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DragonMaci
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I have a question. It is mainly an attempt to find out what others think. The question is this: do you think it is okay for a book in the fantasy genre to have magic in it? And if so in what way?

EDIT: Furthermore, could you please say whether or not you are an Objectivist, Objectivist student, or non-Objectivist? I am curious to know how the answers will differ over the three categories.

Edited by DragonMaci
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Hey, I would consider myself a student of Objectivism, but not fully. I see no problem with an author choosing to use magic, it is his choice and it is a significant part of the fantasy genre. I believe that theme,heroes, and romantic elements are more important (one reason a lot of Objectivists like Harry Potter despite the lack of realism). That being said, I am not a huge fan of the genre mainly because I feel it relies too much on irrelevant topics to teveryday life without a theme, or it uses too many aspects of other writers' works (elves, wizards, goblins, and dwarves all seem so similar to Tolkien, but I don't really like him either anyway). In the end though, I believe it is the message of art that is most important rather than specific choices by the author, especially if he is working within a certain genre.

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I have a question. It is mainly an attempt to find out what others think. The question is this: do you think it is okay for a book in the fantasy genre to have magic in it? And if so in what way?

EDIT: Furthermore, could you please say whether or not you are an Objectivist, Objectivist student, or non-Objectivist? I am curious to know how the answers will differ over the three categories.

I consider myself an Objectivist or student of....not sure what level of knowledge or degree of association to ARI is required to get the title...I have read all of Miss Rands work at least once, as well as several books by other objectivist authors. I have attended quite a few lectures and have listened to several taped series. I have also been involved in two different Objectivist discussion groups over the course of several years. Thus far, I do not disagree with the philosophy in any way that I am aware of. So you can catagorize me in whatever way you believe appropriate.

Fantasy books are works of fiction. As such they can have any element in them the author desires. In general, I do not prefer fantasy to romantic realism in books, but will confess quite readily to loving Lord of the Rings. Fantasy often seems to emphasize the heroic, and that alone makes it of interest to me.

Your question seems strange to me an I wonder if you mean something else. How it is used in each book is what will determine what I think about it. It is a metaphysical element. You can just as easily ask what we think of rocks used in novels. What do the rocks represent? What purpose do they serve in the story?

Edited by aequalsa
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Hey, I would consider myself a student of Objectivism, but not fully. I see no problem with an author choosing to use magic, it is his choice and it is a significant part of the fantasy genre. I believe that theme,heroes, and romantic elements are more important (one reason a lot of Objectivists like Harry Potter despite the lack of realism). That being said, I am not a huge fan of the genre mainly because I feel it relies too much on irrelevant topics to teveryday life without a theme, or it uses too many aspects of other writers' works (elves, wizards, goblins, and dwarves all seem so similar to Tolkien, but I don't really like him either anyway). In the end though, I believe it is the message of art that is most important rather than specific choices by the author, especially if he is working within a certain genre.

Well my fantasy is unique in many ways. Also I decided to remove magic from it for realism.

I consider myself an Objectivist or student of....not sure what level of knowledge or degree of association to ARI is required to get the title...I have read all of Miss Rands work at least once, as well as several books by other objectivist authors. I have attended quite a few lectures and have listened to several taped series. I have also been involved in two different Objectivist discussion groups over the course of several years. Thus far, I do not disagree with the philosophy in any way that I am aware of. So you can catagorize me in whatever way you believe appropriate.

It is a shame NZ doesn't get those lectures. As for which you are in, I am not sure. I would have to know you better. Besides, I myself am only a Objectivism student so more importantly, I would have to know Objectivism better.

Fantasy books are works of fiction. As such they can have any element in them the author desires. In general, I do not prefer fantasy to romantic realism in books, but will confess quite readily to loving Lord of the Rings. Fantasy often seems to emphasize the heroic, and that alone makes it of interest to me.

Myself, I don't like Lordof the Rings. The only fantasy I like is The Sword of Truth and my own (well duh!).

Your question seems strange to me an I wonder if you mean something else. How it is used in each book is what will determine what I think about it. It is a metaphysical element. You can just as easily ask what we think of rocks used in novels. What do the rocks represent? What purpose do they serve in the story?

Well the magic I took out of my books was almost more a science than your typical magic. It was subject to all the laws that apply to this world, i.e., gravity, so a flight spell would work the similar as a plane's or bird's flight.

Note: It was taking out my magic that gave me the idea to ask the question.

Edited by DragonMaci
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If I understand your question correctly, you seem to be implying that magic in fantasy novels is an encouragement of mysticism. I think for most fantasy authors, that is obviously not the intention; magic is just a way to posit an imaginary world, to project a "what if" scenario, as in "what if wizards could shoot fireballs from their fingertips" or "what if the gods of ancient civilizations actually existed and interacted with men on a daily basis?" Of course, if the reason for including magic is to convey a message to the effect that man is powerless on his own and must derive his power from the supernatural, then obviously such work should be condemned.

I personally am not a fan of the Fantasy genre, not for any philosophical reasons, but mainly because I find myself unable to relate to the characters and I dread the "fantasy" of living in a world perpetually stuck at the technology level of the middle ages. I do, however, love "soft" science fiction, which is essentially the same as fantasy, just with lasers and hyperdrives substituting for swords and sorcery. For the record, I would also consider myself a "student of Objectivism".

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I consider myself an Objectivist, as I do not disagree with anything considered to be fundamental.

I think magic in a piece of fiction is fine as long as it doesn't constitute "miracles" i.e. an instance where the law of Identity is broken. If it is explained that magic is the result of the identities of the actors involved and follows some sort of rule, I do not see the problem in it. Where it would get fishy even if following that rule would be if you depict a world totally unrecognizable and confusing, not at all related to the earth and the actual universe's laws and identities.

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I have a question. It is mainly an attempt to find out what others think. The question is this: do you think it is okay for a book in the fantasy genre to have magic in it? And if so in what way?

EDIT: Furthermore, could you please say whether or not you are an Objectivist, Objectivist student, or non-Objectivist? I am curious to know how the answers will differ over the three categories.

I'd like to know what you take 'magic' to mean.

In my book, 'magic' may be taken to mean either 'some kind of miracle', or 'some trait of a (fantasy-) world that our universe doesn't have'.

My definition of 'miracle' is something that can't be causally explained.

In our world, Jezus walking on water and multiplying a couple of fishes to feed thousands are miracles; but in other worlds, where other natural laws hold sway, they may not be miracles, but just natural occurances like any other. However, I'd still call these events magical, because they are governed by laws that don't exist in our universe.

But this is all rather stuffy of course. Writers may take 'magic' to mean whatever suits them.

Edited by Shading Inc.
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If I understand your question correctly, you seem to be implying that magic in fantasy novels is an encouragement of mysticism.

Okay, I will admit that i unintentionally implied that, but that isn't what I think. I simply don't want my books to imply mysticism as a part of my personal beliefs.

Of course, if the reason for including magic is to convey a message to the effect that man is powerless on his own and must derive his power from the supernatural, then obviously such work should be condemned.

Indeed. That is why I like Terry Goodkind's use of magic and the use I used to have. With both magic was merely a tool, one that is useless without the use of the human mind. The more powerful the mind of the user the more useful the tool is, just like any other tool.

I personally am not a fan of the Fantasy genre, not for any philosophical reasons, but mainly because I find myself unable to relate to the characters and I dread the "fantasy" of living in a world perpetually stuck at the technology level of the middle ages.

Well, you may be interested to know that the world in my fantasy series openly illustrates the fact that the world is only stagnant because of the fact that reason is too often ignored and that the few who don't ignore it are causing some interesting advancements, advancements that come faster than usual for the genre.

I think magic in a piece of fiction is fine as long as it doesn't constitute "miracles" i.e. an instance where the law of Identity is broken. If it is explained that magic is the result of the identities of the actors involved and follows some sort of rule, I do not see the problem in it.

Well, my dragons, for example, had magic (macis in Draconic) as a part of their Identity, which allowed them to do things other creatures couldn't. However, they don't have magic at all anymore.

Where it would get fishy even if following that rule would be if you depict a world totally unrecognizable and confusing, not at all related to the earth and the actual universe's laws and identities.

As I said laws of Earth, such as gravity, applied in my books equally to spells as anything else. Before i removed magic anyway.

I'd like to know what you take 'magic' to mean.

My magic I mean spells.

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I have a question. It is mainly an attempt to find out what others think. The question is this: do you think it is okay for a book in the fantasy genre to have magic in it? And if so in what way?

The presence/absence of magic in a book has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it's a good book. Now, how the author deals with magic can have some impact. I felt very much that Neal Stephenson's latest books, which were supposed to be historical fiction, contained elements that could not be considered anything other than magic of the first order. It kind of led me to believe that Stephenson is a kook of the first order.

I'd be surprised to read a book that made it into the fantasy genre that didn't contain fantastic elements (how'd it end up in the genre, otherwise?), and "magic" is more or less a catch-all freebie "explanation" for where the fantastic elements come from. Enormous cities float on the air? Magic. People turn into animals? Magic. You could, if you wanted to, come up with another label for how your fantastic elements occur. "Super-science", "magic", "mutation" . . . you might as well say "please disregard the fact that things of this nature don't actually, currently, exist". That's a bit long, though, so having one word is kind of convenient.

P.S. I'm an Objectivist, or at least I think so.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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The presence/absence of magic in a book has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it's a good book. Now, how the author deals with magic can have some impact. I felt very much that Neal Stephenson's latest books, which were supposed to be historical fiction, contained elements that could not be considered anything other than magic of the first order. It kind of led me to believe that Stephenson is a kook of the first order.

I'd be surprised to read a book that made it into the fantasy genre that didn't contain fantastic elements (how'd it end up in the genre, otherwise?), and "magic" is more or less a catch-all freebie "explanation" for where the fantastic elements come from. Enormous cities float on the air? Magic. People turn into animals? Magic. You could, if you wanted to, come up with another label for how your fantastic elements occur. "Super-science", "magic", "mutation" . . . you might as well say "please disregard the fact that things of this nature don't actually, currently, exist". That's a bit long, though, so having one word is kind of convenient.

P.S. I'm an Objectivist, or at least I think so.

Basically, I removed all spells and the like from the book series. So no fireballs, no flying cities, etc. However, that has created some problems, but I am sure i can overcome them with some thought, even if it means changing or removing many of the things I want to do.

Edited by DragonMaci
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Well, the concept of magic as best used as possible would entail it having an identity, and being bounded. Even if one must suspend belief in the mechanism as long as it can't simply be a placeholder for omniscience or omnipotence, then it's fine. But then one wonders why use it as a device at all, since a bounded supercharged human goes through the same sorts of conflicts as a normally bounded human. Same for super hero powers.

I personally think that the fantasy genre, and the super hero craze of comic books are a compensation for the anti-hero mentality of today's culture. Only someone who is "beyond man" could be heroic. Someday, those genres will fall out of favor (except among the young) because depictions of man as hero will be abundant. But I could be wrong about that. still, give me the heroes of AS or TH or Sparrowhawk anyday.

By the way, I used to be a huge SF fan, but never got much into fantasy (other than LOTR or something). I don't read either much anymore.

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Well, the concept of magic as best used as possible would entail it having an identity, and being bounded. Even if one must suspend belief in the mechanism as long as it can't simply be a placeholder for omniscience or omnipotence, then it's fine. But then one wonders why use it as a device at all, since a bounded supercharged human goes through the same sorts of conflicts as a normally bounded human. Same for super hero powers.

The hero may somehow be unique in his powers, and therefore more interesting than any common man would be in his stead.

I personally think that the fantasy genre, and the super hero craze of comic books are a compensation for the anti-hero mentality of today's culture. Only someone who is "beyond man" could be heroic. Someday, those genres will fall out of favor (except among the young) because depictions of man as hero will be abundant. But I could be wrong about that. still, give me the heroes of AS or TH or Sparrowhawk anyday.

It's not like hero's in popular culture are a very modern phenomenon. People have liked to have something to dream about for ages.

Btw, it's not all about having something to dream about. As Nietzsche put it: Um den Helden herum wird Alles zur Tragödie... As in, who doesn't like a good story?

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Well, the concept of magic as best used as possible would entail it having an identity, and being bounded. Even if one must suspend belief in the mechanism as long as it can't simply be a placeholder for omniscience or omnipotence, then it's fine.

Well, the type of magic I used to have fits all of those criteria. It was an means not and ends and it has masive limitsations on it. For example it requires as much energy to do something with magic as with other means.

I personally think that the fantasy genre, and the super hero craze of comic books are a compensation for the anti-hero mentality of today's culture.

Well, both mine and terry Goodkind's fantasy doesn't have that element. Otherwise, you are correct. Fantasy for fantasy's sake is rife with that. However, both me Goodkind don't write fantasy for fantasy's sake. We write fantasy for the sake of a rational message, that message being what man should and can be.

I don't know Goodkind's exact motives for choosing the fantasy genre, but mine are to use the dragons an an accentuation of what man should and can be. By using a non-human species as my illustration of what man should be I can accentuate the image of what man should and can be. Dragons fit better into fantasy, so I chose fantasy.

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I think if you take the approach that magic in your world is something that takes a great deal of effort to master, and does not just come more naturally like in a lot of the really bad fantasy books out there, then that is a good start. If I was to magic in a book (or series of books) I would consider that magic is a highly demanding skill that takes a great deal of study and heirarchial understanding to do properly, much in the same way as say computer programming.

One might have the potential to use magic (and of course in most fantasy worlds, only a rare number of people have this ability), however it is little good unless one realizes that it is not some mystical art that can be used on whim (as seems to be the case in many bad fantasy novels) but more like a special sort of complex technology. to be understood after years of study and then manipulated according to certain rigorous rules (that must be first well understood).

I think that goes a long way towards 1) Helping magic seem a lot more believable as it is still bound somewhat by the familiar basic laws of reality we know (Identity etc) and 2) helps accentuate some of magic-using characters better / worse qualities.

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Basically, I removed all spells and the like from the book series. So no fireballs, no flying cities, etc. However, that has created some problems, but I am sure i can overcome them with some thought, even if it means changing or removing many of the things I want to do.

First, I don't make the whole "Objectivist", "student of Objectivism" distinction. I consider myself both.

Second, if you are going to write fantasy, don't start pre-editing in your mind what you will and will not include based on your desire to achieve "realism". There is no surer way to clam up your subconscious than you standing in the way of what you want to do. If there is one field where you must do what you want to do, it is in fiction writing. Magic and the fantastic are merely tools or props on the stage of your work, there is nothing wrong with bending the metaphysical to highlight your theme. They are like the cowboy hat, saloon, and pistol in a Western; or an alien and a spaceship in science fiction.

Third, let me recommend a most excellent book. It is The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer. In particular Chapter 4: Magic and Religion. Although there are numerous theoretical flaws, he does make a very interesting observation that magic is closer to the modern scientific mind than is religion.

Since the book is part of the public domain, let me give three quotes without attributes.

"The fatal flaw of magic lies not in its general assumption of a sequence of events determined by law, but in its total misconception of the nature of the particualr laws which govern that sequence."

"It is therefore a truism, almost a tautology, to say that all magic is necessarily false and barren; for were it ever to become true and fruitful, it would not longer be magic but science."

"Thus the analogy between the magical and the scientific conceptions of the world is close. In both of them the succession of events is assumed to be perfectly regular and certain, being determined by immutable laws, the operation of which can be forseen and calculated precisely; the elements of caprice, of chance, and of accident are banished from the course of nature."

It is further discussed that religion is in opposition to these two in that it prefers a world where the laws are amendable by persuasion to a higher consciousness.

In this treatment magic can serve as a stand-in for science in a fantasy work. If taken this way, then all of the virtues and even epistemology that you may desire to use are open for dramatization.

PS> I already have a patent on this idea for my own work, so hands off! :thumbsup:

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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The hero may somehow be unique in his powers, and therefore more interesting than any common man would be in his stead.

It's not like hero's in popular culture are a very modern phenomenon. People have liked to have something to dream about for ages.

Btw, it's not all about having something to dream about. As Nietzsche put it: Um den Helden herum wird Alles zur Tragödie... As in, who doesn't like a good story?

If I understand Kendall correctly he means that because right now so few real people are heroes, you have to go out of your way to find them by reading (for example) fantasy novels. When heroic men are widespread in your world, there would be no need to look at fantasy for this anymore, you could just admire someone that actually exists.

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If I understand Kendall correctly he means that because right now so few real people are heroes, you have to go out of your way to find them by reading (for example) fantasy novels. When heroic men are widespread in your world, there would be no need to look at fantasy for this anymore, you could just admire someone that actually exists.

Well, why would you have to look for them in any kind of art then? Since there are so many heroes around, by this reasoning, we'd need no fictional heroes. So would we then, in order for there to be art, expose ourselves to scenes of depravity for aesthetics? Or would there simply be no art? Would the artist simply wither away in this Utopia?

If this is the view. I realize it is not yours, but an interpretation of another's.

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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Well, I'm just saying that if you are already surrounded by heroes on a daily basis you probably don't have as much of a desire to read fictional books about heroes. I'd say it would still be awesome to read a book based on the achievements of a person who actually exists, though.

But the thing Kendall said about heroes is true as far as I can tell from introspection... The more people I know in real life that I greatly admire the less urgent the need is to read about heroes in books, for example. That doesn't mean that artists are no value whatsoever, but I do think there's less demand for the fictional type of heroes.

Edited by Maarten
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I don't know Goodkind's exact motives for choosing the fantasy genre, but mine are to use the dragons an an accentuation of what man should and can be. By using a non-human species as my illustration of what man should be I can accentuate the image of what man should and can be. Dragons fit better into fantasy, so I chose fantasy.

Cool, I'd like to be a dragon! Can you teach me?

If I understand Kendall correctly he means that because right now so few real people are heroes, you have to go out of your way to find them by reading (for example) fantasy novels. When heroic men are widespread in your world, there would be no need to look at fantasy for this anymore, you could just admire someone that actually exists.

I think there're plenty of people to be admired in this world. I don't think a lack of heroes (or at least a lack of admirable people) is a sufficient explanation for the abundance and popularity of heroes in literature (and comics, etc.).

Edited by Shading Inc.
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I think if you take the approach that magic in your world is something that takes a great deal of effort to master, and does not just come more naturally like in a lot of the really bad fantasy books out there, then that is a good start.

Well, as i have discussed with you before, even racial magical talents (such as the draconic abilities) had to be taught or the dragon could never use them.

If I was to magic in a book (or series of books) I would consider that magic is a highly demanding skill that takes a great deal of study and heirarchial understanding to do properly, much in the same way as say computer programming.

Let me put it this way: in chapter one the main character's mother told him she couldn't teach him a spell she used because he hadn't reached that level yet. Furthermore, after over five years of study, he still has a hell of a lot ot learn.

Note: I have been working on some background stuff and trying to figure out how to overcome the problems that have arouse from the removal of magic, so haven't had time to remove the magic from the chapters yet, only my plans. Besides, I should iron out these problems first otherwise I'll end up having to an extra and unnecessary edit or two after editing the magic out.

One might have the potential to use magic (and of course in most fantasy worlds, only a rare number of people have this ability), however it is little good unless one realizes that it is not some mystical art that can be used on whim (as seems to be the case in many bad fantasy novels) but more like a special sort of complex technology. to be understood after years of study and then manipulated according to certain rigorous rules (that must be first well understood).

As I have told you before, my magic could only be used through reason and understanding of the laws of science. In fact if anything my magic was more restricted in its use than Terry Goodkind's.

2) helps accentuate some of magic-using characters better / worse qualities.

If you could elaborate on that it'd be nice.

Second, if you are going to write fantasy, don't start pre-editing in your mind what you will and will not include based on your desire to achieve "realism". There is no surer way to clam up your subconscious than you standing in the way of what you want to do. If there is one field where you must do what you want to do, it is in fiction writing. Magic and the fantastic are merely tools or props on the stage of your work, there is nothing wrong with bending the metaphysical to highlight your theme. They are like the cowboy hat, saloon, and pistol in a Western; or an alien and a spaceship in science fiction.

Yes, I agree, but I am not so sure magic fits into the purpose of my books: a loo at the objective nature of the real world. I don't see how having magic in a fantasy world fits into that. In fact I see only that it doesn't. To me it detracts from that theme rather than highlights it. I would be better suited to simply put in a higher level of scientific knowledge than one would expect for a medieval setting, which I was going to do anway, since my system of magic required that.

In this treatment magic can serve as a stand-in for science in a fantasy work.

Well, as I said above, my system of magic made it almost another branch of science. That is, to me, bettter than it being a stand-in for science.

If taken this way, then all of the virtues and even epistemology that you may desire to use are open for dramatization.

Well, as i said above, how does magic fit into the purpose of a look at the objective nature of the real world?

PS> I already have a patent on this idea for my own work, so hands off! :)

I am not sure what you are saying you have a patent on.

If I understand Kendall correctly he means that because right now so few real people are heroes, you have to go out of your way to find them by reading (for example) fantasy novels. When heroic men are widespread in your world, there would be no need to look at fantasy for this anymore, you could just admire someone that actually exists.

I agree with that.

Cool, I'd like to be a dragon! Can you teach me?

If there was enough demand i could do a thread about my dragon's culture (not that they really have much of one) and a bit about their personality. As for their beliefs suffice to say this: look at Howard Roark for an idea. I can't say John Galt as I don't know him, since I haven't yet reas Atlas Shrugged (I will soon though, I just want to finish PWNI and CTUI first). Hell, I could even say a bit about their biology. And, thanks to some help from a member of this forum, a small bit about their language.

To be honest, the reason I would be happy to speak of my dragons, it purely egotistical. I am proud of what i have done with my dragons.

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OK, I wanted to make sure that applied to dragons too as I was not quite sure what you had told me about that, thanks for clearing that up.

So it should take years of study, as magic would involve reordering/restructuring or in some way manipulating of the world around the magic user, which should be impossible without a high level of understanding of what is being manipulated in the first place, and then how the heck it can be manipulated (let alone in a safe and efficient manner).

What I mean by the point you helped me to go further into:

As we both agree magic is a highly rational art requiring dedication to reason and hard work to really get to grips with. So the study of magic is a good way to highlight such qualities in the best of magic using characters in your books (and the reverse amongst the more hopeless "wannabe" magic users if you wish to do so, such characters could your equivalent of the mystic that claims to have "magic" powers, in the case of your book, they are false "magic powers").

And you could use it to explore other qualities/flaws of certain characters also,\.

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If I understand Kendall correctly he means that because right now so few real people are heroes, you have to go out of your way to find them by reading (for example) fantasy novels. When heroic men are widespread in your world, there would be no need to look at fantasy for this anymore, you could just admire someone that actually exists.

That's close, but not quite what I meant.

I was thinking more that because of the prevalent philosophy today, you see fewer men as heroes represented in art. You either get nihilistic man-as-corrupted-garbage, or realistic men-who-are-supposedly-only-interesting-because-of-their-character-flaws sort of stuff. Now that is not entirely true, but certainly very prevalent. When philosophy won't let you get around the idea that man is corrupted, then in order to have something heroic you have to give it "super powers". It has to be "more than just man".

Don't get me wrong guys. I'm not at all trying to impune the genre. I don't think that liking fantasy implies anything about someone philosophy or anything. I'm just more pondering the reasons someone might be drawn to the genre, such as out of absence of portrayal of man has heroic in much art. And I certainly don't think the genre would disappear as culturaly philosophy changes.

I think for instance the Harry Potter series depicts an efficacious young man with limited abilities who is still challenged, must still use "reason", etc...

As for heroes in reality. I think there are a lot (although society impunes their character more often than not). But art serves a different purpose than reality so the fact that there are heroes in reality says nothing about the abundance or lack thereof in art. I think those two things are unrelated.

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OK, I wanted to make sure that applied to dragons too as I was not quite sure what you had told me about that, thanks for clearing that up.

Of course it applies to dragons. They aren't immune to the laws of magic.

So it should take years of study, as magic would involve reordering/restructuring or in some way manipulating of the world around the magic user, which should be impossible without a high level of understanding of what is being manipulated in the first place, and then how the heck it can be manipulated (let alone in a safe and efficient manner).

Some speels are simple, such as the ones that act as mere analysers. Think of them as magical means of the technology we use to analyse things. However, some have the things you list and in massive doses.

As we both agree magic is a highly rational art requiring dedication to reason and hard work to really get to grips with. So the study of magic is a good way to highlight such qualities in the best of magic using characters in your books (and the reverse amongst the more hopeless "wannabe" magic users if you wish to do so, such characters could your equivalent of the mystic that claims to have "magic" powers, in the case of your book, they are false "magic powers").

Terry Goodkind does that in Naked Empire. But more importantly how is it useful in a book series that tries to take an objective look at this world?

Don't get me wrong guys. I'm not at all trying to impune the genre. I don't think that liking fantasy implies anything about someone philosophy or anything. I'm just more pondering the reasons someone might be drawn to the genre, such as out of absence of portrayal of man has heroic in much art. And I certainly don't think the genre would disappear as culturaly philosophy changes.

Well, the only fantasy i like is that which depicts man as heroic through the use of his mind. There is only 2 fantasy authors I have know of that meet this requirement: myself and Terry Goodkind.

Actually the same condition applies to all books I read, not just the fantasy genre.

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I'm just more pondering the reasons someone might be drawn to the genre, such as out of absence of portrayal of man has heroic in much art.

I tend to disagree with you, if only out of long familiarity with the genre. Heroes of any stripe are, to some extent, larger than life: even James Bond stretches the bounds of realism considerably. If you read The Romantic Manifesto, you'll notice that Ayn Rand says this is a good thing. The larger the hero, the broader the abstraction they represent, the more applicable they are to your life and the more likely it is that the work of art will have meaning.

Fantasy (and super-hero comic books, etc.) is particularly well-suited to dealing with huge, world-shaking abstractions simply because it is completely blown out of proportion. I think this is the reason that romanticism has survived in fantasy art to the extent that it has. The presence of heroes in fantasy literature should be taken as a sign that the fantasy genre is incredibly resilient, especially at serving the actual functions of art, not that it is some kind of backwater.

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