Literature / The Fairy Rebel
The Fairy Rebel
is a children's novel by Lynne Reid Banks, author of The Indian in the Cupboard
. It's a classic fairy story, filled with magic and wonder... except that the person who meets the fairy is a married adult.
Jan and Charlie are a Happily Married
couple, except that they can't have children
. When Jan is relaxing in her garden one day, a fairy, Tiki, lands on her. Tiki's different from other fairies—she wears jeans instead of a frilly dress, expresses wonderment about tears and sadness, and vows to help Jan and Charlie have a baby—all things, especially the latter, that are against the rules of the Fairy Queen.
Tiki and her friend Wijic succeed in producing the child, who is given a 'fairy name', Bindi. Bindi, too, is different—she has a tuft of blue hair amidst the brown
, and she receives magical presents every birthday. For seven years, the family lives peacefully.
But the Fairy Queen won't let this defiance go unpunished...
This book contains examples of:
- Fairy Godmother: Tiki describes herself as Bindi's "fairy-mother". She also sneaks a special magical gift to Bindi each year, each one with a rose theme. Her lack of any gift is the first sign that there's trouble on the way.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The fairy queen, who demands absolutely obedience from her subjects, from them not thinking or acting in ways she doesn't approve to ordering them to react to thinks in certain ways to please her. Jan even says, at one point, that the queen sounds like a tyrant.
- Happily Married: Jan and Charlie. The narrative even says that them meeting and getting married was the one good thing that came out of Jan's leg injury.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Wijic, to a degree. He hates all the sweet food fairies eat and thinks of normal schoolboy life as a fascinating, novel experience.
- A variation holes for Bindi, who her parents very much want to be a normal child and worry that her fairy origins will cause her to have something unusual with her hair, skin, or demeanor.
- Language Equals Thought: Implied for the fairy society. Their language is missing many words for concepts the Queen doesn't want them to latch onto, including boredom, loneliness, and all familial terms except "baby". Not always effective, as Tiki certainly feels lonely when she's jailed in the wasp's nest; she just didn't know the proper word for it.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: At least at first. Jan and Charlie want very much to have a baby, but for some reason are unable to. It possibly has something to do with the accident that lead to Jan's leg injury, but Tiki is able to use fairy magic to work around that.
- Limited Wardrobe: Fairies can make their own clothes just by thinking, but Tiki only knows how to make blue jeans or frilly dresses; nothing in between.
- Locked into Strangeness: Bindi has one tuft of blue hair with her regular brown hair. It's positioned that if her hair is grown out, it can easily be hidden in a ponytail. The end of the book reveals that this blue hair is incredibly magical, but won't regrow once it's pulled out.
- More Than Mind Control: The Fairy Queen's necklace brings out the worst in Bindi, twisting her normal childish desires into horrible behavior (for example, her love of sweets is changed to her shoplifting candy and her desire for more toys makes her fill the room with them until she's nearly crushed).
- Not Herself: Bindi, under the influence of the Queen's necklace. Among other things, it causes her to ignore her friend in favor of the class bully (who she suddenly sees as being nice to her) and shoplifts candy.
- Parents as People: Most of the story centers around Jan and Charlie and their handling the strange things they've found themselves caught up in.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Innesterated". It means exactly the same as incarcerated, only "in a nest".
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Wijic, when he hears Tiki has been innesterated, decides that he wants nothing to do with the matter and tries to fly away. Charlie catches him and makes him promise to help, and it later turns out Wijic found Tiki after all.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Wijic, weirdly enough, writes his own name differently from the narration. When he signs his name on the rose petal, it's spelled with a K.
- Sweet Tooth: Jan, Tiki and Bindi all like their sweets. All three are rather chubby.
- Fairies as a rule seem to eat and drink sweet things like nectar. Wijic is notable for being completely sick of it.
- The Tragic Rose: A wilted rose is the first sign that the Fairy Queen has noticed Bindi's existence and taken offense to the situation.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Bindi's blue hair is magic.