Thursday Myths and Legends 101: Faeries, Fae

There’s no doubting, Fae are the new vampire. They’re appearing everywhere, from the innocent and playful Tinkerbell to the more dangerous, sexy fae of the romance genre. Young Adult literature is no exception. Since opening Hollow Tree, we’ve already reviewed two books involving Faeries and there’s no doubting that there will be more to come.

The human fascination with Fae is not new. One very famous instance is William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which crashes the human world and the faerie world with disastrous and hysterical consequences. Faeries also made appearances in medieval romances, usually meeting with (and at times conflicting with) the knight errant of the tale. Morgan le Fay, or Morgana as she is commonly known, is perhaps the most well known Fae in Arthurian legend. Although with time, she was denounced to human status and made more of a sorcerer.

In literature, Faeries are commonly mixed with other magical creatures such as the nymphs and satyrs of Greek mythology. But the Fae are a group all their own, classified into Seelie and Unseelie.

The Seelie, meaning blessed or holy, are supposed to be the more approachable of the two castes, interacting with humans, warning them of dangers, asking for help, and even showing kindness in return of a favor. Still, they are fond of mischief and get into it often.

The Unseelie, unblessed or unholy, are malicious, evil fae with no remorse or compassion for their actions.

As a group, faeries are known to be masters of deception. They can even change their outer appearance, at times classifying selkies and kelpies as being in the fae family. Most times, they appear as the most breathtaking, angelic creature, more lovely than any human could ever be.

Despite being supernatural beings, legends have created ways to protect oneself from faeries. Iron is the most common and well known weapon. It is said to be as poison and fae will not even go near it. But there are also charms and herbs that are supposed to repel them.

All in all, I don’t see the faerie trend going anywhere. They’re magical creatures that can be approached in new and interesting ways and that are constantly changing shape in the public eye. Some great reads involving faeries are Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog.

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

4 responses to “Thursday Myths and Legends 101: Faeries, Fae

  • Lisa

    Great post! Definitely something people in the YA verse should be aware about, since it really does seem to be popping up everywhere lately! Thanks for the lesson. πŸ˜‰

  • thephoneix

    If its not vampires, then its definitely a new trend of Fae stories popping up. I’ve read so many stories where the Fae is either fickle, mischevious, or so dark that I’m not sure I want to sleep after reading it. Hee. Great topic.

  • Zach

    Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels also have a suprisingly dark and somewhat accurate depiction of fae. Really a must read.

  • nicassia

    Hi I am in the process of writing a book about fairies I myself said they r the new vampire Haha. It was nice to have some reassurance knowing someone else agreed. πŸ™‚ thanks

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