It’s fun to imagine the details of the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, poring over dusty tomes and arguing over the details that created some of the most beloved fantasy worlds ever. A new article on Atlas Obscura, though, details a very different aspect of their friendship: They both fucking hated Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.
In particular, they hated the dwarves and their goofy-ass faces. Lewis wrote in a letter that Snow White’s companions “ought to be ugly of course, but not in that way,” later describing them as “bloated, drunken, low comedy faces.” Tolkien, who released The Hobbit just a few months before Snow White hit theaters, concurred about Disney films in general, later firing off a letter to a friend saying that, “Though in most of the ‘pictures’ proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them is to me disgusting. Some have given me nausea.”
That’s some ice-cold shit for something this jolly:
The Atlas Obscura article finds an interesting explanation:
“I think it grated on them that he was commercializing something that they considered almost sacrosanct,” says Trish Lambert, a Tolkien scholar and author of the essay, Snow White And Bilbo Baggins: Divergences And Convergences Between Disney And Tolkien. “Here you have a brash, American entrepreneur who had the audacity to go in and make money off of fairy tales.”
This makes sense, but, as the article also notes, Lewis and Tolkien had actually gone to see Snow White together. This conjures an image of the two fantastically intelligent men sitting in the theater together ripping it to shit for the same reasons and then regularly returning to their source of scorn over the years, just as we hate-watch things today and immediately tweet out our disdain for them. Early 20th century fantasy authors: They’re just like us!
Check out the whole article for many more details on both their friendship and their shared disdain for Disney.