Perception is the fairest of them all: online fan perception of Once Upon A Time's Evil Queen


  • Natalie le Clue Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • Janelle Vermaak, Dr Nelson Mandela University, South Africa



Online fan perception, Folklore, Fairy tales, Participatory culture, Popular media, Media texts, Discourse, Narrative, Online communication


In the Brothers Grimm 1812 folklore version of the Snow White story, the Evil Queen is the main antagonist in the narrative. However, over time, as methods of storytelling have advanced, the Evil Queen has undergone numerous transformations in the manner in which she is portrayed and the medium through which her story is presented. Several scholars have undertaken the study of these changing narrative portrayals, from folklore to fairy tale, of which Zipes (1981; 2006) is arguably the most prominent. This article investigates how the Evil Queen’s character evolution and transformation has altered fan perception. Jenkins’ theory of participatory culture serves as the theoretical basis for this analysis. Several online sources, including the Once Upon A Time Fan Blog, and the Spoiler TV Plus page on, have been selected for analysis, as these provide a satisfactory sample of fans’ perception across a varied spectrum of opinion. At the hand of six themes ranging from “dislike” to “acceptance”, the article argues that the developing discourse and narrative of the character as depicted in the Once upon a time television series (2011) played a role in the evolution of fans’ perception of the character of the Evil Queen.


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