On scyfi Tuesdays at 10/9 C I’ve been watching “Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop” On the latest episode contestants had to re-imagine Skeksis from “the Dark Crystal” and it got me wanting to make a top 10 creature fantasy list.
One of most common in legends is the elves. They appear in a variety of stories such as “The Shoemaker and the Elves,” and appear from small to big according to different legends. They are portrayed as tall and beautiful, but are also known as the “little people” and are small in size.
Dwarves are short, both in stature and in appearance, much shorter than humans. They tend to be bearded, and are identified with the underworld, whether as their home or as a place they frequent dwell in. In Norse myth, dwarves lived in the caves of Nidavellir. They were also exquisite craftsmen at making magical items. Because of the beards, it is believed that there are no females among the Dwarves.
The term fairy tends to be applied to a wide variety of beings known alternately as the little people or the fair folk. Like Elves, Fairies have different shapes and can appear to mortals in different forms, usually male or female. Some appear small and have wings while others are closer to human stature. Fairies have variety of abilities, including the “glamour,” which allows them to fool humans with illusions.
The most famous story of Giants if found in Greek mythology, the Titans were the children of Gaea, Mother Earth, and Uranus, the Heavenly Sky. Each Titan governed a certain realm, such as Oceanus over the ocean. Cronus led them but was eventually dethroned by his children, led by the god Zeus.
Norse mythology has even more stories about giants. The rock and frost giants lived in Jotunheim and often battled the gods.
Dragons known to rule the skies appear in a wide range of legends and myths across the world. The Greek monster Enchidna was supposed to be half dragon. In Babylonian myth, Tiamat was the great she-dragon that battled the god Marduk. In Norse myth, Fafnir kept guard over his hoard until killed by Sigurd.
The most familiar form of the western dragon is the great flying reptile. It has large batlike wings, a serpentine tail, sharp claws and lots of teeth. Often they are known to hoard gold and jewels. Dragons are hard to kill but they always have one vulnerable spot. Much like in the Hobbit.
If Dragons are ruler of the skies than mermaids are rulers of the ocean. These water-breathing creatures have appeared in many legends. The Greeks had their sea nymphs, the Nereids. The most common name is Triton, the son of Poseidon and the Nereid Amphitrite. Mermaids sometimes had a reputation for mischief and disaster. Some mermaids give up their tail to join man on land. In other stories mermaids drag mortal men beneath the ocean to join them. Not so “Little Mermaid” after all.
These are just the most popular creatures of fantasy. Hopefully I will do the more slightly unknow creatures. Tell us what your favorite creature is.
Until next time. . .
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