The Fantasy Genre – Designing the Fairy Godmother’s Lair

Having established earlier the character and personality of the fairy godmother, it was easier to imagine a design for the place in which she resides.

In the story, when the princess’s father asks for her hand in marriage, the princess immediately rushes to find her fairy godmother:

Deeply troubled at this turn of events, she sought out her fairy godmother who lived in a grotto of coral and pearls.”

There have been numerous translations of the tale, as well as retellings, but this particular quote comes directly from Charles Perrault’s 1695 version. The fairy godmother is described as living in a cave of coral and pearls, isolated, and far away. This sounds like the perfect place for a fairy to live in and to be able to hide from curious eyes. This short description is enough to convey to the reader an idea of the place, while giving them the opportunity to create their own view of it with their imagination.

Fairy's Cave 150dpi

The princess, advised by her fairy godmother, makes demands to the king who fulfills them all. The fairy godmother then reappears a couple of times, after each of the demands is fulfilled, in order to persuade the princess not to give in to her father’s wishes. However, I think that to make the story more interesting and mysterious, it would be more adequate for the princess to seek out her godmother a couple of times, until she eventually gets the Donkey Skin, instead of having her appear in the castle. It makes for a few changes of scenery, rather than to always stay in one location, and is more susceptible to draw in the viewer. I also liked the idea that the fairy godmother wouldn’t always be in the same place, as I believe it would fit the character better.


Therefore the idea was to have a few different sceneries in which the fairy godmother could reside. The princess could perhaps seek her godmother out in her cave and later find her in different settings on the outskirts of the castle.

I had thought of a place in the forest where the vegetation would have grown abundantly over old ruins. This could be where the fairy godmother resides when she is not in her cave. Ruins have unsettling connotations. It reminds the audience of the passing of time which ties back to the fairy godmother being a character unaffected by time. It also adds to the notion that she is powerful, although she may not seem to be: perhaps she was the one to destroy whatever had once been built in this forest? The idea of her character being ambiguous is also reinforced.

Fairy's lair sketch 150dpi



So overall, looking at these two ideas, I started wondering: maybe it would be interesting to try and merge both of these to see what kind of design I could come up with. I am currently thinking of a cave, in which trees would grow and columns would be carved in the stone. I would like the place to be surreal, so as to convey the magical aspect of the fairy godmother’s character.

cave fairy 150dpi


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