Evil Ravens?

In Sleeping Beauty (1959), there is a bird that follows the evil “queen” around. Appearing when bad things are about to happen and kraaing loudly at goodness. This bird is better known as a raven. In the movie the birds name is Diablo, and has several key characteristics that show during the movie. Throughout the movie, he is loyal to Maleficent and she even treats him differently from her other henchmen. This appears to happen because Diablo is very diligent to his duties and dignified towards Maleficent’s orders. When asked to go searching for Sleeping Beauty, he does not question the order. This shows that he is very obedient to her and rather intelligent, because he stays hidden the entire movie or by her side. It wasn’t till he left her side that he was then turned to stone by Merryweather, one of the good fairies that was protecting the princess. Every scene Maleficent was in, he was also. This means that the two were connected, she even called him “her pet”. Combined with his actions that he takes when working for Maleficent, his appearance matches hers. He was black with purple bags under his eyes, while Maleficent was green with a black robe that has a purple lining on the inside. This creates another direct tie between the two because the colors were used to represent evil throughout the movie. The raven may not have been the number one evil character, but he was second and it showed through in his character and colors.

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012) is a rather good example as to how our views on ravens has affected the movies we watch. When watching this movie, the ravens do not appear until the evil queen has taken over the kingdom. After Snow White escapes it becomes clear that the ravens are tied to the evil queen as when she melts herself down and then disguises herself as someone Snow White loves. Shortly after she disguises herself, she “kills” Snow White. After the evil queens’ successful attack on Snow White, she is attacked by Snow White’s friends causing her to transform into several ravens and beginning to attack the ones attacking her. As she realizes it is only damaging her, the ravens fly in several circles around Snow White’s body and then kraa loudly and fly away. Towards the end of the movie, we notice that the evil queen is wearing black feathers. These black feathers are related to her ability to transform into ravens and to melt down into herself when needed. When she flies back to the castle the ravens fly down from a hole in the top of the castle into her lair. When they hit the ground they form a black puddle in which the evil queen slowly crawls out of. During this scene we see ravens flop around with no control, which could be due to the damage she received after her attack on Snow White. This created a direct connection between the evil queen and the ravens that it took to build her.

The Raven (2012) is a mystery movie based on Edger Allan Poe’s works. It includes a murderer that kills using Edgar’s fictional stories and then plays a mystery with Edgar by stealing his love and intriguing him to play the game of hide and seek. Throughout the movie Edgar consistently references his poem “The Raven”. There is a reason as to why this is so simple and yet so important. We as people thinking ravens are the bringers of death and trouble, is shown in this movie. Every time a murder takes place or the murderer is in the area, you see ravens. This plays a very big part in symbolizing that death is coming. In the opening scene you see “Edgar” sitting on a bench taking his last couple breathes, when he tilts his head back you see ravens in the tree above him. Throughout the movie the word “Nevermore” is repeated and ravens appear in scene or the kraas are heard. Another very specific scene is when some students of a class open a crate that is supposed to have an older body in it, but soon realize that the crate is bleeding. They open the crate only to discover a body with a raven in it. The raven swiftly flies out and lands on the head of the crate like the very descripted telling of the raven on the top of the door in the poem “The Raven”. The link between the ravens and evil in this movie is subtle, but it shows in very specific ways that it is simple to see where the connection is.

Potter Polyxeni.jpg

A paper written by Polyxeni Potter called “And the Raven, Never Flitting, Still Is Sitting, Still Is Sitting” analyzes a Raven in the painting “The Prophet Fed by a Raven” by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. He remarks that Clive’s paintings have been described as figurative and that all his paintings have meanings. Potter directly begins to analyze the raven in the painting. “The raven, among the most intelligent of birds, is a frequent visitor in the arts where, as in life, it has a contradictory presence, signaling both life and death.” He later goes on to explain that their black coat that covers their body gives them a handsome appearance, but today people would argue that the raven is a nasty bird. If the raven represents life and death, it is shown in the obvious way. As some see the raven as a beautiful bird, because it can strut and glide swiftly. While others view the bird as ugly and evil, because it is black and makes a loud noise that sometimes scares people.

 Concluding Statement

As these four examples are common ways to see how our view on ravens have impacted our movies. It is rather hard to find good examples as to how the other side has impacted our movies because the views have changed. White ravens are very rare so when we look at movies that have good and evil that is represented by birds. We see the two common birds, ravens and doves. Both are majestic birds, but the view on both is very different and has changed over time. Both used to have the same meaning, both being birds that did not mean evil. Our views are known to change and that is why movies are the easiest way to depict the way ravens are now viewed. These three movies have very interesting plots and it is why when we see the ravens, we can instantly see the evil within that specific symbol. Our views on ravens are being used in movies to symbolize evil, just like black cats are now viewed as bad luck.


One thought on “Evil Ravens?

  1. I love how you included the trailers in this blog post, it makes all the text a lot easier to handle. I thought all of your information was really valuable as well, all of the points that you made tied into what your topic is about which is how the raven is portrayed. I really like how you chose three very different trailers to compare the raven. Even though each trailer is totally different, the theme with the raven is the same in all of them. Very nicely done.


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