The Evil Queen is the main antagonist of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the first Disney animated features canon villain. Determined to remain the fairest of them all, the Queen becomes insanely jealous of her stepdaughter Snow White, the only one whose beauty surpasses her own. She eventually uses dark magic to transform herself into the Witch, in a final attempt to do away with her only, unknowing rival.
The Queen's sole aim is to remain the fairest in the land, and she will stop at nothing to achieve this. She shows compassion towards none but herself; however, her jealousy of Snow White is emphasised by her stepdaughter's romance with the Prince. The Queen's vanity and jealousy of Snow White's beauty eventually drive her to insanity as she wishes for no other goal than to be the fairest in the land. That she transforms herself into a hideous hag to achieve this end is a sign of her determination and desperation. As the Witch, her goal is the same, but she is far more excited as she comes closer to achieving her goal. However, in this new state she is slightly uncertain. She is no longer protected by her regal status and castle, she no longer has any minions, servants or magic to defend her, and she is older and frailer than before. However, this uncertainty is outweighed by her resolve to kill Snow White.
The Queen is an icily beautiful woman with a serene, unfeeling face, and a slender yet voluptuous figure. She is pale-skinned with green eyes, red lipstick, and seemingly penciled-on eyebrows. Her beautiful features and her royal attire create a very stunning and beautiful Queenly image. The Queen is seen wearing a purple gown with long sleeves and a rope belt tied around her waist. She wears a black balaclava that covers her ears, neck, and raven 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 red inside 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. To top off her royal appearance, the Evil Queen wears a golden crown atop her head with 5 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 youthfully beautiful queen with an unfeeling look on her face to that of an ugly, old peddler with face of displaying emotions. She has long, tangled white hair, thick eyebrows, gold eyes, 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 black, cowled robe that retains the hanging sleeves of her dress. She also seems to wear grey slippers.
Walt Disney described the Evil Queen, "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 trasnsform her into an old. witch-like hag."
Role in the film
Discovering Snow White's Beauty
The Queen, jealous of her stepdaughter Snow White's beauty, 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.
The Huntsman's Orders
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. Meanwhile, Snow White finds the Seven Dwarfs, and is found by the dwarfs, whom she tells of the Queen's attempts to kill her. They are fearful of the dark magic of the Queen, not least because, Grumpy, not keen on having a woman around the house, refers to her as an "ol' witch" and suggests that she may have discovered them already, have made herself invisible, and be watching them right now. They nevertheless take pity and agree to take her in (though Grumpy is reluctant to do so, fearing the Queen's power, as well as being a self-proclaimed misogynist).
Transformation into the Witch
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. Furious, the Queen descends a spiral staircase, entering a dark chamber filled with arcane and magical artifacts, as well as a raven perched on a skull. The Queen decides to go to the cottage herself, disguised as a peddler. Consulting a book on disguises, she mixes the required potion ingredients, such as Mummy dust to make her old, the black of night to shrove her clothes, an old hah's cackle to age her voice, a scream of fright to waten her hair, a blast of wind to fane her hate, and finally a thunderbolt to mix it well. After putting all the ingredients together she dranks the potition dies, and turns herself into the Witch. She then decides to dispose of Snow White with a poisoned apple, which will send its victim into the Sleeping Death.
The Sleeping Death
The Witch brews the poison and dips an apple into the brew, turning the fruit a tempting red. (During this scene, she is speaking directly to the audience.) She reads that the victim of the poison can be revived by 'Love's First Kiss', but convinces herself that the Dwarfs will bury the poisoned Snow White. 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. 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 the girl by surprise as she is preparing food for the Dwarfs when they return home from their work in the Diamond Mines, the Witch offers her the apple, but is attacked by the animals of the forest (who sense danger when they notice the two wicked vultures). Snow White does not recognize any danger in the old woman and lets her into the house to offer her a drink of water, while the animals rush to find the Dwarfs. The Witch tells Snow White that the apple will grant wishes, and, knowing of Snow White's romance with the Prince, persuades her to wish for a happy reunion before taking a bite. Snow White falls to the floor, taken by the Sleeping Death, and the Witch cackles with glee as a storm starts outside. The dwarfs arrive in time to see her leave and, led by Grumpy, chase her up a mountain and corner her on a cliff. She attempts to crush them with a huge rock, but lightning strikes the cliff, causing her to fall to her doom to be crushed by the rock herself. The dwarfs watch as the two wicked vultures fly down to her body at the bottom of the cliff.
Role in the Series
Role outside the Series
Queen Grimhilde will become Jeffrey Dragonheart's first enemy in Jeffrey & Friends meet Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs.