What do you think of when you hear the word faerie?
Delicate, diminutive flower-clad creatures who flit through gardens?
Tall, slender beings with grave faces and graceful steps – healers and archers and leaders – always a bit removed from the human realms?
Mercurial, tempestuous fae who laugh as they kill, shrug carelessly as they die, who hold all things cheaply excepting that which they prize most, and would hazard all to secure?
Underground denizens – in the literal and figurative senses – street-wise strangers who frequent alleys and narrow lanes, late-night coffee shops and public transport, who use razors and words and the internet, who create art and music and slam poetry?
This month at The Book Wars we aim to look at faerie and the fay folk. We’d like to go beyond the coy or cutesy fairies of kitsch (although, hey, there’s room for them too) to examine the fascinating Good People of story, ballad, and novel. We’ll look at faeries from different continents, faeries beyond the blond-and-grey-eyed trope perpetuated by Tolkien rip-offs, faeries in wild and urban settings.* We’ll read tales about fae who never changed, who are (centuries later) much as they appear in folk songs, and about fae who have adapted to modern life, or who never were quite as they were reputed to be.
Kind and cruel, elemental and grunge, the faerie folk are here to stay. Welcome to June.
*Some might point out that the urban is, in a different way, wild, and we won’t argue with that.