What are Fairborn and Blood Witches in The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself?


Netflix’s latest fantasy-drama series, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is something that we didn’t see coming — it totally caught us by surprise. The series — which was released on October 28, 2022 — is an adaptation of Sally Green’s novel series, Half Bad.

The series sees a young Nathan Byrn as he is caught up in the middle of a long-raging conflict between two groups of witches — the Fairborn Witches, and the Blood Witches. What do these titles mean, however, and are they at all relevant to those that fall within the categories?

What is a Fairborn Witch in The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself?

Netflix’s adaption of the novel series differs slightly from the source material in the terms that are used. In the novel series, good witches are known as “White” witches. In the series, however, Joe Barton has adapted this slightly and instead, they’re known as “Fairborn Witches”.

It’s a clever trick, and the term “Fairborn” has all of the same connotations as “white” and is bound to invoke ideologies of purity and goodness. Like in the novel series, the Fairborn Witches are the morally-correct upstream opposites of the Blood Witches. They rule the majority of the witch world, and are led by the Fairborn Council.

Most witches seen throughout the show of a younger age have one wish: that they become a Fairborn rather than a Blood. It’s a thought that has been enshrined in them since a young age as the conflict between the two warring factions has played out. The most important day for a Fairborn Witch is their “Giving Day”, which happens on their 17th birthday.

On their Giving Day, each witch is given three gifts by their family and must drink their blood to ge their power; if they don’t, they will die. Fairborn gifts can vary wildly. We’ve seen some that can control the elements — such as water, lightning, fire — and some that can cause chaos wherever they go (we’re looking at you, Annalise).

What is a Blood Witch in The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself?

Soul O'Brien, a member of the Fairborn Council who becomes a Blood Witch (Credit:Teddy Cavendish)
Soul O’Brien, a member of the Fairborn Council who becomes a Blood Witch (Credit:Teddy Cavendish)

Blood Witches, like their namesake, are the antithesis to Fairborn Witches and go against everything they believe in. Blood Witches live a bit more frivolously than Fairborn Witches and don’t follow the same rules — they’ve been on the run from the Fairborn Witches for years, though, causing their exile to Europe.

Blood Witches are arguably more powerful than Fairborn Witches and their powers seem to be a bit more useful. Blood Witches have the ability to heal faster than Fairborn Witches which gives them an upper hand in combat.

One unique gift that some Blood Witches possess, however, is the ability to absorb the powers of other witches by eating their hearts. This allows them to pass on their abilites through the generations and ensures that dead witches are not forgotten. Some Blood Witches that we’ve seen (such as Marcus, and later Soul O’Brien) have absorbed the abilities of hundreds of witches over the years and are able to utilise their abilities independently.

Nonetheless, Blood Witches are still bound by the same mythology as the Fairborn Witches and must drink the blood of their ancestors to ensure that they recieve their abilites. Without this, they too will also die a horrific and painful death shortly after their 17th birthday.

The Bastard Son & the Devil Himself is out on Netflix now.

Written by Luke Rigby

Luke has been writing television and movie recaps for years. He enjoys writing about CW shows in particular and media released on demand rather than on live TV. He is from the UK, so coverage is iffy.

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