For today’s post, I would like to take a look at the interpretation of the classic faerytale Snow White that sees the titular character as something other than human. I am not the first to look at the tale of Snow White and think that it has all the ingredients for a different type of folklore. This faerytale in some ways resembles much darker faery lore. Even great writers have keyed into this possibility that Snow White was not a human princess, but instead a vampire!
Neil Gaiman used this as the premise for his dark Snow White re-imagining Snow, Glass, Apples. He decided that his Snow White would be the villainous vampire, whilst the Evil Queen was really the victim all along! I love a good reversal story like this one, and the graphic novel is just gorgeous. In Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace, this premise of Snow being a vampire all along is likewise used.
Now that I have stated a couple of examples of this trend from the literary world, I will look to the original Grimm version of the tale for answers as to why this is so. Firstly, I will preface that in the earliest Grimm version of the tale it was Snow White’s own mother that sought her death due to her being the “fairest of them all.” Even the Grimm brothers thought this too shocking, so they changed it to stepmother. As far as vampire comparison, I will start off by stating that Snow White’s hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood cast her in a light of looking very much in the vein of how we imagine a vampire to appear. Even the fact that she is seen as so beautiful can be assumed to be associated with the otherworldly beauty many literary vampires are said to possess, even if the beautiful vampire is a nineteenth-century literary invention, as the Grimm’s wrote in the nineteenth century themselves this line of logic tracks.
In the tale itself, Snow White’s Evil Queen requests the girl’s heart and liver when she ordered the huntsman to kill her. This desire to consume the flesh is a vampiric trait in and of itself. Later, Snow White’s ability to charm the seven dwarves long enough to get room and board show her ability to use her wiles. This can be seen as a form of vampiric influence, whether you call it compulsion, mind control, glamour, or hypnosis. When the Evil Queen sought to kill Snow White again, after learning she was alive, it took her several tries to actually kill the girl. This is usually written off as the dwarves intervening, however, I think it can likewise symbolize her supernatural ability to survive. When she is finally felled, by a piece of apple being stuck in her throat, she is in a deathlike sleep and put into a coffin. The coffin itself is a highly vampiric element. She is only awakened when the piece of apple is dislodged from her throat when the Prince’s men rattle the coffin during transport (the original tale does not feature a true love’s kiss).
This arising from a presumed death is the final example of how Snow White herself can be perceived as vampiric. She is able to rise and live again after being assumed dead by a poisoned apple. So, to recap, she looked the part of the vampire, could have had the ability to use vampiric glamour, was nearly impossible to kill, and once presumed dead rose again from her deathlike sleep! I hope you have enjoyed my short analysis of how Snow White may have been a vampire. Do you see this faerytale character as vampiric? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Snow White from the Neil Gaiman book. I found the image on https://villains.fandom.com/wiki/Snow_White_(Snow,_Glass,_Apples).
- The Grimm’s Complete Fairytales by The Brothers Grimm
- Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
- Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace