|“||Do not sign any contracts or agree to any bargains with faeries. Faeries love to haggle but will usually do so only if they are sure they will win. Do not eat or drink anything a faerie gives you. Do not go attend their magical revels under the hills. They will paint a beautiful picture of what awaits you there, but its beauty is false and hollow. Do not tease a faerie about their height. Do not expect direct answers to direct questions. Do expect indirect answers to indirect questions.||”|
Faeries, also known as the Fair Folk or fey, are an extremely cunning race of Downworlders.
Due to the legend of their origins, the faeries are associated with the beauty of angels and the viciousness and malevolence of demons. Like angels, they are the least understood of all magical people—the great ancient mystery in the Shadow World. Although they are widely believed to be hybrid descendants of demons and angels—something that their kind has seemingly not bothered to deny—faeries possess human souls just as other Downworlders do, and they are counted as members of the human race by the denizens of Heaven.
The Fair Folk are known for their unearthly beauty, many faeries said to be extremely attractive with delicate and regal faces. Though they mostly resemble human beings, some have extraordinary features such as wings, horns, oddly colored-eyes or skin, much like the marks of warlocks. A common aspect among them are their pointed ears. Faeries commonly incorporate flora and multiple forms of vegetation as part of their ensemble.
The gentry subdivision faeries are the knights, kings and queens, and court members; they are close to the monarchs and considered a part of the central Court society—gentry faeries are the ones that look human. The common folk are the other kinds of faeries, generally looking less like humans, such as nixies, pixies or piskies, brownies, selkies, satyrs, mermaids, kelpies, hobgoblins, and boggarts.
As time typically flows differently for them and in their realm, they are very long-lived and become only more artful and powerful as they age, though they are not immortal.
They are known for their cunning and their cruel sense of humor, and they especially delight in tricking humans—both mundanes and Shadowhunters alike. They frequently seek to bargain with humans, offering someone their heart's desire but failing to mention that the desire comes with a terrible cost. They are committed to notions of honor and etiquette, and while faeries always exactly follow the letter of any promise they have made, they deliver these results with great irony and often use clever wordplay to their advantage in order to create loopholes.
The Fair Folk are also unable to lie. They might, however, tell what they believe is true, even if it is not. They may also expertly weave lies into sentences by using methods such as not telling the whole truth, letting others assume things, or not correcting the people with whom they're speaking; this does not, however, apply to half-fey, who can lie as easily as any other being.
Just as the fey delight in manipulating humans, they delight in manipulating one another, and usually if the problems of the fey intrude into the rest of the world, it is the result of conflicts between rival courts; some of which are playful, while others are serious and brutal.
Faeries, like vampires and werewolves, possess the unnatural abilities of swiftness and grace, and heightened senses of smell and hearing.
The magic of the fey is believed to be unique in the world. It is very old and powerful, but neither demonically nor seraphically aligned. They can harness the powers of the ley lines, along with other strange magics. The Faeries are older than the Accords, older than the Nephilim, and are said to even be the oldest among all races of Downworlders. They possess their own magic that the Gray Book can only partly and imperfectly protect against, at best; however, there does exist Nephilim Marks that protect Shadowhunters from faerie glamours for this very reason.
The Faerie armies are also legendary in terms of their might in war, as evidenced by their role in the Dark War.
Faeries are organized and classified into courts, specifically the Seelie and Unseelie Court, with sovereigns presiding over specific territories in the human world and in their own, such as the Seelie Queen ruling over the Seelie Court. However, there are just as many, if not more, free-ranging faeries in the world who are neither affiliated with any Court, nor swear allegiance to any specific monarch; an example of which is the Wild Hunt. The faeries, as individuals, are then further subdivided into gentry and common folk.
The Fair Folk also has a somewhat difficult relationship with warlocks, particularly because they tend to look down upon warlocks for their willingness to perform magic for money, while warlocks often scorn them for their inability to lie, their hidebound customs, and their penchant for pettily annoying mundanes.
Though the fey are active members of the Downworld and are signers of the Accords, faeries are more removed from the affairs of the world than any other known creature, aside from angels. They usually keep to themselves, and have their own complex politics and social structures within their own people.
Their relationship with the Nephilim became even more strained than their relationship with most non-fey. The fey used to have a seat on the Council, held by the knight Meliorn, whom the Queen of the Seelie Court nominated solely for his convenient ability of being able to lie, thanks to his half-fey heritage.
Further complicating things were the events of the Dark War, during which the Folk aided the Clave's enemy by providing Sebastian Morgenstern's Endarkened army with protection and additional faerie warriors in their war against the Nephilim. After the Dark War, the Clave, well known for being unforgiving, announced a set of sanctions against the Fair Folk, and difficult demands they found they could not fully accept, in exchange for not declaring a war on their people. Though they lost their seats on the Council, Kaelie Whitewillow was allowed to represent the Seelie Court during their pleas for leniency to the Clave.
The Clave's sanctions against the Fair Folk included the following: the faeries would pay reparations for the loss of Nephilim and Downworlder life as a result of their attacks on the Institutes and the Praetor Lupus; they would no longer be allowed to have armed fey warriors or armies, and any of the fey who were seen bearing weapons without Clave approval would lawfully be killed; and, they would no longer be directly protected by the Clave under the Accords. The terms drew the ire of their kind; nonetheless, as only Kaelie and the warlock representative Magnus Bane objected to the terms of the treaty, the faeries were forced to, begrudgingly, accept. This agreement then came to be known as the Cold Peace.
Later, the warlocks Catarina Loss and Magnus discussed how they had heard rumors in Downworld that the Fair Folk would someday seek revenge on the Nephilim and the Council for their sanctions, though they admitted that the fey are a proud and patient people who may be content to wait years, or even generations, before seeking vengeance. The tension between the Fair Folk and the Shadowhunters after the Dark War became so severe that even their own half-fey Shadowhunters were caught in the cross-fire, resulting in Mark Blackthorn being abandoned to the Wild Hunt, and his sister Helen Blackthorn being posted to Wrangel Island to study the wards.
The origin of faeries vary according to legends and is not wholly known. According to one, faeries are fallen angels, cast down out of Heaven for their pride. Another states that faeries are born of the union of demons and angels, both of whom were present on Earth in the early beginnings of the planet's history. However, most known faeries nowadays are in fact the offspring of other faeries (just as most Shadowhunters are the offspring of other Shadowhunters and not born from the Mortal Cup), so how faeries were originally created is actually unknown.
Faeries are capable of bearing children. However, they apparently do not reproduce often as it is very hard for them to get pregnant.
A union between human and fey will result in a human offspring that may retain some faerie-like aspects or have a penchant for certain kinds of fey magic. Additionally, the children of faeries and Shadowhunters will be Shadowhunters, though they, too, will often have some faerie-like physical attributes, such as pointed ears.
While most half-faeries would be primarily human, those who reside among faeries or in the Courts would have or develop stronger faerie qualities, much like with changelings. Half-faeries tend to be affected less by faerie weaknesses: half-faeries are able to lie, and they are not typically hurt by things like rowan wood and pure iron outside of some minor irritation, nor will their true faerie names hold any real power over them.
Because of their isolation and extensive interbreeding, faeries risk the weakening of their family lines. For this reason, faeries spend much of their time luring humans into their world: either by creating changelings, mundane children taken from their homes and replaced with a sickly Faerie child, or by enticing adult humans into their revels. With the adults, they trap them with their faerie magic in their realm until they forget their former lives and "go native," or at least until they can be used to produce new faerie children. However, the changeling children they bring in mysteriously take on fey attributes and are able to perform some faerie magic, thus bringing fresh strong blood into the faerie lines.
While this topic has been debated hotly by Shadowhunters, the Covenant Law forbids the Nephilim from interfering with this process of child exchange. It was ruled as such because both of the children are raised in loving homes—the faeries choose the unwitting adoptive parents of their offspring carefully—and because no better solution for refreshing the faerie bloodlines has been found. Pragmatism leads Nephilim to prefer that the fey create changelings rather than abduct adult mundanes into their revels.
Iron, particularly those merely wrought but yet to be heated and shaped, is toxic to faeries. Because of this, the term "cold iron" has been used to refer to the fey and the fact that iron is cold to the touch, which was at one time believed to be associated with its magical properties. Steel, an alloy of iron, is usually not toxic to faeries, as it is the purity of iron that grants its power over the fey, though it does weaken them to some extent. They are also vulnerable to rowan wood, salt, and gravesoil.
While able to stand the presence and its touch, faeries are severely weakened and become ill if fooled into drinking holy water.
- Main article: Faerieland
Faerieland, sometimes called the Faerie and the land under the hill, is the territory of the Fair Folk, generally unwelcoming to outsiders. The food or drinks may trap people in the Faerie until dismissed by the Queen, which usually involves some form of trickery or bargain.
Though it is described as a realm and one can travel in it like in a country, it does not tolerate being surveyed and does not have a consistent layout. Time flows differently in the realm, sometimes slower, sometimes faster. Seasons can change in the blink of an eye, mountains and caverns can appear where minutes before no such things were visible, and its rivers change their courses at the whim of some unknown force. No map of Faerie has ever been produced.
Faeries are found in countless varieties, sizes, and types, and in all environments.
- Brownies (Seelie)
- Djinn - often mistaken to be demons
- Dryad (wood faerie)
- Elves (8 inch tall fair folk with sharp teeth)
- Goblins and hobgoblins (Unseelie)
- Faeries often choose objects from the natural world to send their messages in—acorns, leaves, flowers.
- Faerie secrets are sometimes encoded and told in ballads by human musicians, an example of which is the tales of Thomas the Rhymer.
- Faeries are known by many other names, with their primary title "faeries" taken after their homeland, the realm of Faerie. Other than fey and Fair Folk, they are also known as the Kind Ones, Little People, Good Neighbors, and some other euphemisms, partly because of their enormous variety and partly because of age-old superstitions about invoking them by name.
- Within The Shadowhunter Chronicles, the faeries are, in general, bisexual.
- It is believed, at least according to the Shadowhunter's Codex, that humans who naturally possess the Sight have inherited it from some faerie ancestor.
- According to the Seelie Queen, the fey cannot survive in Edom.
- To Simon and his vampire senses, faeries smell like dead flowers.
- According to Mark, faeries feel strongly about blood and what happens to one of their family members reflects on others in their bloodline, and for some, this may prevail over affection for family.
- ↑ City of Glass
- ↑ City of Ashes
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "The faeries are divided into gentry and common folk." — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "Only the “gentry” Court faeries look human." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "And there are non-gentry, “common” faerie, who look less human..." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 City of Heavenly Fire
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 The Shadowhunter's Codex
- ↑ City of Bones
- ↑ "All we have to work from is the legend." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "It's very hard for faeries to get pregnant", Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "Most half-faeries do live among mundanes or Shadowhunters, and that separation from the Courts is part of what makes them less faerie-like..." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Lord of Shadows
- ↑ faeries: Q&A — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... their names don’t give the same power over them because they are not full Faeries." Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... because knowing a faerie's real name gives you power over them." — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... because their names allow others to have power over them." — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... their names don't give the same power over them because they are not full Faeries." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "They are in general bisexual." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ City of Fallen Angels