|“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 and The Huntsman: Winter's War.
Ravenna is the cruel and tyrannical ruler of the kingdom of Tabor as well as a dangerously powerful sorceress. She is the older sister of Finn and Freya, the widow of King Magnus, and the stepmother of Princess Snow White.
Because of her extreme beauty, Ravenna was regarded as being the "Fairest of Them All". However, when she learned that, since coming of age, Snow White had now surpassed her as the "fairest", Ravenna becomes determined to kill her stepdaughter and consume her heart, which would not only grant her eternal youth and evergreen beauty, but would also maintain her powers forever.
She is portrayed by Charlize Theron.
Ravenna was born an unspecified number of years before the events of Snow White & The Huntsman - given her statement of having lived "many lives", it is implied that she is actually far older than she looks, which in turn suggests the possibility of her birth occurring centuries ago.
Ravenna lived in a small village with her family: her mother (who was a powerful sorceress) and her younger siblings, Finn and Freya. Even as a child, Ravenna was noted to be of extraordinary physical beauty, to the extent where her mother viewed her as "the fairest of them all".
When she was still quite young, Ravenna's village was attacked by the King of that land. Believing that her oldest daughter's beauty was the only thing that could save her - and by possible extension, her younger siblings as well - from this assault, the sorceress placed a spell on Ravenna that would drink her young and beautiful forever. However, she also warned Ravenna that the spell could be undone by one of "fairest blood". Immediately after, Ravenna, Finn and, presumably, Freya, were captured by the King's men and taken away. Though it was neither confirmed nor specifically stated, it was heavily implied that their mother was later killed by this assault.
It was never revealed as to what truly happened to Ravenna and her siblings after they were forcefully separated from their mother, but it was possible that the King who attacked their village had later sexually assaulted Ravenna, given how she once mentioned that she was "ruined by a King". It was also implied that the three siblings had a difficult upbringing, living in extreme poverty and eating scraps.
At some point in her life, presumably in her twenties, Ravenna discovered that she had inherited her mother's magical powers, and subsequently became a potent sorceress. She manipulated the spell that her mother had cast on her to grant her two formidable abilities that would become her primary means of offense and defense: the first was the ability of youth-absorption, which enabled her to maintain her own youthful beauty by draining the life-force of other beautiful females. The second was the ability of near-invulnerability, which made her impervious to most weapons and even the element of fire. She obtained the Magic Mirror, which replied to any question asked with nothing less than the total and absolute truth, and therefore was an invaluable ally to her in her plots.
As the years passed, Ravenna's strength and magical power grew at incredible level, but so did her hate and bitterness towards the world for what had happened to her, and eventually, she sought vengeance in her own unique way. She would seduce and marry a King, then murder him at the moment when he least suspected anything was amiss, and then conquer his kingdom. Guided by the Mirror, and armed with her magical powers, Ravenna was practically invincible and, over the years, none were able to oppose her, and numerous kingdoms fell, one after another, to her seductive magical beauty and her murderous schemes.
In the midst of her conquest of kingdoms, Ravenna's younger sister, Freya, served as her constant faithful companion, and the two were shown to share a warm and loving familial relationship. However, Freya appeared to possess no magical powers of her own, and had given up all hopes of the matter despite Ravenna's assurance that she would, one day, come into her own as a powerful sorceress like her. During one of her tyrannies, Ravenna found out that Freya had a secret love affair with a nobleman of her court: the Duke of Blackwood. In fact, the affair had resulted in Freya becoming pregnant. However, she flatly told Freya that the Duke had already been engaged to another - an engagement that even she could not break, and she believed that the Duke would deny her sister and the child that her sister was carrying.
The two sisters got into a silent, yet short-lived argument over the matter, with Freya concluding that Ravenna might end up being surprised by the outcome, for it was impossible for her to know everything. As Freya left her sister's presence, Ravenna ominously refuted Freya's last comment, and turned to look at the Mirror.
A few weeks after her niece (Freya's daughter) was born, Ravenna learned from the Mirror that her niece was destined to grow to be more beautiful than she was, but if any harm should befall her niece, Freya would unleash a power unlike any the world has ever seen. The first part of the Mirror's prophetic warning grieved and frightened Ravenna, due to her mother's previous warning that the spell of everlasting youth and evergreen beauty - in other words, her very own powers - could be broken by someone who was more beautiful than she was. In tears, Ravenna begged the Mirror for mercy, to which the Mirror replied that it was only a mere reflection, and that she must make her own choices, and it knew that she already had - from Ravenna's perspective, her niece had to die in order for her to live.
One day, Ravenna forged a love letter from the Duke, and had it sent to Freya, ensuring that her sister would be lured away from the child on that very night. When night fell, Ravenna cloaked herself thoroughly so she could not be recognised by anyone, slipped into the Duke's room, and proceeded to cast a mind-control spell on him, after which she handed him a flaming torch and ordered him to kill the child. As the Mirror had foretold, the child's death led to the awakening of her sister's long-dormant powers of cryokinesis, the strength of which caused even her to gasp. Consumed by the grief and rage of her loss, Freya left Ravenna to seek a kingdom of her own, leaving Ravenna alone. It could be theorised that, some time later, Ravenna recruited their brother, Finn, to serve as her companion in Freya's absence. However, this did nothing to prevent Ravenna from sinking further into the dark abyss that was a mixture of vanity, cruelty, and insanity.
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 herㅡ 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. 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 Eric the Huntsman. Ravenna 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 with her great strength, 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 could save her), 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. Actually, she did not die and in fact, she managed to encase her spirit in the Magic Mirror as a mean to save it until someone would liberate it, thus setting her free of the Mirror .
The Huntsman: Winter's War Edit
Influence from Beyond the Grave Edit
As explained by William to Eric, it was believed that the Mirror's Dark magic had died along with Ravenna, but they had been mistaken. Even after Ravenna's death, they eventually found out that there was an evil in the Mirror, an evil that had been becoming increasingly powerful with time, to the extent where Snow White was revealed to have taken ill because of it - the evil in the Mirror caused her to be unable to take her eyes off it, and she could constantly hear its voice calling out to her. Hence, Snow White ordered it to be taken to the Sanctuary, which was the one place where its Dark magic could be forever contained. However, the men who were charged with escorting the Mirror to the Sanctuary never returned, and Eric later found out that the Mirror had caused them to turn on and even kill one another.
After Freya obtained the Mirror for herself, a voice within the Mirror guided her to chant a spell that, to her astonishment and wonder, resurrected Ravenna. Ravenna reveals that, before she took her last breath, she sent her spirit into the Mirror, and waited for someone to free her. However, it soon became evident that whatever intimacy the two sisters once shared now utterly belonged in the past, for they were now utterly different people: though Freya had no objections to Ravenna's plans of avenging herself upon Snow White, she disapproved of the way Ravenna ordered her Huntsmen about, for she felt that it was an affront to her authority as the Queen of her kingdom. While Ravenna assured Freya that while she would never doubt her rule, she made it clear of her belief in her methods being the better ones, and reminded Freya of her position as a younger sister who owes the older sister not only her loyalty, but also her magical powers.
Eventually, during the invasion of the citadel by Eric and the Dwarfs, Freya was seen preparing her Huntsman for the impending war. When Eric shot an arrow at her, Ravenna appeared out of nowhere and caught the arrow in the nick of time, to the astonishment of all the onlookers. She threw the dart back at Eric, who narrowly dodged it. Sara attempted to murder Freya, who froze her in place. Eric and Sara were apprehended and brought forward to face justice.
Freya was horrified to learn that Sara was still in love with Eric, and Ravenna encouraged her sister to follow her own law and have them executed. But Eric encouraged the rest of the Huntsman to shake of their oath to Freya and they began to rebel. Ravenna recognised the rising tension and conjured dark fay, in the form of a thick black ooze shaped like sharp tendrils. Ravenna declared to Eric that no love would save him. She proceeded to lay waste to the entire crowd, impaling them with the dark tendrils. Freya however ordered her sister to stop killing her men, and in a rage she conjured an immense wall of ice to separate Ravenna from the Huntsmen. Ravenna stopped her attack and ranted that Freya should be strong, saying that she made her strong. Freya was suspicious of this bold statement, and when she questioned her sister, Ravenna refused to answer out of guilt.
Freya however grabbed her sister and issued a command to the mirror, and read her sisters mind through the mirror's memory. There she learned of how Ravenna had been warned by the mirror of Freya's child, how she had cursed the Duke into killing the child and therefore breaking Freya's heart. Horrified, Freya was grief stricken at this betrayal and vilified her sister. Ravenna responded she was stronger for this reason and gave Freya a small wound through the shoulder with the dark fay. At this point Eric and Sara had scaled the ice wall and engaged Ravenna. Eric fought past her dark fay and elbowed her in the face, but this only enraged her as she knocked him back. Freya then joined the fight and launch a wave of ice at her sister, freezing Ravenna in place. As Ravenna began to break free, she repelled Eric and Sara, before Freya embraced her and attempted to freeze her whole. Ravenna impaled her through the abdomen with the dark fay, after which she apologized to her sister, but screamed how she envied the life that Freya once had, love and a child. But Freya's attack had weakened her, as Ravenna's mouth began to bleed with dark liquid.
Ravenna then turned into a flock of golden ravens as Sara attempted to kill her, returning to her normal form instantly and throwing Sara aside. But Freya froze the mirror, weakening Ravenna and allowing Eric to beat her and hurl his axe into the mirror. The mirror began to break, and as Ravenna screamed it shattered, and her body turned to gold and shattered in turn. Presumably she is dead again, but at the end of the film a golden bird is seen flying away, hinting that her spirit is still alive.
Ravenna was shown throughout the two films (Snow White & The Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter's War) to be cruel, arrogant, power-hungry, and extremely vain. She is obsessed with maintaining her beauty and immortality, and would go to any lengths to achieve her goals.
Despite her great age, some of Ravenna's personality traits - such as her extreme emotional outbursts and overreactions to bad news - are rather childish in nature, implying a severely stunted emotional growth. She is also a consummate seductress, knowing well how to use her beauty, her sexuality, and her innate cunning to intrigue and manipulate men - especially Kings - to her best advantage.
Ravenna seems to genuinely believe that rebellion must be suppressed through violence and fear, and that she is actually a more benevolent ruler than other Kings (such as the one who ruined her own life). In fact, she also seemed to believe that she was doing Snow White a mercy by killing her while she was young, so that she will never have to experience growing old. All of this implies that she is extremely delusional.
One notable trait of Ravenna would be her anger issues: she does not forgive failure easily, even if the one who had committed the mistakes was her very own brother, and her rage at Snow White's continued successful evasion of her attempts to kill her leads her to become increasingly deranged and paranoid as the film progresses. Her arrogance is also evident in her underestimation of Snow White, for she believes that it is impossible for someone like Snow White to defeat her - an unshakeable belief that ultimately leads to her death.
Another eminent trait in Ravenna would be her extreme misandry: she has a pathological hatred for the opposite sex (men), believing that they are vermin, and that they only see women as either sexual conquests or toys to be manipulated at their will. The only man that appears to be exempt from her misandry is her brother, and even then, she was shown to treat him poorly on numerous occasions.
Despite her cold and cruel nature, Ravenna does appear to be capable of love and affection to some extent. She demonstrated an unexpected vulnerable side to her when she recalled how she and her siblings had been forcefully separated from their mother by the King who later "ruined" her - a recollection that actually reduced her to tears. Her love for her siblings, particularly Freya, who served as her constant companion as she conquered kingdom after kingdom with her beauty and magic. In fact, Freya once commented that chess was a pointless game to them since Ravenna always let her win, and Ravenna actually conceded with a warm sincere smile that Freya was her one soft spot. She was also shown to assure Freya - who had given up all hopes of acquiring magical powers - that she would become a powerful sorceress like her one day. While this could be viewed as Ravenna playing favourities with her siblings, given how she was never shown to favour Finn as dearly as she did Freya, it also testifies that, for all her numerous flaws, Ravenna could be genuinely affectionate and warm to those of her immediate family circle.
However, this degree of love and affection does not extend to her forgoing what she viewed to be her own best interests. Though she did appear to be hesitant and almost truly reluctant to harm her infant niece (whom the Mirror foretold would grow to be more beautiful than her one day), and she knew beforehand how grief-stricken Freya would be should any harm befall the child, Ravenna ultimately had no qualms with killing the child, and even framed the Duke of Blackwood (Freya's lover as well as the father of the child) for the murder. The second instance would be when Finn died: though Ravenna was devastated when he died, it must be noted that she choose to sacrifice him to save herself, emphasising the fact that even when it came to the immediate family members whom she loved, she would always put herself first.
In spite of all this, Ravenna was also shown to be more than a mere villainess, and was actually an intensely complex character for an antagonist: in Snow White & The Huntsman, Ravenna once confessed that Snow White was the only one pure enough to save her, which implies that, in her heart of hearts, Ravenna knew all along that what she was doing was wrong, but was also powerless to stop herself. Likewise, in The Huntsman: Winter's War, Ravenna declared that she actually envied Freya for the love she once had and the child she had borne - all these things Ravenna had secretly desired, and her certainty of the impossibility of her ever acquiring them for herself had thoroughly broken her.
Hence, it could be said that Ravenna was still a victim of tragic circumstance, one who suffers from an extremely severe case of psychological damage, due to the trauma of her early years: while her mother had cast the spell of everlasting youth and evergreen beauty in a last desperate attempt to protect her, it is a plausible theory that this spell also gave Ravenna her inexpressible fear of old age and death, and made her utterly intolerant of any rivals to her beauty. This is so, as her mother had warned her that the spell could be broken by one who was even more beautiful than she was, and from Ravenna's natural perspective, the spell being broken meant that she would lose her one and only method of self-defense, and she would again be vulnerable to those who wished her harm. This is probably the main reason for her supreme vanity, and why she learned to manipulate her mother's spell on her to grant her the ability of youth-absorption - to ensure that she would never ever again be harmed or left defenseless.
Ravenna's misandry could also be attributed to the King who had not only forcefully separated her and her siblings from their mother, but also proceeded to "ruin" her. It is a plausible theory that this "ruination" was what caused Ravenna to lose her faith at being able to find a man who would truly love her for what she was and give her a child of her own, and made her believe that men view women as only sexual conquests or objects they could toy at will.
It can therefore be said that, though Ravenna did terrible things, terrible things had been done to her as well, and those slight glints of positive human feelings like familial love and warmth demonstrated by her seem to testify to her still being a sympathetic character, though her own choices confirm her role as an antagonist.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Ravenna is an extremely powerful sorceress, though it was mentioned by Finn (and later proven) that excessive usage of her powers would cause her to age, which she combated by stealing youth from others. However, after her resurrection, Ravenna did not seem to suffer from this weakness anymore, and was shown to possess an unlimited arsenal of magical powers, which could probably be attributed to her new status as an entity of the Magic Mirror.
As the strongest and most powerful sorceress on the kingdom, examples of notable abilities Ravenna displayed were:
- Immortality/Youth Absorption: Through a spell that her 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. While it was never specifically confirmed as to whether she still suffered from this weakness after her resurrection, the fact that Ravenna neither aged nor weakened despite using her powers as she desired with no hesitations seem to indicate that she had managed to overcome this particular barrier.
- 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. In The Huntsman: Winter's War, she was shown to be able to channel this ability without directly touching her intended victim, as seen by how she killed her husband, the King, by just touching the chess piece that represented his royal status, causing him to bleed to death. She was also able to sense that Freya was pregnant and that it was a girl. However, it is beyond Ravenna to restore life to the dead.
- Shapeshifting: Ravenna could change her physical form to whatever shape she desired, such as a flock of ravens or other human beings.
- Dark Fay: Ravenna had the ability to conjure a black substance known as dark fay, which could take the form of either a solid or a liquid. In solid form, she was able to conjure soldiers of black glass, which could only be destroyed when she herself was dead. In liquid form, she was able to create tendrils that had razor-sharp talons and points. She was shown to be able to use such tendrils as deadly weapons, given that they could cut through skin, bone, and even barriers of ice with effortless ease. She could also shoot these tendrils as projectiles, through which she killed several Huntsmen at once.
- 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. In Snow White & The Huntsman, it was shown that the only way she could be killed is if she does not consume youth and loses her ability of regeneration, or if "The Fairest Of Them All" delivers a fatal wound to her. In The Huntsman: Winter's War, it was shown that, due to her having become an entity of the Magic Mirror, the only way to vanquish her was to destroy the Mirror.
- Superhuman Strength: As seen at the end of Snow White & The Huntsman, Ravenna possesses a level of superhuman strength. She was shown to be able to lift Greta by the throat without much difficulty, and later knocked Snow White several feet away with one blow. In The Huntsman: Winter's War, she threw at an arrow at Eric with such force that it got stuck in a wall when he dodged it in the nick of time, and later met him blow for blow.
- Mind Control: Ravenna was able to manipulate another person's thoughts and actions, as seen by how she compelled the Duke of Blackwood to kill the daughter he had fathered through Freya.
- Consorting With The Magic Mirror: Ravenna is the only person who can see and speak with the all-knowing, clairvoyant entity that resided within the Mirror. In The Huntsman: Winter's War, it was revealed that she was able to use the entity for other purposes than seeking truthful and absolute answers to her questions, as her spirit took the entity's place in the Mirror to evade passing on into the afterlife.
- Chess: In The Huntsman: Winter's War, it was shown that Ravenna was a talented chess player. In fact, it was proved that if Ravenna did not choose to let her win at the game, then Freya did not stand a chance against her.
- Seduction: As shown in both Snow White & The Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter's War, Ravenna was a consummate seductress, being able to effectively utilise all of her beauty and her sexuality to beguile and distract her victims until it was too late for them.
- Ravenna (The Evil Queen) is the second Disney Villain to appear on live-action film as the main antagonist.
- Ravenna's name came from the name "Raven", which means "death", or "doom", or crow. In the 1937 Disney animation, the Evil Queen had a pet raven, which is another possible source of inspiration for Ravenna's name.
- Ravenna and her younger sister, Freya, were the only two of their three siblings to have inherited and manifested magical powers from their mother's bloodline, for their brother, Finn, was proven to be a mere mortal. Ravenna's status as a powerful sorceress could also be interpreted as a nod to the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, since the vast majority of evil stepmothers in those tales are shown to be witches.
- 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.
- It is a plausible theory that Ravenna only learned how to fully utilise the power of stealing other young women's youth in her late 20's, which explains why she had only ever stayed at that age.
- 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 not only feared rivals to her beauty, but also old age and death.
- Nothing was ever revealed of the Evil Queen's personal background, but Ravenna was revealed to have a family and a rich history (spanning possibly centuries).
- 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 had a multitude of incredible supernatural powers, most notably the ability of youth-absorption, and the ability to be invulnerable to most weapons and fire.