Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechaun vs Gancanagh: character showdown

IMAGES removed in case of copyright violations (7/27/12)

It's bugging me that I'm forgetting something today. Something to do with... wearing a certain color? honoring part of my heritage? Maybe it'll come to me...

Meanwhile, I was wondering what mythical creature could I use as a character in a YA paranormal novel to catapult me to stardom?* (or stardoom, as I originally spelled it; aahh the irony) Vampires and werewolves abound. Angels and demons are close behind. Fairies and their fey variations are a-plenty.

Not sure what made me think of the Irish today, but I decided to look up some Celtic mythological creatures.

Leprechauns would appear, at first glance, to be cliche. They've been commercialized to death on cereal boxes and sports teams. They abound in poems and short stories. But I couldn't find a single modern YA novel with a significant leprechaun character. Come on, people, leprechauns are hard to catch but if you can, you get three wishes! Or a new pair of shoes! They may be old and wizened in appearance, but they are supposedly fabulous dressers, very debonair.

It might be tricky to turn a leprechaun into a sexy male love interest - but he could play a great antagonist. Or your MC's clever friend. Maybe a paranormal negotiator. And who says we have to keep to traditional descriptions, anyway? Why not a tall, handsome leprechaun half-blood? Hmmm.... (image removed of famous actor in leprechaun hat)

Now let's look at the gancanagh, also known as a love talker. We already know there's some potential here, if you've ever read Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. Niall is a gancanagh faerie, but there's definitely room for more of these characters in YA. The Gancanagh description from Monstropedia:

Gancanagh seduced young maidens with his enchanting voice and whispered nonsense then would promptly disappear, leaving the maiden to cry away for him. Few of his victims live for very long afterwards dying of despair and a broken heart. To meet him meant bad luck, and whoever was ruined by ill-judged love was said to have been with the gancanagh.

In traditional lore, a Gancanagh is supposed to look similar to a leprechaun, complete with a clay pipe. But a creature that's called a Love Talker, and can make humans girls pine after him, even to their death? Move over sexy vampire, this guy sounds like serious competition. With a little imagination, maybe someone like this? (image removed of young man smoking pipe) 

So, what's your vote for the next YA paranormal star? Leprechaun or gancanagh?

*I'm not gifted at sarcasm, apparently. This post was just written to have fun on St Patty's Day... y'all are taking me way too seriously. Er, well, the picture of the pipe dude does give me some ideas.


  1. After that commentary, do you really have to ask? Gancanagh, of course. Now, get to work on that. I'd like to read what you come up with.

  2. Oh no contest!!! Much as I am very fond of leprechauns - they will always be little cheeky beardy 1 million years old chappies who comes with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!!!!

    The Gancanagh (no doubt pronounced "sexy hunky beast") on the otherhand is a very naughty sexy heartbreaker who will love you and leave you and make you die and may not even have an irish soda farl to call his own.

    What's there to choose!??! LOL! Take care

  3. BTW, the Artemis Fowl series (though middle grade and not YA) did have leprechauns--albeit with quite a spin on the traditional idea.

  4. I agree that a tricksy leprechaun could make for a fun, Puckish antag. or sidekick-- lots of snappy backtalk and a devil may care 'tude. Gancanagh would make for a smouldering antag. turned love interest though, I'd like to see the snarky girl who could resist his smooth talking and too obvious good looks. Why not both? Set it against Ireland with the rolling green and the thrashing sea and you've practically got half your work done for you! Wait, maybe I shouldn't post this, I have half *my* work done for me . . . Dibs!
    - Sophia.

  5. My vote is definitely Gancanagh. Much sexier, though this leprechaun was pretty hot--for an old dude. ;)

  6. Nice leprechaun!! haha

    I wasn't thinking of YA, per se, but I've totally decided that I'm going to make a sexy leprechaun story. Maybe find out that the little green guys are just a glamour they use to avoid being detected by people. In their true form, they're gorgeous tall irish men that look a little something like Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

  7. I'd go for a leprechaun...because I totally need a new pair of shoes, LOL!

    On the other hand, my teenager self would definitely go for the Gancanagh. ;)-

    Nice post!

  8. Ooo, I like the gancanagh! Thanks for introducing me to something new :)

  9. Ooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me! *Raises hand* I vote for that Gancanagh, but only if he looks like his picture. *growls like a cougar* :D Nice post!! Have a wonderful St. Patty's Day!

  10. gancanagh??? I never knew such a thing existed until now. Thanks for expanding my knowledge data base ;)

  11. Kelly, you mean I have to get to work now????

    Kitty - now I'm going to have find out what an Irish soda farl is :)

    Connie- thanks for mentioning Artemis Fowl! I'd forgotten!

    Sophia - great idea there - the girl torn between the Leprechaun and the Gancanagh - ooooh I love me love triangle!

    Stina - I knew you'd like the pics!

    Tracey - ah Rhys. The glamor! Of course they'd use a glamour - great idea!

    lbDiamond - i liked the new shoe part too

    You're welcome Jess!

    Lisa - I was pretty stoked about that picture too. I'm definitely going to pin that picture to one of my characters.

  12. Happy St Patrick's Day.

    I think I'll go for the cheeky leprechaun. Hmm... what shall I wish for?

  13. I had never heard of a Gancanagh before! (Haven't read Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY series) Thanks for the lesson :-) I think you can definitely twist tradition a bit (so many other writers do!) and make a Gancanagh into some sexy non-leprechaun-looking character!

  14. Gancanagh, definitely. I might even read YA if this dude filled the pages :)


  15. Why don't you combine them? He gets good (yet playful) lepruchan traits and super sexy gancanaugh ones. He could be loveable and make girls take their clothes off.

  16. Colfer's LEP Recon Unit - the Lower Element's Police Recon Unit RULE :)

    Hard to follow the LEP Recons but I'd probably opt for the leprechauns.

  17. I've never heard of a GAncanagh before - very cool!

    I just downloaded Wicked Lovely yesterday, so I'll find out more about it soon!

  18. I've never heard of Gancanaugh before either and that definitely sounds perfect for a YA paranormal romance.

    I think there were leprechauns in the 2nd book of the Wondrous Strange series by Lesley Livingston (Darklight).

    Great post for today!

  19. I've never heard of a Gancanaugh before either. One of those might spice up a YA!

    I think a Leprechaun would be great in a mg!

  20. Gancanaugh wins! Go! Go! Create him. Write his story (or the story of the girl who falls for him and survives long enough to tell about it). I can't wait to read it! christy

  21. Oh yeah, I choose gancanaugh! But why does it have to have such a weird name? How do you pronounce that!

    Hehe. Great comparisons!

  22. Ooh, what a fun post! Hmm, going with pikkies alone...have to say it's a tie *grins*. Maybe we need a novel with both, as ancient enemies perhaps :) Whatever happens, keep the pictures coming :)



  23. I can't comment on YA fantasy as I don't read it, however I loved your post and can I have the hunky man. Pleaseeee...

  24. Happy St Patty's Day, Margo!
    I like your blog!

  25. heh heh I think there was a leprachaun horror movie out a couple of years ago. My vote is definitely for the other!

  26. The gancanagh, for sure. A little heartbreak is great for a story!

  27. Both sound great and can be used in many ways in stories. Great and interesting post.

    I had done a 16 part feature on mythological creatures from all over the world for the newspaper I write for. I had come across a gancanagh but with a different name.

  28. Definitely the gancanagh! It defintely hasn't been done to death and it could catapult you to stardom not stardoom!

  29. I like the sound of the Gancanagh!

    Have a great weekend.

  30. Gancanagh, for sure. :) Although, a sexy Lep could be interesting.

  31. My vote's for the leprechaun--I can see lots of possibilities for the role he could play! Fun post, and very informative for someone who isn't in on the loop of these kinds of characters!

    Thanks for the recent comment over at my place :-)

  32. Oh my god, this post made me laugh out loud!!! I vote for the Leprechaun. Too fun to ignore:)



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