Saturday, June 16, 2007

What's the deal with Fairies?

Last week, lectitans asked, What's the deal with fairies?
Why do these creatures captivate our imaginations so?
Since I've read 3-1/2 faerie books in the last week (and I have an ongoing fascination with the fey) I wanted to try my hand at answering.

I think part what makes fairies so interesting, even more so than other fantastic creatures, is that they are so similar to us and yet so different. Although the faerie come in many varieties, they are often humanoid, and sometimes look very much like humans. They live in societies like we do, but their societies are based on very different rules. That makes them fascinating and exotic.

Also, dealing with the folk carries with it an element of risk, since they can behave unpredictably (at least to us). You could end up with a valuable gift, or you could be killed or kidnapped for hundreds of years. Even that valuable gift may end up having different results than you expect. So there is a certain excitement in dealing with them, which makes them good fodder for stories.

Finally, I think there's something very appealing in the idea that there is a hidden world or hidden folk just around the corner, if we could only see them. It appeals to our sense of adventure.

And, who knows? Maybe that hidden world does exist. I know that there are rational, intelligent people today who still believe that faeries are real.


Michele said...

I have to say that I've never been very fascinated with fairies. Terry Pratchett writes them very well, but for the most part, I don't find them terribly interesting.

But I'm interested in hidden worlds of people - I loved Mary Norton's Borrowers series as a child...

Unknown said...

Oh, yes. I remember loving the Borrowers as a child. Thanks for reminding me of them.

Michele said...

No problem ! I re-read the entire series a couple of years ago - and still enjoyed them...