Op-Ed: Forget Snow White, These Are the Real Main Characters

in Movies & TV, Op-Ed

Snow white and prince from original cartoon as the main characters, covered by non-permissive sign

Credit: Disney / Inside the Magic

With all the buzz about Rachel Zegler and woke Disney, it seems like the lock-and-key main characters of the Brothers Grimm classic got lost in the shuffle.

Snow White singing to Doves on a wishing well
Credit: Disney

The Main Characters of Fairy Tales

It’s impossible to forget Snow White, Aurora, or Prince Eric; these classics live in the beating heart of society. But within a fairytale, while the main character is usually a prince or princess, ‘main character energy’ comes from something else. In the case of Snow White, a part of the Brothers Grimm tales shows a much darker version of the story. Yet Disney adapted it, and in literary terms, took a could-be villain and secondary character and made them the call to adventure.

Disney Quote: The Princess and the Frog, Tiana | “My dream wouldn’t be complete without you in it.”

It thrilled readers because despite being a minor character, the Huntsman changed everything. His provision of a pig’s heart rather than killing Snow White kicked the whole story into gear. Yet he isn’t the only minor character, who wouldn’t necessarily be classed as a protagonist, who gets forgotten.

Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart
Credit: Universal Pictures

Original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In the original “Snow White” fairy tale, things got dark for readers. It mirrors the original ‘eyes-pecked-out’ Cinderella story. That didn’t appear in the cartoon either, but speaking of mirrors, we come to the next forgotten character—the Magic Mirror.

A protagonist? Not really. It’s a literary device to entice readers with possibility and connection. The main characters in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs have no plot without the Magic Mirror or the Huntsman.

Disney Quote: Pocahontas, John Smith | “I’d rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without knowing you.”

Disney ornaments
Credit: Disney

“Woke” Snow White Live-Action

If the live-action remake has said anything about the protagonist and the main characters in a story, it’s that there can be more than one. Stories that adapt to cartoons and later into films can transfuse ‘main character energy’ into every reader or watcher who ever felt like a minor character.

Disney Quote: Snow White | “Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.”

The protagonist and secondary characters are just a part of a narrative. Queens, princes, and the like all run empires that expand to the people, the same (metaphorical) people who read and watch the modern Snow White tales.

Snow White Movie Poster
Credit: Disney

Understanding Multiple Main Characters

The tale of Snow White is beautiful because it shows that character development is natural, change is possible, and the main characters aren’t the only actors in the story. Understanding the protagonist provides a lens through which to view others.

What do you think about the authentic main characters in Snow White? Make your mark in the comments below!

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