On Magic, Part 4: The Exhaustening

WARNING– today’s post will contain minor Harry Potter spoilers, not that any of you haven’t read it.

Today’s venture into the process of beating a dead horse so hard in the name of creating entertaining content regards how magic can create conflict. As any writer knows, conflict is an important factor in most novels and stories as we have mentioned somewhat previously in this blog. Conflict in a story always comes down to power of some sort, be it the power that the appeal of a woman has over two rivals in love, a villain having enough money to fund an evil co-operation, and in this case, having stronger magic than everyone else.

In the Harry Potter universe, Lord Voldemort is one of the most powerful magic-wielders because of his dark research and use of horcruxes in order to keep his soul safe and keep him immortal. He’s not necessarily more skilled in a magical duel and his spells might not be stronger than anyone else’s, but his application of magical knowledge makes him more powerful and creates the necessary conflict to make the story interesting. Harry Potter, on the other hand, gets by on a string of lucky breaks and his friends, most of which are more qualified in magic than he is (especially Hermione). Both Voldemort’s raw intelligence/debauchery and Harry’s powers of convenience are exactly what I’m talking about.

Entering another brand of storytelling, tabletop fantasy gaming and fiction of the like often assemble a team of people with different class skills, so only a couple of them are limited to magic. In this instance magic is often too powerful, so a weakness must be incorporated in order to prevent things from getting boring. The most common weakness when it comes to a traditional magic user, be they from the Harry Potter series or the latter example, is a physical weakness. In a dangerous scenario, wearing robes may allow you to concentrate on your spells but they won’t stop a sword from going through your oesophagus. That’s where shield-based magic comes into play, but the individual rules of magic are up to the creator of the story, novel or series.

This draws this series on magic to a (temporary) close. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and learned something other than how comfortable your desk is.


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