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Snow White
Fablessnow.jpg
Snow White, from Fables #17. Art by Mark Buckingham.
Publication information
Publisher Vertigo Comics
First appearance Fables #1 (July 2002)
Created by Bill Willingham
In-story information
Team affiliations Fabletown
Abilities Highly efficient administrator; effectively immortal.

Snow White is a major character in the comic book series Fables. Her character is based on two myths recorded by the Brothers Grimm, Snow-White and Rose-Red and the more famous Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.[1]

Contents

Character history

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Early life

Snow was born in a small cottage and lived there with her twin sister Rose Red. In their youth, they were inseparable, swearing to each other that nothing would ever come between them. When Prince Charming appeared on the scene, finding Snow alone in an abandoned cottage, however, Snow left with him, leaving Rose behind, upsetting her greatly.

Snow married Charming and the two were happy for a time. He promised her anything she desired as a wedding gift; to his surprise, she asked him for fencing lessons. Feeling that this was inappropriate for a woman, particularly a noble one, Charming attempted to dissuade her, but she remained resolute and he agreed. Time passed and Snow, despite her own feeling that she would never improve, gradually did so. It was at about that time that the first dwarf corpse was discovered, roughly hacked to death. Realizing that the King of the Dwarf Kingdom located under their own would want to know what happened to his subject, Charming ordered an investigation. A week later a second body was located; stabbed rather than hacked. In the meantime, Snow's lessons continued, and she frequently took long rides through the countryside alone.

By the time the fourth body was located, the King of the Dwarf Kingdom was becoming increasingly angry at the death of his subjects in the upper world. He threatened the possibility of war between the kingdoms if the perpetrator was not located swiftly. From him, Charming learned that the four dead were brothers who shared with a number of other brothers, a 'diversion cabin' deep within the woods, where the dwarves could briefly visit the upper world and indulge in certain vices in private, including the abduction of the occasional local peasant girl. Snow, in the meantime, told her husband that she wished to discontinue their lessons; claiming that she'd progressed as far as she felt she was likely to.

Facing the increasing possibility of war, Charming increased his efforts. Finally, deep in the woods, the burned-out remains of a cabin was discovered. Inside were the bodies of three dwarves, the last of the brothers, each killed with a single sword thrust to the heart. The cabin had then been burned in an attempt to destroy the evidence. Charming went immediately to the jail, where he instructed the warden to execute the most notorious villain incarcerated therein. Charming had the head of the dead man delivered to the Dwarf King, along with a faked confession to the murders.

Charming then had a talk with his wife, noting the interesting coincidence that the murderer showed greater proficiency in swordsmanship with each kill; much as Snow's ability with a sword had increased every night she and her husband practiced. He asked about the cottage that he'd found her in, apparently the same one that was found burnt out, and how she'd told him that she lived there alone. She said it was unsurprising that others had moved in after she left. Charming was tempted to continue further, to ask if Snow had known the dead dwarves, but elected not to, noting only that everybody had secrets best kept unsaid. Charming then suggested that Snow might like to invite Rose Red to live with them, observing that she presumably no longer needed to take her long rides alone.

Snow asked Rose to come and live with them, but the damage to their relationship was already done. To punish Snow, Rose seduced and slept with Charming (although given his tendency towards infidelity, it seems quite likely that much of the impetus came from him), ruining the marriage and driving a wedge between the two sisters that seemed insurmountable. Devastated, Snow divorced Charming. Her movements after that point are unclear, although it seems that she remained part of the nobility.

To this day, Snow refuses to discuss the dwarves and gets quite angry whenever anyone brings them up. While the true facts of the case are still somewhat unclear, the fact that she apparently sought out and eliminated all seven brothers would strongly suggest that she may well have been one of the victims lured into the 'diversion cabin'. Something of the story has clearly become public knowledge in the intervening time, as Beauty was unwise enough to refer to it at one point, although her description of the incident as a "tawdry little adventure" would seem to imply that the real details of the case remain unknown by the general Fable population. Even if they did ultimately leak out somehow, there could be no backlash on Snow, as the events took place prior to the Fabletown Compact and thus are covered by the amnesty.

Escape from the Homelands

Where Snow was when the Adversary's forces began their systematic assault on the Homelands is unknown. What is known is that she and Rose left their home and journeyed to a distant land, searching for a legendary witch's cave which supposedly contained a passage leading to a distant world that would serve as a refuge. Along the way they came across the burned down gingerbread cottage of a certain witch (of Hansel and Gretel fame), whose charred, skeletal body clung to life within her oven. Taking pity on her, Rose Red (and a reluctant Snow White) nursed the witch back to health and then took her with them on their journey. Unfortunately, the Adversary's troops were aware of the approximate location of the fabled cave and had assigned troops to apprehend anyone trying to escape through it. The pair were captured (and subsequently separated from Frau Totenkinder) and placed in a chain gang, destined to be interrogated for any information useful to the Adversary, then executed.[1]

Fortunately for them, the chain gang was being covertly observed by the Big Bad Wolf, who had appointed himself as the unofficial guardian of the witch's cave (the witch being long gone) and who was the only one who knew its precise location. He attacked the guards, slaughtering them all with ease. While many of the terrified prisoners attempted to flee, Snow and Rose faced the newcomer, Snow taking up a nearby sword to defend herself with. Apparently amused by their defiance, the Wolf explained that he had no intention of eating them and that he found much more amusement in frustrating the Adversary by helping Fables reach safety. His only condition was that he must be allowed to take a small taste of each of them, to ensure that none of them were agents of the enemy trying to sneak through to spy on the fugitive Fables. Coming to the conclusion that she had little choice but to trust him, Snow was the first to allow the Wolf to taste her flesh. Passing the test, Snow, Rose and their fellow prisoners were escorted to the cave and escaped through into the mundane world, arriving in approximately the year 1450.

Governing Fabletown

Snow was part of the Fabletown government from the moment the small community was set up in New York, then known as New Amsterdam. Because of their previous meeting, two hundred years earlier, it was Snow who was sent to Carpathia to ask the Big Bad Wolf to join them, carrying the lycanthropy-stained knife that would give him the ability to shapeshift and come to adopt the persona of Bigby Wolf. She was also sent as an envoy to the Arabian Fables where she found herself having to keep the Sultan amused with various tales (as seen in 1001 Nights of Snowfall). Snow gradually rose up through the ranks of government, until she became assistant to deputy mayor Ichabod Crane. When Crane resigned in the mid-1990s after 115 years in the job, facing accusations of embezzlement and sexually harassing Snow, she took over as deputy mayor, becoming largely responsible for the day-to-day running of the community, assisted by Boy Blue.[1]

Snow dealt with numerous incidents during her relatively short tenure as deputy mayor. Among these were an attempted rebellion by the non-human Fables up at the Farm facility, who, angered by their enforced confinement, revolted, intending to assault the Homelands using mundane weaponry adapted for their own use. Snow successfully stopped the revolt, but was shot in the head by Goldilocks. Her popularity as a Fable saved her, but she was in a coma for six weeks, and walks with a cane to this day. The situation did, however, have the effect of finally clearing the air between her and Rose Red. She appointed Rose as the new administrator for the Farm, a position that the former party girl found herself to be unexpectedly good at, to the point where she even enjoyed it. Snow also masterminded the defense of Fabletown during the attack by the Adversary's wooden soldiers.

Snow with Bigby after the Battle of Fabletown.
From Fables #27, art by Mark Buckingham

Unbeknown to Snow, Bigby Wolf (now sheriff of Fabletown) had developed a romantic interest in her. When she discovered this, during the events surrounding the apparent murder of her sister, Snow rebuffed him immediately, but Bigby remained undeterred. Eventually, after a sequence of events where they were entranced and sent out into the wilderness to be murdered by Goldilocks, she came to realize that she did have some feeling for him, telling him that were he to ask her out for a date, she would be interested. Unfortunately, it quickly transpired that, under the effects of the enchantment, the two had slept together, with the result that Snow had fallen pregnant. When confronted with this, Bigby admitted that he had known that it had occurred (due to his highly developed senses), but that he had chosen not to mention it at the time so that she would be able to focus properly on the crisis at hand. This shook her faith in the Wolf and she refused to discuss it with him for some time. However, after Bigby's last minute return saved the day during the Battle of Fabletown, she realized that she truly did love him.

With the arrival of their children, however, a new problem appeared. Only one of the six children looked fully human, meaning that they could not possibly stay in Fabletown and would have to move up to the Farm, where Bigby was banned from going. Bigby tried to persuade Snow to come and live with him and their children out in the world somewhere, in a deep forest where they could live in complete privacy, but Snow found herself unable to break the rules that she'd followed for so long. Resigning her position as deputy mayor, which she'd been intending to do anyway, as her former husband, Prince Charming, had recently risen to the post of mayor, she moved to the Farm. Bigby left Fabletown, too, going into self-imposed exile.[1]

The Farm

Arriving at the Farm, Snow began to settle in, but her early time there was marred by a series of unexplained deaths. Bigby's father, the North Wind, who arrived to see his grandchildren some weeks after the first deaths, revealed that the killer was a rogue zephyr, a corrupted form of his kind, generally terminated at birth. This information, combined with a card from Frau Totenkinder making a reference to seven children, gave Snow the answer. The zephyr was Snow and Bigby's seventh child. The child finally came to Snow, who explained that he would have to survive on normal air. Knowing that the child could not stay, Snow sadly sent him out into the world with instructions to find Bigby.

Snow continued to raise the remaining children. The North Wind helped to train them in the use of their abilities: they could take on a fully human or fully wolf form and needed to learn how to walk, as flight was their original default. Snow kept their father in their minds, giving them presents ostensibly from him and creating replies to the letters that they wrote to him.

Finally, after several years, Bigby reappeared on the scene, having made a deal with Prince Charming that made an isolated valley on the edge of the Farm lands his territory. As this was no longer part of the Farm, Bigby would be able to live there. He hoped that Snow and their children would join him. He proposed to Snow, who accepted. The pair were married, with King Cole presiding over the wedding and Rose acting as Snow's maid of honor. On their 5th birthday, Snow and Bigby together told the cubs about their invisible zephyr of a seventh sibling, Ghost, but swore them to secrecy, forbidden from even telling Rose Red as she is not 'a wolf'.

During the war to reclaim the homelands, Wolf Manor become the nerve center of Fabletown's war operations. Because of this, Snow became the unofficial commander-in-chief while her husband, Bigby, ran operations at Fort Bravo, Prince Charming was on the Glory, and Beast commanded the defense procedures at Fabletown. Rose watched after the cubs to ensure that they didn't bother the soldiers, who obviously wouldn't appreciate someone suddenly shouting at them "Bang, you're dead!"

In the aftermath of the war, Snow has maintained a rather peaceful retirement and focused on taking care of her children with her husband, who despite now heading the Homeland Recovery Program remains at home to help raise the family.

Personality

Initially she was considered to be something of an "ice queen". She was cold and calculating and despite serving as deputy mayor, she wasn't very informed as to the opinions and feelings of her fellow Fables, as a side effect can be seem dense at times. For example she was completely unaware of the seditious and revolutionary feelings of the Farm. Another kink in her personality was that she isn't above using her power and position for her own ends. This often lead to negative repercussions. For example, when she forcibly inserts herself into Bigby's investigation. It causes him to label her as a suspect. She marries Prince Charming to avenge herself and almost causes a war between his kingdom and the dwarfs. Her personality however masks the fact that she was terribly lonely. After many centuries, she was still angry at the loss of her marriage, and consequently she found herself resenting those in working relationships, particularly Beauty, with her successful multi-century marriage to Beast. As a former aristocrat, Snow had a tendency to associate love and happiness with handsome princes, fairy-tale castles and the trappings of high society. It took her a long time to realize that that really didn't matter to her. Initially, she rebuffs Bigby affections but eventually comes to terms with them. Furthermore after the Revolution, she is able to patch things up with Rose Red and her personality begins to soften considerably. Snow showed a strong emotional dependence on Bigby when he left. Before she and Bigby became romantically interested in each other, she tended to be insecure with her life. She and Bigby have a deeply caring and loving relationship. Living with Bigby and their children in the house built for them on Bigby's land, Snow finally appears to be happy. She is also one of the most responsible, intelligent, and diligent fables, while also the most sarcastic, to top it up she is the only ex-wife of Prince Charming who has children.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Irvine, Alex (2008), "Fables", in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 72–81, ISBN 0-7566-4122-5, OCLC 213309015 

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