Sunday, June 1, 2014

10 Rules for Magic

No, not Magic the card game.  I'm talking about magic,  and not magic tricks.  Magic.  Conjuring, spells, enchantments, all of it. For the purposes of this entry we will call it Magic.  Oh, ok Mark, this is one of your flights of fancy blogs that nobody really reads.  To you I say NAY!  This is a serious treatment of Magic that nobody reads.  The thing is we want to believe in magic, just look at our movies.  Constantly portraying creatures and elements that simply do not exist.  They are magic.  But I've come to realize that Magic seems to have some rules associated with it.  Movies have told us what they are.  That's what I'm going to cover.

10. Magic is Ancient  -  So the first thing you notice with magic is that it is always really old.  Older than everything around you.  So old that everyone forgot it.  I have a little tip.  If magic could really do what people claim it can do, NOBODY would forget it.  As it is, it is so old that nobody remembers it, but it's still there, lurking... like that old can of olives in the back of the fridge.

9. Magic regularly mocks science - In a movie where magic is used a lot, the wizard or warlock or enchanter  will have some kind of a small soliloquy about how man and his science are no match for the power of magic.  They proceed to recount the history of their particular magic and how it's power has been growing all these years.  This is usually the bad guy, but not always. This is usually accented with some kind of a trivial show of power, like instant lightning, which is actually electricity and not magic.

8. Nobody is impervious to Magic - Even Superman has no answer to magic.  The BEST you can hope for is protection from magic.  That of course requires magic.  Often it's the knowledge of magic that makes you even more susceptible.  Look at Merlin.

7.  Magic doesn't work all the time. - Magic is worse than an old junk car.  You never know when it's going to work.  It has the nasty habit of not working when you need it most.  Magic is kind of like that flaky friend that is more interested in what you can do for him than the reverse.  Once you start asking magic to pay for it's share of the pizza, poofmagic disappears.

6.  Magic is understood by a few - Oh cryptic magic.  Unbelievers in the movies when confronted with magic will start making unreasonable demands of magic.  They are like people that don't understand computers, making requests of techies.
'Can you print a car with a computer?'
'Yeah, maybe'
'Well, print me a Porche!'
'Maybe you CAN print a Porche, but it won't work right and it will be even more expensive than a real Porche.'
The ultimate replay is 'So what good are computers then?'
Same with magic.
'Can't you just zap the bad guy into an alternate universe or something?'
'No, there isn't enough power to do that and it wouldn't be permanent'
The reply is usually the same: 'Well, what good is magic then?'

5.  Everything can have Magic -  Rings and sticks (wands) are Magic's objects of choice, but swords and daggers come into play as well.  Since it's magic, Grandma's old toilet plunger might have been enchanted, why not?  I can think of cases where I would have really appreciated an enchanted toilet plunger.  Lets just say someone ate something cursed.

4.  Magic defines its own limits - Magic is not infinite, but it is rarely defined on the outset.  ANY magic in the movies has to be defined at least as far as the movie needs it to be, but early on enough that the audience knows the limitations.  You can't spring magic's limitations on people at the end of the movie like a 4 year old cheating at Go Fish.  It usually comes in the beginning of the story when the wizened old man mentions that the magic is foolproof unless you are ______ .  Where the blank is something that magic doesn't like.  Touching rubber, not being a virgin, just ate prunes.  Who knows?  Magic is fickle like that and it's not for you to question.

3.  Magic is very picky - as mentioned earlier, magic defines it's own limits it also can have some very odd requirements.  This is evidenced by a witches brew.  Exacting measurements and prescribed methods are required or the spell will go bad.  If you ever watched Bewitched, you knew this.  Eye of newt, but it had to be fresh.  Wing of Bat.  Hair of some rare butterfly.  Don't try to get the knock off ingredients like tapioca for newt eye.  Not only will the magic not work as intended, but it will probably give you a potion that grows hair on your back instead of your head.

2.  Magic is both good and evil - Magic is just a tool.  Not any different than science in the regard that it can be used for good or evil.  Rarely will you ever find magic being different on the good side than on the bad, just how people used it.  In Star Wars' case, the force seemed to be good or evil, depending on the way that you used it's energy in tune with your emotions.

1.  Magic is a Technology - When you get down to it, you look at all the ingredients and all magic is, is unverifiable science.  Sure, you might be tapping into the nether world for a power source.  Maybe you have to summon cosmic forces nobody understands to get your stereo to play, but in the end, it's no different than getting the specific kind of cable and power supply to get your optical drive to spin up.  Probably the biggest difference is that technology doesn't usually need a rhyme to get going.

Well, this chapter was far from magical, but hopefully you got through it all without feeling cursed.  A fortnight awaits!  See you then.

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