Snow White and the Kiss of Death

I dressed as Snow White for Halloween for about three years in a row when I was a little girl … then once again when I was 24. I have a vintage Snow White movie poster hanging in my living room and a Snow White keychain dangling from my key ring. Knowing this, you might assume that I’m a huge fan of the Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But I’m really not. In fact, I think it’s pretty ridiculous. Here’s why:

Within the first minute of the movie, Snow White flees from the prince like she’s being chased by a swarm of angry bees – but when he kisses her awake in the final scene, she embraces him like she’s known him her entire life (keeping in mind that this is only the second time she’s ever laid eyes on him). She hops on the back of his horse and allows him to whisk her away to who-knows-where. Granted, by this point in the movie she’s experienced some terrifying hallucinations in the middle of a dark forest (after escaping a huntsman who intended to cut out her heart), she’s been poisoned by an evil queen, and she’s spent the last year or so sleeping in a glass coffin – so the sudden reappearance of a handsome prince is probably the least of her worries.


All that combined with the fact that Snow White is a mere 14 years old (which is an improvement upon the original tale, in which she is about seven) makes the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a little more creepy than heartwarming.

So, why the Snow White swag?

Well, for one, she’s the original Princess. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937 and was Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film. Snow was soon joined by Cinderella and Aurora (both released in the 50’s, both bona fide members of the Disney Princess lineup) – but for more than a decade, she was the reigning Queen.

On top of that, her dress is on point. There’s just something about that puffy sleeved, stiff collared, primary colored gown that appeals to my sense of style – which is why I have owned not one, but two Snow White costumes over the course of my life. Also, she’s the only Disney Princess to rock a cape … that is, until Elsa and Anna came along.

Finally, despite the fact that Snow White is no heroine, her story has just the right amount of darkness. She chomps into a poisoned apple and falls into a death-like coma for the span of several seasons – during which time she is kept in a glass coffin in the forest. It’s a little macabre, but that’s part of the draw.

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Of course, when you take into consideration that Snow White was originally published by the Brothers Grimm (infamous for their haunting folklore), that “darkness” makes sense. If Disney were to follow the original tale, they would have the evil Queen stepping into a pair of white hot iron shoes at the end of the story and dancing to death while Snow White and her new husband, along with every King and Queen in the land, watch from the sidelines. It’s not exactly how I would choose to spend my wedding reception, but, then again, I’ve never been the target of a murderous step-mother.

In any case, when I came across this even more macabre fan theory, claiming that the Prince is actually a living, breathing metaphor for Death, I had to know more.

One redditor proposes that the reason Snow White runs scared when she sees the Prince for the first time is because he represents a brush with Death – after all, she was hanging dangerously over a well right before he appeared … maybe she narrowly escaped becoming Samara from The Ring.

Hypocrites argue that Snow’s reaction is more due to the fact that she’s a naïve and isolated young girl – surprised by a handsome royal showing up in her courtyard.

But I’ve got a few different theories.

For one, she had just spent her morning singing over her wishing well, wishing for her Prince to come. Voila! He appears. Maybe it’s because I just watched the “Wishful Thinking” episode of Supernatural (in which a wishing well actually starts to grant people’s wishes – emphasizing the importance of “be careful what you wish for”), but that instant gratification would freak me out too.

Secondly, let’s say the Prince is, in fact, a metaphor for Death; I don’t think he appeared because Snow White almost accidentally threw herself down the well, I think he appeared for the sake of foreshadowing. Think about it, Snow White is just minding her own business, going about her chores, when the Prince appears (surrounded by doves, no less, also known as “celestial messengers” — I’m not saying that’s a sign, but it’s probably a sign). From that moment on, it’s all downhill for Snow.

First, the evil Queen sends a huntsman after her step-daughter with instructions to “Bring me her heart.” Fortunately, the huntsman can’t bring himself to rip into the chest of an innocent girl (whose only crime is being “the fairest of the them all”) and tells Snow to flee into the forest instead. While there, she encounters plenty of horrors that viewers could probably assume are trying to kill her (either that or she’s on one hell of an acid trip). Of course, she soon happens upon the dwarfs’ cottage and heaves a huge sigh of relief – only to bite into a poisoned apple and die. If the Final Destination franchise has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t outrun Death.

In the Grimm’s original, Snow actually gets a piece of poisoned apple lodged in her throat – causing the appearance of death. Later, when the Prince unknowingly dislodges it (his men stumble while carrying her coffin through the forest), she springs back to life and lives happily ever after. In the Disney movie, however, all the Prince has to do is kiss her to bring her back from her death-like state … but something doesn’t add up. Snow was poisoned, not cursed, so how does one little kiss bring her back?

Long story short: It doesn’t. According to this theory, the Prince isn’t giving her the kiss of life, he’s giving her the kiss of Death. And when you think about it that way, the rest of the movie starts to make a lot of sense.

For one, the feel of the movie seems to change from the moment their lips meet. The sun shines a little brighter, the music plays a little softer, and the clouds take the form of a magical, distant castle.

Snow White bids her final (and I mean final) farewells to the dwarfs before the Prince leads her away on a white horse (a possible shout-out to the “pale horse” in Revelations, which was ridden by Death), and the two disappear into the heavenly sunset.

This would also explain why she shies away from him at the beginning of the film, but welcomes him with open arms at the end. She initially fears Death, but comes to accept it and even embrace it – allowing the Prince to lead her into the afterlife.

… All this puts a dark twist on her classic song, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” And, as this article morbidly states, “Someday the prince will come for all of us.”

Surely Walt Disney didn’t intend for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to become such a gothic tale, but for those of us who find the original Disney Princess to be a little too sweet, Snow White and the Kiss of Death is an appealing twist.

The Boy Who Lived… Forever.

This month I decided to re-read Harry Potter. While he isn’t single-handedly responsible for my love of reading, he is responsible for my extreme case of “book snobbery.” Normally I’m consumed by the desire to read every book ever written, and feel that re-reading is a giant waste of precious time. But when a friend offered to share her Harry Potter eBook collection with me I couldn’t resist. My obsession with Harry Potter did not end at 17 and probably will not end at 70, if ever. Finally I had found a way to read Harry Potter without having to compromise the integrity of my precious hardcovers that hold so much importance to me… Those of you who are passionate about books will understand.

I met Harry Potter when I was 9. He had, of course, just turned 11. I had just finished my first day at my new school, in a new town, in a different state, and my mom offered to buy me a new book as a special treat. Even then I was obsessed with books about magic, and I especially loved books that took place in some sort of castle setting (my preferences haven’t really changed). There, in the middle of the children’s section, was a large display stacked with copies of the Sorcerer’s Stone. And that’s all it took, after that I only had eyes for Harry.

I grew up with Harry Potter. We were always roughly the same age, we often spent our summers together, and he never forgot my birthday. (The books were usually released within a week or two of my birthday, which is at the end of July, although it turns out I am not the chosen one, and I would spend the entire summer reading and re-reading the newest installment). Before each book was released I would re-read the entire series until I had read Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets so many times I could almost recite them by heart. The final book was released in the summer of 2007, I had just graduated high school and looked forward to, not the beginning of my life as a graduate, but the end of the saga I had started 10 years earlier. I read Deathly Hallows only once. And then, after a decade of reading, I put Harry Potter down for more than 5 years.*

*During this hiatus I did, of course, attended every midnight premier  of each movie installment.

Stepping back into the world of Harry Potter was like visiting my home town. It was comfortable and reminiscent and I tried my hardest to spend as much time there as I could. I read for hours every night before bed and had dreams filled with Harry Potter. I read on my breaks at work in attempt to escape this world, if only for an hour. When I finally finished the last book (last night around 3am) I was devastated. I felt alone. I felt the same way I had felt 5 years ago upon finishing the final chapter of Harry Potter. There is no more. It’s over. I was so swept up in that magical world that I wasn’t ready to come back. I had to talk to someone about Harry Potter, I had to let someone know what I had just experienced! Ron? I whispered into the dark, Hermione? Anyone? Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but still, there was no one I could text or call (at 3am) so I made a hasty post to facebook and resisted the urge to blog until morning. And now here I am, not in London, not at Hogwarts, and wishing with all my might that I could be.

“Of course it is happening inside you head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

I won’t drone on about how Harry Potter taught me about friendship and bravery… we’ve all heard that before. More than anything he taught me that magic can be anywhere, hiding just behind a brick wall, or beneath a broken down phone booth. When I was 9, having just finished Sorcerer’s Stone, I wrote in my diary (which was filled with all the thoughts and musings my 9-year-old self deemed important) that I believed in Hogwarts and hoped that that belief was enough to earn me an admittance letter when I turned 11. Years later, right around the golden age of 13, my friends and I discovered that diary and were having a delightful time reading from it. Well, they were, I was mortified. They mocked my 9-year-old self for believing in magic, not realizing that my 13-year-old self still did and was under the impression that my Hogwarts letter was just  taking a little longer to get to me as the owl had to fly overseas.

…My letter is now 12 years late, I must remember to write to Hogwarts and get that sorted out. I’ve heard there are wizards in the post office to take care of that sort of thing…

But the greatest thing about Harry Potter, in my opinion, is not the incredibly realistic world (which is so incredibly realistic that it MUST be real), nor the amazing feats of friendship and bravery. It’s the characters, and the fact that they can make mistakes. They are not perfect; not even Dumbledore, not even Harry. They are not always what they seem; not his friends, or his enemies. Their emotions are real and, at times, completely illogical. They tend to cause problems as often as they solve them. Ties are severed, people die.

Though they are magic, they are only human. Proving once again that magic can be in anyone, anywhere.

They say that a really good book should be read as a child, again as an adult, and again in old age. This is the first time I’ve read the series knowing how it ends and my first time reading the series as a 20-something adult. I was constantly struck by the actions and emotions of the characters. I felt I had a much deeper understanding of the series than I ever did in the past 15 years, despite the fact that I read them over and over. The books grew with me, the characters developed as I did. I can understand now the things I could not understand as a teenager. Why is Harry acting like that? How could Dumbledore do such a thing? Because they are human. They grow, and change, and make mistakes. They succumb to human desire and illogical emotions, and that’s what makes them great.

I look forward to reading it again in a few years time. I feel I have gained a new perspective on life. As cheesy as that sounds.

Having only read it once I was eagerly anticipating my second read through of the last book. I was no less shocked than I was the first time around. I had to keep reminding myself to slow down, to read every word. These books were either incredibly well planned out, or J.K. Rowling was incredibly lucky that all the pieces of this intricate puzzle came together so perfectly. I am still, as I was before, in awe of the ending. I am biased to love Harry Potter, I am emotionally attached and my views have been emotionally compromised. However, if this had been my first time reading his saga, I don’t think I would have been any less impressed, touched, swept away, and dazzled than I was the first time I picked up the Sorcerer’s Stone or put down the Deathly Hallows.

Harry Potter will live forever.

“After all this time? … Always.”

Hell on High Heels

Since I’ve decided to start blogging more I’ve been keeping a running tab of blog ideas. Today, the only idea I wrote down was “drag queen shoes.” … I’m going to roll with it.

The other day I went to the mall for a pair of tasteful nude pumps to wear to work. By tasteful I mean under 4 inches and not covered in glitter or spikes. This was much harder than I thought it would be. I am six feet tall, my feet (though proportionate to my freakishly long legs and absolutely essential for my balance) are huge.  Tasteful nude pumps do not come in size huge. In fact, the only heels that come in size huge are six inches tall, fuchsia, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they lit up.

I have several theories on why this is.

1. Drag Queens.
I recently attended a bachelorette party at a gay bar. The central dance floor was raised about three feet off the ground so, in order to avoid making eye-contact with the nearest penis (or lack thereof), I lowered my gaze a few feet and spent most of my time admiring the array of stilettos that went prancing by. They were, in a word, fabulous – but in no way tasteful, practical, or even wearable.

Seriously. You expect me to believe there’s a foot in there?

Point being, men are known to have bigger feet than women. Women who do have big feet are most likely already tall and aren’t interested in emphasizing their height by wearing heels. Suddenly drag queens have become the target market for high heels in sizes 10 to 13. And no drag queen would be caught dead in tasteful nude pumps.

2. Paris Hilton.
No girl over six feet tall is interested in wearing six inch heels… except Paris Hilton. Paris, I might add, also has huge feet. So huge, in fact, that she has to have her shoes specially made (or so I heard). Paris Hilton gave tall girls everywhere hope, hope that they could wear fabulous shoes without being mistaken for a skyscraper or a Cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey. Maybe, they think, they’ll be mistaken for supermodels or celebrities. Because of this tall girls everywhere threw their insecurities to the wind, bought the latest red carpet/runway stiletto fashions, wore them out on the town, took them off halfway through the night, walked back to the car barefoot, covered their feet with band-aids, put the shoes carefully on display in their closets, and gazed at them lovingly from time to time… never to wear them again.

3. Rockstars.
Namely Kiss and Motley Crue (in my opinion)…

…two bands that made it not only socially acceptable for men to wear stilettos, they made it sexy. Black leather, metal spikes, and a 4 inch heel just oozes with sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

The most recent fashion in women’s shoes is basically the 80’s in stiletto form. All women have an inner rock star… or at least an inner groupie. When we wear these shoes we feel powerful, confident, and yeah, a little badass. And underneath all that power strutting in slow motion and 80’s rock montages running through our heads, we feel pain. Pain from forcing our feet into positions that our bones will not allow, pain from accidently catching our ankles on our spike clad heels every other step, and pain in our hearts – yearning to relive the decade that inspired these shoes (okay, maybe that last part is just me).

Sexy? Yes. Tasteful, practical, wearable? No.

Tall girls need shoes too!

The Best is Yet to Come

When I was 14 I saw Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story on VH1 and fell in love. Fell in love with Def Leppard, with the 80’s, with rock and roll. I grew up listening to AC/DC and Van Halen (a few of my dad’s favorites), so I can’t explain why it took a low budget rockumentary to solidify my obsession with big hair, spandex, and squealing guitars. Anyhow, I spent the next several months listening to and memorizing every Def Leppard album I could get my hands on (which was all of them coincidentally, it really pays off having cool dad). They came to town the following year and I spent every cent of my 15-year-old income on floor seats (ok, I had a little help. Once again, cool dad pays off). I’ve seen A LOT of concerts since that day (including Def Leppard 5 more times) but never have I been more awed by an entrance. The arena was pitch black and the crowd was going wild. One light lit up at the back of the stage and Joe Elliot’s silhouette was standing at the front. He growled “Do you wanna get rocked?” and the stage exploded. Lights, sounds, fireworks. I’ll never forget it.

It wasn’t the most expensive (or explosive) stage-work I’ve seen, (AC/DC opened their Black Ice Tour with a train crashing through the stage and fired off actual cannons during “Thunderstruck,” and Tommy Lee played upside-down on his roller-coaster drum set when I saw Motely Crue last year) but it was definitely impressionable.

Since that fateful day, years ago, I’ve made it my goal to see as many concerts as I possibly can – I might have been born in the wrong decade, (oh why wasn’t I alive during the 80’s?) but at least I am alive in a decade when I can still see some amazing bands before their time is up. You might say “But Myranda, those bands are all past their prime! Who wants to see a bunch of 60-year-olds prance around on stage in leather pants and sequin vests?” I DO! Because they are far from “past their prime.”

I just spent over 10 hours in a car to see the Scorpions in Salt Lake City and they were absolutely amazing. Sure, they’re old, but they sounded great, they looked great, and their stage presence was electrifying. They were running back and forth and jumping around like they weren’t a day over 1985. The lead singer (Klaus Meine) sounded just as great as he does on their studio albums from the 70’s and 80’s and their stage gimmicks were classic (no cannons or roller-coasters, just good old-fashioned rock and roll). During the mandatory rockstar drum solo (the Kottak Attack) they showed film snippets depicting their album covers throughout the years — a cool homage to decades past, Rudolf Schenker’s guitar literally smoked during his solos (not to mention he had a flying-v acoustic guitar), and, following his solo, Kottak ripped off his “Rock N Roll Forever” t-shirt to reveal a matching “Rock N Roll Forever” tattoo covering his back (although it may or may not be fake according to the ladies standing next to us). Overall one of the best shows I’ve been to. One for the books. Once again proving that rock and roll ain’t gonna die.

Check out this article about the show! – “The band seemingly made no concessions to age, energy or ability, blasting out 20 songs over an hour and 45 minutes. It was everything anyone could expect from a top-flight rock show…”