Fairy, Faery or Fay (pl. Fairies, Faeries or Fas) refers to an infinite variety of mythical creatures. Originating in European myth, "fairy" is an umbrella term describing a wide array of spirits, usually associated with nature. The term fairy has eventually been narrowed down and is now commonly associated with miniscule, winged creature possessing magical abilities. Fairies of all sorts are common in the fantasy genre, with their attributes and abilities being adapted countless times. Throughout the world, fairies (or fays) are known for their timeless beauty and powerful magical gifts. The fairies are believed to be descended from supernatural beings from another world who came to this Earth to begin their civilization again.
The concept of nature spirit fairies is similar to nymphs of Greco-Roman myth. An example of the wide-ranging meaning of "fairy", the epithet "le Fay" (the fairy) is given to a major character in the Arthurian legend; Morgana
There are many different fairy races throughout mythology, mostly occurring in Norse-Germanic or Celtic myth.
Dwarves (plural "dwarfs" before J. R. R. Tolkien popularised "dwarves") were a humanoid race in Norse Mythology. They are usually depicted shorter, stockier, hairier than humans. They often had longer lifespans. They are usually associated with vast hoards of treasure, such as Andavri. Some of them turned to stone in the light, notably Alviss, who claimed Thor's daughter Thrud, as his wife.
Elves (plural "elfs" before J. R. R. Tolkien popularised "elves") were spirits of Norse Mythology. The "light elves" lived in Alfheim, while the dark elves, associated with trolls and dwarves, lived in Svartálfaheim. They were sometimes depicted with pointed ears.
Gnomes were dwarf-like fairies in Rennaissance Mythology. They dwelt underground. Gnomes were introduced into Renaissance folklore by Parcelsus. Modern garden gnomes depict gnomes as small, bearded men with pointy hats.
Goblins originated in medieval Anglo-Norman tales, benig small, mischeivous creatures similar to dwarves and brownies.
Leprecauns are the most well-known fairies in Irish Mythology. They are short humanoids, with their appearance varying on their location. They are associated with fashioning and cobbling shoes, as well as hiding their money in pots at the ends of rainbows.
Orcs originate from J. R. R. Tolkiens tails of Middle Earth, but are now stock characters in modern fantasy. In Tolkien's writings; the Orcs were bred from Elvish stock by the Dark Lord Morgoth. They still had the pointed ears of elves, but were otherwise completely different from their ancestors. They were a ruined, terrible, and evil form of life. They can be considered fairies because of their relation to the elves, and because goblin (in Tolkien's writing) was the name of the underground breeds of Orc.
Sprites are elf-like fairies in many different mythologies. They are often depicted as having wings. The word sprite is derived from the Latin "spiritus", thus closely connected with the words spirit and sprightly.
Trolls are monsters in Norse Mythology. They turn to stone or blow up on exposure to sunlight. They are similar to Jotnar and reside in caves, mountains or dense forests. Trolls are often depicted guarding passages across waterways, such as bridges or shallow crossings.
Pixies are small, childish and often mischievous fairies originating in Celtic, specifically Cornish, myth.
- Shapeshifting: Fairies can disguise themselves as beautiful humans. A fairy's true form can have variety's of forms they can be beautiful flower faeries to dryads who are the souls of trees
- Healing: Fairies have the ability to cure broken or withered plants; wounds, broken bones, low vitality, and even diseases and restore the emotions and spirits of others.
- Photokinesis: Fairies have the ability to project and control light and nature. Fairies are the only species shown to possess this power. A Fae with this ability can channel nature through their body and project it in a concentrated and powerful blast of light which seems to manifest as kinetic force, conclusively throwing or repelling objects a considerable distance. Most fairies use this ability to attack an enemy. They can even turn the energy into an explosive ball that they can throw at their enemies, somewhat like a grenade.
- Mesmerization: Fairies can make humans do their bidding. The fairy only needs to have eye contact in order to seize your mind with a simple phrase or change in tone of voice.
- Chlorokinesis: Fairies can manipulate vegetation. Fairies can grow plants to enormous proportions in nearly any environment, and use them as weapons that can grab and attack with vines and roots, grow or retract thorns.
- Superhuman Strength: Fairies are much stronger than any human. They're strong enough to toss a fully grown human across a room with great force.
- Superhuman Durability: Fairies can take far more trauma than humans can without much discomfort or injury.
- Supernatural Knowlege: Fairies are much older and wiser than humans and even other supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters.
- Telepathy: Fairies have the ability to read each others' minds and can read other peoples' minds as well.
- Illusion Casting: Able to cast vivid and convincing illusions in order to trick others as demonstrated with the illusion on the fae world, making it appear more appealing and beautiful.
- Oneirokinesis (Dream Infiltration): They are shown to be able to enter peoples dreams and converse with that person when fairies both entered their slumber. For a vampire, drinking large amounts of fae blood might trigger oneirokinesis. Fairy/human hybrids seem to receive the dreams while they are in a coma.
- Longevity: Fairies can live much longer than most other creatures, but they are not immortal, implying that they eventually face natural death. They can, however, be injured or drained of their blood to the point of their deaths. Upon dying, a fairy returns to their original appereance and their corpse dissolves into glittering dust.
- Silver: This can be used against dark fairies--as they burn when they are touched with silver.
- Iron: Fairies hate iron as it is proven to be harmful against them.
- Sugar/Salt: If someone pours salt or sugar in front of them, they have to stop to count each grain one by one.
- Cream: They also love cream, which, like alcohol, intoxicates them.
- Sunglasses: The only way to combat fairy Mesmer is to wear reflective sunglasses or not look them in the eye.
- Technology: Fairies are known to have entered the earth without any technology -- so in result they will get easily ill or have a strong sense of nausea when around technology
- Poisonious Bugs: Fairies are seen to be very close with nature but if something as small as a bugg comes in their way and attacks them, they could face a serious illness and die.
- Attraction: Fairy blood smells very appealing to supernaturals, especially vampires (though two-natured have admitted to it, too). The blood also increases the physical appeal of human/fairy hybrids and their descendants.
- Vampire sunblock: Depending on the amount of blood drank, vampires grow immune to their weakness to sunlight after drinking fairy blood. The effects last shortly, however, and the pureness of the blood is a factor too; after drinking a hybrid's blood, Russell Edgington burned in the sun quite shortly afterwards, while Eric Northman spent at least an hour in the sun after completely draining a full-blooded fairy.
In Popular Culture
Fairies of all sorts are frequently featured in the fantasy genre. The physical descriptions and attributes of these creatures is often adapted to suit the author. As a result, many sorts of fairies have been given similar attributes in different fantasy works that they have developed distinct characteristics, even stereotypes, such as leprechauns associated with hiding gold at the ends of rainbows.
- Faeries (or fey/Fair Folk) are one of the four supernatural species of Downworld in the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. Tbey are seperated into two factions, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.