Some thoughts on magic!

Image result for magicS

So, I thought I might share some thoughts on magic in The Shattered Isles.  Let’s start with what we already know about magic in this world:  it is a learnable skill.  We have seen this with Pattenia and Denalia training at the girl’s school, learning to cast spells or use magic to create potions.  We have seen Serren spending hours reading tomes, learning the secrets of spell work.  So, it is not just a gift from the gods, but a matter of technique and practice.

Why would this be the case?  Two reasons.  First, the training develops the part of the brain that controls magic.  Most people are born with a very small part of their brain dedicated to magic.  Even without development, people experience their magic instinct in the form of intuition, instinct and even, sometimes, what seems like luck.  For example, if someone gets a strange feeling, then turns to realize someone has been watching them, that is their magic ability alerting them to their observer.  Sometimes, when in danger, people will report that time seemed to slow down.  Once more, this is an instinctive activation of their magic skills.

Without training, the inherent magic ability in all people never rises beyond this level of unaware manifestation.

However, with practice, most people can develop their magic instinct becoming capable of manipulating magic and using it to change reality itself.  Remember that we now know that everything is made of energy.  Energy can become matter, and matter energy. Magic users learn to manipulate the energy of their universe to their own ends.

So, one part of the training develops the brain and the magic ability.  In addition, magic users learn to use and channel energy to and through their brains much more efficiently than most people.  Although the brain takes up only 2% of the body’s mass, it eats up 20% of our daily energy needs– about 320 calories.  Cognitive tasks cause the brain to eat more energy, and none more than magic.  So, spell casters have to become very “fit”– the equivalent of long distance runners, with tremendous mental endurance.

The spells, symbols and secrets learned all serve to help a witch or wizard focus and bend reality to their will.  They can also serve to protect them from others who would seek to use their magic against them. So, in addition to developing their brains, spell users learn certain chants and spells that have been developed over the years to help the caster bring about a specific result.  The spell the hekatin used to transform Serren into a girl is an example of such a spell.  Transforming someone’s sex is very complicated and difficult to manage, so the spell helps make that transformation happen without some sort of error or mistake.  Even the faith necessary to believe such a transformation is possible must be learned and bolstered, and the spells help with that sense of faith as well.

Much of magic remains a mystery, even to the users.  Were you to ask Actonia how she turned a buck into a doe, she would have to admit that she really doesn’t know.  She only knows that when she casts the spell, the change happens.  Magic defies logic, rationality, reason– which is one reason the Priests of Maxis look upon it with suspicion.  The hekatin, however, celebrate creativity, emotion and the irrational, and they are quite comfortable with the notion of change, and that nothing we see might be what it appears.

Magic versus Miracles

So far, I have been writing only about the magic worked my the men and women of the Isles.  There is a second kind of supernatural power in the world, however, and that is the work of the Gods and their agents.  When the power comes from a deity, that power is in the realm of a miracle, meaning it is worked and granted by a divinity.  Mortals have no control over miracles; they are granted according to the will of the Gods.  Sometimes, a mortal of particular merit may be granted the ability to request certain miracles such as healing or protection, but this is always a power coming from outside the person as a gift.  The power does not come from them, and this is not a skill that can be learned.


11 thoughts on “Some thoughts on magic!

  1. I thought the priests of Maxis also had their form of magic
    and that the Hekatin used the power of the goddess since they always said that was what flowed though them was the power of the goddess that made their hair snap

    I still hope theres some consequences for what the hekatin did to Serren


    1. The priests do have and use magic, but they don’t trust it and have always limited their spell work to things like war and construction. Spells that change a person’s shape, for example, are considered evil.


      1. the priests arent entirely wrong on that
        I would hate someone having the ability to change my shape against my consent
        I consider it evil and I consider what happened to Serren evil
        and the Hekatin have a long way to go to convince me they arent a force for evil in the next book
        I consider them evil so far


  2. The Hekatin are immoral. I think a better question from Actonia would be why does she think transforming someones, without their permission or an animals sex is acceptable

    Even Pattenia didnt want her transforming her own horse, but she cared more about her horse than her brother
    And she saw the Bucks terror after he was transformed and ran away in fear. But Actonia felt nothing. She is really a psycho
    and its things like tis that make the priests of Maxis feel the way they do and it really justifies their argument about magic
    I am really looking forward to Serrenina evening the score


  3. This is very fascinating. I had assumed the Hekatins power was bestowed by the Goddess and only upon women
    and the men came from Maxis and he had been weakened by Prognita which was why he was unable to defend his followers, or protect Serren


  4. I hope that you can give us some timeframe on when we can expect it to finally be released
    Some of us have been waiting over a year and now you say you are working on it and gave us a time of mid dec.
    We are really eagerly awaiting its release. And We would like to know when you think its possible
    and it ended on such a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers. It was probably one of the most horrific thing imaginable for a boy bred for leadership and war
    so we been waiting this long to see what happens to him


  5. It sounds like the guys screwed themselves by banning magic, forbidding it while the Hekatin and the women trained in secret for the time when they would reclaim leadership
    they had the power and the guys didnt, and had no idea what to do
    and Serren payed the price for it all


  6. Oh yes big time. The girls had an elite caste of magic users devoted to prognita
    Boys had nothing to defend them and that put them at a massive disadvantage and made them helpless
    It’s still not right


  7. Wish you really explained the process of magic within your books. From how its described, it seems it all came from the Goddess but its the power within here. And I am disappointed that miracles never came up. I suspected something maazing to be granted to Serren and nothing really. Perhaps her blessing women and her body glowed with power as she was doing that. But its not really explained all that much. But I expected something more amazing and earth shattering to be granted to Serren. I was all around disappointed. From all of her suffering she should have been given so much more power


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