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!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2007- Rothfuss, Scott, and Marillier

In 2007, we have 3 titles that appear to concern magical education. This is almost 40 years after the publication of Earthsea

Patrick Rothfuss's site gives us a pretty good idea of what this book is about..

"[T]he tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend."

Here we have the first introduction of a University for magic users. Not only has Rothfuss moved away from the whole apprentice idea, but he took education to a higher spot. This idea (as we will see later in The Magicians) is pretty revolutionary. Instead of focusing on young minds, the emphasis is on cultivating minds already exposed to years of knowledge- either focusing on magic, or not.

It's a pretty cool idea.. but does this mean the apprenticeship is dying out?


Wikipedia once again provided me with a summary...
"The Dark Mirror is the first book of The Bridei Chronicles and tells of Bridei's education under the supervision of Broichan, the king's Druid. Bridei is sent at a very early age by his father Maelchon and mother Anfreda to Broichan at Pitnochie. One night Bridei is woken by the moon and outside discovers a baby of the Good Folk, which he takes in and later names Tuala. As the years pass, Bridei and Tuala begin to fall apart as they come to terms with their destinies. The pair are tested to the ends of their wits until their love for each other blossoms and triumphs. The book ends with Bridei elected as the new king and his announcement of his betrothal to Tuala."

Education in the Bridei Chronicles is primarily an apprentice type deal.. but does the fact that she's taught by a higher-level tutor make a difference? Can we still call it apprenticeship if the apprentice is royalty? If not.. then what is it?

And Wikipedia again, the summary..

The main story arc charts the adventures of two fifteen-year-old American teens, named Sophie and Josh Newman, whose regular lives working at their summer jobs (Sophie works in a coffee shop, Josh in a bookstore) are turned upside down by the arrival of Dr. John Dee. Dr. Dee engages the bookstore owner, Nick Fleming, in a battle of magic in an attempt to steal an ancient book, The Book of Abraham the Mage (aka the Codex) from him. Dr. John Dee snatches the book from Josh's grasp, but Josh manages to retain two pages. Dr. John Dee also kidnaps Nick's wife Perry Fleming and imprisons her on Alcatraz Island.

This seems to be an apprentice-type deal too... 

so, really. Is there a progression? Has the attitudes towards magical education changed? What do YOU think this re-occurring trend of apprentice education means for fantasy fiction? 

Or, maybe it has implications outside of the books..

maybe.. it has to do with Pat Pinsent's idea: 

"Texts concerned with education in magic by means of a pupil's apprenticeship to a competent magician inevitably reflect the conscious or implicit ideology of the writer." - Pat Pinsent (paragraph 5, Apprenticeship in Magic)

maybe it's all in what the author thinks.

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