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So I was lying in bed trying to figure out what I could possibly have to contribute to Fairy Tale Fortnight and thinking aloud when my non reader spouse said, "Top Ten Enchanted Places." He doesn't read anything but Sports Illustrated, how could he know about Enchanted Places, but it was a great idea! So I kissed him and got to work. So below are my Top Ten Enchanted Places in no particular order and I'd love to hear about yours. So leave a comment with yours or make your own post and link it back! And thanks for reading!
Top Ten Enchanted Places
1.) Branley Copse from The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
In Branley Copse where Jenny lost her brother Tom when she was young there are many beautiful things but be careful because those beautiful things can turn on you and become treacherous, ugly or something worse as Jenny finds out. The Folleti, beautiful childlike fairies as pretty as butterflies with hummingbird wings and sweet laughter lead her to where she wants to go, find her brother. But when they tire of that they turn nasty and soon she finds herself elfshot! It's dangerous to be elfshot in a forest filled with hobgoblins, pixies, The Wild Hunt, Mab, Oberon, Titania and Redcaps, blood sucking spiders. And then there are those who appear to be one thing and are another, the two sided people, like Jack, the Guardian of the Edge during the day, sworn to protect all those who wander into the forest. But at night.....he's something else. And the Woodsman and his Goodwife who are supposed to take Jenny to the edge so she can go home. But they are two sided as well. The piper, if he really is Tom, leads her on a round about chase endangering her life. But in the end, to quote Puck, "The forest looks after its' own. And exacts terrible vengeance on those who betray it." p. 76 So if you find yourself in Branley Copse, look for Jack, the boy with different colored eyes dressed in leaves and let him lead you to the edge as soon as possible!
2.) The Forbidden Forest from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Alright you probably all know this one but I just wanted to remind you of some of the awesome things in this forest. First name a forest Forbidden, it's just begging to be explored! The most memorable things to me were the Whomping Willow. How cool is a tree that tries to crush you with it's branches (aside from trying to kill you)? I love to even say "Whomping Willow". Then the car flies off to hide in the woods. It lives there! And Aragog, another spider, GIANT SPIDER with millions of babies (poor Ron). And of course there's the Hippogriff that they hide in there. Herds of minotaurs, Harry even summons his Patronus charm there. Not to mention the dragons for the Goblet of Fire are kept just on the outskirts of The Forbidden Forest. I know I've forgotten mythical creatures and wonders in the forest, I haven't even finished the series. But you can understand why this is one forest that would be a favorite!
3.) The Wyldwood from The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
"The wyldwood was huge, eternal and constantly changing." p.30
You have to know what you're dealing with in this forest so it's best to have a guide like Grimalkin, if you can find him. Just be prepared, when he disappears, trouble is ahead. Here are some of the things I discovered in The Iron Knight as Puck, Ash and Grim traveled.
Trees that followed them that froze in place when they looked back. Hills they climbed that turned out to be sleeping Giants. Horses that talked to each other and watched them as they passed. Trolls. The Big Bad Wolf. Bloodthirsty trees that attack and wrap vines around you if you don't look out. All sound awful doesn't it? But it's part of the NeverNever and it's Ash's journey and it makes it so worthwhile.
And it leads to the River of Dreams. Despite what the River of Dreams is...doesn't it sound like a place you want to go to and just exist on forever? Maybe it's just my love of his story but despite it's awfulness, I love all the icky, weird, and deadly things in the Wyldwood.
4.) The Sugar Swamp and the Hauntlands in The Songs of Magic Series by J.L. Bryan
The Sugar Swamp is amazing. First it has unicorns. Yeah, I know, but these unicorns turn into dragons and if they perhaps lose their fight, you can stick their horn back in the ground and grow another unicorn.
The water in the Sugar Swamp is sugary because of the sugar cane that grows there. There are yummy, gummy worms and sweetish (Swedish??) fish.
In the Hauntlands there are talking Jack-o-lantern patches. Not only do they glow and talk, but they have vines that they wrap around you if you aren't watching and pull you deep into the patch to feed the giant pumpkin that grows in the middle of the patch and feeds all the other pumpkins. There are glowing green phantom like cows, banshee wolves. And at the end of the Hauntlands, if you make it that far is the Country. There are thick hedges of sunflowers of all colors that glow at night lighting the night with their colors. It's also where they grow the carnivorous muffin traps that produce all kinds of cakes and other pastries which grow in the rich soil just outside the Hauntlands.The country fairies live in a strand of Willow trees in tree houses tucked into nooks and knotholes, connected by a network of ladders and bridges woven from willow branches and vines. I can picture all of it, the kind of places I imagined as a child dreaming of fairies. I haven't finished the series but I'm sure there is more to discover in this magical land.
5.) Creepy Hollow in The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan
(Originally these novellas were published individually as Books 1-4 in the Creepy Hollow series but now they've been gathered up into one collection, The Faerie Guardian.) So, what's so cool about Creepy Hollow? Okay, it's not just the trees you can climb so high you can see forever or their houses. Or that the faeries live in trees, inside them, not in the branches! Violet, the main character has a WATERFALL and a jungle in her bathroom! I want one of those. She also has a shape shifting pet named Filigree. Sometimes it's a white mink, or a porcupine when he's scared, but in protective mode a snow leopard. But she doesn't even have a front door. She has a stylus that opens doors to anywhere she wants to go. It's how she travels the Faerie Paths (no walking, no flying). So imagine, you draw a door on your bedroom wall and you're at Starbucks having your favorite morning beverage. I, of course, would be at a cafe in Paris. Then I might spend a few days tromping through the Highlands of Scotland. Shoot, I don't even think I'd bother with Faerie until I explored our world first. But I want one of those stylus', right now! Not only that, but the stylus helps concentrate your magic so it's sort of like a magic wand except the magic comes from you. You think Rachel was teaching school or something and decided hey, this would be a great way to get through Faerie while she was writing on the board? Got to get one of those! And I highly recommend the series, traitorous friends, unseelie princes, faerie nappings (kidnappings), lavish balls, The Fishbowl, Guardian training. A lot of story in a quick read.
6.) Hogwarts in all the Harry Potter books but the first one especially because it was our introduction to the World of Hogwarts.
Hogwarts. What is there not to love about the school? Portraits with passwords you walk through to enter your dorm. Ghosts. Especially one in the boy's bathroom. Spell battles on the table tops in the dining hall. Never ending supply of food. Vanishing rooms. Moving staircases. Professor Dumbledore's Office. The Pensieve. Trolls in the dungeon. Quidditch. Ron, Harry, Hermione, Hagrid. Platform 9 3/4. The train. Dementors. Magic. He Who Must Not Be Named. The owlery. Those messages that get delivered to you at breakfast and open up to be your mom shouting at you about something you did.
The dining hall decorated for Halloween, or Christmas.
The Sorting Hat. I could continue to go on, but I won't. Feel free to add any of your favorites I haven't listed in the comments.
7.) Entwined-by Heather Dixon The Forest in the Magic Passage where the Twelve dancing princesses dance nightly
I'm just going to list some descriptions I pulled out of the book directly and say if you haven't read this beautiful and enchanting retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses you need to rush right out and get it! It's spellbinding and what I expect from a fairy tale, Original or retold.
" Everything sparkles and glistens, even the path at your feet.
Glass spun trees hold silver ornaments glowing among delicate silver leaves and glimmering glass plums. Strings of pearls hang from branches in swooping arcs. It rains pearl drops. The trees are so tall the tops disappear into the mist above. The path leads to a delicately arched bridge over a silver lilac pond. At the end of the bridge is a latticework pavilion with forbidden music beckoning the girls to dance and a table laden with sweets also forbidden since their mother died."
It's like a cross between the first winter snow, Christmas and your birthday all rolled into one. I see this one in my head when I read this description. I love it so much!
8.) Loramendi -The requiem grove Ellai's temple in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor-
Loramendi itself is a caged city, I imagine a birdcage only because Madrigal and Akiva both have wings, but really Akiva looks at it as a "cage for beasts". The skies aren't free, they are covered in iron bars, like windows, to keep the bad guys out, the seraphim, Loramendi is filled with creatures, chimera, that are part human whether it be one part to three parts, and the other part animal, in all combinations, some with wings some without, cats, wolves, birds, bears etc. And they know the secret of reincarnation. Or capturing the soul and recreating a body to place the soul back in. At least Brimstone does. The requiem grove, Ellai's Temple, is where Akiva and Madrigal would meet, at the temple for secret lovers. It was reachable only by flight, the ground being too hard to travel over to be reached otherwise. The music is the sounds of leaf rustle and wind and the "hish-hish of the evangelines, the serpent birds who drank the night nectar of the requiem trees." It was all burned to the ground when they were caught by the soldiers. Brimstone's workshop is also another enchanting place that, if I weren't deathly afraid of snakes, I would love to sit and watch for days on end to see the comings and goings.
9.) Bloor's Academy for gifted children from the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo
This is a Middle Grade series that I highly recommend to lover's of magic and mystery. Charlie Bone attends Bloor's Academy a school for gifted children, not just academically or artistically talented, but other kinds of talents. Charlie has that kind of talent and suffers for it.
Bloor's has dorms for the students to stay in during the week and over the weekend if you're an orphan or get detention. It also has secret halls and rooms, and a very special kitchen with a cupboard in it that leads to a warm and loving cook, the kind you go to when you need help. The gates to Bloor's do not open under any circumstances during the week. The ruins of the Red King's castle are on the grounds and are supposedly haunted. There are secret passage in the ruins as well that lead outside the grounds of Bloor's Academy. Portraits with eyes that follow you. Shadows that seem to move in pictures and then coupled with the talents of the students who can project images to make them look real, morph into birds, create weather, call up their African ancestors, fill the room with the ocean, turn into a werewolf at the full moon, all kinds of things happen. It is magical, sinister, enchanting, and truly imaginative!
10.) The Attic in 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
The attic is filled with 99 cupboards, be it mouse sized to body size. They open like drawers or doors and each has a dial on it that corresponds to a dial on another cupboard in a room, locked from the inside since the minute Grandfather died. Not a chainsaw, not a hammer to the windows, nothing can open the door to his bedroom. It is magicked shut. Unless you have the key. And it is through the cupboard in his room that you reach all the different worlds in the 99 cupboards in the attic. But it doesn't stop Henry from trying and it finds the combinations to some of the locks and gets them open, someone must be manipulating the lock in the bedroom that was Grandfather's. Or maybe Henry is manipulating it from the attic.
So it spins until he can open a door any door. and it hits the right number. Sometimes he smells the ocean (I love falling asleep to the sound of the ocean waves) another he finds something so black and evil the cold soullessness of it tries to suck him in until he has to chain the cupboard shut to his bed so nothing can get out or in. And if you have a feeling like you never belonged to this world, like Henry, like you were a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, maybe just maybe, you're from one of the worlds in the 99 cupboards! You might even find relatives, closer than you think. Henry, finally feels like the safety equipment he's been wearing to protect him all his life by over protective parents has finally been removed and something is finally, finally going to happen.
Hope you enjoyed my list and come up with your own list of top ten favorite enchanted places!