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!

Monday, December 15, 2014

1977- Jones & Charmed Life

Diana Wynne Jones' book Charmed Life hit shelves in 1977, 9 years after A Wizard of Earthsea

Wikipedia summarizes: 

"It features Eric "Cat" Chant and his older sister Gwendolen, a witch. The Chant parents have some magic but they drown in a boating accident in the first pages, leaving a boy who relies on a girl who needs training.
  The Chrestomanci books are collectively named after a powerful enchanter and British government official in a world parallel to ours, who supervises the use of magic —or the Chrestomanci, an office that requires a powerful enchanter and is responsible for supervising. Charmed Life is set in our time, during the tenure of Christopher Chant, who is Chrestomanci in five of the seven books and is often called Chrestomanci as a personal name."

"Chrestomanci, the magician whose role, we learn in a later book, is to 'watch over all the magic in the world and prevent any harm being done with it'"(Pinsent, paragraph 1, The Work of Diana Wynne Jones)

Magic users, in this context, are people that NEED to be watched over. This makes sense, right? People shouldn't be able to run around, doing god-knows what with that toad and the essence of wart. It should definitely be under some type of authority. 

Also, in this case, while there is an authority figure in the form of Chrestomanci, there isn't a place for overall education. Eric relies on Gwen to learn magic, and yet Gwen doesn't know a whole lot herself. The comment on education here seems to imply that the governing of magic is more important than learning the magic. Maybe this is why, in later fantasy novels, that teaching magic is extremely important. 

The Chrestomanci must look after all magic used, everywhere, all the time. 

That sounds exhausting. 

** As a nice little note, Piers Anthony's first book of his Xanth Series, A Spell for Chameleon was also published in this year. From what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of magical learning going on here, but if I'm wrong, feel free to comment on it. I will add a post, a beautiful, perfect, glorious post for that novel. Thanks :) 

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