Fairytale Retellings & Prompts: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

This month we’re doing a series called the A-Z blogging challenge where we dive into Fairytale Retellings and provide prompts for writers. Writers are the people making the books, television shows, and movies of tomorrow. For more information on the challenge check out my earlier post here.

Favorite Differences from the Source Material

Snow White’s birth parents show up at the start of the story.

Snow White is seven years old when she is declared “the fairest one of all” and the Queen sends the huntsman to kill her. Disney upped her age to 14 to soften the story and make it more family friendly.

Snow White was never a servant in the original story.

In the original story, after the huntsman brings back the heart, liver, and lungs of a boar, the Queen, thinking they are Snow White’s, has them made into a stew which she then eats, delighted in knowing that Snow White had been killed. (How would you like to be in the room while she’s having that meal?)

In the film, it was the huntsman who told Snow White to run away upon witnessing her innocence and beauty. In the original story, she pleads him not to kill her and promised that she would run away in the forest. Believing that she will die anyway, he lets her go and kills a wild boar instead.

Snow White did not have any animal friends in the original fairy tale.

The dwarfs were much gruffer to Snow White at first, but they grew to love her over time as they let her into their home.

The Queen does not transform into a peddler woman but merely paints her face.

The Queen tried to kill Snow White a total of three times. First was by lacing her bodice up so tightly that she couldn’t breathe. When that fails, she tries to drug her with a poisoned comb. And when that also fails, she finally uses a poisoned apple.

In the original story, Snow White sleeps in the glass coffin for many years, growing up into a young woman that whole time. In the film, she does so for about one year.

In the original fairy tale, Snow White actually wasn’t awakened by “love’s first kiss.” Instead, the prince buys the coffin from the dwarfs and they help him carry it back to his castle. In some versions, the prince’s servants assist in doing so. But one of the trips, causing the coffin to fall, which dislodged the piece of the apple from Snow White’s throat. What the Heimlich Maneuver could have done!

At the very end of the story, the Queen attends Snow White and the prince’s wedding and is shocked to see that the bride is Snow White. As punishment for her attempted murders, her feet are forcibly placed into red hot iron shoes that had been sitting on red hot coals, and she dances until she falls down dead. (Hmm, not sure how that would have played out in a movie.) In the film, she was defeated much earlier. After the dwarfs chase her up a cliff, she soon falls to her death when lightning strikes the ledge.

The film’s title uses the word “dwarfs” which was the traditional plural of “dwarf”. The Lord of the Rings by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, published in three volumes from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955, instead popularized the spelling “dwarves”. Both plural forms have been used interchangeably since then.

There are only two times the word(s) dwarf(s) has been used. Once by the magic mirror, “Over the seven jeweled hills, beyond the seventh fall, in the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, dwells Snow White, fairest one of all.” And again by the Queen in disguise after finding an antidote for the poisoned apple, “No fear of that! The dwarfs will think she’s dead and they’ll bury her alive!”

A version with live actors based on the film, made in 2002, was titled Snow White: The Fairest of Them All and starred Kristin Kreuk.

The song “Someday My Prince Will Come” became a jazz standard and has been performed by numerous artists, including Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson, and Miles Davis.

The film was chosen by the American Film Institute as the number one animated film of all time. (OF ALL TIME!)

The film is one of the few classic Disney ones to not have a sequel.

The dwarfs have only four fingers; a thumb, and three other digits.

At the end of the film, Snow White only kisses six dwarfs goodbye before leaving with the Prince; the one she left out was Sleepy.

In March 2016, Disney announced a new film in development titled, Rose Red; a live-action spin-off film which will be told from the point-of-view of Snow White’s sister. – There’s some fabulous re-telling potential here.

The song “Whistle While You Work” was later heard playing in Splash, Too.

This is one of the few Disney films to not have explicit sequels or extension media (not counting several Disney comics, 7D, or rides). However, a sequel was planned.

The closest it has to a true sequel was the children’s book Snow White’s Return, where she pays a visit to the old cottage and the Dwarfs have to prepare.

Though it had first been thought that the dwarfs would be the main focus of the story, and many sequences were written for the seven characters; at a certain point, it was decided that the main thrust of the story should be provided by the relationship between the Queen and Snow White.

So, several sequences featuring the dwarfs were cut from the film. The first, which was animated in its entirety before being cut, showed Doc and Grumpy arguing about whether Snow White should stay with them

If you could write a remake of this classic, which way would you go? Did you find any details that could make another great spin-off of the story?

For more blogs participating in A to Z 2020 click the link here.


T.S. Valmond is the science fiction and young adult fantasy author of The Bolaji Kingdoms Series and The Verity Chronicles. As an award-winning poet, world traveler, and sign language interpreter she uses her experiences to fuel her stories. She’s a regular contributor to the website and founder of the Riders & Flyers group.


  1. Actually I did write a Snow White story, though without a connection to the Disney movie. It was published in an anthology called Mythic Resonance. It was told from the viewpoint of one of the Dwarves, who are warriors more like Tolkien’s Dwarves than Disney’s Dwarfs. They are living in exile from their father’s kingdom.

    I believe there a lot of Snow White equivalents in different countries, including Mozambique!

    But there have been quite a few film versions in recent years, haven’t there?

    1. Mozambique!? Awesome. If the anthology is still out you have permission from D&S to post your link in the comments so people can find it.

  2. I remember reading the original as an adult and being pretty shocked at the differences.

    Snow White was the very first film I ever saw, from the back of my parents’ station wagon at a drive-in movie theater. So, I have a soft spot for this one.

    The tune for Someday My Prince Will Come is so wonderful and the words are so problematic. It might be fun to start with that for a retelling of a version with a heroine who isn’t waiting around for her life to happen.

    1. Yes, those problematic lyrics…but I like your take. Snow White taking care of herself and not waiting for the prince to save her is an awesome change.

  3. How did you find so much fascinating Snow White trivia? I do remember reading about the Queen making a stew and the piece of apple being dislodged, but the rest was new to me. I love how these old stories change and evolve over time.

    Thanks for visiting my S post!

    1. I had to do some intensive research on Disney websites to track this stuff down. I had no idea about the apple thing, but I’ve seen some re-tellings that touch on a few of the other things. This story has lots of potential story loops to play in.

  4. Also, in older Grimm manuscripts not only is the queen Snow White’s biological mother, but it’s her father the king who rescues her, not a random prince.
    I like the Cajun version, where she marries one of the dwarfs in the end.

    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Oh! That’s a good twist!

  5. I think I would love a spin off series on the 7 dwarfs and all their shenanigans. I think it has great humour potential!

    1. Ooo! I like that one. I feel like there have been a few attempts to bring in their stories but I would love to see a story that focuses on them too.

  6. Nice to touch base in the challenge with another fantasy and science fiction writer. I like the title of your blog. The theme of fairytales is intriguing.

    1. Awww! Thanks for coming by. This was a challenging year to get all the posts in, I appreciate you taking the time.

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