Price of Magic.

alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca
Tue Sep 28 21:25:16 EDT 1999



Ok.  I apologize if this an awful stretch, and I apologize, too, if it
sounds pompous, but here's my little theory.

If I had to name the "price of magic" in Diana Wynne Jones' books, I'd say
it was understanding--the gaining of knowledge about oneself, about the 
nature of one's gifts and of one's art, and about the world around
oneself.

In "Cart & Cwidder", for instance, Moril must come to understand the way
his cwidder "works", as well as the way he himself functions as a person
and as an artist.  Tanaqui must learn who she is, in terms of her lineage,
as well as to unravel (no pun intended) the tangle of magical forces
ensnarling her world, and to understand the relationship between mortals
and immortals, before she can work magic.  Before he learns the Names,
Mitt has to sit down and understand himself and his future, and learn
which way he's really going.  Cat has to learn what his powers are before
he can *really* use them, and Christopher cannot work magic before he
learns of his relationship with silver. Sophie, too, must understand the
nature of her gift before she can use it *effectively*.  Mordion and
Verrian (thank you so much for the recommendation of Hexwood, Sally!) have
to solve the mystery of the "theta-space" reality they're in before they
can *really* actively transform it.  Polly has to regain lost knowledge
of her own self, her own past, and her own magical misdeed, before she 
can attempt to rescue Tom.... and so on.  I'd say all DWJ characters
have to solve a mystery, which is at least in part about their own 
selves, before they can complete their "heroic"/magical tasks.

Alexandra




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