The Rivers of the Underworld
The 5 Rivers. Image Credit: ABC Studios
The Rivers of the Underworld
by Zach Van Norman (@TheZachVan)
One of the questions Oncers have been asking themselves since the spring premiere of the Underworld story is, "What's the deal with the rivers?" They're actually a major piece of Greek mythology, so here for your reading pleasure is a summary of the Five Rivers of the Underworld.
The Power Of Red II: Snow White
By Zachery Van Norman - @TheZachVan
Snow White is easily one of the most famous fairy tale characters in existence and a tale in which color plays a central role. The common variant of the story, brought to us by the Brothers Grimm, begins with a queen sewing by a windowsill during winter. She pricks her finger and blood falls on the snow upon the wood frame; admiring the colors, the queen wishes for a child with skin white as snow, hair black as ebony, and lips red as blood. The queen's desire is the first indication that the color red is of vital importance to the story, and she later gives birth to a daughter of desired description before dying shortly thereafter. The king marries another but also dies, and the new queen becomes jealous of Snow White's emerging beauty and plots for her huntsman to kill the princess. She demands Snow's red heart as proof of her death; the girl escapes to a cottage of seven dwarfs and is eventually poisoned by the queen's red apple, dooming her to a cursed sleep before a princely escort awakens her. As my friend Woodrow Martin explains in her article “Mix & Match,” this version of the tale changes the role of the queen, for she was originally Snow White's mother and not the stepmother.
The Snow White story has other alterations in different versions throughout the world: another Grimm telling has a count and countess riding past mounds of white snow, ditches full of red blood and a flock of black ravens before finding a girl of matching hue description. The Italian version changes the queen's proof of Snow's death from her heart to her blood-soaked shirt, while the Spanish adaptation has the queen demanding a bottle of Snow's blood corked with the girl's own toe. While the story varies from region to region, the common vein of blood runs throughout.
Of course no discussion of Snow White is complete without mentioning the famous 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This Snow White begins as a scullery maid, but her clothes later include a nod to the three colors in the common version of the fairy tale: her hair is black and tied with a red ribbon, she has “lips red as the rose,” and while her skin is not the color of snow, she wears a white collar around her neck. Her sleeves also have red accents, as if to emphasize her physical strength while toiling as a scullery maid; the ribbon in her hair could be interpreted as a simple crown for a simple princess, a subtle symbol for the color red's meaning of power. The metaphors continue as the film progresses: mirroring the queen of Grimm notoriety, Disney's Evil Queen is set on obtaining Snow's heart as her victory trophy, and uses a red apple to bring the princess under sleeping death.
The Power of Red
The Power Of Red A Look at Color on Once Upon A Time
by Zachery Van Norman - @thezachvan
The color red has long been meaningful in fairy tales and medieval literature. Many of the stories we see each week feature characters for which red is an integral component, like Snow White and Red Riding Hood. The creators of Once Upon A Time are clearly aware of the symbolism of the color red in fairy tales and are using it to their full advantage with each episode. In fact, it begins with the very first moments of the show, and immediately becomes a crucial piece to understanding the scope and direction of the overall story. The color red has a different meaning for each character, but it unites them in a way that symbolizes what the show is all about.
We join the tale of OUAT to see a man riding a horse on a road that crosses a lake. This is Prince Charming, splendored in a red coat and cloak as he rides his steed to save his princess. Arriving in the forest too late to prevent her death, the broken prince bends to her lips to bid her goodbye. But no, she is not dead! True love's kiss breaks the curse upon her, and the prince smiles in triumph as he holds his lady love and repeats their vow to each other.
I Will Always Find You
Explore the Arthurian legend surrounding Lancelot, take a trip into the woods to discover the mythology behind Red Riding Hood or learn more about a modern day hero called Snow White. Origins provides unique insights and perspectives from talented writers into the characters we know and love, going far beyond the boundaries of Storybrooke.