The Tuatha Dé Danann: The mythology behind The Darkness of Light

As a follow up to my Fact vs. Fiction in Literature post, I wanted to explain my treatment of the mythology in The Darkness of Light.

I used the legend of the Tuatha Dé Danann as the mythological component of my story. For those who don’t know who or what the Tuatha Dé Danann are, I will give you a cliff notes version.

The Tuatha Dé Danann (The people of the Goddess Danu) are mythical beings said to have once ruled Ireland. They came from the sky on clouds and were godlike people, not entirely human and not entirely god. These are the beings that would later become known as Faeries.

I would like to stress that at no point in The Darkness of Light are these beings ever referred to as Faeries. Why? Because I feel as though the word Faery denotes some pointy eared, diminutive creatures that fly. The original Tuatha Dé Dananns were not portrayed this way, and in fact, they were more like humans in size and appearance. Instead of calling my characters Fae, or Faeries throughout the novel, I chose to use the Gaelic word for God, which is “Dia” (Dee-ah).

The Dia (Dia, because there is no plural form of Dia) in my novel have supernatural powers. They can alter their appearance; some can create fire, heal, read minds, and control the weather. Their power comes from a Light within them, and their personalities can be either benign or malevolent – much like the legend suggests.

Anyone familiar with the Tuatha Dé Danann will be quick to point out that I have set them in the wrong country (Britain). I am aware that the lore is Irish, but when researching my novel, I had to consider the state of Ireland in the 6th century. Christianity had taken over so much so that my characters would be far too restricted, and by that time, many Irish people had immigrated to Britain anyway.

Also, when the kingdom of the Tuatha Dé Danann was defeated, they spread out. Is it that crazy to think that they’d sail across the sea and settle in a land that wasn’t ruled by their conquerors? No. It made sense to me. Plus, I knew the second book would include Welsh “faeries,” (the Twyleth Teg), so I wanted to keep the setting close to Wales.

There were a few other modifications I made to the legend. The most notable of which involves the Lia Fàil, (the Stone of Destiny.) This was said to have been brought by the Tuatha Dé Danann to Ireland, and is said to wail when the next king of Ireland stands before it. The actual stone of the legend resides on the Hill of Tara in County Meath.

In my story, I turned the Lia Fàil into a magical charm that will guide the wearer along their chosen path.

The next deviation from legend happened with the coire (Kor-yuh), which is Gaelic for cauldron. This was another gift brought to Ireland from the Tuatha Dé Danann. It was said to be a cauldron that would feed the entire country of Ireland.

I struggled with this one. After all, how exciting is a cauldron of food? So instead of using the coire in its original form, I chose to make it a lost power that only one Dia can possess. I won’t get into too much detail about it; you’ll have to read the book. But I want all mythology buffs out there to know that I am aware of the alterations I have made. This was not an oversight.

I love the legend of the Tuatha Dé Danann and I tried to stay true to the myth as possible, but my story was intended to be more of a continuation of the legend rather than an accurate retelling.

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