Reading this question reminded me of a scene in the Artemis Fowl series. In the third book, The Eternity Code, Juliet gets Holly able to enter a facility this way:

She [Holly] had got permission to enter the facility minutes earlier when Juliet had called to enquire about the public tours. Juliet had put on her best cutesy voice for the security guide.

'Hey mister, is it OK if I bring my invisible friend?'

'Sure it is, honey,' replied the guide. 'Bring your security blanket too, if it makes you happy.'

[reminder if needed: fairies can't enter a human dwelling unless invited. Whether the rule applies to dwellings or buildings is kind of debatable since this instance takes place at a lab or a facility (not a house), if my memory serves me, but let's assume for this question that it was a building which needed permission to access.]

I can see how the "security guide" has some kind of authority over the place (being a guide and all), but what would happen if someone else came along and said "No, you can't, shoo!" ? Would the previous statement from the guide be revoked?

On a bigger scale, what if the "rightful owner" of the place stated once that "no, no fairies can enter this building. Ever. And that is my final word and it should not be able to be overriden by any minion of mine." ? Would the guide not have been able to allow access in the first place (even if not knowingly)?

It's been some years since I read the books and I couldn't remember such an instance in what I read. I don't think I ever read an interview of Eoin Colfer. In the end, my question boils down to: who gets the last, irrefutable word about who can or can't enter?

  • You have accepted Kevin's answer, which is probably the correct answer, but I say that Kevin's point 3 is very weak. Kevin doesn't understand that a child with a guardian can be the legal owner of a property, because he doesn't understand that the legal ownership of property and the legal authority to make financial decisions about that property are separated when the owner is not legally competent. Thus the magic rules could have recognized Artemis as the legal owner, and his mother as his agent, so that either could have invited or forbid fairies. Maybe also Butler. Jun 25, 2018 at 21:01
  • @M.A.Golding I agree with you on the point of "A child can own something, even a manor", but I chose to look at point 3 with the premise of "Invitations have nothing to do with human concepts of ownership". Indeed, any hillbilly could have invited them into Fowl Manor (which is why they try it with the troll); the hillbilly in this case just happens to be Butler.
    – Jenayah
    Jun 25, 2018 at 21:06
  • Is it possible there's a mistake in this line of your quote: Juliet had put on her best cutesy voice for the security guide.? My book has "tour guide" – do you have a different version, or did you perhaps type the wrong word?
    – Alex
    Aug 31, 2018 at 5:55
  • @Alex quote snatched on the Google book version
    – Jenayah
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:19
  • @Jenayah Okay... rather strange that that one word would be changed between editions.
    – Alex
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:26

2 Answers 2


Invitations have nothing to do with human concepts of ownership, and are always subject to explicit cancellation or reinstatement.

In the first book alone, we have a number of interesting examples of this principle:

  1. A child invites Holly to the restaurant where she fends off the troll by calling for help. The child is presumably a patron of the establishment and not in any way an owner.
  2. Artemis says the following to Root, which is regarded as binding:

    None of your race has permission to enter here while I am alive.

    Artemis does not own Fowl Manor. Ownership is probably vested in his mother since his father is missing and presumed dead, but it would certainly not be vested in a 12 year old child. At this point, Artemis is living under the legal fiction that his mother is competent to serve as his legal guardian. There is no reasonable situation in which he obtains the title to Fowl Manor without drawing a great deal of unwanted attention from the Irish authorities.

  3. Later, the fairies send in a troll with the purpose of securing an invitation. Butler does not give them this invitation, but the text clearly implies that he could've. Not only does Butler not own Fowl Manor, he is not even in the Fowl family.

From the above, we can reasonably surmise that the "last word" is literally the last person to give the fairies an invitation or to explicitly revoke the same. If Artemis had been able to make (2) irreversible, he would have done so. Then the fairies would not have bothered with (3), instead moving directly to the bio-bomb.

However, invitation may require that the human is actually present in the dwelling in question, because otherwise Juliet would have simply invited Holly herself without needing to call anyone.

  • It seems this way, but might there not be a little more to it? Otherwise, why wouldn't fairies use an allied (or mesmerized) human to break into a dwelling then invite them in?
    – Adamant
    Jun 24, 2018 at 8:42
  • Interesting finds! :D Adamant's makes a point though, this "super restrictive rule" seems to have it's share of workarounds of you fiddle a bit. Any material on that? :)
    – Jenayah
    Jun 24, 2018 at 9:04
  • Holly does try to use the Mesmer to break out, with mixed results.
    – Kevin
    Jun 24, 2018 at 15:49
  • 1
    @M.A.Golding: Artemis Fowl does not take place in the 4th century AD, so I'm unsure what point you are trying to make. I'm not saying that Artemis cannot own property of any kind, I'm saying that he is highly unlikely to own such a valuable piece of real estate while his mother is still alive and ostensibly acting as his legal guardian. It would be absurd to turn over title to a 12 year old under those circumstances. If somehow it bypassed his mother (which is unlikely), it would be in a trust. He would not own the land in fee simple absolute.
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2018 at 3:36
  • 1
    Continued So Artemis fowl could have been the sole or part owner of Fowl Manor as a minor, but if he was his mother as his guardian would have been legally required to make important financial decisions about Fowl Manor for him until his majority. Just as when Shapor I was a minor he was the reigning King of Kings and the legal owner of his palaces and estates, but his regents and guardians made political and financial decisions for him until he reached his majority. Continued Jun 25, 2018 at 20:36

I don't think that there is any such conflicts in the actual book, however I would assume that the rule would apply to the person who is in control of the dwelling, at the current time.

For example, the phrase on the question: "no, no fairies can enter this building. Ever. And that is my final word and it should not be able to be overriden by any minion of mine." Would apply as long as they own said building, and after they pass along ownership, the next owner can refute that rule. An interesting loophole there could be that once a "minion" gains the rightful ownership, he would no longer be a subordinate to the original person and could cancel it.

  • It's a bit of a speculation, and Kevin did find instances of "non-owner" people granting access to fairies. But thanks for taking the time to think about it :)
    – Jenayah
    Jun 25, 2018 at 17:48

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