Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Hello October // Brianna hates magic #2 - What is Magic?

What is magic? I mean I know what magic is but in the context of books it seems to me that it can be quite a broad spectrum. So obviously you have books like Harry Potter, Poison Study and Wizards First Rule, which are obviously magic, but then for me it all gets a little blurry and questionable.

Even books which do clearly contain magic like Lord of the Rings and Eragon leave me questioning whether they are ‘magic’ books, probably because I view them as being primarily fantasy books, but are they also magic books, for that matter is all fantasy magic?

Fantasy itself covers I wide range of books and styles so if all fantasy is magic then magic covers a huge range, even fantasy that doesn’t seem like it has magic like Game of Thrones has magical elements. And while on the subject of magical elements what about things like Morganville, I mean the house is... something… but is it magical, I mean it does stock up an empty fridge with cokes, and even getting down to the basics of it, are Vampires themselves magic? Is any book involving vampires or werewolves ‘magic’?

Once we’ve started questioning whether Vampires and Werewolves are magic, where does that leave Gods? Are Gods magic? Because there are things that happen in Percy Jackson that definitely fall under a description of magical, but he is a demi god so is it still magic. And once you question Gods then you have to question Angels and Demons; Hush, Hush definitely has some magical elements but does the fact that they are Angels negate the magic? The Demon Trappers series has all three, angels, demons and magic and until this moment I’d never really stopped to think that the series includes magic, I guess I was too preoccupied with the demons. (Although that’s not saying much I forgot that poison study was about magic!)

And where do you stop after Vampires, Werewolves, God and Angels and Demons? Shapeshifters? Ghosts? Elves? Dragons? Premonitions? The Grim Reaper? Talking Lion’s and Fauns? At least we are certain that Witches, Mages and Fairies are magic… right?

The other alternative for Vampires and Werewolves is science. A lot of vampire books these days do make it sound more like science, Morganville especially makes it more biology and physics based (although maybe that’s all magic is in everything). Morganville does a good job of explaining the magic off as science, the portals, the control over the borders of the town, but even with all that Science just falls a little short of explaining it all; I mean the house for starters has a mind of its own and responds to the people inside, including saving both Michael and Clare, and throwing out unwanted guests and again, it stocked the fridge; Then there is Ada who is kind of science but at the same time, maybe not entirely and also the mental powers of the vampires, not to mention the existence of vampires in the first place.
I can’t talk about whether it is science or magic without bringing up the His Dark Materials trilogy Personally I always considered them science, until I saw it on a list of magic books on Goodreads, the daemons, the knife that can cut windows into different worlds, yup that all sounds pretty much like magic, but at the same time when I read them it just didn’t feel like magic to me.  

Maybe the definition of whether something is magic is all up to the way it’s perceived when read which could explain why I don’t like magic yet love magic books, so long as the magic blends into the world of the book and blurs the line between science and magic then I’m fine with it. What if the characters in the books see magic, when it’s really science we know it’s science but they don’t because it’s nothing they’ve ever seen before? I’m never quite sure if the magic in White Wolf and The Swords of Night and Day is supposed to be technology left over from a previous civilisation or if it really is magic.

I suppose either is possible and ultimately like most things in books, a lot is up the author but I think much more is up to the person reading it and how they imagine the book and it’s world to be like, after all my Grandma refers to Google as ‘my magic screen’ – to me it’s the internet easily explained as technology made of 1’s and 0’s (yeah… I have no idea how it works), to her it’s ‘magic’ – maybe magic is just what we call stuff that is so far beyond our understanding we can’t even begin to work it out.

P.s. What about Sci-fi… could it be magic too...?

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