Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know: Six Versions of the Fae that should Faeck Off

Credit astromoali.

The day five prompt for Wyrd & Wonder is the fae. Tricksy, glamourous, inhuman – and sometimes, utter dickheads.

That’s the sort of fae we’re talking today.

Lords And Ladies by Sir Terry Pratchett

An iconic portrayal of the Good Folk as malicious, sadistic, egotistical bellends, Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies is terrifically entertaining as well as filled with his trademark wordplay:

“Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

The fae weave their way in and out of Butcher’s Dresden Files but take a very centre stage in Cold Days, a book where hardboiled wizard Harry Dresden finds himself co-opted into an Unseelie Court that likes to put the mo’ in monster.

Tales from the Flat Earth by Tanith Lee

An invented mythology with inspirations from the Thousand One Nights, Tanith Lee’s Tales from the Flat Earth centres around the interaction of human with the supernatural denizens of Underearth – as fickle, callous, and passionate as you’d care not to meet. How well does it work out for the humans? Not very. It also features gorgeous lyrical prose and incredible flights of fancy, and deserves all the attention.

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Anderson used his familiarity with the sagas of the Northmen when he wove this bleakly gripping, sturm und drang tribute to the idea of the changeling. Set in early medieval England and the rest of the nine worlds, we see human and fae as dark twins of each other, out of place and out of luck. Very out of luck.

Bedlam’s Bard by Mercedes Lackey

Lackey’s Bedlam’s Bard series is an urban fantasy tribute to renfaires, folk music, Tom O’Bedlam, finding your family, and the potential for Unseelie Sidhe to be moustachio-twirling villains of the first order. It’s the sort of fantasy series that demands a popcorn and a chorus of boos whenever the Unseelie walk onto the stage.

The Limbreth Gate by Megan Lindholm

A very strange book indeed from early on in Robin Hobb’s career. I don’t think the being beyond The Limbreth Gate is technically a fae, but he fills much the same purpose as he seeks to lure Ki to her doom by clouding her mind.

And he definitely needs to faeck off.

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