Magical. Helpful. Often fluffy. Familiars!
I’ve wanted to write about familiars for ages. They are the magical animal best friends we would all love to have. Typically, familiars are associated with witches and warlocks, and they tend to be portrayed as cats or toads. Though, let’s give credit to the Wizarding World, owls are crazy awesome familiars – especially if they are kind enough to carry your mail for you. Adios, Royal Mail!
The good ‘uns and the bad apples.
Depending on who you ask, familiars are either demons who assist witches in their evil business, or helpful spirits guiding altruistic magical folk to their full potential. Let’s be honest, if familiars were real, they would help the good, the bad and the morally ambiguous. Nothing’s that black and white, even with magic involved.
A witch’s best friend.
What could be more comforting than having a fluffy companion to cuddle when a spell goes wrong, or who will remind us to buy more eye of newt? While cats, particularly black cats, are the most well-known familiars, centuries ago hares, hounds, wolves or any creature people found fascinating were considered familiars. Sometimes even butterflies got the title!
Perhaps more startling is the idea that even people were thought to be familiars. Often men or children were suspected of being spirits who morphed into a humanoid form to please their witches. Sounds like an ideal way to conjure up Mr. Right!
Familiars have their own place in literature.
Familiars in books are always awesome. Whether they are as run-of-the-mill as a black cat, or as fantastical as the daemons in the Northern Lights books (Phillip Pullman, y’all – read it!), familiars always have a great part to play in our stories. In the world of Saeth from Vox Saeth: The Voice of Seven, familiars are a supernatural’s best friend, although the way in which a supernatural and a familiar are bonded has to be instigated by the fae! A little more on that in the near future. Familiars will feature in Saeth’s stories a little more prominently soon!
Familiars are real. Really, really real.
We urban fantasy fans would love nothing more than to cast spells, turn invisible, and fly with or without the aid of a broomstick. The closest we will probably ever get to the life of a witch is having our very own familiars, and we can. Our cats, our dogs, our lizards and tarantulas *shudder* – aren’t they just the light of our lives? Our pets are magical to us, in their fluffy, scaly or shiny glory, and all the familiars we ever need.
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