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Fairies oh my!

Discussion in 'World Building' started by The Blue Lotus, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. OK if this is the wrong place to post this please move, still learning to nav the site.

    Had a question about Fairies, more specificy their looks...

    I am aware of the happy go lucky childrens version and plan to use them but I was wondering about the flip side of that coin...
    Would a fairy that is UGLY (think gothic Gargoyles), evil, mean and, spiteful even that lives underground and is nothing you want to run across something that is common?

    I was planing on doing two Breeds of these critters One cute and loveable the other not so much, but I would like to avoid re-hashing what has already been done.
  2. Angharad

    Angharad Troubadour

    In traditional folklore, fairies can be pretty scary creatures, luring unsuspecting humans into their realm under the hills, stealing babies and swapping them for changelings, causing mischief if you cross their path... I think this sounds like a very interesting idea.
  3. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

    Doesn't Everquest 2 have a good and bad fairy type race? Also. Maybe call one a fairy and one a sprite? When I hear fairy I think of a nice little creature. Sprite makes me think of a bit scarier fairy type creature. And then a pixie for a crossbreed?

    Hell. Maybe I'll do that for myself. It's probably been done before.
  4. Yeah I have a book of traditional folk legends on these guys the baby stealing is really interesting to me...
    I have been roughing out the plot line for these guys and I just wanted to see if it was just a rehash of things doen a million times over or not...
  5. Xanados

    Xanados Maester

    What about Harpies?
    They don't look particularly evil but if you play World of Warcraft you'll understand what I mean!
  6. Hans

    Hans Sage

    No need to play WoW for that. It's enough to know some mythology to avoid these murdering critters. But they are not fairies.
    As noted above fairies, or "little people" (with no need to be small. Some little people are pretty huge.) or "the good volks" in folklore all over the world can be pretty scary.
    International mythology is a good source. You will not find many of them in Greece hero stories, but lots other old cultures have them.
  7. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

    Well people could call evil fairies Harpies. It would be a different mythological route. But not all worlds would call their creatures the same.
  8. Hans

    Hans Sage

    You could always use inworld names. So, when you write "fairies" or "harpies" you provoke a certain picture in your reading audience. That can be used to not have to describe everything. Your audience will accept it, when you pretranslate inworld words for them.
    So, if you have "Pukltuk" that are ugly (or beautiful in older myths) women with wings and some (a varying amount through time) more avian features that kill men, steal their food and put feces on the remainder, why not call them harpies?
  9. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

    What you described for Pukltuk is pretty much exactly what I think of when I hear a creature called Harpy.
  10. No, I never got into the whole RPG thing...

    I'm more an Evony type person.

    It was my understanding that fairies and Harpies were two dif, creatures in mythology.
    I will have to go over my books again and see if I can't dig out something...

    I could always go with names that they have been called in dif countries to distinguish the two.

    Example: in Mesopotamia the water fairy(not nice) is called Tiamat, but in Jappan they are known as Kappa...While the myths between the countries vaies greatly I think I could get away with reusing the old names for these beings in a new persona.

    Perhaps blending the old myths together to form a new "myth" for the not so nice guys and just calling the good ones by another name alltogether, but still in keeping with the style that I had in mind.

    or, and I think I like this the best. I could have several fractions of fairies good and bad each who have their own habbitat preferances. Use the old myth(s) for each of these, and then just make up something to call their counter parts.

    I could then write in a fairy war ;)

    Thanks guys you have given me something to think about :)

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  11. UnionJane

    UnionJane Scribe

    In traditional fairy lore, it seems like fairies really take the fall for whatever cannot be logically explained; whenever something mysterious happens, it can be attributed to fairies. It also seems like the fairies' identities are tied up to whatever action they are most known for. Think of the red caps, who dwell where battles have taken place, ready to lure travelers to their deaths, or kelpies, who lurk in water sources ready to eat the flesh of man--known shapeshifters and a reason to be wary around water sources. There's also a fairy like the banshee, a potential explanation for the howling of the wind, who is actually a very spooky ghost. Think carefully about crafting fairies, because they come in all shapes, sizes, and stories.

    There's also some world-building considerations: are these fairies sunlight creatures (i.e., everyone knows about them and the fairies live openly), or secret creatures? It all goes into your portrayal.
  12. Hmm I wouldn't class Harpies as fairies either - different mythology altogether.

    there are however many different kinds of fairies in northern mythology both good and bad (in fact technically nearly all mythological creatures in the northern tradition are classed as faerie folk - including elves, dwarves & goblins)

    I used to have a big encyclopedia of mythical creatures and remember there being dozens of fairy folk in there, such as red-caps, boggarts, brownies, pixies, ect, I'd have to dig the book out to remember the rest though!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011

  13. If you unearth it could you post the title?

    I have a severly abridged version and totaly need a better one! :)
  14. I've just browsed through my personal library and can't find the book I was talking about (may be in storage in the attic) but another good book for mythological & fantasy creatures that I was able to find is the 'Encyclopedia of things that never were' by michael page and robert ingpen (isbn 1 85028 001 0) its not as well organised as the one I was looking at (or as well researched) but is still a good source of inspiration for fantasy writers.
  15. Cool I tried to get my hands on one called The Element Encyclopedia of ( insert being name here) But its only on Nook! Ugh.
  16. Problem solved :D

    I decided to use a stylistic spelling for the bad guys "Faery" and the normal spelling for the good guys "Fairies" ( as generlizations) later in the work I will break it down into the respective "tribes/races" I am still outlining and penning summeries for them :D
    Thanks guys!
  17. Argentum

    Argentum Troubadour

    Funny how the spelling helps a bit. 'Fairy' and you think of the good fairies in children's tales, but as soon as you spell it faery, I think the evil/mischevious ones that eat children and spirit away their souls and all other strange and out-of-the-ordinary things. I think it's a good, simple idea.
  18. I know right, and all along the answer was right in front of me LOL.
    It was stuck in a margin of my research notes.
    Pfft figures.
    But it is effective none the less. I was stressing about it but now I'm chill. :D
  19. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

    If one looks into folklore, there already is a set of good and bad faeries: the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Really, they're more like political parties than good and evil, but the Seelie Court represents light, the Unseelie dark. The coinage of light and dark, good and bad faeries has been used several times [examples are War for the Oaks by Emma Bull and the Wicked Lovely series].

    So, if you're going for something more original, I'd take another avenue. Maybe make the pretty faeries dark and the ugly light, or have the ugly faeries be the [mutated?] offspring of the pretty ones.
  20. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    I've used the Fae in my stories, most recently in my novel Winter's Queen and its sequel. My Fae aren't exactly "good" or "evil", more like Lawful and Chaotic Neutral. And the humanoid (and semi-humanoid) Fae are all inhumanly beautiful regardless of their personality, except things like Redcaps, goblins and hobgoblins.
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