We now see in the modern interpretation of these fairy tales that the characters of both the heroine and the stepmother are nothing like the ones we all knew as children. The other evening I watched Snow White and the Huntsman, I was struck how the image of the heroine has changed over the years. The ever lovely Snow White, is no longer the rosy cheeked innocent of my day, but a self confident, sword carrying, feisty teenager, and by the end of the film I realised that the character of the step mother had actually changed too. She is no longer two characters, gone is the horrid hooked nosed, cackling, hand ringing gorgon that frightened the little eight year old girl that was me. She has morphed into one character and is in no need of a ugly disguise. The modern wicked queen and evil step mother are now beautiful in their ugliness, they are stunning medieval enchantresses, a temptress and femme fatales, a metaphorical evil step parent who's main objective is to ruin the lives of their new husbands children just to boost their own or a vengeful and powerful queen who is a cross between beauty and age, either way they are both maleficent.
Incidentally the word step is derived from the old English word Steop meaning related by marriage rather than blood and interestingly this word describes much of what the fairy tale step mother represents.....second best, a woman stepping into someone else's shoes.
Maleficent, is the latest wicked queen to arrive to our screens, she appears in the retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. She is not unlike Disney's animated character, she is still dramatic, a Gothic, horn headed wicked queen with a difference. In this new film we learn of the events in her past that has made her the villainess she has become, and if we know this will we know not be frightened of her...don't let your guard down just yet?