In Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays a much different version of the princess from the Grimm fairytale.
In the old story, Snow wasn't a tough warrior, and she definitely wasn't very brightÂ—she simply hides away with the seven dwarfs and gets fooled by the evil queen dressed as a hag three times. The queen tricks the naÃ¯ve girl into letting her choke her with a piece of lace; she puts a poison comb in her hair; and she finally gets her to take a bite of the poison apple. Luckily Snow survives all of these attempts on her life, although it's not true love's kiss that saves her from that famous appleÂ—as her coffin is being taken away by the prince (who has decided that he wants to keep her dead body to look at), the servants carrying the glass box trip on stump. This dislodges the piece of apple from Snow's throat, making her live again.
Kristen Stewart's character is just as lucky in Snow White and the Huntsman, but the real woman who the beloved fairytale princess was likely based on didn't prove to be so fortunate.
According to the IB Times, a German scholar named Eckhard Sander wrote a fascinating book about the real woman that the legendary character might have been based on. Her name was Margarete von Waldeck, a German countess who lived during the 1500's.
She had her own evil stepmother in Katharina of Hatzfeld, who sent 16-year-old Margarete away to live in Brussells (so this was Margarete's dark forest). While there she fell in love with Prince Philip II of Spain and became his mistress, something that did not make her stepmother very happy. The poor girl was poisoned by Spanish authorities when Katharina feared that she would marry Philip II, something that she and the King of Spain saw as politically inconvenient. But unlike the fairytale, it wasn't the evil stepmother who poisoned the young beautyÂ—Katharina died before Margarete did. So while she did die, she didn't get punished for plotting to kill the girl like the evil queen in the Grimm fairytale. In their story, she is forced to put on metal shoes that have been heated in a fire. She then "dances" in them until she dies (Kristen Stewart wasn't this creative in her movie).
So unlike the girl in the fairytale, Margarete von Waldeck's prince did not save her. Instead Philip married Mary I of England (a.k.a. "Bloody Mary") the same year she died. So this tale didn't exactly have a fairytale ending. Plus ruthless Philip wasn't exactly Prince Charming.
Still, it's fascinating to read up on the unfortunate woman who might have inspired the Brothers Grimm to write a story that still fascinates people to this very day. And perhaps someday Margarete will get her own movie that tells the tale of the real Snow White.
Photo Source: Wikimedia