In The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries, Queen Maeve is depicted as a dark and mysterious figure. Who was this faerie queen?
Mab, Mebd, Maeve, even Titania: The faerie queen goes by many names. Unlike the royalty of the Sidhe, Elves, or the Tuatha de Danann, there is little debate as to the identity of the Queen of Faeries. Though her name and other aspects of her person may change, the Queen of the Faeries is almost unanimously agreed to be Queen Maeve.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about her is that this faerie may actually have been based on an historical figure. There was a "Warrior Queen of Connacht" named Maeve in the Ulster Cycle of Irish legend ("Medb," 2018). Depending on which version of the legends one reads, she was either human, fae, or a little of both.
The Maeve of history took on the crown after her father, who was the King of Connacht before becoming High King of Ireland (Medb, n.d.). This means she was a queen in her own right, not through her husband. And speaking of husbands - she had several.
Her first husband, Conchobar Mac Nessa, has his own legends associated with him. However, she wasn't happy with the marriage and left him after the birth of their son. She went on to marry four other men and to have several children. Fun fact: She named (and renamed in some cases) all of her sons Maine, since she really wanted to kill Conchobar and a soothsayer foresaw that a person named Maine was destined to kill him.
Her other marriages were not much more successful. She supposedly led a cattle raid against Ulster to gain a cow superior to her husband, Aillil, in order to show him that she owned all the superior assets in the household (Maeve, n.d.). While she did gain the cow, she lost the man. Ailill eventually left her and the kingdom.
Aside from her husbands, there are also stories about her conflicts with other members of her family. She supposedly was responsible for the death of her sister, though some stories do say this was pure rumor. True or not, legend says her sister's son took his revenge and killed Maeve with a piece of cheese (Medb, n.d.). That's right, he threw a piece of hard cheese at her, hitting her in the head and killing her instantly. It kind of makes a person question the seriousness of the whole tale. It also makes me want to write a cozy mystery in which "death by cheese" is the center of the plot. (I have no plans to actually do that, but it sure sounds interesting.) Her grave supposedly rests in County Sligo, Ireland ("Knocknarea," 2017).
The Maeve in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries is an antagonist and is a fictional character based on the mythological fairy queen. She isn't meant to stay true to myth or historical legends. There are some aspects of the Maeve from myths that are not "cozy," such as her promiscuity and bloodshed, which the character of Maeve in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries doesn't share to the same degree and of which I won't go into detail here. In the books, the character of Maeve is depicted as strong, brave, cunning, and with enough cruelty on her hands to justify her being feared among the faeries in Moss Hill.
Though both the book character and the legendary Maeve have long passed, she will continue to influence the characters of Moss Hill as we learn more about the fictitious Queen Maeve mentioned in Elixirs and Elves. Could Maeve be tied in some way to the mysterious arrival of unseelie faeries in Moss Hill? We'll have to wait for the arrival of Ms. Raven Corvus in Book 5, Potions and Panic to find out.
Irish Queens - Queen Maeve of Connacht. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.expedia.ie/irish-kings-queens/timeline/queen-maeve/
Knocknarea. (2017, June 24). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocknarea
Medb. (2018, December 28). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medb
Medb (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.queenmaeve.org/
Maeve. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bardmythologies.com/maeve/