In the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft (better known by many as “WoW”), a mysterious ritual in a remote part of the game’s landscape takes place. High in the wooded hills of Tirisfal Glades is a hidden glade called the Whispering Forest where a ring of mushrooms marks the location of a strange event. A lucky traveler might witness the rare appearance of seven creatures, part fairy, part dragon. They fly in a slow dance around the circle, then perform a mystical display of light within the ring of magical glowing mushrooms. When they do this, the woodlands resonate with a soft unearthly music. The ritual is easy to miss, and once it has been completed the faerie dragons (also called “darters,” or in this case specifically “Fey-Drunk Darters”) quickly disappear again into the stillness of the forest.
It is likely that the ring of glowing mushrooms and the faerie dragon ritual were added to the game as merely a bit of fun, but many players have speculated extensively as to the possible implications of the event to the overall story of the game world. Not much is known about the faerie dragons other than that they are benevolent protectors of nature, and that they often ally with the druids of the world, who are also dedicated to the preservation of the natural order. Some believe that the faerie dragons in the Whispering Forest are performing a binding ritual to keep an Old God—a creature of great power and evil—bound deep in the earth. Others believe that the ritual is connected to the Emerald Dream; an alternate dimension of the world that is a pure reflection of nature untarnished, and the place from which druids in the World of Warcraft draw their power.
Regardless of its possible significance to the greater plots within World of Warcraft, it is a rare and beautiful event, and an obvious reverential reference to the folklore (dating back to at least medieval times) about these mycological occurrences.
Fairy rings are one of nature’s many strange phenomena, encouraging a great deal of speculation specifically within folklore due to their striking appearance. They are said to mark the location of fairy dances, or rituals. Although modern mycology (the study of fungi) can easily explain the unusual appearance of fairy rings, they nonetheless continue to inspire art and literature of a more fanciful nature.
Much like the event within the game, fairy rings themselves have a wide variety of interpretations in folklore in cultures across the globe, but the general consensus is that such formations are best left alone. Nevertheless, here at FairyRoom, we are fascinated, and plan to explore more.