Last week I wrote a blog about how nothing about making comics comes to me naturally and how I’ve had to work very hard over the past twenty years to achieve my current level of skill. There was a comparison I meant to make in that original blog post which didn’t seem to fit in my first pass on this subject, so I’ll continue it now.
In common tabletop roleplaying game terms there’s a difference between a Sorcerer and a Wizard in regards to how they learn and handle their magic.
Sorcerers are naturally gifted with magic. They’re literally born into it and magic power courses through their veins. They don’t so much learn magic as learn how to control it, but they are the magic users where “it just comes naturally” to them.
Wizards are the ones who have had to learn magic from its very basics, studying long hours and working constantly to improve their mastery over spells and rituals. Wizards are the bookworms and nerds of the modern magic users, where their skill comes not from the circumstances of their birth but the discipline of their minds.
You can probably tell which of the two I am drawn to.
But this is just in common tabletop roleplaying game terms. In many fantasy settings that aren’t based on dice rolls and balanced rule systems, the terms of magic are very different. In many settings, from that once-beloved children’s book series to Ursula LeGuin’s magnificent Earthsea books to even my own fantasy world, wizards have to be born with the capacity to wield magic before they can begin to learn how to wield it properly. As you will see as my anthologies continue, I’ve moved away from that concept.
I’ve come to dislike the concept of magic and other cornerstones of fantasy being only available to those who are lucky enough to be born with the talent. It runs up alongside the poisonous idea that only the “naturally gifted” should pursue things like art and music and performance as anything more than a hobby, and I no longer want my world to embrace that idea. Spoiler alert, but we will come to learn that magic is now available to anyone who has the patience and discipline to figure out how it actually works. The latter will be the tricky part.
Magic, like anything creative, isn’t easy for many of us but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. You just need to put on your wizard hat and do the work, however you can.