Some of the panelists got off talking about the theory that the fairies are dwindled gods. It turns on the notion that gods are great and impressive, and the genius loci often was no more powerful than the Good Folk. (Also, while this was indeed a folkloric theory of the Victorian ear, the
evidence is not strong. The invasions theorized behind it were less well supported than they thought, too. And it's not really relevant to how the Good Folk appear to us today as a trope. None of which was brought up, but it did segue to more current topics.)
The vampires have been moving into the regions the fairies moved out of, the extremely dangerous and sexy lover, as the fairies moved into more innocuous regions. Then vampires were once human, and so were werewolves and many other creatures. Fairies are, however, always and forever fairies, and always have been. Someone brught up Seanan McGuire's October Daye books, where the heroine is half-fairy, half-human. It gives her a tension there that the inherently fairy don't have, caught between two worlds.
Some discussion of the cutsie flower fairies. One audience member blamed the Victorians, which is not entirely fair. It started earlier. Tolkien blamed Michael Drayton, who did indeed do cute little fairies. And A Midsummer's Night Dream.
The folklore was much darker. Fairies were connected with the dead, or actually were the dead. One panelist thought it was an Irish thing, but there was also Sir Orfeo, which is Orpheus retold as a rescue from Fairyland, which does indeed have the dead in it. And they were assoicated with the witches. People would actually be accused of going to dance with the fairies as part of the witch trials. A Midsummer Night's Dream has Oberon carefully pointing out that they love to hear the curfew -- that is, they do not fear church bells. Shakespeare had good reason to ensure they were carefully marked out as Not Dangerous.
In folklore, Fairyland is often marked out as indescribable. The Good Folk came out to deal with us. Nowadays its much more common to go in and describe.
This panel was a bad influence. It inspired me to reopen two quiscient stories, both taking place in a Fairyland -- different Fairylands.