NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Fairy Land

Faerie, the Otherworld

Fairyland, also known as Faerie or the Otherworld, is a mythical realm often depicted in folklore, mythology, and literature as a magical and mysterious land inhabited by fairies, supernatural beings, and other fantastical creatures. It is typically portrayed as a realm that exists parallel to the human world but is hidden from ordinary perception, accessible only through magical means or under specific conditions.

Realm ruled by Gloriana the Fairy Queen, and the setting for all the adventures in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. True to its name, it was characterized by an abundance of fairies, satyrs, fauns, giants, witches, goblins, dragons, monsters, and knights on quests.

Prince Arthur, before he learned his lineage and became king of Britain, came to Fairy Land seeking Gloriana. The poem is an allegory, with Fairyland standing for the England of Spenser’s day.

The early rulers of Fairy Land included gods and elves, and the inhabitants claimed descent from Elf (who was created by Prometheus) and a fay from the gardens of Adonis.

Early kings included:

  • Elfin | Son of Elf, who ruled England and America.
  • Elfinan | Founded the city of Cleopolis.
  • Elfiline | Built a golden wall around Cleopolis.
  • Elfinell | Defeated the Goblins in battle.
  • Elfant
  • Elfar | He killed two giants – one with two heads, the other with three.
  • Elfinor | He built a brazen bridge upon the sea.

The immediate family of Gloriana, queen of Fairyland, of whom Arthur became enamoured.

About Fairy Land

Characteristics of Fairyland may vary depending on cultural traditions and literary interpretations, but common themes include:

  1. Enchantment
    Fairyland is often described as a place of enchantment, where magic reigns supreme. It is a realm where ordinary rules of nature do not apply, and magical phenomena abound.
  2. Beauty and Splendor
    Fairyland is depicted as a place of breathtaking beauty, with lush landscapes, sparkling streams, and vibrant flora and fauna. Everything in Fairyland seems to possess an otherworldly radiance and charm.
  3. Timelessness
    Time flows differently in Fairyland compared to the human world. Visitors may find themselves spending what feels like mere hours in Fairyland, only to return to the human world to find that years have passed. Conversely, time may stand still in Fairyland, with its inhabitants seemingly ageless and eternal.
  4. Otherwordly Inhabitants
    Fairyland is populated by a diverse array of beings, including fairies, elves, sprites, nymphs, and other magical creatures. These inhabitants may possess supernatural powers, and their motivations and behaviors often reflect the whims of the fairy realm.
  5. Moral Ambiguity
    While Fairyland is often portrayed as a place of wonder and enchantment, it can also be a realm of danger and unpredictability. Fairies and other beings may be capricious and mischievous, leading travelers astray or subjecting them to magical enchantments.
  6. Threshold Spaces
    In folklore and mythology, Fairyland is often associated with liminal spaces such as ancient forests, misty moors, or hidden glens. These locations serve as gateways or portals between the human world and the realm of Faerie.

See also
Faerie | The Legend of King Arthur
Fairies Fountain | The Legend of King Arthur
Goblins | The Legend of King Arthur

See also
The Faerie Queene | Edmund Spenser, 1570-1599