Monday, March 18, 2013

Fairytale Fortnight starts today!

I love fairytales.
I have loved fairytales since I knew how to read.
I read all and anything even remotely similar, which is why I had read The Lord of the Rings already at the tender age of 10, and was more familiar with Greek myths than any of my teachers.
I have waded through incredibly boring books about the history and significance of fairytales, myths and fantasy, just because of the subject.

Now... what is a fairytale?

Simply, a tale about fairies, fairies meaning, not only faefolks, elves, sprites and other such, but fantasy and magic; things that faeries do all the time. (Fae-ry like in wizard-ry) "Fairy Godmother" is sort of synonymous to a wizard, not a fluttering insect-winged homunculus, as we today mostly understand the word "fairy".

I find it interesting that in Lady d'Aulnoy's fairytales fairies were not "good"... but rather narcissist, easily offended and amoral creatures... very much like sidhe of old British and Irish stories about fairies. I don't know when these mischievous, alien humanoids with so much power they were seriously dangerous to associate oneself with became harmless, pretty dolls that made your wishes come true...

Perhaps one of the culprits is La Fata dai Capelli Turchini... The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio. (The Fairy with Turquoise Hair, as she is in Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio... written 1880). She seems to be more of an angel than a fairy, following Pinocchio and guiding him, helping him and finally turning him into a real boy... Rather interesting ideas for a Victorian writer, huh? God is not involved...)

(Is Pinocchio a fairytale? It's a magical story that features fairies, so I suppose it is.)

 The name "faery"; the fae, fair folk, fees, comes from Latin Fata, which was one of the Fates, in Greek Moirae. Not very... pleasant people.

In folklore fairies, the fae folks, beautiful people, peaceful people, kind, good and fair people, were believed to be either the kind of Tolkienesque elves, or the kind of leprechauns and gnomes. In this painting by sir Joseph Noel Paton, "The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania", painted 1846, all sorts and sizes of fairies are depicted, Titania and Oberon being, naturally, depicted as these tall, radiant, noble people, Tolkien's elves.

When Internet was still young, there were one, particularly fine site about the different kinds of fairies, but it's long gone... *sigh* When Geocities was free and much used. Now-a-days people don't build sites anymore, they have blogs, and then their own wiki :-D Nevertheless, this lady had collected all information from every source she could find, and illustrated it too... Unfortunately, I suppose, because back at 90's people didn't much bother about such petty little things like copyright and source.

Anyway, now you know that faery originally meant practice or domain of fae-things; magical, mythical, mystical things. In that way all fantasy is... just fairytales.

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