Good morning, dear Reader! And welcome to today’s post about Uncommon Fantasy Creatures. AKA: Fantasy Creatures I’d Like to See Appear in More Books and/or movies…
Earlier this week we talked about some of the more common fantasy creatures we see in fantasy-fiction. Today, I’d like to chat a bit about all the fantastical creatures that tend to get overlooked. Okay, not ALL of them, because there are a lot, but how about just a few of my favorites?
A twist on the mermaid-concept, selkies are creatures of the water – who generally look like ordinary seals. However, they have the ability to shed their seal-skin and take on human form. A tragic figure, selkies are never content. When they are on land, they have a deep longing for the sea, and when they are in the sea, they experience a great desire to walk on land. If they do take human form, they often form an attachment to a human and gift them with their seal-skin for safe-keeping so that they can return to the sea if they want to.
There is just such a beautifully tragic air about selkie lore that absolutely fascinates me. I’m sure one will make it into a story of mine at some point in the future.
The only thing I’ve ever really seen Selkies appear in is the movie The Secret of Roan Inish, and a short story in the Fantastic Creatures anthology, both of which I enjoyed.
This one is cool because it really just started out as a heraldic symbol – a crest on a family shield in Ireland. It is a creature that boasts the head of a fox, the forelegs of an eagle, the body of a lion, and the hindquarters/tail of a wolf. A symbol of cunning, fortitude, honor, nobility, and a fierce nature, the story goes that this mythical creature appeared over Tadg Mor when he fell in battle and protected his body until his kin could retrieve him for a proper burial. The idea of this creature inspires my imagination…
In addition to being a fabulous word you can use in a game of Scrabble, the Qilin is another chimerical-class creature, an amalgamation of various different animals. A hooved, horned serpent, whose body is said to be surrounded by flames, the qilin is generally depicted as a good creature with a gentle and quiet temperament.
The phoenix-like flames and the docile nature mixed with a draconic look make this a truly interesting creature who really ought to feature in more stories.
Starting to see a trend here… what can I say? Chimera in general are pretty epic.
The Leshy may be where Tolkien got his idea for Ents. Unlike the slow, quiet ents, however, the leshy is a bit of a trickster who protects the forest by leading travelers astray. An imposing figure in his true form, the leshy can shift his form to take on just about any appearance.
Other than Ents and an episode of Grimm, I haven’t seen these in much.
An enormous bird of prey, the Roc is a truly awe-inspiring idea. Their size and ferocity would serve them well in battle, or as servants of some villain.
I’ve seen the Roc in the book A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. And I feel like I saw it in an older movie somewhere… but I can’t remember which one.
I really like the idea of creatures who have the ability to shape shift. They break the bonds of rational science and truly plunge a story solidly into the realm of the imagination, and I appreciate those sorts of stories. This is one reason I gave my myth-folk characters the ability to shape shift in The Minstrel’s Song series.
Original Fantastical Creatures
One of my favorite things about fantasy is the creativity it generates. I absolutely love it when I see something in a fantasy story that I’ve never seen before. This is why two new races show up in Minstrel’s Call that I sort of made up. They are creatures based on real animals, but they are much larger, extremely wise, and have the capacity for intelligent speech… though they are a class of myth-folk who do not possess magic or the ability to shape shift.
I also really liked the Crystal Foxes in The Last Jedi, as well as all the talking animals in the Chronicles of Narnia.
What are some fantasy creatures you wish were featured in more stories? Do you have a favorite? Have you read any books or seen any movies/tv shows that feature any of the creatures I mentioned above?