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Edgy, darker fairies growing popular

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Perhaps inundated with sugary images of Tinkerbell and her ilk, people seem more and more interested in darker fairies these days, if new products say anything about consumer interests.

"I think we agree that we’ve had enough of vampires, with their silly adolescent crushes and improbable musculature... Fairies, on the other hand, allow for more interesting possibilities, especially when in the hands of Cornelia Funke, the author of the Inkheart series, and Eoin Colfer, the creator of the boy genius Artemis Fowl," writes The Telegraph's Toby Clements.

In Artemis Fowl's latest adventures, The Atlantis Complex, Colfer – who describes his books as "Die Hard with fairies" – subverts the fairy-as-nature trope and turns them into technologically advanced, violent beings. Atlantis Complex refers to a psychosis common in guilt-ridden fairies, a condition from which protagonist Artemis apparently suffers. Will this prevent Artemis from saving the planet with its human and fairy inhabitants?

"In Reckless, Cornelia Funke creates a world in which characters from fairy tales take on twisted forms of life," Clements writes. For years, protagonist Jacob Reckless years has escaped to another world via a magical mirror, a world filled with fairies, witches, and stone men (one scratch will turn a human into stone). In a quest to find Jacob's younger brother, the Dark Fairy has entranced the stone men and unleashed havoc.

"This is for older children because, along with the nightmarish gothic stuff," Clements notes, "there is the suggestion that Jacob spends the night with a fairy." While Funke's antangonistic fairies might seem somewhat a recent invention, they actually mark a return towards the traditional fairy tale, wherein fairies caused at least as much trouble as they did good. Many people, however, remain unaware of fairies' true past, because companies like Disney® have whitewashed the original stories to make them more suitable for modern youth.

Ultimately, though, the renewed interest in the mischievous fairy doesn't come as a surprise. Every now and then, it's only natural to balance light with a little bit of dark, just to keep things real and interesting. Take our very own Fairy Ravanna, for example [picture at top of article]: "All of us have a hidden side of our nature, but rare is the person who is conscious and accepting of their shadow."


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