In 2020 Netflix released Fate: The Winx Saga, a live-action teen drama series based on the Nickelodeon animated series Winx Club. The series follows a young fairy named Bloom who enrolls in a boarding school in the Otherworld called Alfea College.
One of the key parts of Bloom’s backstory is that she was raised amongst humans with no knowledge of the fairy world. When she begins to attend school she is convinced that her powerful fire magic abilities have come from a lineage several generations removed from fairy ancestors. But it’s clear that with the impressive power she wields she is more likely a Changeling.
What is a Changeling?
In the Winx universe, a Changeling is a name given to a fairy child who has been switched with a human baby at birth. The fairies would abduct the human child, leaving in place one of their own.
While this may seem like a completely made-up practice for the show, Changelings have their roots in European folklore. Fairies, at one point, were blamed when a child had fallen been born ill, or with deformities. According to these stories from folklore, people would attempt a range of rituals or wild practices with the goal of casting out the fairy from within their child.
As explained by one of the show’s other main characters Aisha, the practice of making Changelings out of fairy children is not commonly practiced in the world of Winx and considered to be barbaric.
In the show, there isn’t really any backstory given as to why fairies would choose to abduct human children and leave Changelings in the first place. But in folklore, many believed that the human child was taken to be raised a servant, or simply to enact revenge on the parents of the child.
Maybe we will get some more information in the upcoming seasons of Fate: The Winx Saga but for now, thankfully, it doesn’t look like the show will be adapting the gruesome truth of these children of folklore.