The film opens with the Huntsman narrating how once upon a time, in the dead of winter, a queen saw a single red rose blooming despite the freezing cold. While admiring the flower, she pricked her finger on the flower’s thorns and three drops of blood fell on the white snow. At that moment the Queen wished that she could have a child with lips red as blood, skin white as snow, hair black as a raven’s wing, and the same spirit and defiance of that red rose blooming in spite of the winter. A few months later, the Queen gave birth to a daughter named Snow White.
Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross). After his wife’s death, King Magnus falls in love with the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron) after rescuing her from the Dark Army, an army of invincible glass soldiers who have enslaved several of the neighboring kingdoms. The two are married but on their wedding night, Ravenna – who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army’s master – paralyzes Magnus with a poison and informs him of her intention on taking his life as well as his kingdom and kills him. Ravenna than seizes control of the kingdom after a battle ensues between the king’s men and her knights, led by her brother Finn (Sam Spruell). Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan), Magnus’ most trusted knight, attempts to help Snow White and his young son William escape the castle but fails when Snow White is captured by Ravenna’s brother. Snow White is then locked away in the dungeons while Ravenna consults her Magic Mirror (Christopher Obi Ogugua), who tells her that another kingdom has fallen, that there is no end to her beauty and power and she still remains “the fairest of them all.” Over the next several years, as the kingdom falls into ruin, Ravenna begins to capture women whose beauty might surpass her own and drains them of their youth.