One thing a lot of fairy tales and fantasy have in common is magic. That’s why you get wizards and sorcerers and witches cropping up in the stories. But just what do these spell-casters bring to the stories? I propose they add a lot of things to a tale.
Intrigue. First, the characters are intriguing and mysterious. When we read about Merlin or Gandalf, we want to know more. But, we can’t know more. For whatever reason, it seems that there are just some things that must remain a mystery. How are these wizards and sorcerers and witches who they are? There are just some things we, as common humans, wouldn’t understand. As readers, we might get to see the behind-the-scenes action of how and why the wizard does what he does, but to the other characters in the story, he continues to be larger than life. And when it comes down to it, we all need someone or something to look up to.
Wishes come true. Oh, Fairy Godmother, please make all my wishes come true. As Cinderella knows probably all too well, the real world can be a harsh place. Fairy Godmothers and wizards and the like provide a way for the impossible to become possible. They keep our hopes and dreams alive. Even when it appears all hope has been lost. I mean, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother provided a way for her to make it to the Masquerade Ball after all. If Cinderella can get there, maybe we can, too.
Good or evil? Black or white? It seems there is no in between when it comes to those wizards and witches and sorcerers. They’re either good or they’re bad. I’ve never seen in between. It’s either a Good Gandalf or a Dark Lord. Even the magic they use implies which side they adhere to. “White” magic or “Black” magic? There is no gray magic, although (hee hee) wasn’t Gandalf actually referred to for a time as “Gandalf the Grey”?
Magic. As long as we’re on the subject. Magic seems to be the one element that binds all the wizards and sorcerers and witches together. They all practice using some sort of magic. It separates them from the common folk. Since I love fairy tales, I will go back to my Cinderella example. Her Fairy Godmother is able to make Cinderella’s wishes come true because she knows how to use magic and cast a spell. Wondrous things can happen when the fantastical realm is opened up. And the way to open up that fantastical realm is through the use of magic. And the ones that bring us that magic are the wizards and sorcerers and witches. Oh, my!
But, alas. Magic does have its limitations. The spell cast by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother is broken with the twelfth stroke of midnight when the real world with all of its limitations regains its power.
Yes, magic is very powerful. So powerful that it elevates those wizards and sorcerers and witches who use it up above the common peasants in fantasy and fairy tales. But that does not mean it is absolute. The spells will only last so long. Or they can be broken. Whatever side of magic we are on, we must, in the end, stand back in awe. For when we see a wizard, sorcerer, or witch enter a story, we are inspired by the powerful magic they yield over our common souls.
And finally, I have to add my own personal wizard pic – taken at the McCall, Idaho Winter Festival on Saturday. It was amazing!
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