Price of Magic.

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sun Sep 26 22:51:06 EDT 1999

On Sat, 25 Sep 1999 12:35:59 +0100, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

>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?

Because you don't have to kill someone to use the magic of their blood.
It's the shedding of blood that counts, not the death.  I think the premise
was that you got more power from higher-order creatures (like humans or
larger animals) and the amount of power also varied according to how much
you took.  Good mages can shed their own blood to make use of magic (or
maybe set up some kind of blood bank; donate a pint, get your acne cured).
Evil mages get *more* power because they're willing to actually kill others
in the pursuit of power, where a good mage would only be able to access that
level of power by killing themselves.

I mention this only as an illustration of limitations on power.  Scott Card
has a lot of opinions about magic that I don't agree with or even find
appealing, but the idea of magic having a heavy physical price of some kind
(whether physical exhaustion, or illness, or death) is common in a lot of
fantasy.  Most of it is HIGH fantasy--but more on that later.

>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.

I think this is very insightful!

Melissa Proffitt
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