|“ You cannot defeat me! I've lived too many lives, Ravaged entire kingdoms..I have been given powers that you could not even fathom! I will never stop, Never! I will give this wretched world the queen it deserves.”|
|— Ravenna to Snow White|
Ravenna, also known as 'The Evil Queen' or simply 'The Queen', is the primary antagonist of Snow White & The Huntsman. She is the cruel and tyrannical ruler of the kingdom of Tabor and a powerful witch. She is sister of Finn, the widow of King Magnus and the stepmother of Princess Snow White. She is regarded as being the 'Fairest of Them All', but when she learns that, since coming of age, Snow White has now surpassed her as the 'fairest', Ravenna becomes determined to kill her stepdaughter and consume her heart, in order to maintain her powers and eternal youth, and also to keep her hold on Tabor. She is portrayed by Charlize Theron.
Ravenna was born an unspecified amount of years before the events of Snow White & The Huntsman - she is implied to be far older than she looks and states she has lived "many lives", meaning it was likely hundreds of years ago. Ravenna lived in a small village with her mother and brother, Finn. She apparently inherited her magical abilities from her mother and even as a child, was noted to have great physical beauty.
When she was still quite young, Ravenna's village was attacked by the king of the land. Ravenna's mother placed a spell on her, to keep her young and beautiful forever, feeling that it would aid her daughter. However, she warned Ravenna that the spell could be undone by one of "Fairest blood." Immediately after, Ravenna and her brother were captured by the king's men and taken away - it is implied her mother was killed.
It is implied that Ravenna and Finn had a difficult upbringing, living in extreme poverty and eating scraps. Ravenna also mentions she was "ruined by a king" - she was likely referring to the king who attacked her village. The context in which she says it also seems to imply that the king may have sexually assaulted her, but this remains unconfirmed and Ravenna does not elaborate on what he did to 'ruin' her. As the years passed, Ravenna's strength and knowledge of magic grew, as did her hate and bitterness towards the world for what had happened to her. Ravenna's words to Snow White certainly imply that she blamed the rest of the world for her hardships and sought vengeance.
Over the years, Ravenna did just that, by invading and 'ravaging' numerous kingdoms and tyrannically ruling over them. She presumably did this by seducing and marrying, then murdering, the kings of the lands she conquered. Ravenna maintained her youthful beauty by draining the life force of beautiful girls and women; she also used her magic to keep Finn youthful, and the spell her mother had placed on her as a child made her invulnerable to most weapons, making her effectively invincible. At some point during her life, Ravenna obtained the Magic Mirror, which proved very useful in her plots. As the years passed, she sank further into vanity and cruelty, and, perhaps, insanity too.
Snow White & The Huntsman Edit
Becoming Queen Edit
Ravenna eventually plotted to take over the kingdom of Tabor. She began by conjuring an army of Dark Fay to invade Tabor, thus luring its recently widowed king, Magnus, to her. Ravenna pretended to be a prisoner of war captured by the army and seduced King Magnus. Missing his wife and enchanted by Ravenna's beauty, Magnus fell under her spell and brought her back to his castle, where he soon married her.
On their wedding night, however, Ravenna poisoned Magnus, then stabbed him with a dagger to finish him off. She then opened the castle gate for her brother, who was waiting outside with a human army (presumably, Ravenna had gathered human followers over the years - the army may also have come from lands Ravenna had previously conquered). Ravenna had almost everyone in the castle killed and established herself as Tabor's new queen overnight. The only ones to survive were those who escaped with Duke Hammond, and Ravenna's stepdaughter, Snow White. For unknown reasons, Ravenna chose to spare the princess and kept her locked in the castle tower - a decision that ultimately lead to her downfall.
The Fairest of Them All Edit
Ravenna ruled over Tabor through tyranny and fear for ten years. At some point during this time, she captured Eric the Huntsman's wife, Sara, and presumably drained her life-force to preserve her immortality; Sara was then subsequently murdered (it is implied that Finn killed her). However, on the day of her stepdaughter's eighteenth birthday, Ravenna learned from the magic mirror that Snow White was now regarded as being the 'Fairest of Them All'. This inspired both anger and great fear in Ravenna, who remembered her mother's warning that "by fairest blood" the spell that maintained her power and immortality could be broken. When the mirror informed Ravenna that if she consumed the Fairest's heart, then she would be all-powerful - never needing to drain the life-force of others again - Ravenna ordered Finn to bring Snow White to her, so as to kill her and obtain her heart. Unfortuately for Ravenna, Snow White managed to escape and fled to the Forbidden Forest, much to Ravenna's fury. Ravenna ordered Finn to find her someone who could navigate the Forest and track Snow White down. Finn brought her Erik. Ravenna did not tell Eric that she was responsible for his beloved wife's death, and coerced him into serving her, as she had done with so many men over the years, by promising him something - she would use her magic to bring Sara back to life.
Of course, Ravenna had no such power (and likely would not have kept her promise even if she could) and was merely using him to get her to stepdaughter. However, Eric betrayed Ravenna and helped Snow White to flee when he learned this. Ravenna sent Finn and her strongest troops to track down the Princess. Although they succeeded in this, they were unable to capture Snow White and the soldiers were dispatched by William, Eric and the dwarves. When Eric fatally wounded Finn, Ravenna, miles away, physically felt his pain, which greatly weakened her. Finn begged Ravenna to use her magic to save him, but Ravenna refused (presumably because doing so would've seriously injured or even killed her) and she tearfully apologised, before letting him die. After Finn's death, Ravenna was overcome with rage and grief, and swore to avenge him.
Ravenna decided she would take care of Snow White herself. She used Snow White's compassion and trusting nature to her advantage, disguising herself as William to trick her stepdaughter and lower her guard. She gave Snow White a poisoned apple, which incapacitated her. Ravenna was about to finish Snow White off with a dagger, but was interrupted by the real William and Eric. To save herself, Ravenna transformed into a flock of ravens and fled back to the castle, though doing so seriously weakened her.
Downfall and Death Edit
When Snow White and Duke Hammond's forces attacked the castle, Ravenna remained in her private rooms with the mirror, waiting for her stepdaughter. When Snow White arrived with her companions, Ravenna conjured Dark Fay to distract them, leaving Snow White to face her alone. Ravenna quickly gained the upper hand, taunting Snow White about the death of her father and the fate of her kingdom. However, Ravenna underestimated Snow White, who was able to fatally stab Ravenna with a knife. A dying Ravenna scrambled away from Snow White towards her mirror (perhaps hoping it would her salvation), rapidly aging to her true age. Snow White watched her sadly, telling her "You can't have my heart." Ravenna succumbed to her wounds soon after, finally ending her tyrannical reign over Tabor.
Ravenna is shown throughout the film to be cruel, arrogant, power-hungry and extremely vain. She is obsessed with maintaining her beauty and immortality, and goes to great lengths to achieve her aims. Despite her great age, some of her personality traits - such as her extreme emotional outbursts and overreactions to bad news - are rather childish in nature. She is also highly manipulative and charming, able to seduce many men, even kings, with her beauty, or by promising them things they want to secure her own power. She maintains her power and suppresses rebellion through violence and fear. She also seems to genuinely believe that the world deserves to be treated as such, and that she is in fact a more benevolent ruler than other kings (such as the one who ruined her own life), and also seems to believe she doing Snow White a mercy by killing her whilst she is young, so that she will never have to experience growing old. All of this implies that she quite delusional. Much of Ravenna's anger and bitterness towards the world seem to stem from her harsh early life.
Despite her generally callous and brutal treatment of others, Ravenna does appear to be capable of love and affection. She clearly loves her brother Finn, and is devastated when he dies, although it should also be noted that Ravenna chose to sacrifice Finn to save herself, emphasizing the fact that even when it comes to her loved ones, she will always put herself first. Ravenna has anger issues and does not forgive failure very easily. She becomes increasingly deranged and paranoid as the film progresses and Snow White continues to evade her. Ravenna is also shown to be somewhat arrogant; she underestimates Snow White, ultimately leading to her death and also underestimates the power of love and courage. She also fails to understand the importance of inner beauty over physical beauty. Ravenna also greatly fears death and growing old. Ravenna is also an extreme misandrist, having a pathological hatred for men, believing that they are vermin and that they see women as only objects to be overcome, or toys to be manipulated. The only man she appears to have respect for is her brother, and even then, she is shown treating him poorly on a number of occasions.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Ravenna is an extremely powerful witch, though it was mentioned by Finn (and later proven) that excessive usage of her powers would cause her to age. The notable abilities she displayed were:
- Immortality/Youth Absorption: Through a spell that her witch mother had cast on her when she was young, Ravenna could retain her youth and extend her life indefinitely by draining the youth of other young women. However, as revealed by her Magic Mirror, this did not equate to true immortality, which she could only achieve by consuming the heart of "The Fairest Of Them All". It is only by doing so that her powers will never weaken, and she will never age or need to consume youth.
- Life Force Manipulation/Life And Death Manipulation: Ravenna could manipulate the life forces of others to bestow youth, heal injuries, and remove or sustain life. She demonstrated this power when she healed an injured Finn and when she caused a young man to experience a fatal heart attack simply by touching his chest. However, it is beyond Ravenna to restore life to the dead.
- Dark Fay Conjuration: Ravenna can summon and control creatures formed of obsidian stone referred by the film creators as "Dark Fay". These creatures cannot be killed or destroyed because they are formed of stone and can only be stopped if Ravenna is subdued or killed.
- Shapeshifting: Ravenna can alter her form to become other human beings or a flock of ravens.
- Regeneration: Ravenna cannot be killed by conventional weapons and heals from injuries such as a dagger to the ribs or standing in an open flame within seconds with no harm at all. The only way Ravenna can be killed is if she does not consume youth and loses her ability to regenerate or if "The Fairest Of Them All" delivers a fatal wound to her.
- Superhuman Strength: Ravenna possesses a level of superhuman strength as seen in the end of the film when she battles Snow White and knocks her several feet away with one blow. She is also shown lifting Greta by the throat without too much difficulty.
- Consorting With The Magic Mirror: Ravenna is the only person who can see and speak with the "entity" within the mirror. The mirror seems to posses a sort of clairvoyance that allows Ravenna to know who is the fairest of them all by simply asking "mirror mirror on the wall who's the fairest of them all".
- Ravenna's name came from the name "Raven", which means "death" or "doom" and crow. In the 1937 Disney animation, the Evil Queen had a pet raven, which is another possible source of inspiration for Ravenna's name. There is also an Italian city that is called Ravenna.
- Since the vast majority of people in medieval times died at the average age of 40 and Ravenna stated that she had lived 20 lives, it could be presumed that she is either over 800 years or close to 1000 years old, depending on what she considered to be a whole life.
- Presumably, she only learned how to fully utilise the power of stealing other young women's youth in her late 20's, which was why she had only ever stayed at that age.
- Like the vast majority of evil stepmothers in the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, she has powerful magic.
- Despite her evil nature, Ravenna still seemed to have a glint of humanity in her: she genuinely mourned the deaths of her mother and brother, and when she impersonated William to deceive Snow White, she told her that "she was the only one who could stop her, the only one who could save her" (implying that she herself knew of her misdeeds and the fact that she will continue to destroy kingdoms and innocent people for as long as she was alive).
- Differences between the Evil Queen in Disney and Ravenna include:
- The Evil Queen only feared not being the fairest in all the land, while Ravenna only feared death.
- Ravenna had a wider family and a richer history (spanning possibly centuries), while nothing was ever revealed of the Evil Queen's personal background.
- Ravenna's powers surpassed those of the Evil Queen's: the Evil Queen was only shown to be able to summon the spirit of the Magic Mirror, and to brew magical potions that could change her appearance completely. However, Ravenna was able to steal youth and beauty, sustain the life force of others (such as her brother), shapeshift into both people and animals, conjure life forms of quartz to do her bidding, withstand the element of fire, and could only be killed by "one of fairest blood".