Monday, November 16, 2009

Magical Objects

It is not unusual in a fantasy story to have a powerful artifact or magical object that is so potent it can defeat the hero, or allow the villain to conquer the world. The hero will then find himself on a quest to either obtain or destroy this formidable item.
A very popular example of this type of plot is the epic tale of The Lord of the Rings. The One Ring is an Artifact that appears as the pivotal plot element in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth Tolkien's legendarium. It is described in an earlier story, The Hobbit , as a magic ring of invisibility an ominous magical entity.

Lesser magical objects which do not affect or determine the plot are also common. These items allow characters to have access to magical abilities they need to successfully complete their quest. Fantasy is filled with magical objects. For example, besides the One Ring, The Lord of the Rings contained magic swords that did not determine the plot. Other famous magical objects include the invisibility cloak in Harry Potter, and an array of magical items from Arabian Nights, including a magical flying carpet.

Magical items can be created by magicians or powerful beings as a demonstration of their supernatural capabilities, or the items can originate in the past, with no such items being possible at the present time in the story. The more clearly these items can be described by the author, the more believable they will be to the reader. And when the reader believes in the capabilities of these wondrous objects the magic has truly been achieved.

The first magical wand appeared in the Odyssey where Circe's father used it to transform Odysseus's men into animals. Italian fairy tales put them into the hands of the powerful fairies by the late Middle Ages. These were transmitted to modern fantasy. As you may recall, Gandalf
Gandalf refused to surrender his staff in The Lord of the Rings, but the staff was not merely an aid to help an 'old man walk' as he explained its purpose to the guards, but was used to channel the wizard’s magical abilities and break Saruman's power. Magical wands are used from Andre Norton's Witch World, to Harry Potter.

One element of the wand is the need to limit a wizard, so that opposition to him (necessary for a story) is feasible; if the wizard loses his staff or wand (or other magic item on which he is dependent), he is weakened if not magically helpless. In the wizarding world of Harry Potter
a wizard can only perform weak and uncontrolled magic without a wand. The strengths and limitations of the magical artifacts are revealed as the author’s story unfolds.

Think about the fantasy story within you waiting to be revealed. Open the doors to your own magical realm and let the fantasy unfold. Where will your imagination lead your awaiting readers?
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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I always wished I could have a wand! It would make life so much easier sometimes!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

Ever since "The Wizard of Oz" I've wanted magical things. Wand, ruby red slippers, wings. The magical world is wonderful and if only we could...

Anonymous said...

Magic is fun. So are breakthroughs in physics that have yet to be discovered. Like wormholes and such. Invisibility cloaks are also possible as a breakthrough in physics. We live in exciting times as the stuff of fantasy may become a reality through discoveries in physics.

Stephen Tremp

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

My grandson was telling us a tale of magical water during tubby time last night - your post has me thinking of what I might be able to do with his prompt.

N A Sharpe said...

Hi, thanks so much for stopping by. Magic is such a fun topic because it really is only limited by your imagination.

I would love to have a wand, too, Elizabeth, make all the mundane chores that need to be done so much easier and give me time to do things I prefer doing - like writing and visiting blogs!

Karen, I love the Wizard of Oz - it was on tv just the other night - Oz is such an amazing world filled with both beauty and wonder and those pesky wicked witches and flying monkeys!

Stephen - I have divided thoughts - I love the idea of being able to actually bring the fantasy and scifi worlds to life through science and explain these wonders and be able to replicate and experience them...but its like watching an action movie when you know how they do all the special effects that make it so spectacular - sucks the fun and wonderment right out. Sometimes I kind of like the "what if"-ness of it all. I like the advancements of science and technology, its amazing...but I love my fantastical elements.

Jane - the imagination of a child is an amazing thing - they can explain anything. And everything. They truly are inspirational. Magical water sounds delightful, full of possibilities - hope to hear where this prompt leads ;)

Happy reading and writing everyone!


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