Bugul Noz. Oh my god, Bugul Noz.
When you get into characters in the Chronicles of Whynne, I definitely have some clear favorites, but in five seconds or less, Bugul Noz beat them all. I originally wasn’t going to include him at all, he was just a funny story I read about in my research of fae, but then the idea of this small, ugly creature roaming the forest and wishing for kindness kind of became consuming.
In legend, Bugul Noz is so thoughtful that he thinks to warn others before he arrives, letting out a mournful cry. This is because looking upon him can kill you, because he is so ugly.
This ultimately endear him to me and made him the most relatable fae in my mind. He makes the smallest appearance in the second book, but he also leaves a big impact.
So let’s talk Bugul Noz in Whynne:
Bugul Noz is the last of his kind, he comes from a time so long ago that hardly anyone can remember it. He was a part of the original fae court, long before Edwyn or his father were born, and he is one generation removed from the fae who sprung from the rowan trees.
In the time before, there were many like him, a name affiliated with his species; but frightened farmers and cruel children put an end to this. All those who he once knew were ultimately killed. The World of Whynne is not a kind one.
Bugul Noz used to enjoy a space at court, he was a scholar of sorts and enjoyed literature and music. Sometimes he can still be found outside of the villages, dancing when they have their festivals.
But when the Night King passed and Edwyn rose to power, Bugul Noz was expelled from the castle, far too frightening for the prince to risk the young women witnessing. Unfortunately, there is not a place in the world for one like Bugul Noz, and he was forced to leave his life of luxury and intellectual pursuits behind, cursed to roam the forest filled with Unseelie.
Most would give up, but he has not. Though he is frightening in appearance, he is kind at heart, and does his best to herd children out of the forests from the shadows. He does not despise his Unseelie brethren, but will not let young children fall victim to them either. Every so often, the youngest of these children will befriend him, but he knows all will change when they grow older and the world around them sours them to the strange and unusual.
He is a stout thing, with claw like hands and large eyes, an almost constantly running nose and skin far too wrinkly. No glamour or potion can change this, and he had grown to avoid his own reflection. Every so often he dreams of looking like the higher fae, but he is a Seelie with less magic, elevated in status only by the King’s command. No images exist of him, as it is believed that one will be cursed if they do paint him.
King Theo is softer to the creature than his father, having had his life saved by Bugul Noz once before. But, unfortunately, Theo’s fiancée is not fond, and he can only repay the Bugul Noz’s kindness with paperback books and custard with a thick skin on top.
The locals of the villages of Whynne do not know it, and neither does he, but he is regarded as the night shepherd– a gentle voice on the breeze that keeps some from trouble. The King has done nothing to dispel these statements, and sometimes when a child is missing, their family members will leave an offering to this creature; a single book.
Art by Arthur Rackham 1867-1939.