Why?!?! - An Author's note

For a final project in Fantasy Fiction (check out sf@sf- its a great resource for everything fantasy and sci-fi) I decided to do a timeline. But I couldn't do any ordinary timeline, right? I mean, that would be entirely too easy.

So for your pleasure, and my pain, this is a timeline showing the progression of magical education since A Wizard of Earthsea was published in 1968-- to see if apprenticeships have died in the wake of the magic school phenomenon... or if they're coming back. Or even more interesting, if they never left in the first place.

And even though this is for a class, I plan on working on it for.. well, forever. So any and all feedback is welcome, and appreciated.

Enjoy the journey through time, my weary travelers. Because here... we... go!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1974- Murphy & The Worst Witch

Murphy's The Worst Witch series started in 1974.. only 6 years after Earthsea!

hernoseinabook tells us: 

"Mildred Hubble attends Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches and is probably the worst student the school has ever seen. Mildred seems to be always getting into trouble. Whether it’s potions, spells or broomstick riding, she can’t seem to do anything right. When Mildred’s class does a display for this years Halloween celebrations, Mildred finds herself at blame when their presentations turns into a disaster. How will Mildred ever earn her Witches Higher Certificate when she is the worst witch to ever attend Miss Cackle’s Academy? When a group of evil witches conspire to take over the school, Mildred might be the only one able to save the school."

This is the most recent book after Earthsea that I've found so far, and it too has magic school. The cool thing about The Worst Witch Series is that it's a children's book. However, from what I've read about it (like the link to the blog above) it's more child-oriented than Harry Potter

So here, we have magic school. 

"The Worst Witch begins,

Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches stood at the top of a high mountain surrounded by a pine forest. It looked more like a prison than a school, with its gloomy grey walls and turrets. Sometimes you could see the pupils on their broomsticks flitting like bats above the playground wall, but usually the place was half hidden in mist, so that if you glanced up at the mountain you would probably not notice the building was there at all.Everything about the school was dark and shadowy: long, narrow corridors and winding staircases ...9
The initial description of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997) has a good deal in common with this. " -Pat Pinsent (paragraph 1, Location)

how does this differ from the idea of the apprenticeship? Well, education in this way has structure, allowing students to grow in a controlled, safe manner (probably smart- unless you WANT your little dears turning people into toads). There are peers to help regulate the weird things a magic user may conspire to do (ahem. Marauder's Map, anyone?), and it may also assist with the actual learning. 

How many people had people do their math homework for them? If you were anything like me, then you did. Multiple times. Because math is hard. 

But sometimes.. that friend who always let you borrow their homework might try to explain the work to you.. and sometimes, it stuck. The same idea might apply with a magic school. Don't know how to do this spell? Ask a friend. 

One on one education is great, but there is something to be said about peer socialization and learning. 

Also: for anyone interested, The Worst Witch is also a movie! 

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