The Origins of Wizards, Witches and Fairiesby Simon Webb

Published: January 30th 2022

Publisher:Pen & Sword History

Length: 208 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐


This book tells the fascinating story of the origin of our ideas about wizards, witches and fairies. We all have a clear mental image of the pointed hats worn by such individuals, which are based upon actual headgear dating back 3,000 years to the Bronze Age. Carefully sifting through old legends, archaeological evidence and modern research in genetics, Simon Webb shows us how our notions about fairies and elves, together with human workers of magic, have evolved over the centuries.

This exploration of folklore, backed by the latest scientific findings, will present readers with the image of a lost world; the one used as the archetype for fantasy adventures from The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones. In the process, the real nature of wizards will be revealed and their connection with the earliest European cultures thoroughly documented.

After reading this book, nobody will ever be able to view Gandalf the wizard in the same light and even old fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast will take on a richer and deeper meaning. In short, our perception of wizards, witches and fairies will be altered forever.

My Review:

I started this book thinking it would delve into the origins of folklore however it comes across as more of a comparison of fantasy fictional characters.

If I had been expecting a book on how authors developed characters by adapting mythology to their story then I would have enjoyed this book.

Because I went into this expecting something different my enjoyment of it was impacted. It’s an interesting read but not as described.

I received an arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


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