The Science of Magic

The Science of Magic: Fairies ~ In Which We Do This Again

Well, everyone seemed to really like the first Science of Magic that I did, so here we are with part two!

February is fantasy month so I figured I’d do one fantasy post before the month ended XD (Unless we can count the Narnia tag as fantasy *shrugs*) Plus, the month of February is part of a drawing challenge called Februfairy, where you draw a fairy every day in the month of February. Fairies in February…..perfect!

Let’s get started!

I don’t have nearly as many problems with fairies as I do mermaids. It’s slightly more logical for fairies to exist than mermaids. Plus, who doesn’t love Tinker Bell?

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Fairies (also known as fays, faes, feys, fair folk, or faeries) originated in the folklore of Ireland, Germany, England, and France. Stories of fairies (or fairy tales 😏) are diverse depending on the origin. Some people thought they were demoted angels (didja guys know that the official study of angels is called Angelology? It’s a real thing!!), some thought they were prehistoric humans (the Flintstones would be interesting as fairies XD), some thought they were spirits of the dead, and some thought they were beings of nature, like the nymphs from Greek mythology. In the olden days, “fairy” was used to describe any magical being, from elves to ogres. Humans had plenty of “charms” to keep fairies away, such as four-leaf clovers and wearing clothes inside-out. Fairies were thought of as witches, and were believed to cause illnesses like tuberculosis (by making someone dance till they wore themselves out) and birth deformities (by pretending to be the child and making it seem like an invalid). They could even shapeshift into Will-of-the-Wisps and lead people into danger. If someone died suddenly, it was said that a fairy kidnapped that person, and the corpse was instead a well-carved likeness made from wood.

In the old stories, fairies were commonly told as human-sized, but as the years passed, they shrank to the size that we see them as today. The human-sized fairies were able to change their size as easily as snapping their fingers. They could shrink down to be small, which gave them plenty of opportunities to play around with the humans. They didn’t have wings in the old stories, but instead used ravens and magic to fly, increasing their “witch” appeal. As impression artists took the stage, they painted fairies with dragonfly and butterfly wings, giving them the appearance we all know and love.

To protect against fairies kidnapping their child, the parents would wrap a piece of bread in the child’s clothes. They believed that woodland creatures were afraid of bread, and fairies would leave the child alone if it smelled like bread.

So, there’s a little bit of background about fairies. Some of that is just bizarre.

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Can you imagine if the Darlings had had bread wrapped in their clothes? Peter Pan would have been a way more interesting story if Tink was scared of Wendy XD

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all those crazy backstories our of the way, here are the problems I have about fairies.

First, their wings. Modern-day fairies have light, delicate wings that flitter gracefully when they fly. The wings are about half their height, and are shaped like butterfly wings. They appear to be super thin, but powerful nonetheless. However, how on earth do they fly? Those wings couldn’t carry an acorn! (Worst analogy ever πŸ˜‘) Seriously, though. How do those pithy wings lift a fairy? Let’s take a quick look at birds. Birds have hollow bones and powerful wings to help them fly. Most of the time (especially on the big birds like hawks and buzzards), the wing span is almost twice as long as the bird’s body. Plus, they fly high enough to hit the updrafts, giving them even more lift. How does this apply to fairies? They have dinky wings that are way too thin to lift anything. Their wings are not long, and they don’t have hollow bones. Since fairies are essentially humans, having hollow bones would mean death. The marrow in human bones makes red blood cells (which are kind of important, don’cha think?) For fairies to be able to get off the ground, they would need thick wings, with each wing being longer than their body.

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Okay, yeah, Maleficent, you’ve got that covered.

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Had that covered.

#SorryNotSorry

Okay, moving on.

The old stories about fairies had the right idea. Rather than using wings, they flew on the backs of birds and/or using magic.

And, yeah, that’s really the only problem I have with fairies. They’re so much more logical than mermaids, and it’s pretty easy to write around the whole “wing thing”, as Disney proved in Maleficent.

I hope this post gave you some inspiration for crafting half-decent fairies (πŸ˜…)! Let me know if there’s a certain fantasy creature you want to see next!

Thanks for reading!!

15 thoughts on “The Science of Magic: Fairies ~ In Which We Do This Again”

  1. Okay wot, you are triggering the child in me who really wants to live in a world where fairies exist (the good kind, because the bad ones intimidate the heck outta me). This post was very thorough, and I liked it very much :))

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Fairy Frogs are spring green with translucent wings with a gold trim. They are clever, deeply compassionate, and naturally gifted in the arts. While they still share those same characteristics, they still have their own distinct personalities

        Liked by 1 person

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