Faeries (1978)

Finally this week, Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s Faeries, a book that seemed to be everywhere when I was a kid, even on the shelves of boring old people who didn’t seem particularly interested in monsters or D&D.

Faeries is presented as a sort of naturalist’s field guide of the fay, chronicling Froud and Lee’s direct observations of the creatures (it reminds me more than a little of Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters, to be honest). There is a ton of intriguing material here – redcaps and hags and Unseelie Court assassins, magical flowers and sunken kingdoms – and I mined quite a bit of it over the years for my D&D games (if you’ve picked up my module, Hags of Black Woods, now you know where I got that door in the side of a boulder from, something I, frankly, entirely forgot until flipping through the book again for this entry).

Here’s something I just learned: this book formed the basis for a not very good animated TV movie by the same name that released in 1981. While that has gone on to be largely forgotten, both Froud and Lee wound up doing conceptual work for a number of famous films: Froud was a key designer for Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, while Lee worked on Legend and Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films. The visuals for all those movies have since been reabsorbed into fantasy lit and roleplaying games, helping define how we see fantasy today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *