Welcome to the third installment of my World Building Series of posts -- The Rules of Majick.
There have been many fantasy books out there that include their own majickal system--rules, principles, limitations, et cetera--that govern the usage of majick and its consequences... and each with unique answers to specific questions their authors were forced to ask in order to set the basic building blocks for the systems.
Some books that come to mind, just to name a few, are J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (of course), Larry Niven's Warlock series, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series. In the first and third series, the majick is driven by language: Harry Potter by a Latinesque (if only that were a real word) language--specific words spoken to evoke specific purpose (Rowling also requires the use of a wand or staff in order to produce the spells); and in Earthsea, Le Guin uses the concept of an original, primordial language by which the creators of the world originally named things. People who learn these names are able to control the things named, an ability shared by both the wizards who study the language, and the dragons whose native tongue it is. And in the second series mentioned above, the majick is derived from mana--an exhaustible resource in the environment surrounding the caster which can be depleted.
In creating the majickal system for my first series, The Chronicles of Aesiranyn, I asked myself question after question in order to narrow down how my characters would use and manipulate majick and also what the results and consequences of that usage would be. Like Rowling and Le Guin, I decided to use language (perhaps for the mere fact that I am a self-confessed linguaphile). I also, like Rowling, decided to require a wand or staff in order to produce a spell (more on that later), and like in Earthsea, the spells are derived from an Ancient (even protected) language that must be learned in order to produce the proper spells. There are limitations (as there should be), though if the character is a member of the Imperial family, then their limitations are less--and even more so if they are the ruler because their majick is derived from the throne upon which they [figuratively] sit.
My majick system is simple, yet it is complex in all of its different parts. It is elemental majick, of sorts, and it is also broken down into general color categories and then more specific types within the category. As I mentioned before, the majick in Aesiranyn requires a wand or staff, which is crafted by a wandmaker. The intended recipient of the wand/staff must make a blood sacrifice, and then the majick within his/her blood chooses elements, which also hold their own majickal properties. Aside from wands being required, there are other specific spells as well that require other majickal artifacts in order for them to work. I've probably given away too much... but hopefully it was a teaser for the future readers of the books! :)
The greatest advantage a writer can have is to know their own world inside and out (without overbuilding, of course), and in order to do that, they must constantly ask questions before beginning to write their stories--and just as importantly, while they are writing it!
Below is a link to the list of questions I asked myself (a page that will remain a permanent resource on this blog), which I am offering to all of you in your own quests for the ever-illusive realm of majick.
As always... any Comments, Feedback, and Questions are Welcomed, Needed, and Encouraged!
Good Luck in this and all of your quests,