emceng wrote:This is the problem of so many magic systems. It takes too much effort to be consistent, and many times authors don't plan ahead or worry about potential issues. With all the things in the HP universe, why didn't anyone just kill Voldemort? Oh, apparently he is 'too powerful' - and yet magic can do anything! It can make a car fly, hynotize people, etc. What stops some kid from stunning their parents because they don't want to do the dishes? What stops them from turning their sister into a newt? Or enchanting a book that you apparently can never stop reading?
Another one I like to joke about is the Force - especially in lightsaber duels. I think I would invent a new Force power - Force cock-punch. Use it, then stab the guy while he's laying on the ground holding his groin. Or hell, if you can choke someone, why not Force squeeze-some-vein-in-that-guy's-head,-giving-him-a-brain-aneurysm.
That's the problem with magic - no defined rules. There are many times things that involve action at a distance with no given limit on effects or requirements. The real world has physics. You know a bullet can only travel so far, and it shouldn't pierce a block wall. You know that if a car barrel-rolls down a hill, the driver is likely dead or horribly injured.
Bah! Just because it's magic doesn't mean it doesn't have rules.
That's why they're called magic systems.
Sure, you as the author get to make your own rules, but you as a non-crappy author are still going to make them. The superhero genre is a pretty good example of this. Each superhero has a certain set of powers - Superman will never
shoot webs from his hands.
Of course, I prefer straight-up fantasy, where there's actually one coherent rationale for all the magic. (Not "this one got bitten by a spider, this one's from a different planet, this one got trapped in a lab experiment gone wrong.") It's like...new laws of physics. Still laws. Even Robert goddamn Jordan was able to come up with a system. It was a horribly cliche system with misogyny built into its very foundations, but it was there.
Garth Nix had one of my favorite magic systems of all time with his Abhorsen series; Tamora Pierce figured out that magic costs energy; Philip Pullman had his Dust, and a powerful Subtle Knife that it was impossible to use safely. I like it when magic is dangerous (A Song of Ice and Fire) and difficult (Matilda) and tedious (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.)
Raise up the torch and light the way.