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Are there "rules" in this universe regarding magic?

#1 User is offline   Quick Moose 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 07:50 PM

Hi guys.

Bout halfway thru Deadhouse, am loving it, but also am reminded of something a friend said about GoT, and why he enjoys that series so much, and which, so far, seem absent from these books.
It's basically about the "rules" of magic, and defining or explaining what it and what is not possible in that particular world.
I.e. there is a set of rules that govern the magic and events in the GoT universe, and you know nothing outside those rules can happen.

In GoT for example, when Jon and his companions find themselves in a pickle, we just know that there will be no sorcery arriving to save the day, creating a giant fireball or something to destroy all the walkers.
We know this because the books have made it clear to us that such an event would lie outside the "rules" put forth.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, so far, I am not getting a sense of rules, or limits, on this magic in the Malazan series.
Like, I'm at the part where Coltaine's group have reached the river, surrounded and outnumbered by the rebels.
I feel like, we as readers, should be concerned for his safety, and saying to ourselves "Oh no, how is he gonna get himself out of this one!"
But I am NOT concerned. Why? There are no rules or limits to the magic in this series so far.
Some mage could show up at the last minute, open a warren, and voila! Saved!

Should it be that easy?
Are there ever any rules put forth in later books?
Are there limits?

Or, should it even matter?

This post has been edited by Quick Moose: 31 August 2018 - 07:51 PM

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#2 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 07:59 PM

Yah there are rules. For instance, one of the big ones is no magic after lights out (10pm).
They came with white hands and left with red hands.
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#3 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 08:04 PM

Mages are powerful but can be killed, especially by Assassins. Magic can also be negated by Otataral.
Warren travel is not safe and from a resource perspective it is usually not an option.
While Ascendants are powerful, the use of power invites intervention from other Ascendants, so one character does not dominate. For example, even Anomandaris is limited in many ways

I suspect that what you really dislike is the Deus Ex Machina (l hate this trope).
It's use is limited in the series (though it still exists).

This post has been edited by nacht: 31 August 2018 - 08:05 PM

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#4 User is offline   Quick Moose 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 08:06 PM

View Postworry, on 31 August 2018 - 07:59 PM, said:

Yah there are rules. For instance, one of the big ones is no magic after lights out (10pm).


And never date a woman who has a dagger tattoo on her body?
If so, we are set then.
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#5 User is offline   Quick Moose 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 08:14 PM

View Postnacht, on 31 August 2018 - 08:04 PM, said:

Mages are powerful but can be killed, especially by Assassins. Magic can also be negated by Otataral.
Warren travel is not safe and from a resource perspective it is usually not an option.
While Ascendants are powerful, the use of power invites intervention from other Ascendants, so one character does not dominate. For example, even Anomandaris is limited in many ways

I suspect that what you really dislike is the Deus Ex Machina (l hate this trope).
It's use is limited in the series (though it still exists).


I understand, but these aren't necessarily rules, are they?
You mention Otataral and it's negating properties.
But I wouldn't be surprised if a particular type of magic is introduced at some point that is impervious to Otataral!
Do you see my point?
Sorry if I'm lousy at explaining it.
Perhaps I should just read and shut the heck up.
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#6 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 08:54 PM

View PostQuick Moose, on 31 August 2018 - 08:14 PM, said:

View Postnacht, on 31 August 2018 - 08:04 PM, said:

Mages are powerful but can be killed, especially by Assassins. Magic can also be negated by Otataral.
Warren travel is not safe and from a resource perspective it is usually not an option.
While Ascendants are powerful, the use of power invites intervention from other Ascendants, so one character does not dominate. For example, even Anomandaris is limited in many ways

I suspect that what you really dislike is the Deus Ex Machina (l hate this trope).
It's use is limited in the series (though it still exists).


I understand, but these aren't necessarily rules, are they?
You mention Otataral and it's negating properties.
But I wouldn't be surprised if a particular type of magic is introduced at some point that is impervious to Otataral!
Do you see my point?
Sorry if I'm lousy at explaining it.
Perhaps I should just read and shut the heck up.







The rules are a big RAFO and are still an open question even after all these many books have been published.
A big part of fun for me when reading a new book is the additional information I gather about the warrens, and incredibly the big puzzle promises to be consistent.,

This post has been edited by nacht: 31 August 2018 - 08:55 PM

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#7 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 09:01 PM

Yah, the metaphysics of magic are a through-line of the series, and part and parcel to the story. You're not supposed to 'get it' up front.
They came with white hands and left with red hands.
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#8 User is offline   Esa1996 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.
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#9 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 11:55 PM

View PostEsa1996, on 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.


Yeah, I will take T'Lan Imass over white walkers any time.
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#10 User is offline   Quick Moose 

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 04:46 PM

View PostEsa1996, on 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.


I never said Got's magic was good.

The GoT universe, to me, has constraints on it's phenomena.
I haven't got that yet in Malazan.

I would love to hear examples of GoT magic you noticed that broke established rules.
(Not that I think you're wrong, but actually would be interested in hearing you being right, and make me rethink what it is I'm getting at haha).
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#11 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 07:38 PM

View PostQuick Moose, on 01 September 2018 - 04:46 PM, said:

View PostEsa1996, on 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.


I never said Got's magic was good.

The GoT universe, to me, has constraints on it's phenomena.
I haven't got that yet in Malazan.

I would love to hear examples of GoT magic you noticed that broke established rules.
(Not that I think you're wrong, but actually would be interested in hearing you being right, and make me rethink what it is I'm getting at haha).




Are you referring to the tv series or the book (because they are not consistent among themselves).

The question is why do you think the rules need to explained beforehand (i.e. early in a series). The first time I read Gardens of the Moon, it was mindblowingly different from other fantasy.
Even in real world, the rules (for ex. physics) were figured out over time.
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#12 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 11:54 PM

View PostQuick Moose, on 01 September 2018 - 04:46 PM, said:

View PostEsa1996, on 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.


I never said Got's magic was good.

The GoT universe, to me, has constraints on it's phenomena.
I haven't got that yet in Malazan.

I would love to hear examples of GoT magic you noticed that broke established rules.
(Not that I think you're wrong, but actually would be interested in hearing you being right, and make me rethink what it is I'm getting at haha).




What do you think the 'rules' of magic in GoT are, aside from the idea that magic drastically weakened at some point in the past (maybe as the dragons left) and is now returning?

Whether referring to the books or the tv series, your assertion seems mindbogglingly wrong.

Malazan does have some additional 'rules' about magic which you should have encountered by now: for example, most magic-users only have access to particular warrens which have their own aspects (for example, fire, darkness, etc.) and which may be connected to their species or history.
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#13 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 11:58 PM

View PostQuick Moose, on 31 August 2018 - 07:50 PM, said:

In GoT for example, when Jon and his companions find themselves in a pickle, we just know that there will be no sorcery arriving to save the day, creating a giant fireball or something to destroy all the walkers.
We know this because the books have made it clear to us that such an would lie outside the "rules" put forth.

Does that make sense?



Well,
Spoiler



More generally, we know Jon probably won't get saved by a fireball because he doesn't have access to magic, and magical ability is rare. There are plenty of Malazan characters who don't have access to magic. You're confusing powerful magic being rare with magic having rules. Huge difference.
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#14 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 02:29 AM

Constraint is an interesting thing. I think it's safe to say in the DG forum that, since sorcerers use 'warrens' to external sources of power -- in other words, they don't generally generate sorcery internally at an immense personal cost -- that magic is a much different kind of 'resource' than it is in some other fantasy worlds. And in terms of being a 'resource', even ASOIF is muddy in comparison to say Mistborn.

I suppose one other frame you can use to think of magic in this world is it has been 'democratized'. That doesn't mean there aren't hierarchies in power and aptitude, but it does mean this isn't a world in need of wizarding schools or bloodlines or chosen ones, etc.
But as I said earlier, the metaphysics will be explored throughout the series and you'll get a better grasp of it piece by piece. So I will say "don't worry" not in a brush it off sense, but in a you'll-get-there sense.
They came with white hands and left with red hands.
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#15 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 02:45 AM

View Postworry, on 02 September 2018 - 02:29 AM, said:

Constraint is an interesting thing. I think it's safe to say in the DG forum that, since sorcerers use 'warrens' to external sources of power -- in other words, they don't generally generate sorcery internally at an immense personal cost -- that magic is a much different kind of 'resource' than it is in some other fantasy worlds. And in terms of being a 'resource', even ASOIF is muddy in comparison to say Mistborn.

I suppose one other frame you can use to think of magic in this world is it has been 'democratized'. That doesn't mean there aren't hierarchies in power and aptitude, but it does mean this isn't a world in need of wizarding schools or bloodlines or chosen ones, etc.



Deadhouse Landing does mention
Spoiler


But tMBotF generally only deals with mature mages and doesn't iirc go into the details of their magical education.
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#16 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 03:10 AM

Spoiler

They came with white hands and left with red hands.
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#17 User is offline   Esa1996 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 10:01 AM

View PostQuick Moose, on 01 September 2018 - 04:46 PM, said:

View PostEsa1996, on 31 August 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

GOT's magic is good cos' it has rules? WHAT?! (I'm triggered). I HATE the magic in GOT because it has no rules whatsoever (Granted it has very little magic too, but whenever there is some magic in it it tends to break all the rules that have been established so far).

As for the question, Malazan has very loose rules but it has rules.


I never said Got's magic was good.

The GoT universe, to me, has constraints on it's phenomena.
I haven't got that yet in Malazan.

I would love to hear examples of GoT magic you noticed that broke established rules.
(Not that I think you're wrong, but actually would be interested in hearing you being right, and make me rethink what it is I'm getting at haha).




Sorry for the misquote (Got's magic is good cos'...).

SPOILERS FOR ASOIAF BOOKS 1 - 5, AND GOT SEASONS 1 - 7

Spoiler


Should be noted that despite my intense dislike of magic in ASOIAF it is still my favorite fantasy series after Wheel of Time and Malazan.
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#18 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 03:22 PM

My biggest problems with GoT


Spoiler

This post has been edited by nacht: 02 September 2018 - 03:22 PM

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#19 User is offline   Quick Moose 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 07:04 PM

Wow, nice.
More insight than I expected.

I'll report back when I"m not having a huge caffeine crash. Like now.
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#20 User is online   Gorefest 

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 09:42 PM

In GoT, magic is a mysterious thing which can only be done by a select few people and as such becomes an important plot driver and possibly even integral to the whole story arc.

Malazan is a completely different beast. Magic is everywhere and it is ingrained in the world and society. It is the great leveller. Many people can access or handle magic in some form or other. It is world background, not a plot element. Which in my opinion is awesome, because it totally breaks the tiresome 'country boy discovers he has special abilities' trope.

In MBotF it is fun to learn about how the magic works as part of the world building, whereas in GoT it drives the whole plot while still being confusing and inconsistent 5 books in.

Don't get me wrong, I like GoT a lot, but the magic use in MBotF is far morw interesting and epic in scope. And without the series needing to lean on it as a crucial plot point. Double win.

But yes, there are rules. And you will learn them. To an extent.

This post has been edited by Gorefest: 02 September 2018 - 09:49 PM

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