Glaucon wrote:Tsssk. Fae (or Fey) = Fairy (or Faerie).
Faeries seem to be mostly English/British (or celtic) in origin. It was people like Shakespeare and later writers of Victorian books for children that made them tiny (they were a normal size before, in Chaucer, for example). They used to be equated with elves (linked to the nymphs from classical times) on the British isles (also made small in children's tales, like Santa's little helpers), but elves were also part of Germanic and Scandinavian folklore and those never turned tiny with wings. Tolkien based his elves on that continental folklore more than the English version of elves/faeries, and his elves became the mold for the 'staple' fantasy elves in RPG's and fantasy lit, with tiny fairies continuing on separately as the tiny Tinkerbell-type flutterers from Peter Pan.
The 'Fae' or 'Fey' (or sometimes Sidhe, the Irish word for Elves/Fae, also known as aos sí) are relative fantasy/RPG upstarts, clearly inspired by the original faeries/elves from English literature, probably revived because Tolkien and later fantasy had done too much to define 'elves' in a particular way and because writers and game-creators wanted another 'magical' race. They became a separate entity from elves and fairies quite recently. Sometimes, they seem to be blue, for some reason. The 'Seelie' and 'Unseelie' court stuff seems to have some basis in Scottish folklore (Seelie is supposed to be related to the word 'silly' and is used by Chaucer, and this folklore is supposed to be linked to the Irish Sidhe as well, though I am not sure if that had this seelie/unseelie court thing).
I have no idea who or what brought this whole Seelie and Unseelie thing into popular fantasy (as part of something connected to this Fae/Fey/Sidhe 'race') and carried it over into modern fantasy and RPGs. Probably one or more fantasy writers I never read (possibly linking it to King Arthur's legend, which it does seem to have become associated with) or a table-top RP system I never played coming in the wake of the more well-known D&D system.
Personally, I think these modern fantasy 'Fae/Fey' are a bit like the sparkly vampires from Twilight.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seelie_and ... lie_Courts