Winter Schnee is a character in RWBY who first appeared in "It's Brawl in the Family". She is the elder sister of Weiss and Whitley Schnee and formerly a part of the Special Operatives Unit in the Atlas Military. In "Amity", she is made the leader of the Ace Operatives.
After being wounded in "The Enemy of Trust", Winter chooses to stay with James Ironwood rather than go with Weiss and her friends, but she allows them to escape in order to give them a head start. She serves as an antagonist in Volume 8 before she turns on Ironwood in "Creation". As of "The Final Word", she is the current Winter Maiden.
Winter is a tall and fair-skinned young woman with slate-blue eyes, dark eyebrows, and long white hair. The latter of which tied back in a bun that is high on the left side of the back of her head, along with bangs along right side of her face and a small curled lock of hair down the left just above her shoulder.
Original Outfit (Volume 3-Volume 5 Trailer)
Her outfit consists of a white long-sleeved coat with a single dark blue clasp around the center waist holding it shut alongside a red jeweled brooch on the collar. The coat's length runs down to her ankles and the sleeves are split from shoulder to elbow. She wears a white pleated sleeveless blouse with a dark blue waistcoat. A pair of white trousers with dark blue garters alongside a pair of gray thigh boots with black detailing around the knees. She also wears a pair of black forearm length gloves with gray trimmed cuffs.
Post-Timeskip Outfit (Volumes 7-8)
From Volume 7 onwards, Winter can be seen wearing a white collared undershirt, a necktie that connects to her new brooch, and a girdle underneath the lapels of her coat. She wears navy blue gloves and pants and sports a Dust pouch around her waist.
Following her battle with Cinder Fall, Winter is heavily injured in combat, left with burns, cuts and bruises, a scarred nose, and a black eye. Her hair bun is undone, letting it fall naturally.
During the fight, her clothes are also ruined and tattered. The entirety of Winter's left sleeve is ripped open in addition to the collar. Her gloves and pants are ripped.
After her fight in the Maiden Medical Facility, Winter is taken to an Atlesian hospital to recover from her injuries. She now wears a pale blue hospital gown and keeps her hair in a ponytail. Her left arm is covered in a black brace with red and white highlights, and her right arm is bandaged from injuries. Winter's right eye and nose are still bruised and beginning to scar, and she has another bandage over the right side of her forehead.
Power Armor (Volume 8)
During the events of Volume 8, Winter keeps her hair in a loose ponytail like her hospital design, and begins to wear her post-timeskip outfit once more, now without battle damage. She wears two red-and-black pauldrons on her arms and legs similar to that of her brace in the visit, and seems to have recovered her missing weapon from the fight with Cinder. It is described as being power armor.
At first glance, Winter appears to be a cold, dignified, serious and distant person who prefers to keep her emotions subdued and speaking in a very high-class, eloquent, almost robotic fashion, which most likely comes due to her being a soldier. However, when interacting with Weiss, she smiles and shows that she cares about her younger sister's life and well-being, based on how she inquires if Weiss has been eating properly, gained any new hobbies and made any new friends in "It's Brawl in the Family". Winter is very intuitive towards her younger sister's emotions. With that said, she is not afraid to raise her hand at her younger sister whenever she is annoyed. Overall, she truly loves Weiss and wants her to succeed in life. Later, it was revealed that due to the Schnee Family's broken family life and their mother's descent into alcoholism and their father's controlling personality, Winter had to effectively take a maternal role in her sister's upbringing, as seen in "A New Approach", when she momentarily lost her composure and began reprimanding her sister and expressed clear worry for her when she learned about her willingly putting herself in danger, where she genuinely panicked and worried for Weiss and her safety when learning about her escapades in stealing a Manta airship in Argus.
Winter can be very harsh as well, as shown in "Lessons Learned". When she attempts to teach Weiss how to Summon old foes with her Semblance, only for her sister to fail. Winter fiercely rebukes her younger sibling's excuses, citing her lack of resolve will not help her in the tournament, or as a Huntress.
Although she strives to keep her emotions in check, she can be rather hot-headed at times. Once she becomes angry, she drops her dignified ladylike demeanor and loses all restraint. This is shown when she attempts to attack Qrow Branwen when provoked. She also snapped at her father during the dinner he held, saying that trust has to be earned, not bought. She is initially fiercely loyal to her superior, James Ironwood, and would become infuriated whenever his judgment was questioned. She was also equally faithful to his authority, however, and respectfully deferred to him when at odds with an order. This loyalty caused her to go along with many of his actions, even sometimes suggesting her own, such as wanting to declare martial law when the Amity Project was stalled.
After Winter learned her career had been chosen by Ironwood to make her the next Winter Maiden, she was upset at first, but eventually came to accept the destiny which had been chosen for her, making it her own and taking great pride in it. She is gentle and caring with Fria, patiently waiting for her time to pass and grant Winter strength. Winter was waiting her whole life to become the Winter Maiden, but in a split second she ended up giving it all up when Penny Polendina becomes the one to take Fria's powers instead.
Winter consistently wrestles with her emotions, never letting them overpower her, yet still allowing them to guide her on what she believes to be a righteous path. While she feels guilt over having to end Fria's life before her natural passing to obtain the Maiden's powers, her dedication to the Atlas Military is greater than her feelings on the subject. She was upset when she saw that Ironwood had declared Team RWBY and Team JNPR fugitives. When Penny unexpectedly inherited Fria's powers, despite knowing the Winter Maiden was vital to Ironwood's plans, Winter "suggested" that Penny leave with Weiss and Ruby, telling them she was giving them a head start. She later appears visibly disturbed when Ironwood shoots Councilman Sleet dead.
Later when Lie Ren uses his newly evolved Semblance, it is shown that she is repressing her true emotions just like the other Ace-Ops. When Ironwood orders her and the Ace-Ops to deliver a bomb to Monstra, she instead allows Yang's Group to try and rescue Oscar Pine, stating that they will still detonate it whether they are still inside or not. After Marrow Amin asks her if she would really detonate the bomb with her sister's friends still inside, she is hesitant, but ultimately steels herself and replies that she will do so as her duty as a soldier. While she first replied with a cold "yes" like Ironwood would have done, she makes the choice to turn around and address Marrow with more warmth to show him that she wasn't thinking like Ironwood was which delays his betrayal against the military for a little longer.
By the time of "Creation" however, she decides that Ironwood needs to be stopped, saving Marrow from being killed by him by acting like she was arresting him for treason and then collaborating with Ruby's Group to ambush him, saying she should have done it from the beginning. Later in "Worthy" when Ironwood confronts her in the Vault, she tells him that she has never hesitated fighting against the enemies of the Kingdom and now sees him as one of them.
Once she realizes what has happened to Penny in "The Final Word" when she receives the powers of the Winter Maiden, she is saddened that Penny has died and states that Penny was the actual Maiden while she was just a machine following Ironwood's orders. She regains her composure after Penny states that she won't be gone, but now a part of Winter.
Even when Weiss is thrown into the void by Cinder, Winter refuses to let her emotions overcome her sense of duty; despite her visible rage and grief, she does not waste time attacking Cinder, knowing that her priority is to reach Vacuo and protect the civilians. Once she arrives, she channels her feelings into a violent attack against the Grimm.
Powers and Abilities
Incredibly gifted, Winter was one of the most skilled and capable Huntresses in Atlas, having not only graduated top of her class at Atlas Academy, but being hand-picked for service in the Military. She was able to combat Cinder Fall and hold her own for an impressive amount of time and after becoming the Winter Maiden, could fight her on even ground. In combat Winter is shown to be more precise and direct with her attacks than her sister's fighting style, focusing mainly on dueling and keeping opponents off-guard with her weapon in culmination with her glyphs, able to stop and change direction on a dime, as well as using Ice Dust missiles and Nevermore summons to overwhelm her opponent with sheer numbers if she is at range.
- Main article: Winter's Swords
Winter's weapon of choice are her Swords. She shows great skill when wielding them, displaying above-average speed, agility and reflexes in combat. She is able to both start moving and stop in an instant, as shown when she aborted her final attack on Qrow at the last second upon hearing Ironwood's voice. Her skills with her weapon are impressive, and although she was unable to land any serious blows on Qrow, she was able to parry and match all of his attacks for the duration of their fight.
- Main article: Technology
Following her recovery from the hospital, Winter wears Atlesian power armor, providing her with increased durability and physical capabilities. This armor allows her to keep up with Ironwood and Cinder Fall in a fight, the former of which having previously bested her.
- Main article: Glyphs
Winter has the Schnee family Semblance of Glyphs. Her glyphs have many of the same effects that her sister's do, most notably including the ability to exert forces on herself and objects, which Winter uses to increase her speed to superhuman levels and boost jumps. Like her sister, she is able to use her Semblance in a supportive manner with other allies, such as enhancing Nora Valkyrie's power by using a Lightning infused Glyph on her.
Like Weiss and other members of the Schnee family, Winter can also Summon versions of her past enemies to fight for her. Unlike Weiss at first, she displays great mastery of this aspect of her Semblance. Her Summons are known to include dozens of small Nevermores and full-sized Beowolves along with a Manticore which she can use as flight transportation. Her Summons take on a translucent white-blue coloration and emit a soft glow.
After becoming the Winter Maiden in "The Final Word", she gained the ability to boost the power of her summons using them. She first demonstrates this by augmenting her Nevermore summons with ice-based attacks while fighting against Cinder Fall.
- Main article: Maidens
Following the death of Penny Polendina in "The Final Word", Winter gained the powers of the Winter Maiden. When active, her eyes emit a ice blue fire around them, the color matching her Aura. Despite having only held the Maiden's power for mere moments, she was easily able to match the more experienced Cinder Fall in their subsequent battle. Due to Winter receiving training on how to use the Maiden powers before Fria died, she was able to face Cinder on much more even ground. Her Semblance already functioning like a spell being cast also increased her understanding of her powers.
During her battles with both James Ironwood and Cinder, she displayed numerous feats such as being able to fly by emanating snowy wisps around her body, create a layer of ice capable of reflecting concentrated blasts of Fire Dust and produce powerful blasts of ice and electricity at her targets.
Upon arriving in Vacuo, Winter also showcased the ability to create large gusts of wind capable of blowing away hordes of Grimm.
- For information on choices the creators made for this character, see Winter Schnee/Behind the Scenes.
- Winter shares her last name with the rest of her family, which is German for "Snow", following the color naming convention on Remnant.
- Like Weiss, Winter's first name begins with a "W" and she is also referred to as "Ice Queen."
- Winter is one of the four calendar seasons, usually characterized by cold weather, often accompanied by snow, further tying her entire name with her color motif.
- It could be interpreted that Weiss having siblings was first alluded to in "The Badge and The Burden, Pt.2", when Weiss tells Ruby Rose that she always wanted bunk beds as a kid.
- Winter is shown to be ambidextrous or having some skill in wielding two weapons at once, as shown by her unique sword and dagger combination against Qrow in "It's Brawl in the Family".
- In the RWBY Chibi episode "Battle of the Bands", she is shown writing with her left hand.
- Qrow refers to Winter as a "Specialist" in "It's Brawl in the Family". During the "Huntsmen" episode of RWBY: World of Remnant, Winter is shown to be a member of the Atlesian Military's Special Operatives unit, enlisting after her graduation from Atlas Academy.
- On August 7th, 2015 during the RTX 2015 RWBY Panel, it was announced that Elizabeth Maxwell would voice Winter. Concept art for her character design and outfit were also revealed.
- Prior to this announcement, Sheena Duquette Oum was originally planned to voice Winter, but for uncertain reasons the role was eventually given to Elizabeth Maxwell instead.
- Winter's Volume 7 design was made by senior concept artist Erin Winn.
- Every time Miles Luna sees Winter's new design from Volume 8, he is reminded of "Mass Effect" with Eddy Rivas stating that she does resemble N7 in her new armor.
- CRWBY AMA
- Erin Winn's Twitter
- "The Enemy of Trust"
- 2B vs Winter Schnee | DEATH BATTLE Cast #231
- RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 13
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 9
- 2B vs Winter Schnee | DEATH BATTLE Cast #231
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 14
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 14
- Gray Haddock's Rooster Teeth Journal
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 11