Happy Unicorn Day: Unicorns in Fiction
HAPPY UNICORN DAY!
Historically, unicorns are elusive and said to show themselves only to virgins or those who were pure of heart, like the unicorns themselves. This is in part because unicorns contain powerful magic, especially in their horn, making them a target.
In the first Harry Potter book, we learn that wand-makers often use unicorn hair as the core of a wand.
Later, Harry spots a dark figure—Lord Voldemort—drinking the blood of an injured unicorn to help sustain him in his weakened form. In keeping with unicorn lore, its blood will heal those who are approaching death, for a price. Because unicorns are so precious and rare, the drinker’s prolonged life will be a cursed one.
Jelly Jubilee is another highly-sought unicorn for being so magical. As a purple winged unicorn toy EVERY little girl wanted for Winter Solstice one year, Bryce's mother had a hell of a time finding one. When Bryce takes it to school, all the kids who'd been calling her a freak come to accept her. It is one of the few “treasures” from her childhood; a memory of better times, when she was more innocent.
It is also a symbol for Bryce herself; Jelly Jubilee is “not just a unicorn, not just a Pegasus—but both." Bryce is not human, not fey, but both. Its sparkly body also mirrors Bryce’s own starlight magic (which is incredibly rare and kept hidden), as well as the glitzy party girl aesthetic she embraces.
But being a pure-hearted target doesn't mean all unicorns are helpless (or inanimate). They can also be fierce as f**k.
Unicorns in The Chronicles of Narnia are known by all to be wise and fiercely loyal to Aslan (which is wise in itself, amiright?). We see them fighting alongside Aslan and his army, helping to rescue Edmund from the White Witch, and more. They are so respected that it is said “not even a king would think of riding a unicorn except in some great need,” making it meaningful to all when Peter (one of the future kings) rides one into battle.
One in particular stands out from the others—Jewel, King Tirian’s eloquent friend with an icy blue horn. It is said that “Jewel was so gentle and soft of speech that, if you hadn't known, you would hardly have believed how fierce and terrible he could be in battle.”
Last by certainly not least, we have The Last Unicorn: a tale about a unicorn who believes she could be the last of her kind and goes on a journey to discover what happened to the others.
During her travels, she transforms into a human and is given the pseudonym "Lady Amalthea" to hide her identity. After reverting to her true form, she uses the magic within her horn to heal someone who sacrificed for her cause.
While she's successful in finding the rest of her kind, she now feels alienated from them because she knows what it's like to be human, to fall in love and have regrets.
There you have it, folx! Which of these unicorn features were your personal favorite? Is there one I missed that you like more? Let me know down in the comments, or come join the conversation over on #bookstagram or Twitter!