Price of Magic.

Sally Odgers sodgers at hotnet.net.au
Sat Sep 25 00:29:55 EDT 1999


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> >it adds checks to the story and the character, but in reality "magic"
> >should be a creative process like, say, painting, writing or sculpting.
 
> Okay, but why "should"?  


In "should" I'm following my own line of reasoning, Melissa. If magic is a
natural talent in some people, and can be developed or left latent (with me
so far?) tehn the chances are very good that it belongs to the general well
of creativity. I think we probably all know on some level that creation,
whether it's writing or painting, springs from the same well. The creator
(artist if you like) takes reality, moulds it and changes it. So a story -
or a painting - is reality + imagination + interpretation.
That's why I said "should".

>Based on what aspect of magic?  

I'm basing on creation magic, affecting or changing reality, bringing
things from the where to the here. 

> See, I'm with Sally in thinking that making people pay a price of some
kind
> to keep them from being frivolous about magic isn't really a valid
purpose.

There would also be a good argument for magic having more than one purpose
"fun" magic would equate to a quick pencil sketch to amuse a child, or a
little bedtime story made up on the spur of the moment. No blood, no
strain, just fun.

> If you could be sure that all your mages were honorable and ethical
people,
> you wouldn't need those sorts of arbitrary checks.  But I think the
general
> consensus is that magic itself is amoral.  It's neither good nor evil. 
It's
> the people who use magic that turn it to one purpose or another--and
that's
> why those restrictions are important, because there's always some
character
> who will turn magic to evil.

Right! But so is most creation amoral! Writers can twist reality and let
the bad guys win and make readers admire them for winning. That's not a
good purpose if carried to excess. Painters can paint scenes that give
children nightmares or bring on migraine in the susceptible. And (sigh)
they're often hailed as "great" for doing it while the person whose
pictures of flowers or landscapes or unicorns bring real joy and serenity
is written off as "weak and pretty". 

 > Anyway, suppose that magic did work exactly like artistic creativity (I
> really find this idea fascinating!).  Imagine this in terms of a story:
what
> shape would evil take?  And how would good oppose evil in those
> circumstances?  General question here...

Evil would have to take the shape of the creation of miseries, and good
would oppose it be creating something to combat it. Good could not create
(say) endless food, because that would deprive characters of the virtue and
satisfaction of work and result in a loss of health and purpose. The way I
see it, magical creation should be a gradual process, a suggesting, that
persuades something to go along its natural bent, but lets it realise its
potential. DWJ manages this perfectly in DEEP SECRET in the scene where
Rupert "grows" the railing that has imprisoned his car.
In the same way, evil magic would take the path of crushing things, warping
them and turning them away from their potential. 

> > And
> >as you "pay out" with these, so you get "pay in" from your
surroundings...
> >it's tiring, being creative, but the pay in - pay out is really like an
> >endless chain or pumping system. And how does the magic "re-charge", if
not
> >in this same pay in - pay out system?

This pay-in - pay-out doesn't mean magic isn't tiring, but that it's no
*more* tiring than other forms of creation. 

Then there's the idea that wholesale creation (say conjuring six oranges
from thin air) means someone, somewhere, is lacking six oranges. My form of
creation magic though, lies in persuading a stunted orange tree that it's
really beautiful and well and of *course* it can make oranges... and
quickly, too!

As for the powerful mages being the most dangerous, look at the high-flier
authors, artists and actors. Look at the high incidence of alcoholism,
depression and suicide. They're not "paying" for their creativity, but
they've let it get the upper hand. A bit like the demon and the witch of
the waste. 

If you're a Christian, you can look at it in the same general way. Thank
God for your talent, and make the best use of it you can. Don't use it to
cause misery, or it will turn on you. Not because God is hitting back at
you, but because your own subconscious thinks you deserve a whack. 

Aha! shedding blood is plagiarism!!!!!
Sallyo.
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