Monday, September 09, 2013

Creature Feature: Unicorn

The unicorn is a legendary animal whose roots extend as far back in history as the ancient Greeks, and across varied cultures, including the Chinese, Indian, African and European cultures. Different accounts give different descriptions throughout history, but the current unicorn is described as having the body of a horse, the tail of a lion, cloven hooves and a single, spiraled horn coming from the middle of it's forehead.

I have long had a secret love affair with unicorns. I haven't let on to my friends and family of my interest because it seemed so juvenile. Perhaps it is the association between unicorns and virgins that has created the aura of fluff around the once fierce and noble beast. Or maybe it's My Little Pony's fault. In any case, modern day unicorns seem to have been relegated to being play things for little girls.

But this was not always the case. Pre-My Little Pony, unicorns were thought of as fierce, intelligent and noble. They were considered brave creatures, wild and independent. They would choose to die, rather than to be captured alive. The spirit of the unicorn was so highly regarded that it was chosen as the national animal of Scotland.


Unicorn of Scotland on a Scottish Coat of Arms

On Friday I mentioned how I listened to Albannach a lot while writing Finding Meara. My favorite CD, The Eye of the Storm, has a wistful, wild, rebellious quality to it, and captures the essence of this new perspective I have of unicorns.

I hid unicorns in Finding Meara by creating an animal called the Suntaria, which is half pegasus and half unicorn. I think in book two, the unicorns will be coming out for a visit. And they will be beautiful, and wild, and rebellious.

18 comments:

  1. We are going to get along just fine. My little novella? One of the MCs is a unicorn named Miracai - and is the runaway fave. I love unicorns - I don't like how they are portrayed sometimes, so I twisted them a little. But you will find either dragons or unicorns in everything I write :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woohoo! A kindred spirit! I'm going to have to get your novella. Is it out now?

      Delete
  2. A fellow unicorn lover, I never knew! I've written a whole series featuring unicorns. Beautiful creatures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The unicorns on your blog was one of the biggest reasons why I followed you! :D

      Delete
  3. I always thought unicorns were cool. And Pegasus too. That's interesting that Scotland chose it as their national animal. That must confuse children a bit when you try explain they're not real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what my husband said! :) I haven't read as many stories about pegasus (what is the plural?) but I love the idea of a winged horse, too.

      Delete
  4. I collected unicorns as a kid, and there are 2 in my story--their drawings/descriptions are among the first in my website bestiary, so I guess I still love them. And, yes! They are all the things you said--wild, mystical, noble, strong, and fragile in the sense that they will not conform to a world without magic. :D I enjoyed your creature feature and look forward to the introductions in FM2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you still have your unicorn collections? When I was interested in Unicorns there wasn't a lot of things out there. I have a few items - a statue, a journal, that kind of thing - but nothing spectacular. However, there are these cute little resin unicorns at Barnes and Noble that I've let my family know would make great birthday presents. They're not noble and strong and mystical at all. They're more quirky, than anything else.

      Delete
  5. I wonder if this is a female thing. I've never given a moment's thought to unicorns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly the point, David! A colleague at work today put it this way, "I agree unicorns have been sissyfied." When you read the accounts and essays from history, unicorns were not at all a female thing. They were highly regarded by men. Somewhere along the line they became something other than what they started out being. It's kind of sad!

      Delete
  6. I love unicorns! One even made a guest apperance in my last witch book. They are fun creatures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not know this! I think that's super-cool!

      Delete
  7. We had lots of little ponies at my house when my daughter was a young child. I liked finding out about the unicorn of Scotland. Thanks for writing about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I recently learned about the Unicorn of Scotland, too. I was really surprised at how widespread unicorns mythology is.

      Delete
  8. I'm a big fan of Madeline L'Engle's "A Swiftly Tilting Planet," particularly of the unicorn Gaudior. I equate him with Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've added another book to my "to be read" list. I should have a good unicorn story for the end of the month!

      Delete
  9. Somehow, I never had you pegged as a unicorn lover. I bet you loved "Legend" then, huh? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strangely, not as much as you'd think. It might have been Tom Cruise. I've never really liked him. But, the unicorns were cool, although sad... Maybe that's why I didn't like the movie much. Hmmm.

      Delete

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave your comments below.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...