cute, little animals and seven, peculiar, little friends. What more could a little girl ask for? Oh, it was H-e-a-v-e-n!

I oohed at the enchanting parts, gasped at the frightening ones, and got all giddy when Snow White met her Prince. Even with that wicked, ol’ witch, the syrupy sweetness of the film nearly put me in a diabetic coma. I was fast on my way to becoming a Disney-fied HEA zombie.

And then, something terrible happened. The Prince swooped in on his big, white horse and stole Snow White from her seven little friends and all the furry ones, too. The FIEND!

I didn’t find anything happy about Snow White having to abandon loved ones who had become her family. In fact, I found it heart-wrenching. I screamed, I wailed, I caterwauled.

Not the reaction Disney would’ve expected. Or my parents. I had been a happy, pleasant child right up to that moment when I become inconsolable. My mother, bless her heart, did the wisest thing a mother could do. She told me Snow White and the Prince went on intermission and would be back shortly, and now was a good time for a potty break. So off we went to dry my tears and when we returned the movie was playing (remember what I told you to remember ? *wink*).

Lo and behold, Snow White found her way back to all her friends, and for me, dearies, that is where the story ended because my parents picked me up and left the theater before that nasty ol’ Prince kidnapped poor, sweet Snow White all over again. Hiss-hiss-boo-boo!

Thus began my slightly skewed perception of happily-ever-after, which was further tainted by the Reader’s Digest Anthology of The World’s Best Fairy Tales. An avid reader, practically since birth, the red and gold hardcover book containing stories by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Aesop, and more, became my portal to adventure. And those tales didn’t have Disney’s warm and fuzzy endings.

In the 30’s, when the animated version of Snow White was released, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. The grand theatric, feature film was an offering of hope for a better tomorrow to the masses ensconced in drudgery and hard times. A putting forth the ideal that if you just believe, everything will turn out just fine.

Nearly eighty years later, Disney via ABC is doing a little back-pedaling. Or rather, putting forth a new face on Snow White. At least in the non-animated version.

ONCE UPON A TIME features kick-ass writing, hot and scandalous characters taken right off the pages of those dusty old fairy tales, and a fresh, keep-em guessing story line that seamlessly weaves fantasy with the modern age. Heroes and heroines and villains through the ages play their own extraordinary parts. And each episode is like a fast and furious round on your favorite fair ride.

There’s also  a devilishly, dashing pirate who’s irresistible charm just might curl your toes. I so want Hook to be one of the good guys—and sometimes, he is. But, he isn’t often enough to keep you wondering. But, I digress.

snowwhite2Now in the middle of its third season, Once Upon A Time  has always presented Snow White as a strong, independent woman capable of smart decisions, unparalleled heroism, all while maintaining a pure heart—except for this one time when she slipped up and intentionally orchestrated someone’s death. But the person was mean and dangerous, and Snow was just trying to protect her family, and who’s always perfect anyway?

Charming, on the other hand, wasn’t always so charming. He was weak and indecisive and just a general wienee. Snow, in my opinion, could’ve done so much better.

In Season Two, he grew some balls and developed into a more palatable character. Still, Charming’s evolution underwhelms, at least in my mind. I find it hard to understand why Snow sticks with him, other than to uphold the plot gimmick of True Love.

Now, I’m not dissing true love. I whole-heartedly believe in it. It’s just that a girl like me grew up with Captain Kirk and Han Solo and Steve Austin—the Six Million Dollar Man as role models for fictional heroes, and Charming doesn’t measure up.

Snow, on the other hand, can stand on the heroine pedestal along side Wonder Woman, Jamie Sommers–the Bionic Woman, and Princess Leia. She is as Alpha female as a fictional woman is likely to get.

So, the relationship between Snow and Charming is a bit unbalanced. Not because Snow is clearly the strength and driving force  behind the couple, but because there isn’t a clear reason as to why she “needs” him.

In the traditional fairy tale, Snow “needs” Prince Charming. Literally. She’s swallowed a piece of poisoned apple and truly, if not for him having her coffin carted away and jostling her, the blockage in her throat would never have been cleared. She, in essence, would’ve remained dead.

Now, I actually reread the original-translated version of the Brothers Grimm’s story before writing this post. And, the thing that struck me hardest during that first revisit was Snow White was a freaking zombie! She was dead, and then she woke up. And I thought, Holy Crap–there may be some truth to the impending zombie apocalypse.  But that is a tale for another time.

charmingNow, Snow may have needed Charming to save her, way back then. Not so in today’s, Once Upon A Time.  Snow White has evolved. She can save her own darn self. Leaving me to wonder . . .  Does Snow White Really Need a Prince?

Or, in this modern age, is a better choice a Pirate? 

Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook on Once Upon A Time S02E04 Crocodile 10

If you were Snow White, who would you choose?