Good Faeries, Bad Faeries
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Good Faeries, Bad Faeries

4.7 25
by Brian Froud

"Once upon a time, I thought faeries lived only in books, old folktales, and the past. That was before they burst upon my life as vibrant, luminous beings, permeating my art and my everyday existence, causing glorious havoc...."

In the long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller Faeries, artist Brian Froud rescues pixies, gnomes, and other


"Once upon a time, I thought faeries lived only in books, old folktales, and the past. That was before they burst upon my life as vibrant, luminous beings, permeating my art and my everyday existence, causing glorious havoc...."

In the long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller Faeries, artist Brian Froud rescues pixies, gnomes, and other faeries from the isolation of the nursery and the distance of history, bringing them into the present day with vitality and imagination. In this richly imagined new book, Brian reveals the secrets he has learned from the faeries — what their noses and shoes look like, what mischief and what gentle assistance they can give, what their souls and their dreams are like.

As it turns out, faeries aren't all sweetness and light. In addition to such good faeries as Dream Weavers and Faery Godmothers, Brian introduces us to a host of less well behaved creatures — traditional bad faeries like Morgana le Fay, but also the Soul Shrinker and the Gloominous Doom. The faery kingdom, we find, is as subject to good and evil as the human realm. Brilliantly documenting both the dark and the light, Good Faeries/Bad Faeries presents a world of enchantment and magic that deeply compels the imagination.

Editorial Reviews

Vanity Fair
As the century ends, fairies are back!
School Library Journal
YA-Froud's collection of fanciful sketches encompasses both the benevolent and the malevolent species of the tribe Faeries. The structure of the book is reversible with the jacket proclaiming "Good Faeries," matched on the flip side with the title "Bad Faeries." An introduction to each section covers Faery Blights, Faery Defects, Glamour, and Music, and offers advice to humans on protection against the meddling of the Bad Faeries. There are paragraphs on naming, classification, and a further delineation of earth, water, fire, and air Faeries. This is followed by an exposition on Faery physiognomy-their wings, eyes, ears, heads, and size. Faery communication and healing are also discussed. The illustrations are the heart of the book, whether done in black and white, sepia, or full color. They are vivid, full of vitality, and wonderfully varied. With unnumbered pages, this is primarily a sketchbook for readers to leaf through and marvel at the creative bent that depicts the countenances of: "The Buttered Toast Faery," "The Wrong Decision Faery," and the "Pot Pixie." While not as glamorously elegant as their counterparts, the Bad Faeries are indeed beautiful in their own right. Handsomely jacketed, this is a whimsical, charming, artfully crafted book.-Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
9.14(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction from Bad Faeries

Although people nowadays tend to think of faeries as gentle little sprites, anyone who has encountered faeries knows they can be tricksy, capricious, even dangerous. Our ancestors certainly knew this. Folklore is filled with cautionary tales about the perils of faery encounters, and in centuries past there were many places where people did not dare to go a-hunting for fear of little men.

The idea that the world is full of spirit beings both bad and good is one we find in the oldest myths and tales from cultures the world over. In ancient Greece, the Neoplatonist Porphyry (c. 232-c. 305 A.D.) wrote that the air was inhabited by good and bad spirits with fluid bodies of no fixed shape, creatures who change their form at will. These were certainly faeries. Porphyry explained that the bad spirits were composed of turbulent malignity and created disruptions whenever humans failed to address them with respect. The Romans acknowledged the presence of faery spirits called the Lares, who, when venerated properly at the hearth (the heart) of the household, protected the home and family. The Lares were ruled over by their mother, Larunda, an earth goddess and faery queen. The Roman bogeymen were the Lemures, dark spirits of the night. They had all the traits of bad faeries and had to be placated by throwing black beans at them while turning one's head away.

In northern Europe, the maggots emerging from the dead body of the giant Ymir transmuted into light and dark elves — light elves inhabiting the air, dark elves dwelling in the earth. Persian faeries, known as the peri, were creatures formed of the element of fire existing on a diet of perfume and other exquisite odors. The bad faeries of Persia, called the dev, were forever at war with the peri, whom they captured and locked away in iron cages hanging high in trees. Other faery creatures, both benevolent and malign, appear in tales from many far-flung lands: the laminak of Basque folklore, the grama-devata of India, the jinn of Arabia, the hsien of China, the yumboes of West Africa, the underhill people of the Cherokee...and numerous other spirits who have both plagued and aided humankind since the world began.

In the early seventeenth century, a certain Dr. Jackson held the view that good and bad faeries are simply two sides of the same coin: "Thus are the fayries from difference of events ascribed to them, divided into Good and Bad, when it is by one and the same malignant fiend that meddled in both, seeking sometimes to be feared, otherwiles to be loved." An English text from the sixteenth century states that "there be three kinds of fairies, the black, the white and the green, of which the black be the woorst" — although in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602), another group of faeries was added: "faeries black, grey, green and white," with little indication as to their nature.

In old Scotland, there was no doubt that there were only two groups of faeries: the Gude Fairies and the Wicked Wichts. In the former category was the Seelie Court (the good or blessed court), a host of faeries who were benefactors to humans, giving bread, seeds, and comfort to the needy. These faeries might give secret help in threshing, weaving, and household chores, and were generally kind — but they were strict in their demands for appropriate reparation. The Unseelie Court, by contrast, were fearsome creatures, inflicting various harms and ills on man and beast alike. In The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries (1911), the American folklorist W.Y. Evans Wentz asserted that the faery race had the power to destroy half the human race yet refrained from doing so out of ethical considerations. Lady Gregory (the Irish folklorist, playwright, and patron of W B. Yeats) held the faeries in rather less awe; she claimed they were merely capricious and mischievous, like unruly children.

In modern life, we are not free from the plagues and torments of bad faeries. They make their presence known to us through all manner of disruptions, from minor irritations to serious problems affecting health and well-being.

Among the minor faery mischief makers are ones we're all familiar with: the snagger, whose sharp claws attack women's stockings before they leave the house; the various spotters and stainers, who leave the grubby evidence of their manifestation on a freshly laundered blouse or tie, usually right before that important business meeting; the sneaker sneaker, who always waits until Monday morning, when the kids are late for the bus, to silently sneak away with a shoe. We've all had personal tongue tanglers, and sudden stark panics, and gloominous dooms, and moments when afterward we say: Good heavens, whatever possessed me? The faeries have possessed you, tangling your words, your thoughts, your feet, or your fate. These capricious creatures have been known as frairies, feriers, ferishers, fear-sidhe (faery men), and fearies — a whole race of beings known to block potential and clarity of thought. They hide behind tiny irritations and lurk within our daily disasters. In more serious guise, they're the faery blights whose touch can cause depressions, addictions, compulsions, and moments of dark despair.

It is the nature of faeries to be unruly, chaotic, disruptive, subversive, confusing, ambivalent, paradoxical, and downright frustrating. Yet even these bad interferences serve an important function. They remind us of the value of connection, wholeness, and openness by holding a mirror up to us and showing us the opposite. Bad faeries, from the small sock stealers to the larger creatures of gloom and doom, are (like all faeries) expressions of nature and of our own deepest selves. They are manifestations of psychic blocks, distortions, and unresolved emotions; they give form and personality to negative forces and abstractions. They nip and prod us, asking for simple acknowledgment of their presence in our lives, insisting that we take notice of them — the first step to healing or change.

It cannot be denied that sickness, madness, and even death have been reported in many old tales concerning encounters with the shadow side of Faeryland — yet the same faeries have also been known to give gifts, guidance, and aid to the needy, and to heal mortals of illnesses both physical and psychological. I believe no faery is completely good or bad, but fluidly embodies both extremes. Any faery can be either one or the other in his or her equivocal relationship with us. They change with circumstance, with whim, and with motivations far beyond our human ken. Their actions and reactions generally work toward engaging us at deeper and deeper levels of consciousness — insisting we be conscious of them, of ourselves, and of the world around us. They can become quite angry and disruptive if we're not awake and paying attention — particularly if they feel they've not been properly acknowledged.

The bad faery in the story "Sleeping Beauty" is one example: she is angry because she has been neglected — overlooked at the christening feast. Yet her wickedness initiates the events that lead to the princess's final transformation. Could this have been her intent all along, beyond the guise of wickedness? When dealing with the faeries it is wise to remember that things aren't always as they first appear. What seems to be bad behavior might have a deeper, underlying reason.

Despite our tendency to split the world into good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark, we must remember that in truth (and in the faery realms) such divisions are not always cleanly cut. Each contains a piece of the other, holding the world in tension and balance. And the shape-shifting denizens of Faery can appear wearing either face.

Copyright © 1998 by Brian Froud

Meet the Author

Brian Froud is an award-winning illustrator and author. His books include the bestseller seller Faeries, with Alan Lee, Lady Cottington's Pressed Faery Book, and Strange Stains and Mysterious Smells, the latter two with Monty Python's Terry Jones. He also served as the conceptual designer on two of Jim Henson's films, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. He resides in Devon, England, with his wife and son.

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Good Faeries, Bad Faeries 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
JPeaches More than 1 year ago
The book is a lovely book for people interested in fantasy artwork. I bought this book for inspiration for a book I'm writing which takes place in the world of faeries. This book has some of the most amazing, imaginitive and beautiful artwork I've ever seen. It's a great coffee table book and is printed on beautiful high quality paper. I really loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By far one of the most amazing faerie books I have ever read, and full of exquisite artwork, this is well worth the $30.00 you will spend for it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! The drawings are outstanding, and the stories to go with them are wonderly humorous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing. I read through it in an hour, and it was simply extraordinary. I highly reccomend it for any faery lover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. And if you are going to buy it by the store you most hurry because they ran out fast. Its better to call and see if they have it. The book really great. It will take you to the land of fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very cool. I love looking at all of the pictures. The descriptions make you BELIEVE. Froud did a great job on the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think it was a very good book and pretty pictures...i love the details about the faeries,but the cost is kind of high,but a great book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I read a little more every night. As I read each page, I learn so much. It is so fascinating with Frouds words descriptions and illistrations. I believe every thing about faeries. I'm using his drawings to help me learn how to draw my faeries. You should most definitley buy this book. You will enjoy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing in the illustration department, and was very helpful for understanding what faeries are, but Froud often says that he talked to this faerie and that faerie and it makes you a bit skeptical about the whole book. A good choice if you're willing to pay the $30.00 to get it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
a very beautifully done book,wonderful illustrations and a brief summary about the faeries.the illustrations make you want to read more.i enjoyed it very much and i think that,if your into that kind of stuff,you will to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was awsome! The pictures were beautiful
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book to read if you just want to get away. A must have for any fairy lover or for anyone who loves fanatsy! This book has the most beautiful illustrations. Brian Froud is extreamly talented. An A+ book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book.. the pics are just beautiful.. the arrangement of the fairies (good and bad) is very insightful.. lovers of fairies must get this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read what you never knew about the mystical world of Faeries,good and bad. Intricate drawings and captivating discriptions of the planets most beautiful,frighting and odd creatures. A must read, if you are the fantasy type!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is probably my favorite book, art or otherwise, to ever grace my shelf. An amazing collection of modern faeries from one of todays most intresting artists.
Guest More than 1 year ago
so real and so beautiful, as they stare at me reading about them, anticipating my reactions to the tale. The artist has captured without capturing, the true beauty of beings, believe it... or not?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is my favorite. Though i do not believe in faeries, i enjoyed this book as much as any believer would.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a sequel to that wonderful and classic faery art book FAERIES (by Brian Froud and Alan Lee), and its if anything evem better than that book! The art is just as good, maybe better, and the writing is SO much better, I guess maybe because Terri Windling was involved with this one and she's as amazing as Mr. Froud (read her 'Folkroots' columns in Realms of Fantasy magazine and you'll see what I mean). What a team, Froud and Windling! Long may they continue!!!!! Long live the faeries!!!! Everyone should buy this book if they love myth, magic, you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an exceptional addition to my library. It will be loved by children and adults alike! Not only is it fun, but it is a beautiful piece of art also.