We know there are plenty of national holidays that seem completely random and always a little hard to keep track of. One of them, for this April 9th, is National Unicorn Day! Like most of you, I also did not know that there was a nation holiday dedicated to Unicorns, but I personally think this is a great, magical opportunity to think about them.
Unicorns are mythical creatures characterized as being a horse with a long and spiraling horn from its head. These creatures have been theorized as sources of magic and sorcery, symbols of purity, or simply a popular creature referenced in plenty of pop culture. From fantasies to medieval legends to bedtime stories, unicorns have a big role in our understanding of magic and fantasy. To celebrate all things unicorn, we decided to take a bookish route by reminiscing on some unicorn representation in literature!
Unicorns in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
To all of you avid Harry Potter fans out there, you may remember the prevalence of unicorns in both the book and movie adaptation of series’s first installment, The Philosopher’s Stone. Completely new and unaware of his wizarding background and abilities, Harry Potter finds all sorts of fantastical creatures like giants, centaurs, and of course, unicorns! Albeit, one of his first interactions with unicorns were slightly traumatizing, as he found a cloaked figure crouching upon the corpse of a white unicorn and sucking the blood out of its poor body. According to one of the centaurs, unicorn blood is a valuable substance in the wizarding world, providing immortality to those who drink it.
Additionally, their tail hairs make a great core for wand-making! A little morbid, but one of the most famous fantasy representations of a beloved creature. In this depiction of unicorns, they also have a much bigger preference for a women’s presence, so we can consider that a win for us ladies!
The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle
One of the most famous literary works regarding unicorns in literature and fantasy! Beagle brings a variety of fantasy versus human elements in this 1968 novel. The Last Unicorn details the adventure of a unicorn who believes herself to be the last of her kind. She ventures on a journey to figure out where all the other Unicorns disappeared. The Last Unicorn features a combination between the human world with a world of fantastical creatures including wizards, talking butterflies, and unicorns. The Unicorn is brave and is willing to leave the world she knows to save her kind, making her a clear contender as one of the best literary unicorns!
How could we talk about unicorns without any mention of My Little Pony? With fans of all age ranges, My Little Pony contains different types of ponies occupying Equestria, with one species being unicorns! If you watch or know of My Little Pony, then one of the primary examples is with our main character, Twilight Sparkle. These creatures are recognized for their magical abilities and of course, their spiraling horns that glow once they use their powers. Twilight Sparkle represents the element of magic itself in the My Little Pony series, and gains the title of “Princess of Friendship”.
The Unicorn Chronicles, by Bruce Coville
If any of you happened to be young-adult fantasy fans, then The Unicorn Chronicles will be a familiar name to think of this National Unicorn Day. The novels describe the adventures of Cara Diana Hunter on her quest to send a message to the Queen of the Unicorns. Notable unicorn representation in the series include Lightfoot, one of Cara’s first unicorn friends in her journey, and Queen Arabella Skydancer, aka “The Old One” of the book series. The Unicorn Chronicles detail a variety of fantasy and magical creatures combining the human world to non-humans, but considering the series title, unicorns are the prime focus of this fantasy series!
For even more literary unicorns, click here!