price of magic

Nat Case hedberg at vermontel.net
Wed Sep 29 13:20:19 EDT 1999


I think this is restating what has been said before, but tell me if this
makes sense:

I think the idea of a "price of magic" is perhaps a red-herring
simplification, like a mechanistic idea of sin. Magic in any complex system
may have an apparent cause-and-effect price, but the underlying reason for
it is that creation and transformation in any sense takes time, energy and
stuff. The examples of Cat and Gwendolyn, Laurel and Ivy and all, to me
point more to the need for accepting one's place in a larger
interconnectedness, not as master and focus, but with a sort of humility. 

It's an odd sort of humility, sometimes a "noblesse oblige" as in
Chrestomanci or the Upper Room. I wonder what DWJ's books would look like
written by an American or Icelander (we who are all a bit embarrassed by the
idea of a good king, and tend to get ingrained in us the idea that power
should be invested in "the people"). 

In fact if you think of magic having a price while you're working it, you
are still working on a relatively selfish way: If _I_ pay this, _I_ can do
that. The biggest distinction between, say, Rupert and the thorn-goddess, is
that Rupert is working for something outside himself. Likewise, Ivy's
stuck-ness has to do with being trapped inside "David and men in general
doing things to me," when in fact they're just doing their best in their own
limited ways. Polly's advantage in the battle with Laurel is that she is
capable of deciding _not_ to get what she wants for herself, because in a
real sense she loves Tom, and wants him to live. 

I should go back and reread TIME OF THE GHOST, because in the main character
there, I think we see an example of a real escape from an "ivy-twined" life.
I'll get back to this when I've read it.

Nat Case
Hedberg Maps, Inc.
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