Saturday, March 24, 2012


"Speaking of wishes, you know what I never understood? Genies! They tell you to wish for anything you want, and then they add some terrible twist. Like you wish to jump high so he turns you into a frog. What? Why? Who gains from this? The genie? Where's the benefit? You should be fighting genies, man, not me. I'm not the problem. Genies. Genies are the problem." --Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb.

According to Arabian mythology, God created the angels out of light, humans out of earth, and the jinn out of fire. Jinn live a very long time, can travel great distances quickly, and can appear in many forms, ranging from terrible to beautiful. The Jinn are divided into five classes, based on their powers. The lowest class are the Jann, who have little power beyond transforming into animals. The next class are the Jinn, who give their name to the whole species and are the most common kind. The middle class are the Sheitan, who are evil jinn. The next class are the Afrits, powerful evil jinn dwelling in abandoned buildings. The most powerful class are the Marids, who are also evil and live in watery places like lakes or wells. The word genie as a name for these creatures came through a French translation for jinn, based on a similarity in sound and nature to the Latin word genius, meaning a local or guardian spirit.


AlanDP said...

So where do the blondes with bare midriffs fit in?

But seriously, is that 3rd one from the top a Hildebrandt? It looks like their style, to me.

Brer said...

That picture is by Peter Ferguson, who does many book covers for young adult fantasy.

And the Jinn do fall in love with mortals, have mated with them, and produced magically gifted offspring, just like the Fairies in England and the Kitsune in Japan.

Babel said...

Jeannie from "I Dream of Jeannie" is the only female genie I can think of. Know of any others?

Babel said...

I was listening to a conversation at work the other day about the ills that seem to befall winners of large lotteries and I thought about this post. All these perverse twists Genies pull on people seem to be illustrations of the old maxim, "Be careful what you wish for". The lottery anecdotes of today sort of continue the tradition. Who among us, though, doesn't think, "Ah, but I'd like a shot! Surely I could pull it off okay, or have fun trying!"

Brer said...

Just the other day they were re-running the "Family Guy" episode where Peter wins the lottery and promptly trouble starts.

Kameron asked me, "Is the money making him evil?"

I said, "No. He's exactly the same as he always was, but now he has power to impose his jackholery on others. You show what you're like when you can do what you like."

Nathan said...

I don't think it's that the genie directly benefits from screwing over someone who makes a non-specific wish, but rather that it wants to give a general sense that humans shouldn't mess with it.

As for female genies, I think there was one in an episode of the Aladdin cartoon series.