It’s been a while since I’ve done a Theme Thursday. I actually have a bunch of Theme Thursday ideas written down, but for some reason I never write the actual post! This post is about, you guessed it, my five favorite fantasy creatures.
I love a good story that involves mermaids or sirens. And no, I will not ever get sick of The Little Mermaid retellings. My favorite books so far that include these fantasy creatures are To Kill a Kingdom, Daughter of the Pirate King and Daughter of the Siren Queen. And I also love the merpeople in the Cruel Prince series.
The earliest legends of merpeople are thought to originate from Syria, about 1000 B.C. The goddess Atargatis tried to punish herself by turning herself into a fish after accidentally killing her husband. However, the sea would not let her hide her beauty, and so she remained half human, half fish. Whether merpeople are cruel or kind depends entirely on the local culture.
How do you prefer your merpeople in stories?
Who doesn’t love a good vampire story? At this point I’ve read a lot of books that include vampires, and every time they’re portrayed differently. I personally really enjoy the different interpretations, but I do draw lines. For example I definitely want my vampires to have their monstrous streak. Some of my favorite vampire books are the Shadowhunters novels, Vampire Academy, and Silver and Bone (for which you can find a review here!).
I think we’re all familiar with the pale, dracula-esque vampire in today’s literature. Maybe you’ll be surprised to hear then, that very early European vampires were described as bloated and dark! Other cultures around the world also have legends of vampire-like creatures, and vampires generally live in fiction. That said, there are still cases where vampirism is reported. In late 2002, vampire attacks scared the people of Malawi. The resulting mob caused one person to be stoned to death.
Dragons are a fantasy creature that lives in almost every classic epic fantasy. Who hasn’t heard of Smaug or Drogon? I made a Theme Thursday post about dragons in literature a while ago, and you can find it here! Basically, dragons might’ve come to be because of dinosaur bones. They can also take many shapes and sizes, depending on the culture.
I love that in the Harry Potter books there are multiple species of dragons. Some other notable works include A Song of Ice and Fire and The Hobbit, of course. And more recently, the Priory of the Orange Tree. I read this book last year, and I loved Shannon’s interpretation of dragons. As a side note, if you’re still intimidated by this book, don’t be! It’s not longer than Queen of Air and Darkness and Kingdom of Ash.
Fae and other magical folk
Fae and other magical folk appear in a lot of fantasy literature, especially in YA fantasy. I’ve always loved fae and fairies, so it’s no surprise that books with these fantasy creatures in them are among my favorites. Again, fae and such can take many forms depending on the story. I personally love their mischievous and sometimes cruel streak. Some of my favorite books with the magical folk are the Cruel Prince, A Court of Thorns and Roses, the Hobbit and the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.
There isn’t a single point of origin for these creatures. Stories about the fae come from multiple folk beliefs and from multiple sources. Mainly though, the fae appear in European folklore; particularly in Celtic, Slavic, German, English and French folklore.
Aside from the warlocks in the Shadowhunters books, I’ve never read any literature with warlocks in it. Such a shame, because I think warlocks are pretty rad. The Wikipedia doesn’t say a lot about where warlocks came from, but they are generally considered to be male sorcerers that use dark magic. The word warlock comes from the old English word wǣrloga, which means oath breaker. It was also used as the male equivalent to the word witch. There have been some men executed as warlocks during with trials in Scotland.