Public Domain Super Heroes
Fairy Godmother
Émile Bertrand - Jules Massenet - Cendrillon poster

Real Name


First Appearance


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Appearance History[]

In fairy tales, a fairy godmother is a fairy with magical powers who acts as a mentor or parent to someone, in the role that an actual godparent was expected to play in many societies. In Perrault's Cinderella, he concludes the tale with the cynical moral that no personal advantages will suffice without proper connections.

Actual fairy godmothers are rare in fairy tales, but became familiar figures because of the popularity of the literary fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy and Charles Perrault. Many other supernatural patrons feature in fairy tales; these include various kinds of animals (such as the story of Yeh-Shen) and the spirits of dead relatives (much like the Little Match Girl's grandmother).

In the tales of d'Aulnoy, Perrault, and later successors, the fairy godmother acts in a manner atypical of fairies in actual folklore belief; they are preoccupied with the character and fortunes of their human protegees, whereas fairies in folklore had their own interests.

Typically, the fairy godmother's protégé is a prince or princess and the hero of the story, and the godparent uses her magic to help or otherwise support them. The most well-known example is probably the fairy godmother in Charles Perrault's Cinderella. Eight fairy godmothers appear in Perrault's The Sleeping Beauty, and 13 in the Grimm Brothers's version titled Little Briar-Rose (known as the "Wise Women"). The popularity of these versions of these tales led to this being widely regarded as a common fairy-tale motif, although they are less common in other tales.

Indeed, the fairy godmothers were added to the tale of Sleeping Beauty by Perrault; no such figures appeared in his source, Sole, Luna, e Talia by Giambattista Basile. In the Grimm Brothers' variant of Cinderella, Aschenputtel is aided not by her fairy godmother but by her dead mother.

A great variety of other figures may also take the godmother's place.

She is portrayed as kind, gentle and sweet.

In contrast, many stories have been known to feature to a Wicked Fairy Godmother as well.

Stage Bio[]

In William Makepeace Thackeray's The Rose and the Ring, the fairy Blackstick concludes that her gifts have not done her godchildren good; in particular, she has given two of her goddaughters the title ring and the title rose, which have the power to make whomever owns them beautiful, which have ruined the character of those goddaughters; with the next prince and princess, she gives them "a little misfortune", which proves the best gift, as their difficulties form their characters.

This is the first time the character was given a proper name.

See Also[]