Let’s set the scene:
Once upon a time, I decided I should take AP Literature in High School. It made sense, since I loved literature so much, and if I could get college credit for it, why not? Unfortunately the credit has not really helped me much with my college classes (transferring credits is a NIGHTMARE, am I right fellow college-goers?), but it was a fabulous class that I truly believe made me a better reader and most definitely a better writer. Our teacher was relentless, talented and passionate, a combination rarely found, and I was lucky to be taught by her. She wasn’t always my favorite person, but I can’t deny that she taught me well, and I am immensely grateful for that. One of my favorite assignments in that class was a re-writing of a fairytale of our choice. She told us to write it from some point of view other than that of the main characters. I of course decided to go with one of the most told and re-told of all fairytales: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. So with no further ado, here is my rendition of the tail, straight from my academic archives. Enjoy!
3 March 2011
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Different P.O.V.
(or: So… What Happened to the Magic Mirror?)
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
It was the same question every day. I grew so tired of it, so tired that if I could have thrown myself from the wall and crashed at the queen’s feet, I would have. I would have broken myself into a hundred thousand pieces without a second thought, but unfortunately even a magic mirror cannot move by himself.
“You, my queen,” I answered, the same as always. “You are the fairest in the land.”
She would smile then, slowly, her eyes glittering with satisfaction. I hated that smile, and I wished that I could lie to her and tell her that she was ugly, that every maiden in the land was fairer than her. But a magic mirror cannot lie any more than he can thrown himself off of a wall.
One day, however, I realized something that made me almost giddy with excitement. Snow White, the queen’s little step-daughter, was not as little as she used to be, and had somehow surpassed her stepmother in beauty, despite the rags she was forced to wear. It took all of my willpower not to smirk as I answered the queen that day.
“Your beauty is famed all throughout the land,” I said, trying to be somber but practically shuddering in my glass with joy, “but I am afraid that Snow White has far surpassed you this past year.”
The queen’s initial reaction was what I had expected: she sputtered and fumed. But then after a moment she became quiet and began pacing about the room. I watched her from my wall, watching her thoughts pace about in her head. Her plots to kill Snow White entertained me, and when she finally decided to send out her Huntsman to kill the girl i was a bit disappointed. The queen had carried out many murderous plots in the past; this was by far one of her least creative.
The Huntsman had for a long time been one of my least favorite characters. He was always sweaty and covered with dirt and leaf fragments, fumbling with his ratty hat and stuttering like he was uneducated. What was most irritating about it all was that he was actually quite smart. There wasn’t a beast large of small that could escape his bow, and yet somehow the queen’s assignment seemed beyond his capability.
“Kill the little princess?” He whined. “But why, your majesty?”
“Because it is what I ask!” The queen snapped. She was practically delirious by then with obsession and lack of sleep. “Now go and bring me back her heart in a box!”
The Huntsman went, of course, but of course he did not carry out his task. As soon as the queen came before me with the box I was ready to watch her crack.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
“You are fair above most women, oh queen,” I replied, wondering what her lunatic mind would devise when she found out the truth, “but the maiden Snow White is still far more beautiful.”
“Snow White is dead,” she said matter-of-factly, as if she really thought that I, a magic mirror, was wrong.
“No, my queen,” I said, a little slower, “you have been fooled. The Huntsman could not kill the princess, so he sent her off into the forest to hide from you, and brought you back a pig’s heart instead of the girl’s.”
The queen screamed and hurled the box across the room, and then she ran out, spitting out curses on her step-daughter all the way. Such an immature way to react to things. I despised that queen. I never wanted to see her again.
For the first time in many years, the queen did not come to me in the morning. I was relieved, exhilarated even. Seeing her face every day for so long, even when it was the most beautiful in the kingdom, had been tedious. I watched with little interest as she frantically changed herself into a haggard peasant woman and went out with her poisoned apple to try and kill Snow White. She did not even think to chase down the Huntsman who had failed her. She found Snow White at the dwarf’s house and managed to kill her, but of course she forgot that dwarfs can be quite vengeful. When she died, I was not shocked or even slightly grieved. I had been positively bored with her presence.
Things were very quiet in the castle. All the servants had abandoned the place long ago, and Snow White did not even return after the prince woke her with his magic kiss and married her. I suppose she had no reason to, but I had planned on becoming someone else’s magic mirror. Someone who was not quite as mentally disturbed, who would ask me difficult questions I had to think about.
But there was no one.
I waited for weeks, months, years, and did not hear a human voice. I tried to talk to the creatures who began to inhabit the castle, but they were hopeless.
And so I still hang here on the wall in this abandoned castle. All common folk are afraid to come here, even decades after the queen’s death. The sun rises and sets, the foxes chase mice across the floor. It is the same every day. I have grown so tired of it, so tired that if I could throw myself from the wall and crash in front of one of those foxes, I would. I would break myself into a hundred thousand pieces without a second though, but unfortunately even a magic mirror cannot move by himself.
Let me know what you guys think! I’m happy to say I got a fairly good grade on this paper, and of course had a lot of fun writing it. Thank goodness for creative, hard-working teachers!
Also, if you want to read a story about the Magic Mirror by a real author, try the novel Mira, Mirror by Mette Harrison.
It’s a really fun read. Not only does it have all the qualities of a good fantasy adventure (revenge, mysterious men in hoods, journeys through dark forests), but it also goes into self-image and the meaning of beauty. Which of course works perfectly, because the main character is, after all, a mirror. Basically, if you like fairytales with a twist, you’ll love Mira, Mirror.