Magic in Fantasy Stories: 3 Conditions


A couple weeks ago I watched the movie Wizards and I have been thinking about magic in fantasy stories. Wizards is a marvelous movie– not for the animation which is a little uneven, but rather for the fact that Bakshi took tired fantasy tropes and wrenched them into a new form. I have also been wrestling a fantasy story into shape to send out for submission and this has had me thinking about magic and its place in the fantasy genre. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss magic and the place of magic in fantasy stories with a few people. I propose that stories utilizing magic must have the following three conditions:

1. it has to have a purpose– either as a plot device that the character is going to problem solve around and it will show character or as a metaphor for something like conflict or power;

2. it has to have clearly defined parameters and uses. Magic by its nature is the ability to bend things to the will of the magic user and it can destroy stories because of its omnipotence;

3. there has to be more to the story than the magic. Stories have to be about people– either moving from the internal as in the individual or from the external as a commentary on society but the stories are still about people. Magic can be so golly gee whiz that the story can become far too two dimensional.

I have more thoughts on this. And thoughts on Bond. And pictures from the weekend from making applesauce, peach-raspberry sauce that was supposed to be jam but instead became sauce because it didn’t set up because I have never made jam at high altitude, and fresh minestrone soup. And poetry. And thoughts on technomages. And thoughts on grasshopper demons.

More later. I smell coffee.