Magic is defined as “the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.” Magic is at the heart of any fantasy story.
For the Forever Avalon series, I had to come up with the “how’s and how too” of magic in the world of Avalon. That was the easy part. In Forever Avalon, all magic exists only on this enchanted island. When Merlin cast the spell to bring all magic from the outside world to Avalon, it infused the island with magical energy. Magic exists in every rock and tree, plant and animal, man, Elf, Dwarf and creature alike.
So now the question is asked, how do you access that magic? To me, the innate ability to tap into magical energy requires thought, belief and the right word. Anything is possible if you believe in it. Faith, courage and the human spirit has shown us that throughout history. If you add magic into the mix, the impossible becomes possible.
The Gil-Gamesh explained it best in in a conversation with his son-in-law Andrew in this excerpt from The Dark Tides.
“Here, the impossible is possible. The laws of nature are reversed. This is a world based on magic, not science.”
“But basic science rules apply, don’t they? I mean, practices like physics and chemistry, they still exist or else you couldn’t get your ship to fly or fire to burn.”
“True, but it’s how we get that science to work. We take that one step, beyond the reason of science and make it happen through magic,” Bryan explained. “For example, science tells us that folding space to travel from one place to another instantly takes tremendous power and an equation as long as a football field. But on Avalon, all it takes is a good wizard with the right spell.
“Eo Ire Itum! ” Bryan chanted as he waved his hand and in an instant, vanished right before Andrew’s eyes.
“You see?” said a voice from behind. There stood the Gil- Gamesh, appearing out of thin air.
“I really can’t explain it and even I had my doubts when I first arrived here,” he continued as he sat back down. “But, the longer you’re here, the more magic touches you, it will make you feel younger, vibrant and more alive and it will make you believe that anything is possible. I think that’s why magic left the outside world. It wasn’t just Merlin’s spell, it was also because of man.”
“I don’t understand?” Andrew queried.
“Well think about it; at the end of the ‘Dark Ages’ man had already began to fundamentally change the way we thought about the universe. Science had answered the age old questions … Gravity, stars, planets, the Earth itself. People like Galileo, Copernicus, da Vinci and others changed the way we thought about life. Science was now our magic.
“Merlin’s spell brought all things magical to the realm of Avalon. In the outside world, there is only science. Here, magic and science co- exist with magic leading the way. That’s what makes the impossible possible on Avalon,” he concluded.
So now that we know how magic works, the next question was spells. I didn’t want to create a whole new language for spells, I decided to use one of the oldest languages as the basis for magical incantations … Latin!
First and foremost, I want to thank the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) for one of the best English to Latin translators online. All I had to do was type in a word or phrase and it would give me various usage options for those words. That helped tremendously in the creation of magical spells.
The last element was components. This is something I can harken back to my days of playing Dungeons & Dragons. I remembered that a simple darkness spell required bat fur and charcoal to complete the incantation. I wanted to incorporate this into my spell casting but not for every type of spell.
Since Avalon was infused with magic, simply lighting a candle shouldn’t require a pinch of sulfur. So, the more complicated the spell, the more components are required to cast the spell. Even harder spells require a magical item as a “well” to draw upon the magic of Avalon to power the spell (hint, if you want to see this in action, read The Dark Tides to see how Morgana Le Fay wields her magic through the Orb of Veles).
Magic is at the heart of a good fantasy story and as writers, we have to be the sorcerer and create the spells, components and magic items to bring the magic to life.