Friday, 25 March 2011

The analysis of Red Riding Hood and or The wolves catered dinner

You probably think you know this story. It is one of the oldest stories of mankind, of course we have adapted it but I wouldn't be surprised if our caveman ancestors weren't telling their kids about how the big bad Grok came after little Oogra (1)


Little Red Riding Hood, so called because she is little and wears a red riding hood (2), is given a basket of food by her mother and the task of taking it to her Grandma who lives by herself and is not feeling well.
She cautions Red not to stray from the path or talk to strangers which is fair enough.

Rather predictably it isn't long before she strays from the path. Sometimes to pick berries other times to chase butterflies. it depends which version you read but the important thing is that it is here that she meets up with Bigbad the Wolf (3)
Bigbad cleverly finds out whats in the basket, by asking her and also where she is going, again by asking her (4)
It runs ahead to grandmas house and gets her to open the door by pretending to be Little Red, he then eats the grandmother whole (5) Not content with one human, it is, after all, the BIG bad wolf it gets dressed in grandmas nightclothes and gets into bed (6)

When Red arrives Bigbad calls to her to come into the bedroom and Red does the whole “Oh grandma what big eyes, ears, etc you have”
Finally she mentions the teeth and Bigbad, not being one to pass up a straight line like that says “all the better to eat you with”

Now in some versions you'll hear the woodsman enters at that time, for no apparent reason other than obeying the narrative. In older versions the wolf eats Red (7) and goes to sleep which is understandable, he's just had a very heavy meal after all.
It is while the wolf is sleeping that the woodsman, who has been hunting the wolf, stops off at Grandmas house to see if he can have something to drink. he finds the wolf sleeping and kills him and after opening up the wolfs stomach (8) both Red and Grandma pop out

  •  Exactly why does "Grandma" live by herself in the woods?  The obvious answer is a witch! (9) but she may be one of the good ones since Reds mother is sending her a care package when she is ill.
  • What are the mothers motives?She sends her daughter through a wolf infested forest with a big bag of goodies and the only precaution she takes is "Don't stray from the path?"  Was it too much effort to pin a ham to Red and scream "Victim here!  Victim here!" Something doesn't add up here and I would not be surprised to discover that someone was angling for an insurance payout (10)
  • Why doesn't Red lie?When the wolf is asking all these questions about Grandma why didn't it occur to Red to say “I'm going to visit my good and dear friend WolfyChopchop the Woodsman, don't people have such quaint names around here?” The wolf would then think “Ahh, I might actually leave this one alone and go hunt butterflies instead”
  • How slowly are Red and Grandma being digested?The wolf has time to eat Grandma whole, eat Red whole and drift off to sleep. Surely the gastric juices would have started on the pair in his belly. I don't know, maybe they were wearing HAZMAT suits the whole time. 
  • What would the wolf have done if Red hadn't mentioned what big teeth grandma had?
    More than likely he was sitting on “all the better to eat you with” as soon as Red started going on and on about how big his eyes were and how sharp his nails have gotten. So he probably would have kept hinting at things until she mentioned teeth. Considering the differences between a wolf and Grandma I think Red could have kept him occupied just a little longer.


If we can accept that Bigbad is a metaphor for a those who prey on children then we must ask ourselves why didn't the wolf eat Red when he encountered her on the road? The best time would have been after the big info dump of where Grandma lives, Does she live alone? Are there any ways into the house besides the door?
Perhaps he didn't eat her because through his actions of posing as Grandma Bigbad lets us know that predators can come from all around us, even in our own families (11)

The moral of this story is supposed to be don't talk to strangers (12) but I think that perhaps it should be “If a giant talking wolf pretends to be your granddaughter ask it a few family questions before opening the door(13)”

  1. And then she hit him with a club. Caveman stories lack much of the subtlety of our modern versions.
  2. and yet she walks through the woods to grandmas house
  3. dun Dun DUN
  4. At this point, were I the wolf I would seriously question my desire to eat someone so very stupid
  5. As wolves so often do
  6. The perfect disguise indeed
  7. And there was much rejoicing
  8. For reasons of his own that I am not paid enough to speculate on.
  9. She weighs the same as a duck and is therefore the envy of fat housewives everywhere.
  10. Is it wrong to trust the mother less than I trust the wolf?
  11. Certainly not when they're wolves
  12. At least pretend to make an effort and look out the window.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The tale of Snow White or How I learned to stop worrying and love the dwarves

An investigation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[1]


I've a chilling question for you out there in the wilds of the Internet.  What if you were pretty?  So pretty as to be called beautiful?  In fact what if you were, the fairest in the land? The star of tonights story is afflicted with unwholesome fairness and this attracts exactly the wrong kind of attention.

The Story:
Snow white is the tale of a princess who has an evil stepmother. The stepmother asks a magic mirror who the most beautiful person in the land is and when the mirror says that it is Snow White [2]  the queen orders a servant to kill her.
The servant takes her into the woods but can't bring himself to kill Snow White and depending on which version it's because she is so beautiful or simply that his courage fails him.
Snow White eventually comes across the house of the seven dwarfs and breaks in[3] being kindly fellows they agree to take her in and for a time all is well.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the servant has brought the evil stepmother the heart of a deer and she takes it believing it to be Snow Whites. The illusion is quickly shattered when she asks the magic mirror who the fairest in the land is and the mirror not only tells her that is still Snow White but also that she's in the forest living with the dwarfs.
The stepmother wastes no time in disguising herself as an old peasant woman and bringing the famous poisoned apple to Snow White. The apple is eaten and she falls down dead. The evil Stepmother goes home[4] and everyone is happy, except for the dwarfs[5] who build a coffin of crystal to hold the body

Enter the prince! The dwarfs find him by the coffin one day and they give him the lowdown re Snow White, evil stepmother, poisoned apple et al. He kisses her and brings her back to life with the power of magic [6].
The children who hear this as a bedtime story probably shouldn't know about necrophilia until they are a little older.

Naturally it is love [7] at first sight and the pair go back to his castle, leaving the dwarfs alone in the forest again.

So after having read all this here is the part that I don't get. Snow White is a princess and to be a princess at least one of your parents needs to be royalty. It can't have been the Evil Stepmother because she doesn't have time to run a kingdom, what with looking in mirrors and killing the pretty people all day. By process of elimination then her father must have been the king.

  • Where is the king while everything is going down?
    Is he so disinterested in his daughter that he isn't concerned enough to note that a princess of the realm is being forced to do servants work [8]
    Assuming, of course, that he is even there and given the fact that his wife is free to kill anyone that is prettier than her it's a good bet that he's left her in charge while he goes off to fight the Unicorn People.

  • Why does the stepmother take such a roundabout way of getting rid of her problem? [9]
    Right off the top of my head I can think of several ways to dispatch Snow White without leaving any evidence[10]
    • Push her down a well. Easy enough to arrange and when the body is eventually discovered I would be suitably sad for an appropriate amount of time.
    • Stab her in the back when nobodies looking. This gives the added pleasure of dealing with my problems myself and also gives the royal guardsmen the opportunity to run around hunting for “the killer”[11]
    • Hire a professional. Rather than taking the cheap way out and having the servant and potential witness take her out into the woods and kill Snow White I will hire a professional assassin to do the job quickly and quietly. I will not attempt to kill him once he's done the job because pissing off assassins is never a smart thing to do. However to be on the safe side I will request that he remove the head and place it on a spike so that everyone can see that I am the prettiest.
    • Character assassination. So I've just found out that Snow White, an unmarried girl, is living with seven dwarfs, also unmarried [12]. Rather than muck around with apples and disguises I arrange a formal tea party with the biggest gossips in the castle where we talk about this, that and the other, after a while any reputation that Snow White had will be completely destroyed.

      I'll admit that this may not be as satisfying as murdering her viciously in the middle of the night but there is no body to dispose of and if anyone ever finds out what I've done the worst they can do is say “You're a meanie”[13]

  • Of course this all presumes that I care about getting caught. I could easily just stab her in the face over and over while the court looks on and I dance in her blood screaming “Who's the prettiest now bitch!”
    Really what are the court going to do about it? I'm the queen and going to stay that way, anyone who protests will be rounded up by my guards and horribly tortured until they stop[14]. If I have to I'll make up a story about how she was in league with the Unicorn People but otherwise I'll have gotten away with it.

Loose Ends:

  • The servant: In some versions of the story this is a huntsmen. Whatever his resume says we are never actually told what happens to him after the evil Stepmother discovers that Snow White is still alive. Presumably he went off to fight in the Unicorn wars.

  • The evil stepmother: What did she do after the prince took Snow White to his castle? Did she ever consult the mirror again? Perhaps this led to a revelation about beauty and she changed her ways[15].

  • The dwarfs: Left back in the forest. Really, no reward, no titles no nothing. Obviously they weren't expecting anything but some gesture would have been nice.

  • The poisoned apple: In some tellings the apple lodges in her throat and doesn't kill her. The kiss of the prince at the end dislodges the piece of apple which means he must have used some heavy tongue action.

  • The magic mirror: Strikes me as less of a magic mirror than someone standing behind a curtain doing a silly voice and trying to make trouble [16].


  1. Or Dwarves or midgets or simply vertically challenged individuals.
  2. Or any other person in the land.
  3. She absolutely does. And when they get home they aren't mad! Proving the moral of the store to be “You can get away with anything if you're pretty” rather than “Don't take things from strangers”.
  4. Probably doing a little dance and maybe a song, but singing about how you've just killed someone because they were prettier than you might lead to suspicion being directed your way. Better to just leave it at a little dance.
  5. And Snow White, but she's dead and thus her opinion no longer matters as much
  6. Or love, hell in another hundred years he'll probably bring her back with stimulants and genetic modifiers. Take your pick, it's a tale as old as time
  7. Wuv, twue wuv.
  8. She's being worked like a servant in the Disney version of the tale. I'll allow that not all tellings have her working like a servant but it goes without saying that she wasn't having the most fun time in her life before all this happened.
  9. A problem that could have being solved by the magic mirror saying “First define beauty”
  10. Although I might leave some DNA behind I shall counter this by underfunding the royal forensics department and making sure their equipment doesn't work.
  11. It will also give me the opportunity to get rid of any political enemies or other people I think are prettier than me. If one of the guardsmen is clever enough to work it out then I will either promote him to the point where he forgets about it or have him fired and discredited.
  12. It doesn't matter that nothing is going on. What matters is that it might be.
  13. Which I can live with while I download their tortured screams to my I pod.
  14. Either protesting or living. It's important for people to know that they have a choice.
  15. Maybe the whole thing was a ruse, thanks to the magic mirror she knew what would happen and with Snow White gone to live with her prince in another region she can now be the fairest in the land again. Until she asks the mirror if she is the fairest in the Tri-kingdom area at which point it all starts up again.
  16. Possibly in the pay of the Unicorn People. We'll never know.