Author Pamela Palmer on Making Faeries RealJune 5, 2008
I’ve heard it said that every legend has, at its heart, a kernel of truth. Now the ‘truth’ may be as simple as, yes, there was once a great Saxon warrior by the name of Arthur. Did he live in Camelot, have a magician as a friend, and sit at a round table? Hard to say since there were no video cameras or even literate witnesses around at the time to record the details. When it comes to oral history, it’s a near certainty that facts are going to get embellished, misinterpreted, or flat out changed to suit the storyteller. As my beloved grandmother used to say, “Why should I tell it the way it happened when I can make it so much more interesting?” (Guess where I got my talent for making up stories?)
The legends of the faeries and elves are a good illustration of how legends morph and change. In most of the original tales, faeries and elves were the size of humans, decidedly wingless, and generally dangerous. Over the generations, that perception’s changed to the point where modern culture portrays them as benevolent tiny winged creatures or pointy-eared dwarfs.
I’m a daydreamer, I’ve always been a day dreamer, but I’m also an intensely logical person. So, several years ago when I stumbled upon a book of ancient faerie beliefs, I got to thinking. What if there was actually a kernel of truth in these old legends? What if, long, long ago, there really were faeries in this world? My logical mind promptly took over and started firing off questions. What happened to them? Why were they here? Why aren’t they here any more? How, over the centuries, have the original facts been twisted and changed as original facts always are? And, best of all, what would I do if suddenly faced with irrefutable fact that the creatures at the heart of the legends had returned? Creatures that were not cute little Tinkerbells, but man-sized, malevolent, and bent on the enslavement of the human race?
And so the Esri were born. In Book 1 of the series, The Dark Gate, the first Esri in fifteen centuries finds his way back into the human realm and wreaks havoc on modern day Washington, D.C. The hero and heroine have to accept the impossible in order to stop him, and come to realize there’s truth in the old legends after all. In Book 2, I flip that realization a bit when one of the Esri, a dangerous, dark-haired, part-human known as the Punisher, infiltrates the human realm to destroy the only humans who can stop the Esri invasion, only to realize humans are a far cry from the mindless creatures his own legends have portrayed. One human, in fact, steals his heart and changes his understanding of everything he’s known, including himself.
So, here’s my question to you. What legend or story or fairy tale would you most love (or hate) to discover was real? What idea excites you or terrifies you the most? Anything from vampires to Atlantis to Star Trek’s Federation of Planets. Happy imagining!
For much more on Pamela’s Esri series, including excerpts, character bios, and laws of the world, visit www.pamelapalmer.net.