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In 1937, a story involving dwarfs came out which paved the way for its creator to define a large swath of nerd culture and become a household name. It was the first little person porn ever. And coincidentally, the same year also saw the release of The Hobbit and Walt Disney's Snow White. But did you ever guess that Disney's story ends what Tolkien started, and clearly takes place in Middle-earth long after the events of The Lord Of The Rings?

Snow White And The Queen Are Gondor Royalty

Walt Disney Studios

Behold the King's daughter, fairest among maidens. Lips red as a rose, hair black as ebony, skin white as a Keith Urban concert. No wonder a handsome foreigner was smitten when he saw her. And his love didn't go unrequited. This is how the Tale of Beren and Luthien begins in The Silmarillion. Boom! See that misdirection? You thought it was some Snow White shit, but it wasn't. I mean, it is that, but it's also Tolkien.

Mortal man Beren and elf maiden Luthien Tinuviel (of the New Jersey Tinuviels) are forebears of the kings of Numenor and Gondor. Seeing as how the love story of Beren and Luthien echoes through the millennia in their great-great-many-times-great-grandchildren, it comes as no surprise that a similar fate awaits Aragorn and Arwen's descendant, Snow White.

New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios
The family resemblance would only be uncannier if Steven Tyler cast her in inappropriately weird videos during her early teens.

At this point you may be thinking that we're smoking too much of that pipe with Gandalf, but have you noticed Snow White's rapport with the birds and beasts of the wild? The way they listen and respond to her?

Doesn't this suggest a deep connection with nature, as someone with Elvish blood would have?

If you are one of the ten people who read through The Lord Of The Rings without skipping the songs, you might remember the hymn some Elves sing to the goddess Varda. The song refers to the goddess by several names: Elbereth, Gilthoniel ... and also Snow-white. She's a full-on goddess, so naming your kid Snow White in Gondor would be like a Texan naming his kid John Wayne or Ronald Reagan. Just a way to show how devout you are.

On the flip side, we have the wicked Queen. We know she has to be of the blood of Numenor, because Gondorians are awfully racist. And what do you know, there are a bunch of Numenoreans who are wicked and practice the dark arts: the Black Numenoreans. It isn't even unprecedented for one to marry her way to the throne: The Lord of The Rings includes a throwaway reference to "the cats of Queen Beruthiel." Beruthiel is described in Unfinished Tales as keeping tabs on her subjects with a secret police of telepathic cats. Because of course she did. Why wouldn't she have that?

The Geography Matches

Walt Disney Studios

If you have read the book, you might remember that when Aragorn takes office as King HoboBeard the First, he's given the Crown of Gondor and the Scepter of Annuminas. The new king restores the long-abandoned northern capital, and often stays there, presumably to go skinny-dipping in the lake.

George Allen & Unwin
You might need to peek over the hills.

Might be a castle that looks a little like this:

Walt Disney Studios

What else do you see in that map? Maybe off to the east. That's the Old Forest.

"Take Snow White far into the forest," the evil Queen orders. "Then toss her ass in the wood chipper." But when the time comes, the huntsman decides he's not down for hacking up hot brunettes, and shoos Snow White into the dark, ominous forest of big scary trees.

Walt Disney Studios
Ostensibly to let her live.

The Old Forest is far, as per the Queen's orders, but still close enough to be the right place. And it's dark and ominous, thick with big, angry trees. So angry that a willow tries to eat Merry and Pippin. And the Hobbits would have become part of the cycle of photosynthesis if not for ancient woodland sprite / hillbilly stoner Tom Bombadil, who arrives just in time to save their curly-haired asses.

All this was left out of Peter Jackson's movies, but in the extended edition of The Two Towers, the willow is transplanted to Fangorn Forest, with Treebeard taking Bombadil's place as rescuer. Because if you need extra footage to get people to buy the same movie twice, a hobbit-munching tree will do as well as anything else.

Luckily for Snow White, she gets to safety before the story is reversed and some apple tree bites her. But it's not in Tom Bombadil's house that she finds shelter. It's in someone else's.

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The Dwarfs Are Clearly Native To Middle-Earth

Walt Disney Studios

Dwarfs are dwarfs. Short, stocky, bearded. They toil away in caverns, seeking riches. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. But are the Seven Dwarfs Middle-earth dwarfs? Are they dwarves?

Turns out that as generic as these little fellows may be, their fears are very specific. Listen to their alarmed speculations when they discover a squatter is in their place.

The Barrow-downs are nearby, which are haunted by undead things. So obviously, a ghost is their first guess. But after that, they start worrying about creatures with a history of making dwarves homeless.

A goblin? Goblins overran their ancestral home of Moria.

A demon? It was a demon of shadow and flame that chased them out of Moria in the first place.

A dragon? Smaug took their other ancestral home in the Lonely Mountain. In fact, those three guesses are the three Middle-earth douchebags who keep shitting on the dwarves' parades.

"But what about their names? Middle-earth dwarves have names like Durin, Dwalin, or Oin, not Sleepy or Bashful. Doesn't this prove you're wrong and a complete dumbass? No offense, shithead."

It's time to get schooled in dwarf names. You might have heard about the Poetic Edda. It's a collection of Icelandic poems that includes of most of what we know about Norse mythology.

Marvel Studios
Without the Edda, you wouldn't have this.

One of these poems is an epic titled "Voluspa." The "Voluspa" does a weird thing: After a few stanzas, it stops, lists a bunch of dwarfs who never show up again, then continues. I don't know, maybe someone was selling lawn gnomes and paid to have their catalog included. Doesn't matter.

Now, if you read this catalog, you'll find the names of most of Tolkien's dwarves. This isn't a coincidence; Tolkien himself said in his published letters that he drew on this source.

And those names aren't just silly-sounding words. They have meanings. Meanings you can learn with this old scholarly paper. Here's what happens when you look up Durin:

George Allen & Unwin

You can also see "Dwalin" (here spelled "Dvalinn") up there. Note the translation.

What about "Oin"? It translates as "shy." You know, like Bashful?

New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios
Separated at birth.

That's right, they're all straight-up Disneyfied cutesy bullshit. They're also cursed.

The Dwarfs Once Wore Rings Of Power

Walt Disney Studios

Snow White doesn't know what a dwarf is. When she first sees their house, she thinks that little children live there. Later, when she meets them, she thinks they're short dudes. Even the Magic Mirror, which presumably knows better, talks about "the Seven Dwarfs," as if there weren't any others around. So what if there aren't? What if the Seven are the last of dwarfkind? And they have lived to be the last dwarves because they were the bearers of Rings of Power? Fuckin' A, right?

The Lord Of The Rings says that the Seven Rings of the Dwarf-lords were lost. It's obvious the dwarfs don't have them. But if we learned anything from Gollum, it's this: Once under the spell of a Ring of Power, you will never be free of it. Even in its absence, your years will ever be unnaturally prolonged.

These dwarfs have lived a long time. Long enough for their race to go extinct (and their grammatical plural form to change). Their lives have been stretched so thin that their personalities are reduced to a single douchey trait.

New Line Cinema
Dopey was affected the worst.

The dwarfs lead a hollow existence, devoid of any purpose save what their base instinct drives them to do: dig. Dig dig dig dig from early morn til night. Damn, their song about diamonds even includes the lyrics "we don't know what we dig them for."

They are wealthy. They could dwell in mighty halls of stone. They could even have lackeys to do the digging for them and live off other people's sweat, like respectable capitalistic entrepreneurs. Instead, they keep their gems behind a simple wooden door and hang the key right next to it like a bunch of dicks. They don't care what might happen to them. The digging is all that matters.

Walt Disney Studios

Sound glum? It gets worse. What kind of mine yields gems that are already cut and polished?

Walt Disney Studios

Remember the nearby (and haunted) Barrow-downs? They're the tombs of ancients kings and warriors. When Frodo and crew were locked by wights in one of the barrows in the books, they found treasures inside. The awful truth about the dwarfs' "mine" is all but spelled out.

Being under an evil influence, the dwarfs have been drawn to an evil place. And their corruption runs so deep that they are robbing graves to sate their lust for shiny rocks. In the end, the Prince doesn't just save Snow White from the Queen; he saves her from the dwarfs as well.

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The Prince Is Not A Mortal Being

Walt Disney Studios

What we know about the Prince:


He's barely a character, and only shows up when the plot needs him. The damn turtle has a stronger screen presence.

Walt Disney Studios
And probably more screen time.

However, Snow White falls instantly for him, and dreams that he'll take her to his castle.

Once again, she's repeating her family history. Aragorn and Arwen fell in love at first sight, and so did Beren and Luthien. Luthien's parents, Thingol and Melian, fell so hard when they met that they spent 200 years motionless, just staring into each other's eyes, while around them trees grew and birds routinely shat upon them.

You'll notice these are all mixed pairings. Mortal boy, elf girl. Elf boy, angelic-being-from-the-Utmost-West-clad-in-flesh girl. Yes, Snow White's family tree includes a Maia, one of the same race as Gandalf and his wizard pals. Why shouldn't Snow White share the family penchant for mystical booty? And assuming the Prince is also a Maia suddenly fixes several problems.

For starters, the Queen's convenient death by meteorology:

Walt Disney Studios

Best-timed random act of nature ever? Or a directed act of will of someone avenging his beloved? We know a Maia (a powerful Maia, at least) can summon up lightning.

New Line Cinema
Gandalf can make sure his weather forecast is always right.

And then there's the kiss.

Either he enjoys kissing dead girls, or he knows that the kiss will break the spell. Seeing as how he's barely surprised by the result, we can rule out him being of the host of the Necrophilim. He's just wise in the ways of magic.

By now we have a few more data points:
He shows up when he's needed. Like Gandalf.
He's a Maia. Like Gandalf.
He's powerful. Like Gandalf.
He's wise. Like Gandalf.

We can't escape the conclusion any longer: The Prince is Gandalf. Or, rather, he's the Maia Olorin, known as Gandalf (among other names) when he roamed the Middle-earth in the guise of an old man.

New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios
Now in a hunkier package!

The Mirror Is The Mastermind

Walt Disney Studios

We're never told how the Queen got the Magic Mirror. Perhaps she created it herself. Galadriel made hers, after all. But Galadriel's mirror is notoriously vague and hard to interpret. Would a mortal witch be more skillful than the Lady of Lothlorien?

So what gives? How come the mirror is so reliable? Well, what if it isn't?

The glass snitch on the wall isn't totally truthful. If it were, it would tell the Queen: "Beauty is a subjective quality. For instance, I like a fine booty and think Kim Kardashian is the shit, but my cousin is a side view mirror on a Prius, and he totally digs Lena Dunham. I can't give your question a meaningful answer." So maybe it's subtly manipulating the Queen through her vanity and her insecurity. Maybe it's the mirror itself that wants Snow White out of the way. This is a magical item with a mind and an agenda of its own.

Who specializes in using disguises and deception? Who has been known to influence rulers for nefarious purposes? Who has tried before to end the line of Isildur?

"Surprise, bitches!"

"This cannot be!," I hear you gasp. "Sauron is no more! He was destroyed when the One Ring was cast into the Cracks of Doom!"

To which I say: Dude, come on! Did you believe that someone so cunning and wily wouldn't have planned for every contingency? It couldn't have been too hard for so powerful a sorcerer, while he was busy pouring his strength and will into the Ring, to save a shot glass of the stuff in some other magical artifact, just in case. Even Voldemort knew to do that. Sauron would be awfully weakened, but he would still be. And a mirror that answers your questions? It was only a matter of time before some lord or monarch were trusting the advice of such a thing.

And this totally explains why Gandalf returned to Middle-earth. He was investigating Sauron's survival. That very same reason brought him to Annuminas, too. He took a different form so as not to tip off Sauron, and he was unable to prevent his love from biting that apple because he was busy at work tracking Sauron. That's the kind of job that'd make the best of us late.

Andres Diplotti has roamed the circles of the world for about 2,000 weeks, and runs the humor blog Flea Snobbery. If you understand the Black Speech (aka Spanish), you can find some of his self-published fiction on Amazon and Leanpub. Or follow him on Twitter.

Get more Snow White fan theories in Why The 7 Dwarfs Were Slaves Of Scrooge McDuck and check out the original Snow White tale in The Gruesome Origins of 5 Popular Fairy Tales.

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