Alright guys, let’s talk fae (the Celtic version).
There’s a terribly common misconception of what fae/fairy (and pixies) really means. On screen and sometimes even in books fairies are mistakenly shown to be those little winged creatures described as mischievous if not evil. That’s false. Those are actually pixies. The actual Fae (faerie, later fairy) are the mysterious nature spirits possessing magical powers, who look human-like but can also temporarily take up various smaller sizes upon choice.
But where do the Fae start? From the myths and folklore of the ancient Celts. The gods and goddesses of the Celts were many in number, and many unknown, but they were regarded with reverence, as having power and purpose, with various functions in the natural world. These gods were the Tuatha de Dannan, the people of Danu.
But with the arrival of Christianity, this changed, like most Celtic (and other non-Celtic) concepts. They were altered in meaning. Gods and deities of the old pagan ways were demoted to “fairy folk”, to heroes and remorseful warriors that change their faith, to lessen their power. Their pedestal of godhood and aura of mystery was strategically erased. They became enchanters, sorcerers, which obviously had evil connotations in Christian perception. In Daemonologie, King James associated fairies with demonic entities. Eventually even this imagery of the magical enchanters was further demoted to what is now most commonly known as that of the pixies: in other words, something small, harmless, powerless, a troublesome spirit that nobody cares to bother with anymore.
So in this sense, fae/faerie/faery refers to the ancient idea of what they stood for, the original one (gods, Tuatha de Dannan, powerful magical spirits); whereas fairy is the more modern one mistaken for pixies (small, harmless, mischievous).
Set in Yorkshire, Fairytale retells the story of the famous Cottingly Fairies, and of the two cousins who discovered them. Elsie and Frances were a big deal back in 1920: their photographs of fairies sparked the interest of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who had them published in The Strand Magazine, making them kinda famous. A very heartfelt and magical movie. Chance of seeing real fairies 10/10.
Strange Magic (2015)
Love sword-fighting fairy princesses? Look no further because Marianne’s your girl. Seriously, the coolest character I know. Anyway, she’s a badass who fights the Goblin King (see above, his name’s Bog) to save her sister Dawn, and there’s a lot of singing and love potions and beating up douchebags and just generally Marianne having to deal with all the shit that goes down in her kingdom…. It’s so awesome. Based off Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Magical Legend of The Leprechauns (1999)
It’s a Romeo-and-Juliet inspired film between a fairy princess and a leprechaun. If you can excuse the poor quality and the weird side-plot about their human neighbours, you’ll find that Mickey’s gang is hilarious, the love story kind of cute, and the soundtrack very faerie-esque. There’s one scene where they just make a bunch of Irish dancers and just… dance? And the Leprechaun boys go to the fairy ball disguised as Leprechauns? This fucking film, man.
Peter Pan (2003)
This boy is so fae it’s unreal. As well as having a beautiful scene in which Peter and Wendy watch the Faerie Prince and Princess dance, it’s also one of my favourite Peter Pan adaptations. Amazing visuals, soundtrack, cast, and its Tinkerbell is hilariously wonderful.
And as the season come and go, Here’s something you might like to know… There are fairies everywhere under bushes, In the air, playing games just like you play, Singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around – In the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature’s things, You might just see a fairy’s wing.