Something refreshing about this simile, beginning with the surprising combination of ‘neat’ and ‘fierce’ and then the even more surprising ‘fairy castle’. But indeed, they are neat with their expected enchantments and imagined lineaments and they are fierce with their sharp turrets and towers. Yet the simile only seems to work with those two words together, ‘fierce’ on its own, ‘as fierce as a fairy castle’, would be puzzling.
‘… neat and fierce as a fairy castle.’
Source: Rory Stewart, The Marches: Border Walks with my Father (London: Vintage, 2017), p. 147
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