My Favourite Mythical Creatures

 

orangutan list

From Tolkien’s elves to Pullman’s daemons, mythical creatures are often the backbone of fantasy. I’ve talked quite a bit about how they can pull me into a story, but I’ve never said which are my *absolute faves*- though never fear, that day is here!

The-HobbitDragons– let’s just get the obvious one out of the way, shall we? 😉 These fire-breathing, war machines are easily my favourites. I will admit that when it comes to dragons, I am biased- for me, the perfect dragon is very Smaug-like. Clever, greedy, possibly evil… but completely badass!

 

girl in the towerGhosts– even though I’m totally afraid of scary stories, I can’t help but be drawn to ghosts in stories (a bit like how I’m scared of heights, but love rollercoasters). I can’t say that I have a definite favourite here, but I did realllly like the version in The Girl in the Tower, possibly because the Russian atmosphere gave me the chills in more ways than one.

 

crown of feathersPhoenix– I mean, it’s another creature that is fiery and can fly. Plus, it’s got powers often linked to resurrection- I think it’s fairly obvious looking at this list why I like them. Now for a lot of people, the first phoenix that will come to mind is the rather lovely Fawkes from Harry Potter, but recently I’ve discovered an even MORE EXCITING representation of this mythical creature… say hello the phoenix riders in Crown of Feathers! This definitely goes above and beyond any other depiction I’ve seen before!

shadow of the foxKitsune– when I first heard about these mythical creatures, I was falling straight down the rabbithole/foxhole of research, because they are so fascinating! Cunning and magical, they easily crept onto the list. And when it comes to the best version I’ve seen- well, that’s obviously Shadow of the Fox.

 

hollyblack-thedarkestpartoftheforestFae/Faeries/Fey– this one is quite on vogue lately- and I am living for it! I had so many options here for examples I could go with- I loved the evil Phaeries in Wooding’s Poison and I was tempted again by Kagawa’s portrayal in Iron Fey. Ultimately though, I decided to go with Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest, for an atmospheric take that falls somewhere in between the two styles. 

And the last one that feels like a bit of a cheat…

circeWitches and wizards– I’m not sure I even count these as magical creatures- especially because their conception is so vast. And yet it would feel remiss not to mention them. Best by far that I’ve seen lately is Madeline Miller’s Circe– she takes the idea of talent and hard work, then melds them together in the most interesting version I’ve come across in recent history.

 

And that’s all I’ve got for now! What do you think of these creatures? And what are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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104 thoughts on “My Favourite Mythical Creatures

  1. Christopher says:

    Kitsune are fascinating, and I also have a love for werewolves–actually just a general love for the idea of humans shapeshifting into any animals, or vice versa. Among some people who live near the Amazon (the river, not the online retailer) there are legends of freshwater dolphins who transform into humans and come onto land to dance with girls. You can tell them because they wear hats to cover their blowholes, so if you’re near the Amazon and meet someone who won’t take off their hat they could be a dolphin. I draw the line at King Nebuchadnezzar II, though–he thought he was a cow and ate grass.
    I also like gryphons, or griffins, if you prefer the simplified spelling. There’s a funny short story called “The Griffin & The Minor Canon” by Frank Stockton.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I really agree- I like the concept of humans shifting into animals (everything from werewolves to selkies- although kitsune are my favourite). That is sio interesting!! I didn’t know that!! hehehe love that! hahhahaha!!! That’s hilarious!!
      Ah griffins are such a good one!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kamilla says:

    My favorites are fairies. I really liked the fairies in Artemis Fowl! Read the series when I was in high school, and I’m excited to see it as a movie.

    Phoenixes are cool, too, but I’ve only ever known Fawkes. I think I’ll look into Crown of Feathers after I get through the insanely large TBR pile of books I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never Not Reading says:

    What I love about witches is how much variety there is. Good witches, bad witches. Witches in our world, high fantasy witches. Spell witches or elemental witches. No two books do witches the same way.

    I don’t care about fae. They’re just this decade’s vampires, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh I totally get what you mean!!

      Ah that’s fair- they have become a bit of a fad- but the thing is I kind of see them as going back further and having strong links to Tolkien’s elves- so I see it in the broader appeal than just “oh here’s another YA fae story” (I guess I’m not making such a strong argument if you think about vampires going back further as well 😉 but somehow I’m not put off and would rather see a faerie in a modern fantasy than a ripoff Tolkien elf)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Never Not Reading says:

        I don’t particularly care who is featured in the fantasy stories, and tend to like humans the best anyway. I just like some variety. As long as it’s not the same thing over and over and over I’m up for anything. 🙂

        Like

  4. ivebeenbookedblog says:

    My favourites are definitely faeries, elves and pixies. I would really love to see a book focussed on pixies because they are so cheeky and fun…natural born tricksters.. my favourite kind of character!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Belle says:

    You’re about to send my down my own rabbit hole of research—Kitsunes? I watched a Kdrama a long time ago called My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, and gumihos seem to be the Korean equivalent of kitsunes. It might be fun for you to watch, for research of course, whilst I read Shadow of the Fox for the first time 😁. I also need to read Crown of Feathers! That scene of Fawkes dying and being reborn in the Chamber of Secrets movie is imprinted in my mind and phoenixes have been my favorite ((mythical)) bird since then 😁.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joelendil says:

    Great list! My favorites are probably elves and fae: the versions that are immortals similar enough to us be interesting reflections of humanity. Elves have a nobler/wiser bent toward good and fae are on the other end of the spectrum as completely amoral, selfish, and possibly a bit mad.

    I’m also a fan of dragons, but more as antagonists than heroes/allies. I like them intelligent, devious, and spiteful like Fafnir, Smaug, and Glaurung.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Azia says:

    All of these are fantastic choices. Who doesn’t love dragons? They’re just so majestic in their badassness. Though dragons are probably the coolest of the mythical creatures, I think I’d have to say faeries/ the fae are my favorite. I was introduced to a darker sort of fae from Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, but then I discovered Holly Black’s Tithe and determined she was the queen of dark fae. I love her depiction of the Fair Folk the best. And I love how you included kitsune! I discovered them from Kamisama Kiss and then did a bit more research afterward. There’s also a cool short on Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots that includes a kitsune character! I have yet to read Shadow of the Fox, but thank you for the reminder. Wonderful list! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! I know right?! Yes!! Ah fair enough. And I absolutely love the fae in Kagawa’s Iron Fey series and Holly black is definitely the queen of dark fae!! Me too!! Thank you!! Ah that’s so cool- I’ll have to check that out. Awesome- I’ve been meaning to watch Love, Death + Robots. Hope you like it! (if you liked Iron Fey, I’m sure you will 😀 ) Thanks!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. BookCraic says:

    What a great post! I love books about dragons and witches. I used to love vampire books too – thanks to Anne Rice and Charmaine Harris! Ghost stories are great – I read a lot of middle grade and the best depiction I’ve ever seen of a ghost is in Celine Kiernan’s Little Grey Girl – there are witches too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. emme @ aliterarylatte says:

    Such a great post!
    As a potterhead, any mythical creature from the wizarding world would be a contender for a favourite. But I would say my favourite mythical creatures are definitely phoenixes and hyppogriffs, but I also love nifflers and pygmy puffs!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    GAAAAHHH I need to make a list like this… actually my list would probably contain all of these!! I’m on the opposite side… I like friendly dragons. I love all Japanese Mythology and any sort of fae! I probably wouldn’t have included witches and wizards but I can totally see why you did. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nicole says:

    Dragons! And I’m not picky, I like all kinds of dragons. Evil dragons like Smaug, good dragons like in Pern, doesn’t matter. I’m also rather fond of kitsune and selkies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennifer Mugrage says:

    Never heard of Kitsune. Thanks for the tip.

    Ghosts are so sad and poignant. You would like to help and comfort them … but, you know, they want to destroy you.

    I am partial to Nordic type creatures … gnomes, trolls, giants. I like the cute/ugly vibe and the forest dwelling aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. EW says:

    I love dragons and phoenixes! If you haven’t read it already I really recommend Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum- witches, vampires and an interesting take on phoenixes that I really enjoyed reading

    Liked by 1 person

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