Magician (fantasy)

Magician (fantasy)

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Encyclopedia
A magician, mage, sorcerer, sorceress, wizard, enchanter, enchantress, thaumaturge or a person known under one of many other possible terms is someone who uses or practices magic that derives from supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 or occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

 sources. Magicians are common figures in works of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

, such as fantasy literature
Fantasy literature
Fantasy literature is fantasy in written form. Historically speaking, literature has composed the majority of fantasy works. Since the 1950s however, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games, music, painting, and other...

 and role-playing games; they draw on a history of such people in mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s, and folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 (see Magician (paranormal)). Although occasional practitioners of sleight-of-hand
Sleight of hand
Sleight of hand, also known as prestidigitation or legerdemain, is the set of techniques used by a magician to manipulate objects such as cards and coins secretly....

 appear in modern fantasy, they are usually simulating the magic that others perform — or sometimes concealing their actual magic.

Fantasy magicians have powers arising from either study, innate talent, or by having them granted by another source. (Other fantasy characters can use magic or be magical, but they have generally not acquired their powers by study or innate talent). Still, most fantasy wizards are depicted as having a special gift which sets them apart from the vast majority of characters in fantasy world
Fantasy world
A fantasy world is a fictional universe used in fantasy novels and games. Typical worlds involve magic or magical abilities and often, but not always, either a medieval or futuristic theme...

s who are unable to learn magic.

Magicians, sorcerers, wizards, and practitioners of magic by other titles have appeared in myths, folktales and literature throughout recorded history, and fantasy draws on this background. They commonly appear in fantasy as mentors and villains, as they did in older works, and more recently as heroes themselves. Although they are often portrayed as wielding great powers, their role in shaping the fantasy world they inhabit varies; much of fantasy literature writes of medieval worlds with wizards in a fairly limited role as guardians or advisors.

Character function


In medieval chivalric romance
Romance (genre)
As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a knight errant portrayed as...

, the wizard often appears as a wise old man
Wise old man
The wise old man is an archetype as described by Carl Jung, as well as a classic literary figure, and may be seen as a stock character...

 and acts as a mentor
Mentor
In Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcimus or Anchialus. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus' foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War.When Athena visited Telemachus she...

, with Merlin
Merlin
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures...

 from the Matter of Britain
Matter of Britain
The Matter of Britain is a name given collectively to the body of literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and its legendary kings, particularly King Arthur...

 representing a prime example. Other witches and magicians can appear as villain
Villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

s, as hostile to the hero as ogres and other monsters.

Both these roles were taken up into fantasy. Wizards such as Gandalf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

 in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

 and Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is a major character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. For most of the series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts...

 from the Harry Potter books are featured as mentors, and Merlin
Merlin
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures...

 remains prominent as both an educative force and mentor in modern works of Arthuriana. Evil sorcerers, acting as villains, were so crucial to pulp fantasy that the genre in which they appeared was dubbed "sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy and historical fantasy, generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural...

".

Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

's A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, is the first of a series of books written by Ursula K. Le Guin and set in the fantasy world archipelago of Earthsea depicting the adventures of a budding young wizard named Ged...

 explored the question of how wizards learned their art, introducing to modern fantasy the role of the wizard as protagonist. This theme has been further developed in modern fantasy, often leading to wizards as heroes on their own quests. A work with a wizard hero may give him a wizard mentor as well, as in Earthsea.

Wizards can act the part of the absent-minded professor
Absent-minded professor
The absent-minded professor is a stock character of popular fiction, usually portrayed as a talented academic whose focus on academic matters leads them to ignore or forget their surroundings....

, being foolish, prone to misconjuring, and generally less than dangerous; they can also be terrible forces, capable of great magics that work good or evil. Even comic wizards are often capable of great feats, such as those of Miracle Max in The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride (film)
The Princess Bride is a 1987 American film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, combining comedy, adventure, romance, and fantasy. The film was directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by Goldman...

; although a washed-up wizard fired by the villain, he saves the mostly-dead hero.

Appearance



The appearance of wizards in fantasy art, and description in literature, is uniform to a great extent, from the appearance of Merlin
Merlin
Merlin is a legendary figure best known as the wizard featured in the Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures...

 in Arthurian-related texts to those of Gandalf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

 in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

 and of Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is a major character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. For most of the series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts...

 in the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 series. The association with age means that wizards, both men and women, are often depicted as old, white-haired, and (for men) with long white beard
Beard
A beard is the collection of hair that grows on the chin, cheeks and neck of human beings. Usually, only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. However, women with hirsutism may develop a beard...

s. It predates the modern fantasy genre, being derived from the traditional image of wizards such as Merlin. Some theorize the look of the wizard is modeled after the Germanic god Woden or Odin
Woden
Woden or Wodan is a major deity of Anglo-Saxon and Continental Germanic polytheism. Together with his Norse counterpart Odin, Woden represents a development of the Proto-Germanic god *Wōdanaz....

 as he was described in his wanderer guise as being an old man with a long gray beard, baggy robes, a wide-brimmed hat and walking with a staff; he has been postulated as the main influence for Tolkien's Gandalf. Women, especially those termed "enchantresses" are the more likely to appear young, though that is often the effect of magic.
Their clothing is often typical as well. Wizards commonly wear robes or cloaks and pointed hat
Pointed hat
Pointed hats have been a distinctive item of headgear of a wide range of cultures throughout history. Though often suggesting an ancient Indo-European tradition, they were also traditionally worn by women of Lapland, the Japanese, the Mi'kmaq people of Atlantic Canada, and the Huastecs of Veracruz...

s. These are often brightly colored and spangled with stars and moons, astrological symbols, or with magical sigils. They may also be of gold. The coloring may have significance within the wizards' fantasy world
Fantasy world
A fantasy world is a fictional universe used in fantasy novels and games. Typical worlds involve magic or magical abilities and often, but not always, either a medieval or futuristic theme...

s; in The Lord of the Rings, the wizards have colors assigned to them, indicative of rank. When Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White, it is a major ascension of status; whereas in the Dragonlance
Dragonlance
Dragonlance is a shared universe created by Laura and Tracy Hickman, and expanded by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis under the direction of TSR, Inc. into a series of popular fantasy novels. The Hickmans conceived Dragonlance while driving in their car on the way to TSR for a job application...

: Dungeons and Dragons setting, the wizards show their moral alignment
Alignment (role-playing games)
In some role-playing games, alignment is a categorisation of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game....

 by their robes. When wizards and witches are distinct groups, witches may dress in the same clothing but in black. Terry Pratchett described this common attire as a way of establishing to those they meet that the person is capable of practicing magic. A notable variant of the generic wizard archetype is that of the Wizard in the Conan the Barbarian film, whose clothes are heavily based on the sea, as he lives there.

Wizards may accessorize their wardrobe with magical props, such as crystal balls, wands, staves, books, potions, scrolls or tinkling bells, while often rounding out their appearance with ever-present animal companions, which may act as familiars
Familiar spirit
In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic...

.

Stories in contemporary settings resembling the real world, such as those of Harry Potter, sometimes eschew some or all of these trappings for more conventional attire.

Limits


To introduce conflict, the writers of fantasy fiction place limits on the magical abilities of wizards to prevent them from solving problems too easily via arbitrary magic.

One of the most common techniques is that the character has only a limited amount of magical ability, often determined by the magician's internal reserves of power or life energy. In The Magic Goes Away
The Magic Goes Away
The Magic Goes Away is a fantasy short story written by Larry Niven in 1976, and later expanded to a novella of the same name which was published in 1978...

, Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

 made it a factor of environment: once the mana is exhausted in an area, no one can use magic. A common limit in role-playing games
Magic (gaming)
Some role-playing games or game systems can include a set of rules that are used to portray magic in the paranormal sense. These rules simulate the effects that magic would have within the game context, according to how the game designer intended the magic to be portrayed...

 is that a person can only cast so many spells in a day.

Magic can also require various sacrifices or the use of certain materials. Blood or a life sacrifice can be required, and even if the magician has no scruples, obtaining the material may be difficult. Harmless substances can also limit the magician if they are rare, such as gemstones. Many fictional magic-users must speak spells aloud or gesture with their hands in order to cast a spell.

The need for learning may also limit what spells a wizard knows and can cast. When magic is learned from rare and exotic books, the wizard's ability can be limited, temporarily, by his access to these books. In A Wizard of Earthsea, the changing of names weakens wizards as they travel; they must learn the true names of things in their new location to be powerful again.

Magic may also be limited, not so much inherently, but by its danger. If a powerful spell can cause equally grave harm if miscast, wizards are likely to be wary of using it.

Names and terminology


People who work magic are called by several names in fantasy works, and the terminology differs widely from one fantasy world
Fantasy world
A fantasy world is a fictional universe used in fantasy novels and games. Typical worlds involve magic or magical abilities and often, but not always, either a medieval or futuristic theme...

 to another. While derived from real world vocabulary, the terms "wizard", "witch
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

", "warlock
Warlock
The term warlock in origin means "traitor, oathbreaker".In early modern Scots, the word came to be used as the male equivalent of witch ....

", "enchanter
Enchanter
Enchanter may refer to:In entertainment:*Enchanter , a manga series by Izumi Kawachi*Enchanter , a 1996 novel by Sara DouglassIn games:*Enchanter , used in fantasy role-playing games...

/enchantress
Enchantress
Enchantress may refer to:*Magician , a magician or spell-caster, sometimes called an enchantress or witch when female*Seduction, the enticement of one person by another, called a seductress or enchantress when it is a beautiful and charismatic woman-Literature:*"The Enchantress of Venus", a 1949...

", "sorcerer/sorceress", "magician", "mage", and "magus
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

" have different meanings depending on the story in question. The term archmage
Archmage
Archmage, archmagi, or archmagus is a title used to identify an especially powerful wizard, usually within the context of fantasy fiction...

, with "arch" (originating in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

) indicating "preeminent", may be used to indicate a powerful magician, or a leader of magicians.

When a writer uses more than one term for reasons other than sex-based titles, it is to sharply distinguish between two types of magic. The precise nature of what the distinction is differs from writer to writer, and the usage can vary between works. In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Enchanted Forest Chronicles
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a series of four young adult fantasy novels by Patricia C. Wrede titled Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons....

, Patricia Wrede
Patricia Wrede
Patricia Collins Wrede is an American fantasy writer from Chicago, Illinois.The eldest of five children, she graduated from Carleton College in 1974 with a BA in Biology, married James Wrede in 1976 , and obtained an MBA from University of Minnesota in 1977.She finished her first book in 1978,...

 depicts wizards who use magic based on their staves, and magicians who practice several kinds of magic, including wizard magic; in the Regency fantasies she and Caroline Stevermer
Caroline Stevermer
Caroline Stevermer is a writer of young adult fantasy novels and shorter works. She is best known for two series of historical fantasy novels.With Patricia C...

 depict magicians as identical to wizards except for being inferior in skill and training.

Within a given work, such distinctions are important, depending on how the writer defines them. Steve Pemberton
Steve Pemberton
Steve James Pemberton is an English actor, comedian, writer and performer, most famous as a member of The League of Gentlemen along with fellow performers Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and co-writer Jeremy Dyson.-Early life:...

's The Times & Life of Lucifer Jones describes the distinction thus: "The difference between a wizard and a sorcerer is comparable to that between, say, a lion and a tiger, but wizards are acutely status-conscious, and to them, it's more like the difference between a lion and a dead kitten." In David Eddings
David Eddings
David Eddings was an American author who wrote several best-selling series of epic fantasy novels.-Biography:...

's Belgariad and Malloreon series, several protagonists refer to their abilities powered by sheer will as "sorcery" and look down on "magicians" which specifically refers to the summoners of demonic agents.

In role-playing games, the types of magic-users are far more clearly delineated and named, in order that the players and game masters may know the rules by which they are played. In the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax
Gary Gygax
Ernest Gary Gygax was an American writer and game designer best known for co-creating the pioneering role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson. Gygax is generally acknowledged as the father of role-playing games....

 and Dave Arneson
Dave Arneson
David Lance "Dave" Arneson was an American game designer best known for co-developing the first published role-playing game , Dungeons & Dragons, with Gary Gygax, in the early 1970s...

 invented the term "magic-user
Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons)
The wizard is one of the standard character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A wizard uses arcane magic, and is considered less effective in melee combat than other classes.-Creative origins:...

" as a generic term for a practitioner of magic (in order to avoid cultural connotations of terms such as "wizard" or "warlock"); this lasted until the second edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, where it was replaced with "mage" (later to become "wizard"). The exact rules vary from game to game. In Dungeons and Dragons, a wizard or mage is a character class, distinguished by their ability to cast certain kinds of magic and their weak combat skills; subclasses are distinguished by their strength in some areas of magic and their weaknesses in others. Sorcerers are distinguished from wizards as having an innate gift with magic, as well as possessing blood of a mystical or magical origin. In GURPS
GURPS
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting...

, magic is a skill that can be combined with others, such as combat, though in most campaigns, the ability "magery" is required to cast spells.

Some names, distinctions, or aspects may have more of a negative connotation
Connotation
A connotation is a commonly understood subjective cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to the word's or phrase's explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation....

 than others, depending on the setting and the context. (See also Magic and Magic and religion, for some examples).

Gender-based titles


The term "wizard" is more often applied to a male magic-user, as in Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

's Earthsea
Earthsea
Earthsea is a fictional realm originally created by Ursula K. Le Guin for her short story "The Word of Unbinding", published in 1964. Earthsea became the setting for a further six books, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, and continuing with The Tombs of Atuan, The...

, just as a "witch" is more often female, as in Andre Norton
Andre Norton
Andre Alice Norton, née Alice Mary Norton was an American science fiction and fantasy author under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston...

's Witch World
Witch World
The Witch World by Andre Norton is a long series of fantasy novels set in a parallel universe where magic works and, at the beginning of the series, is exclusively performed by women. The series combines many traits of high fantasy and sword and sorcery. It begins with what is now called the...

. In Witch World, a man who, anomalously, showed the same abilities as the witches was termed a warlock. The term "warlock" is sometimes used to indicate a male witch in fiction.

However, either term may be used in a unisex manner, in which case there will be members of both sexes bearing that title. If both terms are used in the same setting, this can indicate a gender-based title for practitioners of identical magic, such as in Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

, or it can indicate that the two sexes practice different types of magic, as in Discworld
Discworld
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

.

While "enchantress" is the feminine of "enchanter", "sorceress" may be the feminine equivalent, not only of "sorcerer" but of "magician", which term has no precise feminine equivalent. Piers Anthony
Piers Anthony
Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob is an English American writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel series set in the fictional realm of Xanth.Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best...

, in the comedic Xanth
Xanth
Xanth is a fantasy world created by author Piers Anthony for his Xanth series of novels, also known as The Magic of Xanth.-History:The name Xanth is in itself an unintentional pun, which matches the playful tone of the books...

 series, describes "sorceress" as "sexist for magician."

Types of magic



While the terms are used loosely, some patterns of naming are more common than others.

Enchanters often practice a type of magic that produces no physical effects on objects or people, but rather deceives the observer or target by creating and using illusions. Enchantresses, in particular, practice this form of magic, often to seduce. For instance, the Lady of the Green Kirtle
Lady of the Green Kirtle
The Lady of the Green Kirtle, also called Queen of Underland and Queen of the Deep Realm, is the main villain in The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis. She is sometimes called briefly the Green Lady , and she is known also as the Emerald Witch; neither name, however, appears in Lewis's text...

 in C.S. Lewis's The Silver Chair
The Silver Chair
The Silver Chair is part of The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels written by C. S. Lewis. It was the fourth book published and is the sixth book chronologically. It is the first book published in the series in which the Pevensie children do not appear. The main characters are...

 has enchanted Rilian into forgetting his father and Narnia; when that enchantment is broken, she attempts further enchantments, with a sweet-smelling smoke and a thrumming musical instrument, to baffle him and his rescuers into forgetting them again.

Sorcerer is more frequently used when the magician in question is evil. This may derive from its use in sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy and historical fantasy, generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural...

, where the hero would be the sword-wielder, leaving the sorcery for his opponent.

Witch also carries evil connotations. Indeed, L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

, having named Glinda
Glinda
Glinda is a fictional character in the Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. She is the most powerful sorceress of Oz, ruler of the Quadling Country south of the Emerald City, and protector of Princess Ozma.- Literature :Baum's 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

 the "Good Witch of the South" in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

, merely titled her "Glinda the Good" in The Marvelous Land of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, commonly shortened to The Land of Oz, published on July 5, 1904, is the second of L. Frank Baum's books set in the Land of Oz, and the sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This and the next...

 and referred to her there and in all books after as a sorceress rather than a witch, apparently to avoid the term that was more regarded as evil.

Hedge wizard
Hedge wizard
In fantasy literature, a hedge wizard or hedge magician is a wizard of low ability, generally self-taught or with a low education background as opposed to the common examples of being apprenticed to a mentor or studying though a structured educational system. Some fictional backgrounds identify...

 or hedge witch is a widely used contemptuous term for a magician whose magic is unable to win him enough of a living to keep him from poverty or even vagrancy. Herb witch is less contemptuous, and generally indicates skill with plants (whether magically making them grow or using them magically), but generally also indicates a low level of education, and possibly skill. Such characters are often taught informally, by another hedge wizard, rather than receive a formal apprenticeship or education at a school.

Terms derived from more specific magics, such as voodoo, alchemy
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, or necromancy
Necromancy
Necromancy is a claimed form of magic that involves communication with the deceased, either by summoning their spirit in the form of an apparition or raising them bodily, for the purpose of divination, imparting the ability to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...

, generally remain closer to their real-world inspirations. Fantasy necromancers often work magic that has something to do with death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

, although the exact connections vary widely from work to work.

In certain Asian fantasies, the practice of wuxia is used to achieve super-human feats, as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of ethnic Chinese actors, including Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, and Chang Chen...

. Such martial artists attain these abilities through practice as much as, if not more than, studying to gain knowledge, making them in some respects like magicians, and in others not.

Traits of magicians


A common motif in fictional magic is that the ability to use it is innate and often rare. In J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

's Middle-earth
Middle-earth
Middle-earth is the fictional setting of the majority of author J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place entirely in Middle-earth, as does much of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales....

, it was limited to non-humans (wizards were actually angels sent from the gods to assist the human races) — even Aragorn
Aragorn
Aragorn II is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings. He is first introduced by the name Strider, which the hobbits continue to call him...

, whose hands heal, has some elven
Elf (Middle-earth)
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Elves are one of the races that inhabit a fictional Earth, often called Middle-earth, and set in the remote past. They appear in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings, but their complex history is described more fully in The Silmarillion...

 blood — but in many writers' works, it is reserved for a select group of humans, as in J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...

's Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 books, Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz is the author of numerous fantasy novels, most notably the Deryni novels. Although born in America, for the past several years, up until just recently, she has lived in a castle in Ireland...

's Deryni novels
Deryni novels
The Deryni novels are a series of historical fantasy books written by American-born author Katherine Kurtz. The first novel in the series to be published was Deryni Rising in 1970, and the most recent novel in the series, Childe Morgan, was published on December 5, 2006...

, or Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett was an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was a prolific contributor to Astounding and other science fiction magazines of the 1950s and 1960s...

's Lord Darcy
Lord Darcy (fiction)
Lord Darcy is a detective in an alternate history, created by Randall Garrett. The first stories were asserted to take place in the same year as they were published, but in a world very different from our own.-Title character:...

 universe. The magic-users are often a secretive or persecuted group. In these settings, non-magician characters, no matter how learned, cannot actually cast spells. In such instances, magic could be inherited, or is a random ability appearing in some children, or the result of some other unique effect or situation. Inherited powers may be a simple genetic trait — for Katherine Kurtz's Deryni, a sex-linked trait — or appear apparently at random in lines that have the blood, as in Patricia A. McKillip
Patricia A. McKillip
Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels. Her novels have been winners of the World Fantasy Award, Locus Award and Mythopoeic Award. In 2008, she was a recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement...

's The Riddle Master Trilogy, where the shapeshifting
Shapeshifting
Shapeshifting is a common theme in mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. It is also found in epic poems, science fiction literature, fantasy literature, children's literature, Shakespearean comedy, ballet, film, television, comics, and video games...

 Earthmasters attempt to get their blood into royal houses, but fail because although one succeeds in getting the king's wife pregnant, the child's descendants rarely have the powers.

In worlds where Alchemy
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

 exists as a form of working magic, Alchemists are more likely than most magicians to have their powers be the result of study. For them, and most other practitioners of magic that is not innate, the study is long and hard. This can produce a lack of magicians even in worlds where anyone could in theory learn the art.

Magical practitioners on the Disc (of the Discworld
Discworld
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

 series) are rare, and often innate (with exceptions - the eighth son of an eighth son must become a wizard, even if the son is a daughter), and do require some form of training (again, with exceptions - see Sourcery
Sourcery
Sourcery is the fifth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1988. On the Discworld, sourcerers - wizards who are sources of magic, and thus immensely more powerful than normal wizards – were the main cause of the great mage wars that left areas of the disc uninhabitable. Men born the...

). Also, magical practitioners on the Disc treat the use of magic not unlike the use of nuclear weaponry; it is acceptable for people to know that you possess such powers, but everyone will be in trouble if it is utilised.

In David Eddings' Elenium
The Elenium
The Elenium is a series of fantasy novels by David Eddings. The series consists of three volumes:* The Diamond Throne* The Ruby Knight* The Sapphire RoseThe series is followed by The Tamuli....

 and Tamuli
The Tamuli
The Tamuli is a series of fantasy novels by David Eddings. The series consists of three volumes:# Domes of Fire# The Shining Ones# The Hidden CityThe Tamuli is the sequel to The Elenium...

 series, spells must be performed in the language of the Styric people. The Styrics are highly secretive and distrustful of outsiders, and only a few non-Styrics, such as the Church Knights, are permitted to be trained in magic. Theoretically, any person who knew the spell, correctly pronounced the Styric language and performed the gestures correctly could work magic (as demonstrated by Stragen in The Hidden City) so it is not exclusive by being an innate ability but rather a cultural phenomenon. However, most people in the worlds of Eosia and Daresia cannot speak the Styric language.

Education


A common trait of magicians is that, no matter how spontaneously their abilities manifest, they must learn to use them. Occasionally these terms are used for people with innate abilities, but the typical magician is surrounded by books in his tower owing to his studies. Fictionally, it provides a way for the writer to ensure that his wizard characters can not do everything, thus eliminating conflict from the story.

When the magician is not the main character, this may not be visible, but magician protagonists including Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

's Ged in A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, is the first of a series of books written by Ursula K. Le Guin and set in the fantasy world archipelago of Earthsea depicting the adventures of a budding young wizard named Ged...

 and Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 have gone to wizardry schools. Others have taken on the roles of apprentices, such as Haku in the movie Spirited Away
Spirited Away
is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy-adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a sullen ten-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood and after her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba,...

. In the movie Willow
Willow (film)
Willow is a 1988 American fantasy film directed by Ron Howard and produced/co-written by George Lucas. Warwick Davis stars in the film, as well as Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Patricia Hayes...

, Willow receives a magical wand but has great difficulty learning to use it; only with the tutoring of Fin Raziel is he able to master magic. Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

, like many young wizards in his universe, accidentally casts spells before he is taught to do so properly.

Another means of learning can be books; weighty, ancient tomes, often called grimoire
Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons...

s, which may have magical properties of their own. Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian is a fictional sword and sorcery hero that originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films , television programs, video games, roleplaying games and other media...

s sorcerer foes often gained powers from such books, whose strangeness was often underscored by their strange bindings. In worlds where wizardry is not an innate trait, the scarcity of these strange books may be a factor; in Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson
Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories...

's A Midsummer Tempest
A Midsummer Tempest
A Midsummer Tempest is an 1974 alternate history fantasy novel by Poul Anderson. In 1975, it was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and Nebula Award for Best Novel and won the Mythopoeic Award.- Plot introduction :...

, Prince Rupert seeks out the books of the magician Prospero
Prospero
Prospero is the protagonist in The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare.- The Tempest :Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan, who was put to sea on "a rotten carcass of a butt [boat]" to die by his usurping brother, Antonio, twelve years before the play begins. Prospero and Miranda survived,...

 to learn magic. The same occurs in the Dungeons and Dragons-based novel series Dragonlance Chronicles, wherein Raistlin Majere
Raistlin Majere
Raistlin Majere is a fictional character from the Dragonlance series of books created by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Raistlin played an extensive role in the two main series of books, particularly in Dragonlance: Legends in which he was both primary protagonist and antagonist...

 seeks out the books of the sorcerer Fistandantilus.

Some wizards, even after training, continue to learn new and/or invent spells and items/beings/objects or rediscover old ones that were lost to time, such as in the case of Marvel Comics' Dr. Strange
Doctor Strange
Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was co-created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Strange Tales #110 ....

, who continued to learn about magic in the Marvel Universe even after being named Sorcerer Supreme. He often encountered creatures that hadn't been seen in the world for centuries or longer. Likewise, Dr. Doom
Doctor Doom
Victor von Doom is a fictional character who appears in Marvel Comics publications . Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Fantastic Four #5 wearing his trademark metal mask and green cloak...

, who would combine magic with science, also continued to pursue magical knowledge long after becoming an accomplished master of the magical arts. Fred and George Weasley, of the Harry Potter universe, were notorious pranksters, but also had the capability of inventing new items based on the education they received during their tenure in Hogwarts, with so much success that by the time of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince they have created a line of defensive items that was being bought in bulk by the Ministry of Magic, foremost among other clients.

It may be impossible, in a given work, to determine whether a given practice of magic is innate, because the length of time needed for the study, the scarcity of the books or teachers, or the preciousness of the materials required mean that most characters are necessarily excluded. In some fictional worlds, such as David Eddings
David Eddings
David Eddings was an American author who wrote several best-selling series of epic fantasy novels.-Biography:...

' The Belgariad
The Belgariad
The Belgariad is a five-book fantasy epic written by David Eddings.The series tells the story of the recovery of the Orb of Aldur and coming of age of Garion, an orphaned farmboy. Garion is accompanied by his aunt Polgara and grandfather Belgarath as they try to fulfill an ancient prophecy that...

, magic is inherently dangerous, and many of those who develop the talent for magic destroy themselves in learning how to use it, thus limiting their numbers even further.

Magical materials



Historically, many magicians have required rare and precious materials for their spells. Crystal ball
Crystal ball
A crystal ball is a crystal or glass ball believed by some people to aid in the performance of clairvoyance. It is sometimes known as a shew stone...

s, rare herbs (often picked by prescribed rituals), and chemicals such as mercury are common.

This is less common in fantasy. Many magicians require no materials at all; those that do may require only simple and easily obtained materials. Role-playing games are more likely to require such material for at least some spells, to prevent characters from casting them too easily.

One factor in this development has been that wizards in fantasy more frequently go on quests; the wizard who is merely consulted in his tower may be surrounded by useful equipment and substances, even in a fantasy work, but the questing wizard must carry what he needs. Wizards who remain in one place, such as those a hero consults, often own many magical items. One who lives in a cottage may have it filled with drying herbs for their magical properties, fantasy herbs being particularly noted for their healing powers; richer ones may own more valuable materials, such as crystal balls for scrying
Scrying
Scrying is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The most common media used are reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals,...

 purposes.

Wands and staves are a common piece of property, long used in tales involving wizards. The first magical wand featured in the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

: that of Circe
Circe
In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic , described in Homer's Odyssey as "The loveliest of all immortals", living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus.By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid...

, who used it to transform Odysseus's men into animals. Italian fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

s put them into the hands of the powerful fairies by the late Middle Ages. These were transmitted to modern fantasy. Gandalf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

 refused to surrender his staff in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

, and breaking Saruman
Saruman
Saruman the White is a fictional character and a major antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is leader of the Istari, wizards sent to Middle-earth in human form by the godlike Valar to challenge Sauron, the main antagonist of the tale, but later on aims at gaining...

's staff broke his power. Magical wands are used from Andre Norton's Witch World to Harry Potter. One element of this 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 Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 universe, a wizard can only perform weaker magic without a wand and only a few can control their wandless magic, and in battle taking away a wizard's wand disarms him. Wands can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be made of wood, plastic (not recommended), metal, or other types of materials. Generally a wizard used a wand that he felt he was most comfortable with, and one that could become an extension of himself. One of the main functions of the magic wand for a wizard or witch is to channel magical energy.

Use of magic


Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

 once urged, in a twist on Clarke's third law
Clarke's three laws
Clarke's Three Laws are three "laws" of prediction formulated by the British writer and scientist Arthur C. Clarke. They are:# When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right...

, that "any sufficiently rigorously defined magic is indistinguishable from technology",. Many other writers have observed that functional magic could replace technology in many situations - several of them, (Robert Heinlein in Magic, Inc.
Magic, Inc.
Magic, Inc. is a novella by Robert A. Heinlein. It was originally published in Unknown Fantasy Fiction, for September 1940 under the title "The Devil Makes the Law"....

, Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson
Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories...

 in Operation Chaos
Operation CHAOS
]Operation CHAOS or Operation MHCHAOS was the code name for a domestic espionage project conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency. A department within the CIA was established in 1967 on orders from President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson and later expanded under President Richard Nixon...

 and Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

 in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump is a novel by Harry Turtledove. While having some aspects of an alternate history, it is mainly a work of fantasy depicting a world where magic works and is used instead of modern technology, and in which the various deities of present and past religions are...

), depicting a recognizable modern society (specifically, a recognizable contemporary United States) in which various extensively-used forms of magic largely or wholly replace modern technology.

Nevertheless, many magicians live in pseudo-medieval setting in which their magic is not put to practical use in society; they may serve as mentors (especially if they are wise old men
Wise old man
The wise old man is an archetype as described by Carl Jung, as well as a classic literary figure, and may be seen as a stock character...

), or act as quest companions, or even go on a quest
Quest
In mythology and literature, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and as a symbol. Quests appear in the folklore of every nation and also figure prominently in non-national cultures. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and...

 themselves, but their magic does not build roads or buildings, or provide immunizations, or construct indoor plumbing or printing presses, or any of the other functions served by machinery; their worlds remain at a medieval level of technology. In many, perhaps most, high fantasy
High fantasy
High fantasy or epic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or parallel worlds. High fantasy was brought to fruition through the work of authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, whose major fantasy works were published in the 1950s...

 works, this is treated as an intrinsic feature of the world, requiring no explanation.

Sometimes this is justified by the use of magic bringing about worse things than it can alleviate, and the need of wizards to learn restraint. In Barbara Hambley's Windrose Chronicles, the wizards are precisely pledged not to interfere because of the terrible damage they can do. In Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

's Discworld
Discworld
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

, the importance of wizards is that they actively do not do magic, because when wizards have access to lots of "thaumaturgic energy" they develop many psychotic attributes, and would eventually destroy the world. This may be direct effect, or the danger of a miscast spell wreaking terrible harm.

Also, sometimes they are in hiding, with normal people having no idea about them, because the wizards and witches feel that if they revealed themselves, regular people would persecute them, a justified fear, or they would want them to fix all of their problems instead of doing it themselves. An example of this is when Hagrid explains the latter to Harry in Philosopher's Stone.

In other works, developing magic is difficult. In Rick Cook
Rick Cook
Rick Cook is a light fantasy author from the United States, best known for his Wizardry series of books. His writing includes many jokes that are hard to appreciate without having a background in systems-level programming, though the books themselves can easily be enjoyed by readers without such a...

's Wizardry series, the extreme danger of missteps with magic and the difficulty of analyzing the magic has stymied magic, and left humanity at the mercy of the dangerous elves, until a wizard summons a computer programmer from a parallel world
Parallel universe (fiction)
A parallel universe or alternative reality is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexisting with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a "multiverse", although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality...

 — ours — to apply the skills he learned here to magic.

At other times, a parallel development of magic does occur. This is commonest in alternate history genre. Patricia Wrede's Regency fantasies include a Royal Society of Wizards, and a technological level equivalent to the actual Regency; Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett was an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was a prolific contributor to Astounding and other science fiction magazines of the 1950s and 1960s...

's Lord Darcy
Lord Darcy (fiction)
Lord Darcy is a detective in an alternate history, created by Randall Garrett. The first stories were asserted to take place in the same year as they were published, but in a world very different from our own.-Title character:...

 series, Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

's Magic, Incorporated
Magic, Inc.
Magic, Inc. is a novella by Robert A. Heinlein. It was originally published in Unknown Fantasy Fiction, for September 1940 under the title "The Devil Makes the Law"....

, and Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson
Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories...

's Operation Chaos all depicted modern societies with magic equivalent to twentieth-century technology. In Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

, the wizards have magic equivalent or superior to Muggle technology; sometimes they duplicate it, as in the train that brings students to Hogwarts.

In the Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. . The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997...

 campaign setting Eberron
Eberron
Eberron is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, set in a period after a vast destructive war on the continent of Khorvaire...

, masses of relatively weak wizards mass-produce spells and magical items for public consumption.

The power ascribed to wizards often affects their role in society. In practical terms, their powers may give them authority in the social structure; wizards may advise kings, such as Gandalf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

 in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

, or Belgarath and Polgara the Sorceress
Polgara the Sorceress
Polgara the Sorceress is a fantasy novel by David and Leigh Eddings, and the twelfth in the setting of The Belgariad, The Malloreon and Belgarath the Sorcerer...

 in David Eddings
David Eddings
David Eddings was an American author who wrote several best-selling series of epic fantasy novels.-Biography:...

's The Belgariad
The Belgariad
The Belgariad is a five-book fantasy epic written by David Eddings.The series tells the story of the recovery of the Orb of Aldur and coming of age of Garion, an orphaned farmboy. Garion is accompanied by his aunt Polgara and grandfather Belgarath as they try to fulfill an ancient prophecy that...

, or even be rulers themselves as in E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros
The Worm Ouroboros
The Worm Ouroboros is a heroic high fantasy novel by Eric Rücker Eddison, first published in 1922. The book describes the protracted war between the domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an imaginary world that appears mainly medieval and partly reminiscent of Norse sagas...

 where both the heroes and the villains, although kings and lords, supplement their physical power with magical knowledge, or Jonathan Stroud
Jonathan Stroud
Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and young adults.-Biography:Born in 1970 in Bedford, England, Stroud began to write stories at a very young age. He grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories...

's Bartimaeus Trilogy
Bartimaeus Trilogy
Bartimaeus is a fantasy series by Jonathan Stroud consisting of a trilogy published from 2003 to 2005 and a prequel novel published in 2010. The titular character, Bartimaeus, is a five-thousand-year-old djinni, a spirit of approximately mid-level power...

, where magicians are the governing class. On the other hand, magicians often live like hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

s, isolated in their towers and often in the wilderness, bringing no change to society. In some works, such as many of Barbara Hambly
Barbara Hambly
Barbara Hambly is an award-winning and prolific American novelist and screenwriter within the genres of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and historical fiction...

's, wizards are despised and outcast specially because of their knowledge and powers.

In the magic-noir world of the Dresden Files, although wizards generally keep a low profile, there is no specific prohibition against interacting openly with non-magical humanity. The protagonist of the series, Harry Dresden
Harry Dresden
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a fictional detective and wizard. He was created by Jim Butcher and is the protagonist of the contemporary fantasy series The Dresden Files. The series blends magic and hardboiled detective fiction...

, openly advertises in the Yellow Pages under the heading "Wizard", as well as maintaining a business office. His main source of income in the series is derived from acting as a "special consultant" to the Chicago Police Department in cases involving the supernatural. Dresden primarily uses his magic to make a living finding lost items and people, performing exorcisms, and providing protection against the supernatural to ordinary humanity.

Wizards, magicians, and others specific to a work

  • Wizard (Middle-earth)
    Wizard (Middle-earth)
    In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Wizards of Middle-earth are a group of beings outwardly resembling Men but possessing much greater physical and mental power. They are also called the Istari by the Elves. The Sindarin word is Ithryn...

  • Magic in Earthsea
  • Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons)
    Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons)
    The wizard is one of the standard character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A wizard uses arcane magic, and is considered less effective in melee combat than other classes.-Creative origins:...

    • Sorcerer (Dungeons & Dragons)
      Sorcerer (Dungeons & Dragons)
      The sorcerer is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A sorcerer is weak in melee combat, but a master of arcane magic, the most generally powerful form of D&D magic. Sorcerers' magical ability is innate rather than studied...

    • Beguiler (Dungeons & Dragons)
    • Shadowcaster (Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Warlock (Dungeons & Dragons)
    Warlock (Dungeons & Dragons)
    The warlock is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was introduced as a non-core base class in the supplemental book Complete Arcane for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons...

  • Wizard (The Sword of Truth
    The Sword of Truth
    The Sword of Truth is a series of thirteen epic fantasy novels written by Terry Goodkind. The books follow the protagonists Richard Cypher, Kahlan Amnell and Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander on their quest to defeat oppressors who seek to control the world and those who wish to unleash evil upon the world of...

    )
  • Wizards (Discworld)
  • Wizards (The Dresden Files
    The Dresden Files
    The Dresden Files is a series of contemporary fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher.He provides a first person narrative of each story from the point of view of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in...

    )
  • Harry Potter universe
    Harry Potter universe
    The fictional universe of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series of fantasy novels comprises two separate and distinct societies: the wizarding world and the Muggle world...

     — Harry Potter
    Harry Potter
    Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

  • Arch-Wizard Hendrik Spoorbek
    Hendrik Spoorbek
    Heinrich Schörbeck was a renowned seer, healer and magician who settled in South Africa around 1811...