- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Four saintly blond-haired children who lose their father and get abused by their mother out of jealousy? Are we talking about Flowers in the Attic? The two younger children are also twins.
- Michael Scott writing a novelization. He'd later use Aoife in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel where she would be a heroic presence instead.
- Iron Woobie: Fionnuala, who must assume the role of caretaker for her siblings even before they get cursed.
- Paranoia Fuel: From the perspective of the children. Your stepmother gets jealous of the love between you and your father, so she tries to remove you from the picture. The Michael Scott version even makes it so that Aife starts off as a Cool Aunt and then inexplicably changes.
- Popularity Polynomial: The tale enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the early 1900s when Lady Augusta Gregory published it in a series of folktales. Operas, poems and retellings appeared more often afterwards.
- Revival by Commercialization: A campaign for Ballygowan water gave the fairy tale a resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s.
- Tear Jerker:
"The last they saw of their father was a sad, old man..."
- In Michael Scott's book, the children being forced to leave their home by the spell. Lir has put off going into the long lasting sleep like his fellow people so he can be with them until the last. Before they leave, Lir tells them that Mechar, his most trusted friend went into the sleep the night before.
- The children returning to Ireland after their time on the Sea of Moyle. Naturally it's completely different after three hundred years, and they realise that a lot of magic has died as a result.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The tale has been around for centuries, but many have adopted it as a metaphor for Ireland's liberation from British rule - as the swans get reborn after nine hundred years of oppression.
YMMV / The Children of Lir