Otherwise Known As: The Wicked Stepmother
Premiered in: Cinderella (1950)
Voiced By: Eleanor Audley
The Lady Tremaine is one of the first Disney Villains that can arguably be considered as successful in that, contrary to her “predecessor” the Queen, she was a vindictive, manipulative, wretch of a human being to her stepdaughter starting not even an hour after her second husband, Cinderella’s father, passed away. If it weren’t already obvious, I do not care for Lady Tremaine, not in the slightest. She is a woman who married for status and rather than welcome Cinderella as another daughter, psychologically abused her for years due to the fact that Cinderella’s own kindness and beauty made her own daughters’ greed and awkwardness all the more obvious. Honestly, I get why Cinderella’s father remarried for he, like most men in such a position, felt that Cinderella deserved a maternal figure to look up to, but I can’t get how he didn’t realize Lady Tremaine’s true colors. For pity’s sake, she named her cat Lucifer!
Lady Tremaine’s one motivation is her standing as a socialite. It doesn’t matter to her whom she must step on to get to the top, so long as she is amongst the nobility. Though never confirmed in the film, many speculate that it was Lady Tremaine who was responsible for the untimely death of Cinderella’s father. In the film, Lady Tremaine wants one of her daughters to marry the prince despite the fact, or perhaps even because, they are both… the exact opposite of what any lady ought to be. Though Lady Tremaine is never physical with her girls or Cinderella, there is no denying her cruelty as she all but ordered her daughters to attack Cinderella when she appeared in what had been her own mother’s dress touched up by the jewels and things of her step-sisters.
Though not strictly minions, it can’t be denied that the stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella are Lady Tremaine’s foremost tormentors of Cinderella at every opportunity with the cat, Lucifer tormenting Cinderella’s little animal friends. Again, not going too much into the sequels, especially that third one that makes one wonder just whose brilliant idea that was, it was shown that at least one of Cinderella’s step-sisters has something of a heart and even goes so far as to defy her mother despite being the favored child. As for the cat… it is named Lucifer, what do you think its like?
Ultimately, depending on which film or even video game, Lady Tremaine’s ultimate fate is to watch as her stepdaughter goes from being her personal scullery maid to her princess. Though I don’t imagine her doing so in public, I dare to imagine that Lady Tremaine’s face looks like she swallowed a hundred lemons every time that particular thought crosses her mind. However… and I say this only because I laughed myself hoarse upon discovering this, due to the events of the third film where Lady Tremaine gets control of the Fairy Godmother’s wand and tries to alter time itself so that Anastasia is the one who marries the prince (No, I am not joking, that’s exactly what she does), she and Drizella end up as scullery maids serving at the palace. Lastly, and far more morbidly, in the game Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Lady Tremaine’s jealousy turns the pumpkin that had been Cinderella’s coach into an Unversed named the Cursed Coach. Ultimately, one of the Unversed’s fire bombs it created just so happened to land on her and her daughters and… Yeah.
Overall, Lady Tremaine deserves a solid 5 out of 5 on the Villainy scale. Sure, she didn’t get what she wanted in the end and, arguably, ended up the worst of it a few years after the first film but she still lived in the lap of evil luxury for most of Cinderella’s life.
Lastly, on a completely related side note, I feel it worth mentioning that due to the success of Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland, Disney has begun production of a live action version of the classical tale of Cinderella with the role of Lady Tremaine going to Cate Blanchett who is most often recognized for her role as Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy of films. Rather scary I think but nowhere near as frightening as the idea of having Helena Bohnam Carter as the Fairy Godmother. I think Lady Tremaine’s face says it all for me.