Magic in the Dark Lord (moderate spoilers)

jenne at jenne at
Tue Aug 26 09:13:13 EDT 2003

> Okay. But then why can't the whole thing be done that way? Why do the tours
> need to lay waste real countryside and destroy real cities? Why do armies of
> real people need to be mustered so that they can be really killed? It's made
> quite clear that all this is ruining the DL world, so why don't the magic
> users who live there take the obvious alternative measures?

Well, first of all, there is the issue with the scope of magic. It's
alluded to that Derk, Mara and their children have extremely strong
magic-- and in the sequel, it's made perfectly plain that Derk's family is
immensely stronger than most modern magic users in this world.

Then there is the problem of control. Again it's alluded to but not
specified-- the more illusions one is trying to control doing different
things, the more difficult it gets.

In addition, many or most of the wizards are elsewhere much of the time,
as it is obvious that Mr. Chesney wants the groups to travel a lot, and
each group has to have one wizard. Distance wizardry is clearly not a
strong point in this magical setup.

> One explanation might be that Mr Chesney insists on having the 'real
> thing' - but actually he doesn't. On the one occasion he is consulted about
> it (when Derk proposes to 'ruin' his home village by illusion) it's clear
> he's not bothered: 'Settle it how you want' is his response.

However, that may be his attitude toward petty details but not major ones.
One of the purposes accomplished by the whole thing is the disposal of
prisoners from Mr. Chesney's world and of 'expendables'. With no real
danger, that can't happen.

> The other obvious explanation is that there are limitations on what the
> magic users of this world can achieve using illusion - but if so, they
> aren't really explained, I think. Every time something goes wrong with the
> tours, it seems all to easy to have someone come and bodge it.

I'm not sure what 'bodge' means, but I've always thought it meant
'jury-rigged'. It doesn't work properly and won't hold up, but it diverts
the immediate problem.

>It's true
> that individual magical talents are distributed unequally (Derk is good with
> plants and animals but not with buildings, Blade is good at translocating
> but not much else, etc), but I see no reason why they shouldn't organize and
> pool their resources - it might save everyone in their world a lot of
> trouble.
> Did anyone else find this a problem?


Apparently the Gods did!

Despite all the things I just mentioned, there is an implication in the
end that if the people of Derk's world had just refused instead of going
along, they could have held off Mr. Chesney. They just had to endure a lot
of problems before they got up the gumption to do something about it...
and once they did, the Gods helped them.

-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at
"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."
   - Henry Kissinger

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