A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 14: Fantasy Squad – Leprechauns

L

Leprechauns are synonymous with Irish culture. Granted many depictions are stereotypical and somewhat derogatory towards the Irish, but that’s not to say the people of Ireland don’t embrace the folklore.

Let’s look at that folklore. Leprechauns are legendary creatures associated with pixies, sprites and fairies. They are mainly described as little old men, wearing a coat and hat, who spend their time mending shoes, and have a penchant for mischief. They are magical beings, are said to have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and, if captured, can grant three wishes. The colour of their coat varies. More often than not it is green, but early references refer to the colour red.

I always wondered why there are no female leprechauns, at least not according to Irish folklore. One particular belief is that leprechauns are unable to reproduce, that they are the defective offspring of fairies. Now I know these are mythical creatures, but that screams of discrimination to me.

By now, you know that I like to play around with the myths and I would have great fun with the leprechauns on my fantasy squad. I might utilise the craftsmanship element, so they would be deft at fixing things (or situations). I’d keep the magic of course, and as a nod to Ireland, I’d probably keep the accent – who wouldn’t? I’d maybe play around with their size, and find an interesting way to incorporate the gold. You can chip in if you have some ideas!

Leprechaun by mc-the-lane Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / FantasyΒ©2007-2015 mc-the-lane
Leprechaun by mc-the-lane
Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / FantasyΒ©2007-2015 mc-the-lane

But anyway, I’m supposed to be referring this to media. Let’s look at a few films:

  • Leprechaun is a series of American horror films. There are seven in total, and the leprechauns are represented as murderous creatures.
  • Darby O’Gill and the Little People, is a Walt Disney film starring Sean Connery. It is the story of an Irishman doing battle with leprechauns, and based on the books by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh.
  • Finian’s Rainbow starring Fred Astaire is a musical film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In this film the leprechaun chooses humanity (or in this case the girl) and gives up his leprechaun status.
  • Getting Lucky, a fantasy comedy film, includes an alcoholic leprechaun whose wishes don’t turn out as planned!
  • The Luck of the Irish, a film made in 1948, follows a man (Stephen Fitzgerald) who is torn between his life in New York and his roots in Ireland.
  • A Disney Channel Original movie of the same name (The Luck of the Irish) is about a boy who discovers his family are made up of leprechauns.
  • The Magical legend of the Leprechauns is a Hallmark production TV fantasy movie starring Randy Quaid and Whoopi Goldberg. There are two main stores in the film – a business man who encounters leprechauns, and a pair of star-crossed lovers (a fairy and a leprechaun) being on the opposite sides of a magical war.

Leprechauns appear in television, art and literature too. There are so many references that I decided against doing a list, and instead want to open it up to you. What’s your favourite leprechaun story?

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel

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23 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 14: Fantasy Squad – Leprechauns

  1. Whenever I think of leprechauns, I think back to kindergarten when my teacher convinced us we could capture one using the Rube Goldberg-esque contraption from the board game “Mouse Trap” and a cube of green jello for bait. The next day, the jello was gone and in its place, a snarky note. Tricksy leprechaunses!

    My favorite leprechaun reimagining would have to be the Artemis Fowl series, in which it is not a specific creature, rather, an occupation for a variety of fairy folk — LEPRecon, reconnaissance division for the Lower Elements Police. Quite clever!

    1. It sounds like you had a fun teacher in school – that’s so inventive. I’ve heard rumours the leprechauns have a weakness for jello, and you have evidence of that πŸ˜‰ A friend mentioned the Artemis Fowl series and it’s on my list. The more I learn the more excited I get – LEPRecon – that’s genius! Thanks for sharing πŸ˜€

  2. I heard they’re rebooting the horror franchise. I never really thought about Leprechauns, especially in my own writing. They’re too connected to a real world culture for me to comfortably use them in my world. I do enjoy when they show up in shows and movies, but they always seem to be the same thing. Or at least I routinely get an urge to eat some Lucky Charms.

    Maybe they reproduce asexually like jellyfish or they’re born from the pot of gold in some fashion. I’ve noticed that a lot of old fairy species are either one sex or the other in art depictions.

    1. Yes, I heard about the reboot too, but have to admit the movies didn’t appeal to me the first time round! I have to wonder about the number – 7 movies, because I read somewhere that in an early representation leprechauns had seven rows of buttons (seven buttons on each row). But I digress. I’d forgotten about Lucky Charms. I’ve never actually tried them! And I agree about the difficulties in incorporating leprechauns – I see a group in my head. They are nothing like the creatures of folklore, so I’m letting them hang around for a while to see where they take me!

      1. Not a horror fan and I didn’t want to see Willow as a monster. So it really doesn’t have an impact on me. πŸ™‚ The number of movies was probably an accident. Lucky Number 7?

        I loved the marshmallows of Lucky Charms, but avoided the rest. Wasn’t like Count Chocula, which seems to only show up around Halloween now.

  3. I love leprechauns because I like anything Irish. I sure didn’t know they were said to be defective offspring of fairies, though.

    I don’t like the horror movies that have been done about leprechauns. I feel its wrong to make them murderous.

    I love Disney’s Luck of the Irish! That’s a cute movie πŸ™‚

  4. I really can’t think of leprechauns without thinking of Darby O’Gill… they are where the buck stops for me. XD

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