What is magic? This is a question that I have asked myself almost daily for a long time now. Why, you ask, right? I mean, obviously, magic is a supernatural force. But, I am sorry, that is simply not a good enough answer for me.
For instance, take the Novels Eragon and Eldest. In these books (I know, they aren’t the best books in the world, but the magic system is a good one, IHMO), magic is a combination of mental and psychical strength and the knowledge of an ancient language. For instance, if I say “fire” in this language, with the right intention and stuff (saying “fire” is not enough, you actually have to summon the magic to you), then that will happen… fire will come, either it will magically appear on the ground, on your sword, or perhaps your arrow.
In Dungeons and Dragons, the RPG magic comes in four forms. The magic of a wizard, the magic of a sorcerer, the magic of most divine spellcasters (IE paladins, blackguards and clerics) and finally the magic of druids.
Wizards cast spells through a combination of strange words, gestures, and magical components. When all combined, these three things can bring about extremely deadly consequences. However, the amount of work, through memorizations of ancient tomes of dark knowledge (sorry… I can’t help but picture evilness in magic… its how I think) to the consorting of demons (who in my mind, are always evil and untrustworthy).
Sorcerers, however, simply cast their spells through sheer willpower and innate strength. No magically theory, no spell books, gestures or goblin teeth. Just sheer mental willpower. They simply CAN cause fire to come from their hands. Obviously, the power of a sorcerer is must more unrefined and dangerous than that of a wizard. Think of it as the difference between a man who is a genius because he worked really, really, really hard and one is just IS smart. The first man may actually know more than the second, but the second man will still give him a lot of competition.
Divine magic is an entirely different thing, however. Divine magic is, simply put, blessings from the gods. A cleric can heal you because his god wants him to heal him. Same with paladins (and there counterparts, blackguards), usually though, paladins magical powers are much less so than clerics. Druids are extremely similar to divine spellcasters expect in the fact that they draw their powers from nature, which is sorta divine (at least in Dungeons and Dragons).
You see? Two different settings… four different ways to cast spells. All four can bring about the same effects (the healing of wounds, the creation of fire, ice and water) but each are at least somewhat different!
So, my question for a good while now will be the following: What is magic? Now, when I say this, I do not want a generallistic answer. I want your personal preference. How do YOU define magic? Is it a set of rules that can cause devastation? Is it simply runesmithing? Or perhaps alchemy? It is a great deal of different kinds of magic? Is it similar to Warhammer? Or perhaps Eragon? Maybe wizards are more like Gandalf, more like advisors with great power, perhaps? Or are they like Quick Ben of Malazan, a man who tricks gods into doing his will, and at the same time can bring some serious power to bear (hey, he helped kick the butt of the White Crow! (Forget his full name… sorry))?
There are so many possibilities… I want to include all… but if I do so… magic won’t be that cool, just “meh”, ya know?
So… seriously… anyone who reads this, reply, either by commenting in the blog (you know you want to, :P) or by emailing me (if you know my email), heck, you can even write on my wall on Facebook! (yes… for those of you who may not know… I do have facebook (Roy Isaac Johnson)).
Perhaps later I will give an update on my life… another weekend article, perhaps?
Isaac, the masterofweirdness