Price of Magic.

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Sat Sep 25 07:35:59 EDT 1999

I'm probably flying at about 70% comprehension of this discussion, but that
may be about standard for me here, and I can't always let it stop me from
joining in!  On the question of magic having a price, in order to stop the
bad guys from taking over.  Two thoughts here.
First, I'd argue that of course magic must have a price, but no more than
anything valuable in life has a price.  Love (price; vulnerability),
emotional maturity (price; can't blame all your troubles on
circumstances/other people - WAAH!) creativity (price; heck, I don't know!
No seriously, I'd assume hard work and a requirement to honour that
But I think this has precisely nothing to do with a need to stop the bad
mages from taking over.  In Card's concept of the price of magic (as I
understood it, Melissa), the good mages, with their respect for life, would
be unwilling to use any of their power.  How could you justify forcing
another to pay the price for you, unless you were bad?  This brings us
round to Laurel.  She's the perfect example of a "bad mage" forcing others
to pay the price.  But yet she does also exemplify the other point of view
- the idea that the price is to ourselves, as the cost for having anything
we want.  Remember the thread about Laurel being threatened by creativity,
by change, being punished enough by being the "undying Laurel", being
unlikely to take up gardening? (Was that you, Elise?  That little idea
keeps popping up in my head with the ring of perfection!)  She's given up
so much that is of value in being human without even being aware of it.
Who would *want* to pay that price?

This brings me on to an idea I've been tossing around for a while, which is
related, though perhaps not directly.  That is, the price of not accepting
magic (to stick with our analogy).  This was obvious when we were talking
about Sophie in H'sMC, but I got to thinking about it in relation to Ivy as
well.  I had always read Ivy as one of those people who caused all her own
problems, by being completely self-absorbed, and refusing to accept
responsibility for her own actions.
I still do consider her that way, but a slight shift of perception
presented me with the possibility that Ivy could be seen as having a ghost
of Tom's or Polly's gift.  But so warped by years of shifting blame that
it's become completely destructive, and has come to seem only
self-defeatism at its most obvious.   Like the whole thing with David and
Tom.  Ivy feels that David is not trustworthy with regard to Polly, and
doesn't believe that the packages Polly is getting are from Tom.  This is
completely symptomatic of the neurotically jealous person she is, but also,
by the time Polly's been tricked by Laurel, it is *true* in a way.  Polly
realizes that David was extremely dodgy, and Tom has, indeed, become the
"Mr. Nobody" Ivy dismissed him as.
Now I grant that this is pretty unprovable, and may seem deeply irrelevant
to many people anyway, but I have to say that I take some pleasure in this
To relate it to Sophie again, it's as of we're seeing her gone wrong -
through a lifetime of telling herself everything's all the fault of her
being the eldest.  In fact, that weed-killer Sophie made (loved that bit!)
rather suggests Ivy's attitude to life!

If you think this is all rubbish, please go easy on me.  I shed (emotional)
blood very easily indeed!

hallieod at

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