Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold...The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.
Faerie, also known as Fairyland or Elfland, is a very specific version of Magical Land
. Though Faerie is almost always a Magical Land
, not all Magical Lands
are examples of the Land of Faerie
The Land of Faerie must have at least two of the following qualities:
- It is named Faerie or Fairyland or it is named after one of the Otherworlds that Faerie is based on, such as Alfheim ('Elfhome') or Tír na nÓg ('Land of the Young').
- It is Another Dimension separate from the Earth. It can be accessed in a number of ways. The most typical ways are that the person accidentally wanders through an unseen or disguised portal or they are taken there by a Faerie, willingly or unwillingly.
- It is populated by The Fair Folk or Elves who may or may not be benevolent.
- The Faeries are ruled by a monarch, usually a queen.
Faerie commonly provides examples of the following:
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Anime and Manga
- The Demon World of YuYu Hakusho is a borderline example. The qualifying standards are that it is a separate dimension, which can be reached either through portals or random weak spots in the barrier; and it is originally ruled by three kings, and later one. The Youkai who dwell there skirt close to The Fair Folk, but tend to show more human characteristics than expected.
- A decaying version features in the Hellboy-verse. It's introduced in "The Corpse" (Hellboy's version of the Changeling Tale). In "The Right Hand of Doom", Hellboy's mind visits there while his body is imprisoned, and the fae convince him to continue fighting. In Darkness Calls a fairy with a grudge against Hellboy sets events in motion which result in a fairy coup d'etat; in The Storm and the Fury, this culminates in the battle for the fate of the world occurring on the fields of fairyland.
- The Sandman series retells A Midsummer Night's Dream and other Fairyland adventures.
- Subverted in Seven Soldiers, where "Frankenstein in Fairyland" reveals Fairyland and the Sidhe/Sheeda to be the parasitic dregs of the human race from the Bad Future of One Billion A.D.; the Year Outside, Hour Inside effect is a side effect of being abducted by a race of time travelers.
- In the Thor comics, Fairyland is identical with Svartalfheim in Norse Mythology and can be accessed through the Cotswolds; the Fair Folk are actually Malekith the Accursed and his legions of Dark Elves.
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it's mentioned that Faerie and England were united under Queen Gloriana. Both sides remained close until Oliver Cromwell came to power and declared war against what the Puritans saw as "heathen abominations." Thus the land of Faerie was closed forever.
- The Moors in Maleficent fulfill two of the requirements listed above: It is home to The Fair Folk, and ruled by a queen (Maleficent at the beginning, Aurora at the end). It coexists alongside a human kingdom, whose king wishes to conquer it and expand his dominion, even if it means killing the (mostly) benign creatures who inhabit it.
- Lewis Carroll created two of these. Wonderland from the Alice books is, of course, the most famous and influential Fairyland in English Literature. He expanded on the concept in Sylvie and Bruno, with Fairyland and the Outland.
- Oz, from L. Frank Baum's books, is another of the most famous and influential examples. The rule about what happens when you eat the food in a Fairyland has been suggested by fans as the reason Dorothy must keep returning to Oz on a regular basis, ultimately moving there, permanently.
- Neverland, created by J. M. Barrie for his Peter Pan stories.
- Narnia, the titular Fairyland from C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia.
- The Bordertown series (aka the Borderlands'' series), a Shared Universe of three novels and five anthologies of stories written by various authors and edited by Terri Windling, revolves around Bordertown which lies on the border of the Elflands and the World. The basis of the series is that Faerie has returned to the world and the area around Bordertown is a place where magic and technology only work half the time and with unpredictable outcomes.
- Discworld has the parasite universe of Fairyland ruled by the Queen of the Elves. There the flow of time has stopped while time on the Disc flies by. Fairyland is a bleak place caught between day and night where creatures of myth are stolen from other dimensions such as minds and dreams. The section ruled by the Queen is stuck in everlasting winter while the King's world is steaming hot.
- In The Dresden Files, Faerie is the region of Nevernever (parallel magical reality encompassing pretty much every mythological location ever) closest to the material world. It is ruled by the Sidhe.
- The Faerie Queene has Faerie land ruled by the Queen Gloriana whose knights are humans that were Switched at Birth with Changelings.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell featured Faerie as one of the four domains of creation (the others being Heaven, Hell, and Earth), and quite a lot of the story took place there, as several characters were repeatedly taken there for various lengths of time.
- In the Magic Kingdom of Landover series of novels, Faerie is a sort of inter-dimensional nexus between universes.
- J. R. R. Tolkien
- In Smith of Wootton Major, Smith travels to Faery because he swallowed a star at the Feast of Good Children as a child. The star somehow attaches itself to his forehead at age ten and allows him to travel to the land of Faery. He goes there to adventure throughout his life and meets the Queen of Faery.
- Tolkien's Legendarium: The land of Aman (or more specifically Eldamar) could be thought of as the land of Faerie, also. After the world is changed and Aman is removed from the Earth, only the Elves know the way back by a path over the sea. There only the Valar (functionally gods, but technically archangels) and the elves live (plus Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, and Gimli).
- In The Spearwielder's Tale, by R. A. Salvatore, Gary Leger travels to the land of Faerie after he is captured by a leprechaun. Faerie is home to many races: elves (who live in the forest of Tir na Nog), leprechauns, dwarves, gnomes, humans, dragons, etc, etc.
- In Stardust, Tristran Thorn travels to Faerie by passing through a gap in the Wall in order to find a fallen star for the girl he loves. There he encounters unicorns, fairies, witches, and more. The people of Stormhold may or may not be elves.
- The third and fourth books of Wicked Lovely are set predominantly in Faerie, in the 'otherworld' of the High Court, where time moves at only a 1/6 of the pace of Earth's and the Fae are ruled by the logical and emotionless Unchanging Queen, Sorcha.
- Diana Wynne Jones has a typically Jones-y interpretation in Fire and Hemlock: The Fairy Queen as a London socialite who eats the life and soul of a musician every nine years, after taking a short trip to Fairyland on a local train line.
- Diane Duane puts an interesting spin on Ferie in Stealing the Elf-King's Roses. Here, it is called Alfheim and an Alternate Universe version of earth, but not medieval at all. Actually, of all the seven known parallel universe earths, Alfheim is one of the two most technologically advanced ones next to Xaihon. It is ruled by a king, accessed by high-tech gating facilities and no one really trusts the elves, who are as open, transparent and welcoming of visitors as, say, North Korea. Turns out, for good reason. When they allow some visitors, it eventually comes to light that they heavily employ Glamours over whole cities (though they, in turn, have understandable reasons for their deception). Also, Alfheim is somewhat sentient, allows everyone, depending on their talent and lineage, to be Reality Warpers to varying extents (enabling the Glamour) and the king is a downright Fisher King. Plus All Myths Are True applies for several of the parallel worlds, but particularily for Alfheim and Midgarth.
- Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter has Elfland, the realm of The Fair Folk where time does not pass and the world works very differently.
- In Doc Sidhe, the protagonist ends up on the fair world in the course of foiling his ex-girlfriend's kidnapping.
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, where Jenny's brother went, and where she is looking for him.
- In Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey, most of the books are set in it.
- A rare science fiction example of this is found in the planet Faery from Sentou Yousei Yukikaze. It is accessible only through a hyperspace portal that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere in Antarctica. The planet itself is a bizarre place and even has an alternate version of itself as an Eldritch Location. The inhabitants of Faery, the JAM, are completely shrouded in mystery and their motives are alien to humanity. There are times when the main character feels like being on Faery is like being in a dream.
Live Action TV
- Briarwood Forest of Power Rangers Mystic Force may qualify. No actual faeries are seen (the closest is that the Pink Ranger has one as her symbol), but it is an alternate dimension inhabited by magical beings.
- In Supernatural, fairies (a term that includes fairies, elves, leprechauns and redcaps) live in another dimension called Avalon ruled by Oberon.
- In True Blood, Sookie finds out that she is part fairy and travels to the (as of yet) unnamed land of the fairies. Despite the beauty of the fairies and their land, it turns out that it is an illusion to lure in humans and that the fairies are more like The Fair Folk.
Mythology and Folklore
- Alfheim of Norse Mythology was the land of the Light Elves. Carried over into Scottish and English ballads as Elfhame or Elfland.
- The otherworld of the old Welsh poem the Preiddu Annwyn contains one of the legendary treasures of the fairies of Celtic mythology and has some features of a fairyland (albeit crossed with elements of the Orphic journey). It seems to be a prototype of the Grail legend, to boot.
- Thomas the Rhymer, best known now as a Child Ballad, is about Thomas's journey to Elfland and the prophetic gifts he receives there. Interestingly, Elfland is portrayed as a third option between Heaven and Hell.
- Tír na nÓg of Irish Mythology was a land of supernatural beings that was not easily accessed by mortal man. Mag Mell and Avalon are similar places associated with the Sidhe, despite being Valhalla-like afterlives.
- The story of Urashima Taro resembles that of Thomas Rhymer, and features a fisherman who spends time in the fairyland-like court of the dragon-god Ryujin and suffers various supernatural effects upon returning to the real world.
- In Iceland, there are the Hidden Children-children of Adam and Eve who never fell, and were hidden inside mountains. Sometimes a mortal gets lost in the mountains and sees one, and falls in love...
- In the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", the eponymous hero ventures into the "land of Fairy", also called Elfland, to rescue his sister who has been kidnapped by the wicked King of Elfland.
- The Icelandic fairy tale "The Story of King Odd" involves an exile from the "Nether World", the Icelandic variant of Faerie.
- In Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, or at least its Points of Light setting, eladrin, elves, and drow (as well as gnomes, pixies, and nymphs) originate from the Feywild, a plane that is a bright and magical reflection of the natural world (as opposed the dark reflection, the Shadowfell plane). The Feywild is analogous to the Plane of Faerie of earlier editions.
- The Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition game supplement Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild, describes this plane and its inhabitants in detail. One of the first things the book says about the Feywild is that it is "sometimes called the land of Faerie." The Feywild is essentially ruled by the Archfey, a group of powerful eladrin who make up the Court of Stars. The nobles of the Feywild are Sidhe Lords. The Unseelie Fey are always trying to subvert the the purposes of the Archfey.
- Changeling The Dreaming has Arcadia and the Dreaming, two bizarre worlds inhabited by faerie entities and largely shut off from mortals and even from other supernaturals.
- Likewise, the successor game, Changeling: The Lost, has Arcadia/Faerie and the Hedge, which bridges the gap between Earth and Faerie. Whereas Arcadia was somewhat pleasant in the last game, however, here it's a swirling tide of chaos where the Gentry desperately try to stand out in order to avoid getting swallowed by the maelstrom. As they can't exactly make anything new, though, they often kidnap humans to serve as their proxies/slaves/agents, who are then twisted into changelings by the sheer nature of Faerie.
- Rakshastan in Exalted 1st edition was almost named Fairyland but got a de-clicheification at the last moment. It is the domain of Fair Folk or Raksha, places where primordial chaos erodes the stability of the world and Reality Is Out to Lunch. Generally not a nice place to be due to a variety of factors, starting with random mutations, through randomly inhospitable shifts of landscape and finishing with Raksha themselves, colloquially known as soul-eating cthulhu fairies.
- Fey creatures in Pathfinder are native to the First World, an alternate dimension filled with natural beauty and unpredictable laws of physics.
- Warhammer has the Forest of Loren - the magic-saturated woodland realm of the Asrai (Wood Elves), which follows this trope very closely. While not, strictly speaking, another dimension, time does run strangely there, and it is entirely possible for outsiders to wander in, lose themselves for centuries and crumble to dust upon leaving a day later. It is ruled by Queen Ariel and Orion, King in the Woods, who are immortal shape-shifting avatars of the elven mother goddess and her consort the hunting god. It is inhabited by ancient treemen, unicorns, great stags, dryads, forest dragons, warhawks and many other mythic beasts, as well as millions of tiny fairy-like sprites (the most aggressive of which are called Spites and go to war alongside the Wood Elves). The Wood Elves also have a habit of capturing beautiful human boy-children from surrounding lands, to keep as un-aging servants for their feasts, among other unsavoury faerie activities. Most of Loren is beautiful and unspoilt, if filled with capricious otherworldly beings and hidden dangers to outsiders, but the twisted deepwoods of the south-east are known as the Wildwood, where the trees are corrupt, the dangers are nightmarish and even the Wood Elves fear to go.
- Runescape's Lost City of Zanaris certainly qualifies. Located on Gielinor's moon, the place is a hub of sorts for portals to other realms and provides the Fairy Ring Network for players. In addition to the densely packed forests, bluish grass and giant mushrooms, Zanaris hosts a number of oddities such as extremely intelligent barnyard animals and bands of frogs or choirs that will randomly show up next to the player. Players themselves are prone to sudden outbreaks of dancing, or turning into pigs or chickens.
- In Dragon Quest V, you have to go to the Fairy World (Which is specifically called such) two times during the plot. The first time is as a child through a magical staircase/portal, during which it's noticed that only children can see the fairies. The second time is much later, and as the plot mentioned, only your children can actually see the fairies initially. The only reason that you could actually find the Fairy World the second time around is because you're following your children, who in turn follow one of the fairies back to her own world.
- Faerieland from Neopets. Originally, Faerieland was located high up in the clouds, but since being subjected to a Colony Drop it's become a forest realm.
- The Fairygrounds from Ni no Kuni.
- Gensokyo, the "Land of Illusions", has shades of this. Subverted in that the actual fairies present are near the bottom of the hierarchy of power.
- The fairy world of Popples in Panel de Pon.
- In Code Name: Hunter there are a number of RSCI agents operating in Faerie who were trapped by Food Chains and try to rescue mortals captured for the tithe to hell, including the agency's founder "Spooky" who hasn't aged in sixty years.
- One arc of Tales of the Questor involved dealing with an Unseelie. Meanwhile, some kids he had captured escaped from his castle in Faerie.
- In Hexenringe, Xanadan is another dimension also known as Otherworld and is home to Xili and Unxili (based on Seelie and Unseelie). This strip shows the first glimpse of Xanadan and the Xili.
- Phantasia's Outerworld bathes in light, and has no ground.
- The aptly-named Faerieland in Neopets.
- The Fairy World in The Fairly Oddparents
- Gargoyles has the land of Avalon, a magic-soaked island in Another Dimension that can be accessed only through magic. One hour spent there takes up a whole day in the "real" world. It is the homeland of the Third Race, which include many entities that mortals call Fair Folk, and many others who were or are worshipped as gods. They're not truly "faeries," but they're the equivalent in this show. They're ruled by Lord Oberon, who overthrew the previous ruler (Queen Mab, his mother).
- The Kingdom of Tir Nan Og in Winx Club. It is the home of the fairies of Earth, who are ruled by Queen Morgana.