There is an imaginary world which people have been playing with for centuries, its name is Faerie. Faerie, by all accounts, is not full of miniature winged creatures. It is a fluid, alongside world, that people occasionally stumble into. A terrifying, yet beautiful, place where certain actions we count as trivial become momentous. Edmund Spenser and Shakespeare wrote about it in the sixteenth century, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the twentieth and what each has written is different. There is no authoritative tale of Faerie.
In my mind, what Faerie is, is not as important as, what it does to us. I like to think of it as my sunglasses. Because of a sensitivity to light, I occasionally have to wear sunglasses for days on end and I have noticed something interesting about my particular pair. They tend to make it look as though there is a thin film of dirt on everything, all the colors are grayish, with one exception. If the sun is shining on something pink, red or orange, or that warm colored thing itself is glowing, the color is intensified. Sometimes, I forget that this is happening. A few weeks ago while sitting around the bonfire with my family I commented an how beautifully red the fire was. When my family looked confused I realized that my glasses were tricking me again. My first reaction was disappointment, what I had thought was beautiful was a fake. But then, my siblings wanted to see the fire through my glasses too, and, while watching their reactions, I realized that even though it was not real, it was still beautiful. I do not want to only see a muddy world with rich, glowing, warm colors, but I am glad I know what it looks like. I will never look at a fire quite in the same way again.
Similarly, tales about Faerie often distort the world. Normally, there is no reason why Anodos should sing to his beloved instead of embracing her, but in Faerie to embrace her is not simply a mistake, but a fatal sin which ends up destroying his life. That sounds rather odd and unrealistic, does it not? It is a tale crafted to distort reality, so that certain aspects of the world can glow with a greater intensity.
Realism is often stressed in writing. You cannot make such and such a character do a certain thing, because it would be unrealistic. But sometimes an unrealistic view of the world can be a good thing. It can allow us to see the real world in a new way.