Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the most out-there Disney fan theory of them all? It just might be the one laid out by Andres Diplotti over at Cracked, which posits that Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs takes place in the same universe as—and is, in fact, a sequel to—J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series.
As laid out by Diplotti, it's not just the fantasy-esque setting and the presence of dwarfs (or “dwarves,” if we’re talking The Lord of the Rings version) that the two classic tales have in common. Let’s start with the dwarfs: short, keep to themselves, obsessed with treasure. A pretty standard interpretation across the board. But, as Diplotti explains, Tolkien took many of the names of his dwarves from a centuries-old Norse epic called the “Voluspa,” which has a section devoted to dwarf names and their meanings. Durin? That’s “Sleepy,” thank you very much. Dwalin, or “Dvalinn” in the “Voluspa,” is torpid, lazy, or sleepy. Oin? That would be “shy,” a.k.a. “bashful.”
As Diplotti points out, it’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” not “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs Whom Snow White Happened to Meet.” Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and the rest appear to be the only dwarfs in the Snow White universe, which doesn’t square with Tolkien’s dwarves being an entire race of people. But remember the rings of power: “Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone …” We know the One Ring affected Gollum profoundly even after he was no longer in possession of it, so why couldn’t the Dwarf-lords’ rings of power, even though they were eventually lost, have a) mentally warped their wearers into whistling goofballs and b) prolonged their lives to the point that they outlived the (near) extinction of their entire species?
If the dwarfs/dwarves connection is somewhat obvious, what Diplotti theorizes about Prince Charming is less so. He’s one of the Maia, a race of beings that includes Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast. His wizardly powers came in handy when it was time to kill the Evil Witch with a lightning strike. (And you thought that was the standard Disney Villain Death.) Ditto when true love’s kiss brought Snow White back to life—“Either he enjoys kissing dead girls,” Diplotti writes, “or he knows that the kiss will break the spell.”
But it gets weirder.
Prince Charming isn’t just one of the Maia—he’s Gandalf himself, original name Olórin. And the Magic Mirror is Sauron—or, rather, a tiny sliver of Sauron that the Rings baddie squirreled away as a plan B in case the One Ring was destroyed. We know that Sauron’s MO is getting inside people’s heads and twisting their thoughts for his own gain, and that’s what he’s doing in Magic Mirror form: Engineering the destruction of Snow White, who, in this theory, is a descendant of Aragorn. Thus the presence of Gandalf, who heard about the rebirth of his archenemy and popped back in to take out the trash.