Every woman in fantasy wants a unicorn. It’s like girls and horses…just add a horn and a fantasy world.
Guys usually want a dragon.
But, to remain well-rounded and up to speed on fantasy creatures, today we’ll take a deeper look at the difference between a unicorn and a pegasus.
Unicorns were once considered real. They have their own versions in different cultures — the Greek unicorn, the Chinese unicorn (called Ch’i lin), the Japanese unicorn (Kirin or Sin-you), and Vietnamese unicorn lore.
Despite the many times we see a white stallion with a horn in a movie or book, the original depiction of the unicorn (in Greek mythology) was a white, red, and black horse with a goat beard and a boar’s tail. Sometimes it even had the head of a stag. Chinese and Japanese folklore bring even more versatile descriptions to the creature — the body of an antelope or having a lion’s mane. One thing is consistent, though — the unicorns were known for being a great display of color. Whether it came from reflections, their horn, or their hair/fur….stunning colors are a trait.
The symbolism for unicorns rose up later. Here are some interesting characteristics:
- Unicorns can be captured only by a maiden
- It walks so softly, its hooves make no sound (Chinese unicorn lore)
- Their horns have magical healing qualities
- The Sin-you unicorn can distinguish right from wrong, helping judge offenses. (Japanese unicorn lore)
- Unicorns symbolize prosperity and peace
Books with unicorns in them:
- Of the Persecuted, by Angie Brashear (Callie is a war unicorn. She’s so cool!)
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis (Jewel was also a warrior unicorn, King Peter’s steed)
- The Harry Potter Series, by J. K. Rowling
Pegasus isn’t a type of creature, it’s actually the name of the winged white stallion from Greek mythology. Pegasus was born from Poseidon (horse lord) and Medusa (freaky lady with snake hair.) While Pegasus is one specific creature, his name has often been used as a defining term for winged horses in general.
Personally, I’m not bothered by changed uses of mythological creatures. They’ve sprung from myth in the first place so why can’t we add to or change the lore up a bit in modern day. 😉
Defining characteristics of the pegasus:
- It’s a horse that can fly (duh), so it has massive wings
- Pure white in color
- A symbol of wisdom and fame
- In Greek mythology, his role was to bring thunderbolts to Zeus.
Books with pegasi in them:
- Percy Jackson Series, by Rick Riordan
Okay, time to take a vote: unicorn or pegasus?
What are some books that you’ve liked that present the unicorn or pegasus well?