Enchanted forest - Wikipedia

Enchanted forest – Wikipedia

In folklore and fantasy, an enchanted forest is a forest below, or containing, enchantments. Such forests are described within the oldest folklore from areas the place forests are widespread, and happen all through the centuries to trendy works of fantasy. They signify locations unknown to the characters, and conditions of liminality and transformation. The forest can characteristic as a spot of threatening hazard, or considered one of refuge, or an opportunity at journey.


The forest as a spot of magic and hazard is discovered amongst folklore wherever the pure state of untamed land is forest: a forest is a location past which individuals usually journey, the place unusual issues would possibly happen, and unusual individuals would possibly stay, the house of monsters, witches and fairies. Peasants who seldom if ever traveled removed from their villages couldn’t conclusively say that it was inconceivable that an ogre might stay an hour away.[1] Therefore, in fairy tales, Hansel and Gretel discovered a cannibalistic witch within the forest;[2]Vasilissa the Stunning encountered Baba Yaga herself;[3]Molly Whuppie and her sisters bumped into an enormous.[4] It was in a forest that the king of The Grateful Prince misplaced his method, and rashly promised his little one for assist,[5] the place the heroines, and their depraved stepsisters, of The Three Little Males within the Wooden[6] and The Enchanted Wreath[7] met magical exams, and the place Brother and Sister discovered the streams that their evil stepmother had enchanted.[8] In Magnificence and the Beast, Belle’s father is misplaced within the forest when he finds the Beast’s fort.[9] The evil cat-spirits of Schippeitaro stay within the forest.[10]

Certainly, in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the hero all the time goes into the forest. It isn’t itself enchanted, but it surely incorporates enchantments and, being exterior regular human expertise, acts as a spot of transformation.[11] The German fairy story has an uncommon tendency to happen within the forest; even such neighboring nations as France or Italy are much less prefer to have fairy tales located within the forest.[12]

Even in folklore, forests may also be locations of magical refuge.[13]Snow White discovered refuge with dwarfs from her stepmother,[14]The Woman With out Fingers discovered a hut to remain in when she had been slandered to her husband,[15] and Genevieve of Brabant discovered not solely a refuge from slander however a doe magically got here to her assist.[16] Even Brother and Sister hid within the forest after their stepmother turned the brother right into a deer.

At different instances, the marvels they meet are helpful. Within the forest, the hero of a fairy story can meet and have mercy on speaking animals that assist him.[17] The king in lots of variants of the ballad The Well-known Flower of Serving-Males finds an enchanted hind that leads him astray uncanny, but it surely brings him to a speaking hen that reveals to him a homicide and {that a} servant of his is definitely a girl, whom the king then marries.[18] It’s within the forest that the dwarf of Rumpelstiltskin[19] and the fairy of Whuppity Stoorie[20] reveal their true names and due to this fact the heroines of these tales have a approach to free themselves. In Schippeitaro, the cats reveal their worry of the canine Schippeitaro when the hero of the story spends the night time within the forest.[10]

The creatures of the forest needn’t be magical to have a lot the identical impact; Robin Hood, residing within the greenwood, has affinities to the enchanted forest.[21] Even in fairy tales, robbers might serve the roles of magical beings; in an Italian variant of Snow White, Bella Venezia, the heroine takes refuge not with dwarfs however with robbers.[22]


The hazard of the folkloric forest is a chance for the heroes of legend. Among the many oldest of all recorded tales, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh recounts how the heroes Gilgamesh and Enkidu traveled to the Cedar Forest to struggle the monsters there and be the primary to chop down its bushes. In Norse fantasy and legend, Myrkviðr (or Mirkwood) was darkish and harmful forest that separated numerous lands; heroes and even gods needed to traverse it with issue.[23]

Romans referred to the Hercynian Forest, in Germania, as an enchanted place; although most references of their works are to geography, Julius Caesar talked about unicorns stated to stay there, and Pliny the Elder, birds with feathers that glowed.

Medieval romance[edit]

The determine of an enchanted forest was taken up into chivalric romances; the knight-errant would wander in a trackless forest in quest of journey.[24] As within the fairy tales, he might simply discover marvels that might be disbelieved nearer to dwelling. John Milton wrote in Paradise Regained (Bk ii. 359) of “Fairy damsels met in forest extensive / By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,” and such girls could possibly be not solely magical assist to the knight, however girls for courtly love.[25]Huon of Bordeaux met the fairy king Oberon within the forest.[26]Guillaume de Palerme hid there with the princess he liked, and located a werewolf who would assist him. In Valentine and Orson, the Queen is distributed into exile and so pressured to present beginning within the woods; one little one, taken by a bear, turns to a wild man of the woods, who later aids Valentine, his long-lost brother.[27] Within the “Dolopathos” variant of the Swan Kids, a lord finds a mysterious lady – clearly a swan maiden or fairy – in an enchanted forest and marries her.[28]Genevieve of Brabant, having rebuffed a would-be lover and located herself accused of adultery by him, escaped to the forest.[29]

This forest might simply bewilder the knights. Regardless of many references to its pathlessness, the forest repeatedly confronts knights with forks and crossroads, of a labyrinthine complexity.[30] The importance of their encounters is usually defined to the knights – significantly these trying to find the Holy Grail – by hermits performing as clever outdated males – or girls.[31] Nonetheless, regardless of their perils and probabilities of error, such forests are locations the place the knights might develop into worthy and discover the thing of their quest; one romance has a maiden urging Sir Lancelot on his quest for the Holy Grail, “which quickens with life and greenness just like the forest.”[32]Dante Alighieri used this picture within the opening of the Divine Comedy story Inferno, the place he depicted his state as allegorically being misplaced in a darkish wooden.[33]

Renaissance works[edit]

Within the Renaissance, each Orlando Furioso and The Faerie Queene had knight-errants who traveled within the woods. In Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (1581), enchantments positioned on the one forest close to Jerusalem forestall the Crusaders from setting up siege engines for many of the epic poem, till they’re damaged by Rinaldo.

Whereas these works had been being written, increasing geographical data, and the lower of woodland for farmland, meant the lower of forests that could possibly be presumed magical. In A Midsummer Evening’s Dream, William Shakespeare wrote of a forest that was enchanted particularly by the presence of Oberon and Titania, the fairy king and queen; like many forests in Shakespeare’s works, it turns into a spot of metamorphosis and backbone.[34] Others of his performs, resembling As You Like It, happen in a forest, which incorporates no enchantments however acts a lot because the forest of folklore.[21]

Identified inhabitants and traits[edit]

Usually there will likely be Dragons, Dwarfs, Elves, Fairies, Giants, Gnomes, Goblins, Imps, Ogres, Trolls, Unicorns, and different legendary creatures.

There could also be bushes that speak or with branches that may push individuals off their horses, thorny bushes which can open to let individuals in however shut and go away individuals caught inside, and different vegetation that transfer, or flip into animals at night time, or the like.

Some tales have sorcerers and witches residing someplace within the depths of the forest.

Fashionable fantasy[edit]

Using enchanted forests shaded into trendy fantasy with no distinct breaking level, stemming from the very earliest fantasies.[35]

  • In George MacDonald’s Phantastes, the hero finds himself in a wooden as darkish and tangled as Dante’s, una selva obscura that blots out daylight and is totally nonetheless, with none beasts or birdsong.[35]
  • The extra inviting however no much less enchanted forest in The Golden Key borders Fairyland and attracts the hero to search out the title key on the finish of the rainbow.[36]
  • In The Great Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum depicted the wild and harmful elements of the Land of Ozas being forested, and certainly, inhabited with animated bushes with human-like traits, a standard characteristic in youngsters’s literature.[37]
  • William T. Cox in his 1910 work Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods primarily based the complete e-book off of precise forests throughout North America; nonetheless, the writer combines these factual places with improbable encounters between lumberjacks and mysterious creatures.[38]
  • J.R.R. Tolkien made use of forests as representing enchantment and the ancientness of the world: Mirkwood, Fangorn forest, and the Outdated Forest.[39] He additionally made use of folklore about bushes, such because the willow, believed to uproot themselves and stalk vacationers, in Outdated Man Willow.[40] His elves are strongly related to forests, particularly Mirkwood and Lothlórien.[41]Tom Bombadil has been described by Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey because the genius loci (actually, “a spirit of a spot”) of the Outdated Forest, the wooded land bordering the Shire.[42] The Ents act because the forest come to life.[43]
  • Following J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, the enchanted forest is usually a magical place in trendy fantasy. It continues to be a spot unknown to the characters, the place unusual risks lurk.[44]
  • The Enchanted Forest is especially near folklore in fairytale fantasy, that includes in such works as James Thurber’s The White Deer and The 13 Clocks.[45]
  • Within the modern fantasy Harry Potter books, the Forbidden Forest close to Hogwarts is forbidden due to its magical nature. The house of unicorns, centaurs, and Acromantulas (a race of big spiders), it continues the custom of the forest as a spot of untamed issues and hazard.[46]
  • In Suzanna Clarke’s Jonathan Unusual and Mr. Norrell, the Raven King’s capital metropolis of Newcastle in Northern England was surrounded by 4 magical wooden, with names like Petty Egypt, and St. Sirlow’s Blessing. These forests had been supposedly enchanted by the Raven King himself to defend his metropolis. They might transfer round, and supposedly devoured individuals approaching town with the intent of bringing hurt to it. Clarke brings the notion of magical locations to life by contrasting this historic account throughout the story itself, to the precise depictions of magical woods throughout the story, the place the bushes themselves could be thought to be good friend or foe, and have alliances fashioned with magicians.[47]
  • In My Neighbor Totoro, the forest dwelling of the Totoros is an idyllic place the place no hurt will come to the heroines of the flicks.[48]
  • There are a number of examples of variations of Enchanted forests within the Spyro collection. The Artisans Homeworld In Spyro the Dragon, in addition to Summer time Forest and Autmn Plains in Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!, and Dawn Spring from Spyro: 12 months of the Dragon are all totally different types of magical forests that act as homeworlds.
  • In distinction within the Touhou Mission collection by ZUN, the Forest of Magic is a particularly harmful place crawling with Youkai.
  • In The Legend of Zelda collection, the Misplaced Woods serves as a recurring location. It’s a giant old-growth forest inhabited by fairies that misleads vacationers into stepping into circles. To be able to discover their method by, the participant has to choose the proper pathway in any other case they will develop into misplaced and are despatched again to the forest’s entrance. In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time an orphaned Hyperlink begins the sport off within the Misplaced Woods in a village of Kokiri sprites.
  • In As soon as Upon a Time, the Enchanted Forest, which is situated in Fairy Story Land, is the primary setting through the first six seasons. It’s typically proven to viewers in flashbacks of those that lived there ever for the reason that Darkish Curse enacted by the Evil Queen and her followers introduced them to the Land With out Magic. There’s a desert that separates the land from Agrabah, whereas additionally being separated from Arendelle, DunBroch, and the Oceanic Realm by seas and some days journey from Camelot and the Empire. The land can be seen within the collection’ spin-off As soon as Upon a Time in Wonderland. Through the seventh and closing season, the New Enchanted Forest is launched as its primary setting. It’s situated in New Fairy Story Land and is separated from Maldonia and New Agrabah and has its model of Wonderland known as New Wonderland. This model has components from the 18th and 19th century combined with small components from the Center Ages in addition to French influences. As well as, there’s a hierarchy within the kingdoms like a “federal” kingdom and “federated” kingdoms because the unnamed King appears to rule everywhere in the New Enchanted Forest. It’s due to the king and Girl Rapunzel Tremaine that there’s a resistance in opposition to them. By the top of the collection, each Enchanted Forests develop into a part of the United Realms upon combining with Storybrooke, the opposite Fairy Story Land places, the Land of Oz, the Land of Untold Tales, Neverland, and the Want Realm.
  • The Enchanted Forest is featured in Ever After Excessive. It’s a location within the Fairytale World that’s situated subsequent to Ever After Excessive and the Village of Ebook Finish. The scholars of Ever After Excessive hold on the market typically….Particularly when the scholars want time alone. For this objective, there is a gazebo situated deep within the forest.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the Everfree Forest is depicted as an enchanted forest grove adjoining to Ponyville. The forest is basically uninhabitable, being a saturated “hotspot” of unpredictable wild magic induced genetic mutations and harmful legendary creatures, and is regarded by ponies as probably the most hostile area inside Equestria’s borders.
  • Frozen 2, the Enchanted Forest is dwelling to spirits of fireplace, earth, wind and water. Elsa journeys there to search out the origins of her powers and finish the feud between Arendalle and the forests native individuals.

See additionally[edit]


  1. ^ C. S. Lewis, “On Science Fiction”, Of Different Worlds, p68 ISBN 0-15-667897-7
  2. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner, The Annotated Hansel and Gretel
  3. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner,The Annotated Vasilissa the Stunning
  4. ^ Joseph Jacobs, “Molly Whuppie”, English Fairy Tales
  5. ^ W. F. Kirby, “The Grateful Prince”, The Hero of Esthonia
  6. ^ Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, “The Three Little Males within the Wooden” Family Tales
  7. ^ Andrew Lang, “The Enchanted Wreath Archived 2007-03-10 on the Wayback Machine”, The Yellow Fairy Ebook
  8. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner, The Annotated Brother and Sister
  9. ^ Betsy Hearne, Magnificence and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Outdated Story, p 28, ISBN 0-226-32239-4
  10. ^ a b Andrew Lang, The Violet Fairy Ebook, “Schippeitaro”
  11. ^ Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Fashionable World, p 65-67, ISBN 0-312-29380-1
  12. ^ Paul Delarue, The Borzoi Ebook of French Folks-Tales, p xvii, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York 1956
  13. ^ Maria Tatar, The Exhausting Information of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, p73, ISBN 0-691-06722-8
  14. ^ Heidi Anne Heiner, The Annotated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  15. ^ Heid Anne Heiner, The Annotated Woman With out Fingers
  16. ^ Max Lüthi, As soon as Upon A Time: On the Nature of Fairy Tales, p 76, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., New York, 1970
  17. ^ Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Fashionable World, p 115, ISBN 0-312-29380-1
  18. ^ “The Well-known Flower of Serving-Males”
  19. ^ Jacob and Wilheim Grimm, “Rumpelstiltskin”, Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  20. ^ John Rhys, “Whuppity Stoorie”, Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx. Oxford: Oxford College Press, 1901. Quantity 2.
  21. ^ a b Holt, J. C. Robin Hood p 9 (1982) Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27541-6.
  22. ^ Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 739 ISBN 0-15-645489-0
  23. ^ L. Sprague de Camp, Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy, p 227 ISBN 0-87054-076-9
  24. ^ Maurice Eager, The Outlaws of Medieval Legend p 1-2 ISBN 0-88029-454-X
  25. ^ C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Picture, p130 ISBN 0-521-47735-2
  26. ^ Katharine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Different Supernatural Creatures, “Huon de Bordeaux”, p227. ISBN 0-394-73467-X
  27. ^ Margaret Schlauch, Chaucer’s Constance and Accused Queens, New York: Gordian Press 1969 p 91-2
  28. ^ Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England pp. 240-1 New York: Burt Franklin, 1963.
  29. ^ Margaret Schlauch, Chaucer’s Constance and Accused Queens, New York: Gordian Press 1969 p 107
  30. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Concept of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity by the Center Ages, p 177, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  31. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Concept of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity by the Center Ages, p 179–181, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  32. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Concept of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity by the Center Ages, p 181, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  33. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Concept of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity by the Center Ages, p 287, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  34. ^ Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, p 182, ISBN 0-691-01298-9
  35. ^ a b Marion Lochhead, Renaissance of Marvel p6 ISBN 0-06-250520-3
  36. ^ Marion Lochhead, Renaissance of Marvel p23 ISBN 0-06-250520-3
  37. ^ L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 303, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  38. ^ Cox, William T. (1910). Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods. Judd & Detweiler Inc.
  39. ^ John Clute and John Grant, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, “Forests” p 362 ISBN 0-312-19869-8
  40. ^ Katharine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Different Supernatural Creatures, “Fairy bushes”, p159. ISBN 0-394-73467-X
  41. ^ Andrew Gentle, “Tolkien’s Inexperienced Time: Environmental Themes in The Lord of the Rings“, p 153, The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, ISBN 0-8126-9545-3
  42. ^ Tom Shippey, The Street to Center-earth, p 108, ISBN 0-618-25760-8
  43. ^ Andrew Gentle, “Tolkien’s Inexperienced Time: Environmental Themes in The Lord of the Rings“, p 154, The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, ISBN 0-8126-9545-3
  44. ^ Philip Martin, The Author’s Information to Fantasy Literature: From Dragon’s Lair to Hero’s Quest, p 115, ISBN 0-87116-195-8
  45. ^ Brian Attebery, The Fantasy Custom in American Literature, p 148, ISBN 0-253-35665-2
  46. ^ David Colbert, The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter, p 91-2, ISBN 0-9708442-0-4
  47. ^ Suzanna Clarke, Jonathan Unusual and Mr. Norrell, London; Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004.
  48. ^ Helen McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Grasp of Japanese Animation, p 123, ISBN 1-880656-41-8

Additional studying[edit]

  • Hackett, Jon, and Seán Harrington, eds. Beasts of the Forest: Denizens of the Darkish Woods. Bloomington, IN, USA: Indiana College Press, 2019. doi:10.2307/j.ctvs32scr.
  • Łaszkiewicz, Weronika. “Into the Wild Woods: On the Significance of Timber and Forests in Fantasy Fiction.” Mythlore 36, no. 1 (131) (2017): 39–58. doi:10.2307/26809256.
  • Maitland, Sara. “From the Forest.” New England Assessment (1990-) 33, no. 3 (2012): 7-17. www.jstor.org/secure/24242777.
  • Publish, Marco R.S. “Perilous Wanderings by the Enchanted Forest: The Affect of the Fairy-Story Custom on Mirkwood in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”.” Mythlore 33, no. 1 (125) (2014): 67–84. doi:10.2307/26815941.

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