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Headscratchers / Snow White and the Huntsman

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  • Ravenna didn't know that eating Snow White's heart would give her eternal life/youth, judging by "I should have killed her" and her reaction after the Mirror tells her what's what. So why did Ravenna just leave Snow White in that cell for years? At the very least, killing her would completely eliminate the original Royal Family, removing an icon for a potential rebellion to rally around.
    • Probably she was kept as a future "fairness snack", as a further insult to the king. We see she only drains teens, so she may have just been waiting for her to cross an invisible threshold of maximum fairness.
      • If this were the case, the Mirror only points out how fair Snow White is when she "comes of age" so that would be the invisible line she'd have been waiting for at a minimum.
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    • Also it is likely that Ravenna on some subconcious level identified with Snow White, having both lost their mothers while very young and having lost everything they held dear due to an invasion. Leaving her alive was sort of a hint of lingering humanity. Still Ravenna was more than willing to kill Snow White when she would either be a threat or be useful to her.
    • In his review, Spoony said he got the sense that it had to do with Finn's lust for Snow White, and that he somehow got Ravenna to keep her alive but imprisoned.
      • Given the amount of influence Finn seems to have over his sister, which is to say, none, he would probably have had to use the "future fairness snack"/"maximum fairness" idea anyway.
    • The extended edition has a scene after the introduction of the magic mirror, where Ravenna has the other survivors killed but allows Snow White to live, telling Finn "One never knows when royal blood may be of value." The feature commentary says she's sensing something in Snow White, some reason not to kill her.
  • How did scarring their faces prevent those women from being candidates for magical draining? If they were attractive to begin with, it's not like their 'beauty' is contaminated or something, and anyway, wasn't Ravenna actually feeding on her victims' youth? Greta didn't suddenly become a monstrous hag after being drained, she just aged to being an old woman, and it makes sense that draining the youth/life is what allows Ravenna to extend her lifespan. So, was the scarring just superstition on the part of the village women?
    • My interpretation was that Ravenna was taking their "fairness" which gave the appearance of aging the victim. When the spell was first cast on Ravenna, her mother said something about how her "fairness would protect her" so as long as she remains beautiful, she is immortal. The scars ruin the villager's beauty, and effectively save them from Ravenna's wrath.
      • The spell seemed intended to give Ravenna power over men; there's nothing to indicate that her beauty is initially linked to her extended lifespan, though now they go together because Ravenna's lived for so long that her real beauty/youth is gone. It seemed as if the 'draining beauty' was just Ravenna's issues: She was stealing life, and since she was beautiful when she was younger, regaining life through draining others made her beautiful again. She could have drained the scarred women, human soldiers, random peasants, ect, and it would have worked fine, but because Ravenna was focused on the idea of Beauty (having it, losing it, stealing it, keeping it), it never occurred to her.note 
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    • The Queen's orders seem to be "Bring me beautiful young women.". To many eyes, scarred women aren't beautiful any more.
  • Theoretically, Ravenna has pulled her kingdom-stealing ploy more than once, has a bent on world domination, and has lived for "twenty lifetimes." So how is it that she seems to have such a small range of influence? From the look of things, she's only got the one kingdom, and not a very big one at that, when she should have something more resembling The Empire. Granted, she could just be completely out of her mind and making things up.
    • It's implied that all of the kingdoms she steals falls to ruin, so presumably she moves on when they're used up; it would be thematic to Snow White's "her presence brings life" thing. It's also possible that she has other kingdoms, but because they wind up like Tabor, she moves to the most recent conquest; and if all the other lands are also decimated, they wouldn't be much help once all they have to offer is mud and peasants.
      • How is it then that no one seemed to have heard of her when she took over Snow White's kingdom?
      • Communication during the medieval era was often infrequent and limited, so even if Tabor had heard of an evil witch-queen, they wouldn't have any reason to connect her to Ravenna. If Ravenna really lived as long as she claimed, and assuming she doesn't grab a new kingdom every year, people might not even know that the person who came into power in Kingdom X is the same person who rules/ruled Kingdom Y. And, if she drains the land as thoroughly as Tabor was going, there might not be anything left worth noting: Sometimes kingdoms fall into decline, and other lands might have chalked it up to a famine or the like instead of the less-common "Sympathetic withering caused by an evil queen."
      • But then why didn't she change her birth name? You'd think that after almost a millenium of stories of an evil witch-seductress-queen named Ravenna that drains whole kingdoms, you'd think she would change her name. There's also the fact that Tabor falls into decline in a decade or LESS. In a world where no-one bats an eyelid at trolls and faeries, no-one thought that the sudden decline of the kingdom - under the ironfisted rule of an evil queen - was magic-related?
      • It's likely that didn't display her powers until she was Queen - even the takeover was done in a mundane fashion - so there wouldn't have been reason for anyone to connect a poor, beautiful, innocent-looking woman to the powerful, distant, evil Queen who happens to share her name. It seems like people are aware that the decline is connected to the new ruler, but the withering didn't start until after she took the throne, by which time it was too late. Also, why would she change her name? Her ego wouldn't allow it, and it would give her another reason to look down on the men she killed ("Look at these idiots, so eager to bed me they didn't even bother with a background check.")
  • How did Snow White learn how to fight like that? She seemed rather young to have been trained before her father died.
    • We don't see her fight before the Huntsman teaches her self-defense in the forest, so maybe there were more, off-screen training sessions? And in fairness, she doesn't exactly go from neonate to Xena-level swordmistress.
    • Fight? You call what she did knowing how to fight? She fought horrifically badly. Her swings were wild. She had no control there. She makes a foolhardy lunge at the queen at the start of her fight, which ends rather painfully and embarrassingly for her. Really, she's lucky to have come out of that very one-sided fight alive.
  • Ok... So is William Snow White's brother or not? I was under the impression that they were brother and sister, but she seemed all too eager to make out with him (actually Ravenna in disguise) in the woods.
    • William is the son of the Duke, who seems to have been the King's most trusted retainer, which is presumably why Will was allowed to run around with the Princess. They're like brother and sister, in that they grew up together; if they were actually related, it would probably have been brought up by the plot.
  • Did Snow White actually know that it was Eric's kiss that woke her up? The film does nothing to clarify it for us so all we can do is guess. Judging by the way she smiles at him near the end, it's possible she knows, but if she did, how is that possible when she was dead while he gave his heartwrenchingly beautiful speech? Magic, I guess.
    • She also says "I have seen what she sees," or something to that effect, upon her resurrection, and since that doesn't seem to be referring to Ravenna's 'Only you can kill me' thing from the woods, it does seem like there was something more than just death. So yeah, magic. Or maybe she was just in a coma, rather than dead? Comatose patients who recover supposedly hear things happening around them while they're comatose, so maybe that's how Snow White knew.
      • Thanks, that does sound at least a bit more reasonable.
  • Who the hell was Whiteheart (the giant white buck in the fairies' dwelling) and why did they bring him up at all? He just shows up, gets shot with an arrow, and disappears. He didn't help anyone in any sort of way, and if his role was to symbolize how Snow White united nature, she already proved that with the troll. So is he part of the Snow White mythos or did they just make him up to use some more of those admittedly awesome effects?
    • White stags feature into a number of cultures' mythology and folklore. This scene seems to be lifted from Princess Mononoke.
      • This Troper loves that scene for one reason: Jokingly, in her head, she saw the forest and thought 'I wonder if The Great Prince will show up?' Well, he was white instead of brown, but...
    • His purpose was simply to signal Snow White as the Chosen One. Notice that the dwarves strongly suspect she is important, but they are dedicated to her after that scene.
  • On that same thread: what the hell was up with the super convenient horse on the beach at the beginning? Why was there a horse on the beach at all? It essentially served as a means for a quick escape (and some trailer bait), but it made no sense whatsoever.
    • The fairies engineered her escape. Recall the black and white birds that led her to each step of her escape (the nail, the sewer grate, the horse, etc), then later revealed themselves to be inhabited by fairies.
  • The Queen's brother has a prominent scar on his forehead, yet it's made clear that he's sustained by his sister's magic, which heals his injuries without leaving any scars.
    • Presumably he got it before she gained the power to heal him.
    • But we see both of them when she gets her power from her mother's ritual, and I don't recall him having the scar.
      • It's just before they get kidnapped, and if there's a decent period between "They get kidnapped" and "Ravenna murders the king," there would be time for the scar to appear... unless you believe the king didn't wait for Ravenna to grow up, though even then time would have passed, as she and Finn were children when their village was sacked and Ravenna mentions killing the king when he was going to discard her for someone younger. Also, unless Ravenna was already being taught magic, or the spell told her how to use it, she would have had to learn to harness her power.
  • Why does Ravenna have an exotic and appropriate name while her brother is just named... Finn? Why not something like Crowe or Hawke? (Granted he doesn't have any magic powers.)
    • Ravenna was named Ravenna to contrast with Snow White. Finn doesn't get a thematic name because he, unlike Ravenna, isn't intended to contrast with anyone: He could have been the counterpart to The Huntsman, but that comparison wasn't really played up. His name is meaningful, though: Finn is a variant of Fionn, meaning "fair," but also meaning "white" or "fair-haired," and Finn is noticeably pale in both hair-color and general coloring.
  • Maybe it's only in this troper's mind, but with Snow White being able to "unite nature", wouldn't it be reasonable to summon the inhabitants of Sanctuary and Dark Forest as extra muscle for The Resistance?
    • That did seem like a logical conclusion, particularly given how she handled the Troll; the inhabitants of Sanctuary seemed too fragile for combat, but the Troll was practically a walking tank. Maybe they thought it would be a little too reminiscent of the Narnia movies? That said, it didn't seem as if Snow White could actively use any of her abilities - she could heal with her presence, for example, but seemed entirely unaware of it - so...
    • OP here. Now that I think about it, bringing the Dark Forest and Sanctuary to fight would smack of Avatar, not to mention the Troll's possible vulnerability to sunlight. I noticed there was some sun when it and Snow White met, and it didn't even flinch—-maybe it was one of those sunproof trolls, or it was an honest mistake.
  • Is there any practical reason for Snow White to wear pants under her skirt in the first place? I get that they are convenient for her after her skirt is ripped, but I can't think of any reason why she would wear pants while still in the prison. Is that just the way long-term prisoners are dressed, or what?
    • So that her dress could get ripped later, obviously. Historically, women didn't start wearing trousers until the 20th century. Even if they were worried about her freezing to death, they would have thrown in some kind of shawl or maybe woolen stockings, so it's probably just an anachronism meant to emphasize the empowerment aspect.
  • If Snow White's being "the fairest of them all" was due to her inner beauty… why was Ravenna in second place? Why was she ever in first place at all?
    • Because her way of being "fair" is supplanted by Snow White's way, True Beauty Is on the Inside. So, when one way gains more strength and influence over the people and land, the fairest in one weaker way loses her place, because the definition of fairest just changed. Or maybe she kept the powers from when she was innocent.
    • Perhaps it is both inner and outer beauty? Or you could argue that it's all to do with Snow White's maturity. Of course a child has inner beauty, Children Are Innocent after all. But once a child has been through some hell, not everyone will come out of it a good person. Perhaps Snow White reached the age where it was clear she wouldn't be broken by Ravenna's cruelty. Her Establishing Character Moment is her praying in her cell and comforting another girl who is held prisoner. And maybe there could have been something to do with bravery? No other woman in the land was brave enough to challenge Ravenna.
  • Why in the world did Ravenna's forces wait to pour burning oil on the Resistance members until after the gates had been opened? If they'd done it while everyone was trapped outside, they would have won immediately.
    • Because they didn't believe the army would actually get the gates open. The dwarves snuck in through the sewer and opened them. Ravenna's forces didn't know about the dwarves, so they saw the forces attacking at the gates and didn't think they'd ever get through. It's only when the gates open that they go Oh, Crap! and realise the playing field has now been evened.