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Playing With / The Fair Folk

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Basic Trope: Fairies are portrayed as vicious, amoral creatures.

  • Straight: The "Fair Folk" kidnap children, torment mortals, and cause mayhem wherever they roam.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The Fair Folk are as bad as Eldritch Abominations, if not ones themselves.
    • The Fair Folk are outright Jerkass Gods, if not Gods of Evil.
    • Demons find the Fair Folk creepy, because while demons know they're evil, the Fair Folk are too alien to understand even that... and all the more unpredictable and dangerous because of it.
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • They operate under Blue-and-Orange Morality, and neither understand nor care about human morals.
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    • They are or have been persecuted by mortals and fear them as much as humans fear them. They think themselves fighting to survive against inscrutable, dangerous creatures armed with iron — and perhaps are to some degree.
    • The Fair Folk are obsessed with political disputes between the rulers of Otherworld. What seems to us erratic behavior is in fact the collateral effects of their elaborate schemes.
    • There are criminals in Otherworld just as in the human one. The Seelie are the respectable fey and the Unseelie are the criminals. Naturally they would behave badly in the mortal world; they behaved badly in Otherworld too.

      Which means, several of them have a bounty on them from the King of Otherworld. If you can catch one, you will be granted riches untold, a bountiful harvest, or whatever.
    • The Fair Folk are Obliviously Evil; what humans see as mayhem and torment, the Fair Folk genuinely see as playful behaviour. They kidnap children because they just want some friends to play with.
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    • Fairies not only have Blue-and-Orange Morality—their allergies to Cold Iron and salt, plus their inherent magical abilities, is a sign that they're not QUITE the same species as humans.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • The Fair Folk are mischievous tricksters, but they cause nothing more than minor mischief and annoyance, and side with good when the time comes.
    • The Fair Folk are built up to be inscrutable, dangerous mischief makers by the townsfolk, but when you actually meet them, they turn out to be no different than humans. It turns out that it's the humans that are being oppressive dicks to them, using those rumours as justifications.
  • Double Subverted:
    • The Fair Folk are mischevious tricksters, but cause nothing more than minor mischief and annoyance... until the opportunity to wreak true mayhem arises, and they take it with gleeful abandon.
    • The "oppressive dicks" are monster hunters who combat truly dangerous Fair Folk, although there may be a couple Van Helsing Hate Crimes because the hunters couldn't tell the dangerous ones from the scary-and-strange-but-harmless ones.
  • Parodied: The Fair Folk are ridiculous, Sugar Bowl fairies whose pitiful attempts to cause mischief never cross beyond Poke the Poodle.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Some fairies are evil, others aren't and still others are just weird. Some fairies may swing alignments depending on the situation.
    • Fey morality is abstractly recognizable by humans, but fey have the psychology of teenagers.
  • Averted: Fairies are many things, but cruelly malicious is not one of them.
  • Enforced: The work is an adaptation of old myths, from when fairies were genuinely feared.
  • Lampshaded: "I was expecting pretty winged women, not pretty winged amoral psychopaths!"
  • Invoked: A depraved ruler takes over the Fair Folk, and decides to use her powers to torment and destroy humans For the Evulz.
  • Exploited: "Next time the rent collector comes for our grain, let's tell him about all the fairy gold hidden in that mound over there. Bet we never see him again."
  • Defied:
    • The ruler of the Fair Folk, whether due to morality or fear of retribution, keeps a tight rein on her followers.
    • The mortals in this town all wear Iron jewelry, hang iron knives and saints' relics on their beds, and ring their iron Church bells continuously. In fact, their whole specialty is iron-smithing. They only sleep in daylight rather than risk being caught asleep in the dark. They constantly inspect their mills and kilns for unexpected "gifts." Babies are delivered in the church and baptized with holy water right away, lest they be abducted. Furthermore, they keep a list of the true names of every fey in Fairy Land copied in triplicate in the town archives as a deterrent. They never make deals with strangers, especially those of peculiar appearance; and they certainly don't wish to be given treasure. Also, they never ever go into The Lost Woods. The Fair Folk aren't gonna get the drop on them.
  • Discussed: "You ever read the old myths about fairies? They weren't always nice..."
  • Conversed: "Why is it that when people want to make fairy tales Darker and Edgier, they always make the fairies old-fashioned "evil" ones?
  • Deconstructed: The Fair Folk try to continue their mischief and mayhem into the modern age, only to be revealed by tiny, wearable cameras and the 24/7 global news cycle. Then they find out that Muggles Do It Better. Also, humans have industrialised steel production now.
  • Reconstructed: The Fair Folk adapt to the modern age quite nicely, adding ruthless hacking and deadly Magitek weapons to their arsenal. Gremlins are just as good at making cameras malfunction as any other technology made by humans, and few things unnerve humans more than an Ominous Visual Glitch. Also, it turns out that exact words apply to their weakness too. Meaning it's only 100% pure, cold-forged iron that is a problem, something you won't find easily in modern cities.
  • Played For Laughs:
  • Played For Drama:
    • The Love Interest of The Hero is under a spell and The Fair Folk demand that The Hero go on a bold and daring quest before they will release him/her.
    • A massive war has broken out in Otherworld between the Seelie and the Unseelie. It spills over dangerously into mortal land.
    • The Fair Folk are afraid of mortals. They kidnap those who go near their mounds and fiddle with their minds only because they have learned too much
    • Mortals and Fair Folk have been in a state of feuding for thousands of years and regularly do nasty things to each other. Then a mortal and a fairy maiden (or vice-versa) fall in love despite the enmity between the two groups. Both have to learn to love and trust each other despite the fact that each has been taught that the other race was evil.
  • Implied: None of the fair folk ever do anything evil on-screen, but everyone is afraid of them.

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