Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Girl Who Never Was - Extra - The Seelie Court


The Seelie Court

Scottish mythology uses the term "Seelie Court" to refer to “good” faeries. But the Seelies have undergone a perversion from the times when they enjoyed their positive reputation among the Scots, so that by Selkie’s time, the term “Seelie” no longer indicates "good," and that is, in fact, why we don’t see faeries as much anymore: The witches and wizards on our side have closed the borders for our own protection.

As understood by inhabitants of the Otherworld, the “Seelies” are a specific line of incredibly powerful faeries. Severely inbred for a long period of time, they consolidated their genetic talents until they reached the point where they had gained a power not held by any other faerie: the power to dissolve another being with the use of their name. Naming is always painful and destructive to all supernatural creatures, but only the Seelies managed to hone it into an effective murder weapon. Using this power, the Seelies realized they could control the entire Otherworld. They then undertook a war to force adherence to their Court, which resulted in a bank of names which the Seelies use to keep their subjects in line. Seelies are also very well-schooled in methods of “persuasion” to compel actions on the parts of others, including the divulgence of their names.

Once they consolidated power, the Seelies determined to keep it forever. They did this by freezing their numbers, forbidding procreation, in order to make sure that power did not have to be shared by more than the three dozen or so Seelies who already existed. They also set out on a campaign of re-writing history. The Seelies simply wanted everyone to forget the unpleasant way in which they came to power, so they learned how to make forgetting a specialty of theirs. They outlawed the writing of books, because the power of words written down is one of the few things that can destroy the Seelie power to compel forgetfulness.

In the folklore, Seelies are capricious souls who do everything on a whim. Like most faeries, they are fairly bad at advance planning and impulse control. Unlike most faeries, this results in a terrifying amount of senseless violence. Seelies enjoy a special rush of power during a naming that drives them to name other faeries; they need no further reason. This has provoked such panicked terror in their subjects that the Otherworld has become an intensely paranoid and mistrusting place, where creatures seldom speak for fear of attracting any attention.

The mythology of the Seelie Court also usually painted the Seelie Court as gay and happy, forgetting their sorrows quickly. But that's what makes the Seelie Court so terrifying: the Seelies forget, quickly, which makes them almost emotionless. If you can’t remember your sorrows, then you have no understanding that you are happy. You just are. This also dovetails with another frequent Seelie Court trait in the folklore: Seelies hurt humans without realizing it, because they simply don't understand human feelings. The Seelie Court just cannot comprehend being attached to people or things. They are simply not that way. They have no loyalty, no sense of liking or even disliking the things in the world with them. They like being in charge, and beyond that they don’t care. 

Skylar Dorset

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS (June 3, from Sourcebooks)
(Pre-order on Amazon – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound)

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