power fairy

What we really need is an adaptation of the original 1740 The Beauty and the Beast

So were you aware that the The Beauty and the Beast story we all know is a heavily abridged and rewritten version of a much longer novella by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve?  And that a lot of the plot holes existing in the current versions exist because the 1756 rewrite cut out the second half of the novella, which consisted entirely of the elaborate backstory that explains all the weird shit that happened before?  And that the elaborate backstory is presented in a way that’s kind of boring because the novel had only just been invented in 1740 and no one knew how they worked yet, but contains a bazillion awesome ideas that beg for a modern retelling?  And that you are probably not aware that the modern world needs this story like air but the modern world absolutely needs this story like air?  Allow me to explain:

The totally awesome elaborate backstory that explains Beauty and the Beast

  • Once upon a time there was a king, a queen, and their only son
  • But while the prince was still in his infancy, in a neat reversal of how these fairy tales usually go, the king tragically died, leaving his wife to act as Regent until their son reaches maturity
  • Unfortunately, the rulers of all the lands surrounding them go, “Hmm, the kingdom is ruled by a woman now, it must be weak, time for an invasion!”
  • And the Queen goes, “Well, if I let some general fight all these battles for me, he’ll totally amass enough fame and power to make a bid for the throne; if I want to protect my son’s crown, I have no choice but to take up arms and lead the troops myself!
  • (Btw, I want to stress that this woman is not Eowyn or Boudica and nothing in the way her story is presented suggests that she had any interest martial exploits before or in any way came to enjoy them during these battles.  This is a perfectly ordinary court lady who would much rather be embroidering altar covers for the royal chapel and playing with her child until necessity made her go, “Oh no, this sucks, I guess I have to become a Warrior Queen now” and she just happened to kick ass at it anyway.)
  • And the Queen totally kicked ass, but the whole “twice as good for half the credit” thing meant that no matter how many battles she won, potential enemies refused to take her and her army seriously until she had defeated them so no sooner would she fend off one invasion than another one would pop up on a different border.
  • So she spent the majority of her young son’s life away from the castle leading armies, but it was OK because she left him in the care of her two best friends, who just happen to be fairies!  This was an awesome idea because a) fairies have magic, and therefore are like the best people to protect the prince from any threats and b) fairies consider themselves to be so above humanity that the lowest fairy outranks the highest mortal, so they’d have no interest in taking a human throne.  Good thing they were both good fairies instead of one good and one evil one!
  • (Spoiler:  they were not both good fairies.)
  • So the two fairies basically take turns raising the prince until he’s old enough to rule.  And on the eve of his twenty-first birthday, the evil older one comes into the prince’s bedroom.
  • “So listen, kid.  You’re about to become king, your mother’s on her way home from the war to see you crowned, and I have a third piece of good news for you!  You see, I’ve actually been spending so much time here lately because Fairyland’s become a bit too hot to hold me for reasons totally not related to me being secretly evil.  And if I have to hang in the human world, I might as well reside in the upper echelons of it, so even though as a powerful fairy I completely eclipse your puny human status in a staggeringly unimaginable way, since you’re about to be king and since my premonition that I should stick this whole guardianship thing out because you would be hot one day has totally proved accurate (go me), I will graciously lower myself to allowing you to marry me.  Please feel free to grovel at my feet in gratitude.  (Btw, we can totally start the wedding night now, we’ll tell your mother about it when she arrives tomorrow.)”

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Fae vs. Fairy

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).

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