author C.C.Cole's blog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On White Magic

With the ongoing popularity of “The White Queen” I’ve noticed in Phillipa Gregory’s writing and in the cable series something I don’t often see as a fantasy fanatic:  White magic. 

Most of the time, magic is something dark, like “Game of Thrones” blood magic that traded the life of Daenerys Targaryen’s son for the birth of her dragons.  Harry Potter faced “Dark wizards” like Voldemort, willing to split his soul to become immortal.  We can name countless of villains and heroes using dark sources for power; hence part of the label “Dark Fantasy.”

What about powerful good people?  Harry Potter definitely showed us that the good guys weren’t mushrooms in the finale.  They could still stop evil keeping within the boundaries of “forgivable” magic.  (Gee whiz..)  I still love the part when Bellatrix met her end by Mrs. Weasley. 

"Krull" The Widow of the Web
My favorite fantasy example of “white magic” is the old film “Krull,” not so bad in originality of the villain, but too “game-like.”  The good guy wizard gave me pain in his twit example of power and spells on little cards.  But “the widow of the web” clearly showed the audience of an example of how extreme white magic can be.  She killed her infant because her man left them to feed her rage, so she paid by an infinite curse in a white cell, a white web, and a white spider, growing old, and in the end, choosing her death for a noble purpose.  

"The White Queen"  "The Storm"
“The White Queen” magic was downplayed in the books to me, but for a series it added interest and a touch of fantasy.  The vague curses were the most dangerous, as they rippled through time and led to the always-unintended consequences when one wields great power; being a storm, fog, rain, or the deaths of first born sons.

I like seeing how writers use “white magic” since it tends to be more of a challenge to write.  Evil is easy, magic is easy, keeping magic noble is skill.

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