There's always a ton of symbolism within mythology, like how
the goddess Artemis is
usually shown with a deer at her side because she's all about the hunting, or a
crescent moon on her head because the moon is sometimes a symbol of purity. But
what if we think of mythology as a whole as a kind of symbol in its own right
in this book? Stick with us, and we'll show you what we're talking about.
It's no secret that our author, Colfer, has a big love for Irish mythology. And for this book, he
makes some of it up, but some of it is also pulled from traditional Irish lore.
The Dé Dannans (4.47) in the book, for example, are named after the Tuatha Dé Dannan from
our real world, and are mythological gods with all kinds of
And the thing is, that by having the Dé Dannans obviously
reference to the Tuatha Dé Dannan through their name, Colfer is also referencing
the lore that surrounds their namesakes. And this includes important stories about
how the Tuatha Dé Dannan used to be humans until they were defeated and driven
underground, where they became the race known as the Sidhe. And what exactly are the
Sidhe you ask? Why they're fairies of course.
So Colfer's not just throwing out mythological names for fun—and
by making up a fairy origin for Santa Claus, giving the fairies rules like
vampires about being invited in the house, and making Holly a direct descendant
of Cupid, the world as we know it is redesigned, so that fairy culture is older
and more spread out than human culture. Artemis may be a human and he may think
he controls the show, but all this mixed-up mythology symbolizes a world that
has belonged to the fairies for a really long time—much longer than any human
If all this talk about mythology has piqued your interest
about our main man and the goddess he's named after, then be sure to check out
the analysis of Artemis in the "Characters" section for a breakdown
of what he and his namesake do and do not have in common—and why it matters.