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Headscratchers / Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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  • If the 7 Dwarfs didn't bury Snow White for months when she was believed to be dead, then how did they not suspect she was actually alive since her body was still fresh after such long time?
    • People weren't as educated about decomposition back then.
      • Actually, no matter what time period people had a pretty good understanding of decomposition; anyone around a dead body would understand rotting within days. The ancient Egyptians actually tried to stop it, hence mummies. The situation with Snow White seems to be more along the lines of the dwarfs not really noticing due to grief or just thinking Snow White was special for some reason (lack of decay but no actual signs of life probably convinced them she was dead). They may have even thought magic was involved thanks to the queen and simply not questioned how it worked. Come to think of it, the whole glass coffin thing might have been in part due to a very slight doubt that she was actually dead along with the film's stated reason (not having the heart to bury her).
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    • Alternatively, who's to say they didn't think she was alive? It's not like that would have affected anything.
  • What is the Prince in this film the prince of? It can't be Snow White's kingdom, because that'd just be weird. And it wouldn't make sense for him to visiting from another kingdom, would it, with how evil and wicked the Queen is? What was he even doing at the castle?
    • In the comic book adaptation, it's said he arrived because he heard of Snow White's beauty. Could he be looking for a wife not unlike the Princes who visit Agrabah in Aladdin aside from not being a jerkass?
    • Quite possible he was visiting the castle to make Snow White an offer of marriage. After all, even though she's been forced to work as a servant, it's still known that she's a princess. And she's just come of the marrying age (Disney confirms she's fourteen, which was the marrying age in medieval Europe).
  • Why do the dwarves lock the door to their vault, only to leave the key hanging right next to it? What's the point of having a lock, then?
    • That's part of the dwarf's childlike behavior. They aren't really adults, just pretending to be adults; they play being adults, so since adults have a lock they play having a lock. But getting the key with them? What's the use? Wouldn't it be handier for the game if the key's next to the place where they will use it?
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    • That's the joke.
  • Why doesn't the Huntsman try going with Snow White to find a place for her to take shelter? It doesn't make much sense that his means of protecting her from the queen is to watch her go running blindly into a dark forest, especially since she's only, what, 14 years old? He could've helped her through the woods to the dwarves' cottage or some place else, perhaps, sparing her all the nightmarish imagery along the way.
    • Due to the fact that the Queen dwelling in Dark Magic was known well among people (as said by Grumpy), the Huntsman probably thought that the longer time he took for the assassination the odds that the Queen find out about him letting Snow White escaped is higher so it's the best to let her run away by herself. Escorting her to townspeople or alike probably wouldn't work, as the Queen could have declared her fugitive and had Snow White arrested/executed.
  • What was it about the Prince that made him so much harder to animate the other characters? Yes, I can see the difference in design between him and the 7 dwarves, but how does that make him harder to animate? Especially since the two characters he resembles more, Snow White and her stepmother, both seem to get ample screen time.
    • They found out that animating a realistic character was tricky, because a character who looks like a real person but behaves like if he was made of rubber is at best weird and at worst creepy. They could not animate him freely, they had to respect a very strict code. A male moves a very different way from a female. For Snow White and the Queen, the animators got trained at animating charming woman characters, because it was worth it — what was the point of making a princess movie if you can't animate a princess? But spending the same amount of time and money for a secondary character was impossible, unless they wanted Snow White to suffer the same fate as The Thief and the Cobbler.
  • Why exactly does the queen use this complicated "sleeping death" potion, when she could just use regular poison for the same purpose? Besides, in real-life the main interest of poisoning rather than murdering more "actively" is that the murder can be set hours prior to the victim's death itself, which reduces chances of being suspected for the murderer, since the poison can very well act while the person is among a crowd. But if giving the poison to Snow White already required the Queen and the princess to be alone together, she could just have strangled or stabbed her. (Alright, stabbing would have been storywise dumb, because we already saw a stabbing earlier and we don't want to see that twice, but my point still stands).
    • The Queen wanted to prepare a fitting end for Snow White, as she saw her as a rival for her beauty. Strangling her doesn't work because, as a frail, old woman, the queen wouldn't be able to get the jump on Snow White without her running away or screaming, wouldn't be able to match pace with her if she escapes, and if the dwarves get so much as a hint that Snow White is in trouble, they'll come riding back to save her, as is shown moments later. Finally, she may have chosen the sleeping death due to its lack of any real antitodes - it's likely the dwarves would've tried searching for any cure they could find if they'd known it was a poison, so the sleeping death was the queen's best way of ensuring that Snow White would die for good (or at least be buried alive).
  • Given the Queen's obsession with beauty, how could she bear to transform herself into such a hideous old hag? Other disguises would certainly have been possible and no such extreme transformation occurs in the original story. A related question - was the spell to make her look like that meant to be temporary or would she have had to take some kind of antidote to restore her original form had she succeeded in coming back?
    • To the first question, that's the point. It's intentionally ironic that, over the course of her villainous breakdown, the queen becomes so obsessed with killing Snow White over her beauty that she comes to shed every ounce of her own beauty, in return. (For example, note the scene where Snow White eats the apple - after watching her keel over, the queen proudly proclaims, "Now I'll be fairest in the land!", all while under the guise of a hideous old hag.) For the second question, I think she would've had to have whipped up some sort of antidote - I remember hearing about some sort of outside material where the queen survived the fall she took at the end of the film. She tries returning to the castle, but finds that she can't get inside to change herself back because the guards don't recognize her.
  • So The Power of Love that breaks the spell is a Sacred First Kiss. That begs the obvious question of why the Queen didn't just kiss Snow White after she "died".
    • Not quite sure exactly what you're asking, but the antidote was specifically listed as "Love's first kiss," and it's pretty clear that the queen had no love for Snow White. So even if she tried, her kiss wouldn't have stopped the Prince's kiss from working, if that's what you're suggesting.
      • It's more the emphasis on the first kiss than anything else.
      • Not necessarily - the book only referred to "Love's first kiss," with no say as to which part of it was most important. Plus, if the emphasis was on "first kiss", then why would the queen want to kiss her anyway? Since love wouldn't have been a requirement, that means it would've woken her up again!
  • As Snow White kisses each of the Seven Dwarfs as they leave for work, for some reason, Happy is not just the only dwarf who doesn't get kissed, but he is NOWHERE TO BE SEEN AT ALL. Where did he go? Did he leave first before the other six?
    • Maybe he headed off to the mine early, for reasons unknown. Or maybe the animators intended for him to get his kiss while offscreen, and they just forgot to include him
  • ...What are wicked wiles?
    • I don't know, but I'm ag'in 'em!
    • Wiles are defined as "devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants."
  • If the Queen could turn herself into a hideous old hag, then why didn't she just make herself more beautiful than Snow White?
    • It's possible that she had the ability to improve her external beauty, but it's been suggested that Snow White's beauty both inside and out is what made her fairer than the Queen. Also, it's part of her irrational hatred. Her thought process when she finds out someone's beauty has surpassed hers is not "I'd better try and make myself more beautiful than her," but rather "How dare she manage to be more beautiful than me?!"
  • What was the Queen's reason for giving Snow White a nice dress and sending her out to pick flowers in a peaceful meadow before she died? When viewed a certain way, it might seem like she wanted her stepdaughter to be happy in the final moments before her death, but this seems out-of-character when you consider that the Queen is the one who wanted her dead, for the horrible crime of happening to be prettier than her. Why not just have the Huntsman take her out into the woods in her begraddled servant's clothes and kill her quickly?
    • The Queen probably doesn't want her subjects to know how badly she's mistreating Snow White. Given that she's her stepmother and SW's dad is nowhere to be found, she may just be regent until SW comes of age. If Snow White was seen leaving the castle dressed in rags someone could see her and try to find out why the princess is being treated like a servant, putting the Queen's position in jeopardy. If subjects see her in a fancy dress they'll think all is well.
  • Since the Queen has Dark Magics, couldn't she have made a Spell that would find Snow White and then either put her to sleep or kill her like Maleficent? Why did she need the disguise and the apple? She could've just made an incantation that would just do what the Apple did, or worse. It's not like she wants to specifically kill her, she just wants Snow White gone, so I doubt it was an ego boosting "only I can kill her" thing.
    • A part of it was somewhat personal, in that she'd already sent someone else to do the job who had been unable to manage it, and so doing it personally was the only way she would ensure it got done. As to why not use a spell or curse, it's just how she chose to have it play out - you may as well ask why she didn't try springing a knife on Snow White once she had her alone.
  • Why did the Queen go with the "hideous hag" disguise? Surely an old woman who looked sweet and grandmotherly would've been a better choice for appearing trustworthy than an Obviously Evil crone.
    • Good question. Maybe she couldn't influence exactly how the potion made her to look, beyond it turning her into an old woman. Maybe she knows of how kind and generous Snow is to everyone she meets (she is her stepmother, after all), and thought a hideous old crone would elicit some sympathy and be more likely to be invited inside.
    • The Queen actually explains this in a throwaway line: "I'll go myself to the dwarfs' cottage, in a disguise so complete, no one will ever suspect!" She goes for an appearance - old, bedraggled, and hideous - that contrasts the beautiful, queenly one her people are used to in every way imaginable, so that even if the dwarfs witness her crime, no one else will ever buy the notion she could be responsible. (This does depend on whether other people know about their Queen's wicked tendencies, like the isolated dwarfs do, but Grimhilde could be so far up above them that she doesn't care what they think as long as there isn't proof.)
  • What I’d like to know is why would Snow White even trust the old peddler? The Dwarfs had warned her to beware of strangers and a hideous old hag is certainly not the kind of person that should be trusted. She never even catches on when her kind animal friends attack the old woman.
    • While it is in Snow White's character to have been a bit too trusting and kind, you could also pin it on her being Wrong Genre Savvy, in this instance. She has heard that the Queen has the power to alter her appearance, and could be anyone or anything at any given time...but if you had that kind of power and were trying to murder someone with it, wouldn't you sooner turn into a dragon and burn the cottage down or make yourself invisible and stab her without being seen? Something a tad more conspicuous than a harmless old woman trying to poison someone with an apple?
    • Also, if you pay attention, you'll notice that Snow isn't completely fine with the idea of being alone with the old woman, as she backs herself against the wall with a look of unease displayed on her face while being pressured to eat the apple. Even if she didn't suspect her of being the queen, my guess is that she could tell the old woman was a little unhinged by that point, and only agreed to taste the apple as a way of humoring her in the hope that she would leave instead of resorting to more crazy behavior.
  • Did the queen never consider the possibility of disfiguring Snow White rather than killing her?
    • Once more...1.) She's being irrational. 2.) "Rags cannot hide her gentle grace." It's implied Snow White being declared the fairest was because of her beauty both inside and out. The Queen couldn't do anything to hide it anymore.
  • If Dopey didn't have a voice actor because Disney couldn't find one that fit him, who was it who provided the scream for when he sees Snow White sleeping in the dwarfs' beds?
    • Eddie Collins.

  • What on earth would those Dwarfs need with all of those diamonds?! They live way up in the mountains, far, far away from where they could make any use of the stuff!
    • Incidentally, one Wartime Cartoon (obviously not canon) had them use the diamonds to buy Canadian War Bonds. No, really.
    • Perhaps they just liked to use mining as a pasttime. That would explain why the lock the gems in a shed and leave the key right next to the door.
    • They're waiting for an elven caravan...
      • This is a diamond table. All craftsdwarfship is of the finest quality. It is decorated with hanging rings of diamond and menaces with spikes of diamond. On the table is an image of a witch in diamond. The witch is in a fetal position. The artwork relates to the striking by lightning, falling off a cliff and being crushed under a boulder of the witch in Lampthrown in 1273. On the table is an image of clouds in human bone.
    • They say in the song, "But we don't know what we dig them for." They toil endlessly with no purpose in their lives, never stopping to question their fates.
      • The line "But we don't know what we dig them for", along with "It ain't no trick to get rich quick" hints at the typical dwarven greed and industriousness: they work for the sake of working underground and for reveling in their hoard of treasure.
    • Consider the year that this film was made, which was 1937. The Great Depression was still going on then, and though the U.S.A. was recovering, a recession occurred in that year. At that time, people actually wanted to work (Values Dissonance), but were unable to, due to the unavailability of jobs (Does This Remind You of Anything?). In fact, jobs had to be created, which arguably didn't have much purpose other than to give those workers something to do. Real Life Writes the Plot in this case, where the Dwarfs work in mining to give them something to do, even though they know that it doesn't serve much of a purpose beyond that!
    • While we're at it, that mine looks like it's absolutely full to bursting with diamonds, which are jutting right out of the walls. Yet we see the Dwarfs picking at what appears to be empty rock. Wouldn't they collect all the obvious ones before digging for more? Unless the above theory that they don't really need the diamonds and are just killing time is true. Or they are waiting for Minecraft to be invented.
    • A more mundane answer, perhaps, but they likely use at least some of the money to support themselves. They have to get their food and supplies from somewhere, and I doubt enough stuff to support 7 grown men is going to come cheap.
  • The Queen's plan to kill Snow White was doomed to fail either way, even without the intervention of the dwarves. First of all, the Sleeping Death isn't a real death; Snowy's still alive. So, even if the Queen's plan succeeded and the Dwarves buried Snow White alive, she'd STILL be the fairest in the land...just, in a box underground. Suffocation? Seemingly not an issue, since she "sleeps" in that glass coffin in the woods for months and turns out just fine.
    • Bit of Fridge Brilliance there. The Queen asks the mirror "Who is the fairest in the land?" Since she expected Snow White to have a normal burial, she'd be under the land, not in it.
      • Or would Snow White be in the land, while the queen was just on it?
      • Even if SW could've stayed alive underground, if she had an average burial, she would've had insects and other critters eating away at her until she was nothing but bones. Not too pretty.
    • Also, suffocation would still very much be an issue. Surviving for a few months inside a glass coffin that clearly isn't airtight, going by how easily it can be opened, is not the same thing as spending a much longer time locked in a box buried six feet under.
  • Why did the Queen bother to put Snow White in suspended animation when she could have actually killed her?
    • Death might be too nice for someone that's pissed her off that much. Buried Alive was just the handiest Fate Worse than Death that she could think of.
    • Maybe she had hemophobia, so she tried to kill Snow White bloodlessly (or make someone else kill her)
      • Hemophobia? Seriously? She asked her huntsman to bring her Snow White's HEART in box!
      • And she clearly didn't examine it closely enough to realize that it was not a human heart.
      • Pig hearts are rather similar to human hearts anatomically, and who's to say that she knew what a human heart looked like?
    • In the movie, the Queen was suddenly concerned with killing Snow White in a way that no one would suspect her. It's not made clear why she cares about that later and not earlier (she may have always been concerned about being caught, but previously assumed the Huntsman was loyal enough to keep her secret. Afterall, if she wasn't afraid of people knowing, she could've had Snow White killed in her courtyard instead of the deep woods). Anyway, she needed a disguise, and the old hag form was perfect, except that the hag wasn't strong enough to kill Snow White with her bare hands. She had to trick her. Notice, she was so wary of interference that she had to make sure the dwarfs were away first.
      • And yet when the dwarfs confront her, she nearly manages to dislodge a giant boulder right on top of them.
      • Nearly. And with a great deal of effort. In fact, the cliff crumbled beneath her just as the dwarves reached her - we've no idea whether she would've succeeded in toppling the boulder.
      • Even if she had succeeded in toppling the boulder, she certainly didn't plan on it being there from the get-go — on the contrary, it was her last resort once she realized they had her cornered. And using a stick to dislodge a boulder doesn't mean she had the strength necessary to overpower the dwarfs on her own, or else she would've...y'know, done it herself and not used the boulder?
  • Snow White, you DO know that when you are a princess and someone is after you and would do anything to find you, that it's really stupid to give someone your real name/let them know your true identity, RIGHT? I mean, someone tried to KILL you; and not just ANY someone, but someone hired by the QUEEN. Why on EARTH would you tell the Dwarves your name and confirm that you are the PRINCESS? You don't know those dwarves at all; for all you know, they would want to turn you in to the Queen if they knew who you are. The Queen is THE QUEEN. If she put a bounty on your head, she could pay well. She's got the money. You're lucky that the dwarves (with the exception of Grumpy) had no interest in throwing you out, because if Grumpy got his way, you'd be SOL. You'd be out on your own, with the Queen's assassin—and god knows who else—after you, with not one but SEVEN people who know where you are and who would probably be able to point the Queen's men in your direction.
    • Fridge Brilliance - This didn't occur to her because she's a naive, trusting, 14-year-old girl!
    • Also, I'd be more surprised that the dwarfs did know that much about the queen, let alone that she was an evil witch. They live out in the middle of the forest — what would make Snow think they were that concerned with the goings-on of her kingdom? And they obviously don't know Grimhilde is trying to kill Snow until after Snow tells them, which is only after Grumpy insists that they throw her out anyway. (And after she's had enough of a conversation with them to surmise that they're all good and kind people who won't likely turn an innocent girl over to be killed.)
  • Someone on YouTube pointed out that Queen Grimhilde was able to create a potion that turned her into an ugly, old hag. This person points out that if the Queen can do this, then surely she could make a potion that would truly make her the fairest one of all! This would fall under the category of Just Eat Gilligan.
  • If the Queen wants to be the most beautiful in the 'land', why does she turn herself into an old hag? Did she plan on... turning back?
    • Well, duh.
    • Word of God : She didn't think of it. There is a whole comic sequel by Italian Disney comics artist Romano Scarpa that's set just after the movie. Grimhilde manage to escape the boulder, and is only slightly injured by the fall… except that… she discovers that SHE CAN'T TURN BACK INTO HER BEAUTIFUL FORMER SELF, and that SINCE NO ONE RECOGNIZED HER SHE CAN'T GET BACK IN HER OWN CASTLE. Beyond being a Fate Worse than Death, it is also an explanation for all those 40's comics and strips with the Dwarves battling the Witch without even addressing that it's only a disguise from the queen, and also a starting point for the main plot of the story, which is that the Queen attempts to switch bodies with Snow White using a spell.
  • If the Queen had a potion that would turn the drinker ugly, why didn't she just trick Snow White into drinking it?
    • The Mirror did say "rags cannot hide her gentle face". The Queen knew she couldn't hide Snow White's beauty because hers was both inside and outside. And the hag potion was a disguise and not a permanent transformation. Plus she might not have known about the spell until she read the book.
  • For that matter, why didn't she just arrange to disfigure the girl instead of order her killed? She had Snow working as a scullery-maid; setting up a convenient "accident" with lye or some other nasty cleaning compound couldn't have been that difficult.
    • Probably because that wouldn't have been enough. The Queen isn't a rational and calculated villain who's concerned about what's practical and what isn't; she's consumed by jealousy and anger. Snow White's "crime" of being the prettier one was so great that mere "accidental" disfiguration wouldn't have been an adequate punishment. The only thing that would satisfy the Queen's seething hatred was for Snow White to die.
  • After her first plan failed, why didn't the Queen just ask her all-seeing, all-knowing Magic Mirror how to become fairest in the land again? Surely the Mirror would have been able to come up with a better plan?
    • She was furious. That the Huntsman had lied to her, that she had thought she had won and now she hasn't. She made a rash decision to take matters into her own hands. Maybe she wanted to punish Snow White herself for somehow "escaping".
    • Seems like the Queen wasn't the one to ask for help. She's used to commanding and ordering the world as she sees fit.
    • She also didn't really need help. Her desired endgoal was pretty simple: to kill her stepdaughter. Her plan to use the Huntsman only failed because the Huntsman had some standards to him, and her plan to use the Poisoned Apple failed because she chose a plan of such needless complexity out of spite. It wasn't a lack of good ideas that did her in, just her choosing to go with really bad ones.
  • After the Queen arrived at the dwarfs' cottage, the animals all ran off to warn the dwarfs. At one point, the birds attacked the old woman as she was offering the poisoned apple to Snow White. A problem, though: all the animals left the cottage. Why didn't some of them stay? That would have been more thoughtful. There were so many that some could have stayed at the cottage with Snow White to make sure nothing went wrong while the rest left to get the dwarfs. It really wasn't very smart to leave Snow White alone with an old woman who was obviously up to no good. The Queen was able to succeed in poisoning Snow White because the dwarfs couldn't return fast enough. But if some of the animals had stayed behind this could have been avoided. They could have held the Queen back long enough for the dwarfs to catch up.
    • The more animals go to collect the dwarfs, the faster they can get them back to the cottage. But there's only so much the animals can do to hold off the old woman, especially since they don't know what her actual goal is and were already shooed away for attacking her once before. Odds are they wouldn't be able to stall for very long before Snow shuts the window to keep them outside. And then what do they do?

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