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Thread: Old Magic

  1. #1
    Lovemagic
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    Old Magic

    Yet another question.

    I'm not talking about love, as that is called Old Magic...But I'm talking about ages and ages ago. There were witches and wizards long, long, long before the lightbulb was invented. So how did they use their magic? Was it controllable? What kind of magic was it? Might some have ended up like Arriana?

    Hayden

  2. #2
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovemagic
    Yet another question.

    I'm not talking about love, as that is called Old Magic...But I'm talking about ages and ages ago. There were witches and wizards long, long, long before the lightbulb was invented. So how did they use their magic? Was it controllable? What kind of magic was it? Might some have ended up like Arriana?

    Hayden
    The invention of the lightbulb has nothing to do with magic.

    Wands are presumably very old inventions. One way you can tell is by looking at the etymology of various spells, which can presumably be invented in any language, and the language of the spell can denote its age. The spell Hermione invented in GoF to make a wand point north was simply in English - "Point Me". Most spells (in Europe at least) are in Latin, indicating that they were in existence as early as Roman times to as late as the Enlightenment, when Latin slowly begins to lose favour as the premier scholarly language. One spell, Avada Kedavra, has its roots in Aramaic, which is a nearly-dead language whose heyday ended a couple hundred years after the birth of Christ. Since the Killing Curse requires a wand, this can be treated as evidence that wands were in use for at least 1800 years or so.

    When the first wand was invented is anyone's guess. Before and around that time, magic would probably be a haphazard thing without adequate ways to control and channel it.

    Tim the Enchanter

  3. #3
    Lovemagic
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    The invention of the lightbulb has nothing to do with magic.
    I know.

    We know that wands were invented hundreds of years ago, from the sign on Ollivander's shop. So...I wonder, because were wands always there since humans? There must have been a time before wands were invented, so they must have used something else to channel their energy through, or just did wild magic and slowly got control or something? And if there wasn't anything to control it with, then did they just do basic stuff like...elements, perhaps? Earth and water and such? Maybe basic spells like summoning. Everyone needs summoning.

    Hayden

  4. #4
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    As I conceive of magic, what's really important is wanting the spell to happen. Theoretically, a wizard could say completely the wrong spell, make the wrong wand movements - perhaps not even use a wand at all - but if he was focused enough on what he wanted to happen, it would happen. Obviously achieving that kind of concentration is hard, though, so that's why (a) spells that are more complicated/require precision are harder to do and require more of a mental effort (b) certain spells just can't be done by certain age groups, because the lack the intellectual maturity (c) spells have to be studied/understood a bit before they can be performed and (d) wizards use wands and spells to focus their efforts.

    We already know wands have a bit of their own personality - I think the interference by another living thing (the animal that provided the core and the wood) takes the edge off raw magic. But it also would limit it to some extent; the strongest magic in the series is Lily's protection of Harry, which was wandless and came completely from her. So using a wand makes magic more reliable, but the trade off is that it also limits it.

    I think spell incantations and wand movements work in a similar way: because the same, standardized formula has been used so many times for a certain spell, the words and motions have taken on a bit of the magic themselves - that takes some of the burden of concentration off the caster. I kind of think of it like talking to a dog. Dogs don't understand any language, but when I want my dog to sit, I say "sit" in English instead of German or Farsi or any other language, because I speak English - not because that's what my dog understands. And eventually by pairing the word with making him sit often enough, he gets it. So when wizards first began creating specific spells, they just used words they knew and understood to describe what they wanted to happen, and as a specific word caught on to conjure up a certain effect and more and more people - some of whom might not have spoken the language the spell was in - used the incantation to create that specific piece of magic, the spell grew more reliable. Does that make sense? It does in my head, but that's no guarantee.

    Anyway I think the key is that magic gets more reliable everyday, and that the older / more common a spell is, the more reliable it is. Probably the average ancient wizard didn't do a whole lot of big magic because it was dangerous, but each generation pushed magic a bit further - and likely some tried to push it a lot further, with mixed results.

    As for really ancient wizards - pre-wand, pre-any-kind-of-spell - I think magic would've looked very similar to what we see in wizard children. Magic would come out at very emotional times, either reflecting the wizard's feelings or fulfilling desperate wishes. Some of the cleverer wizards might have been able to control things to a certain extent like Lily. I think the oldest magic would be protective and offensive charms, since being in mortal danger tends to make emotions run high. Some people might not have attributed the magic to themselves - Harry didn't realize that he was performing magic, only that strange things happened around him. I'm sure there was a lot of experimentation with channeling magic; probably wizards sometimes mistook objects they were holding/around as the source of their magic, and then tried to reproduce the spell; eventually they would've worked out what aided magic and what didn't. European wizards obviously settled on bits of wood with animal parts inside; other cultures probably came up with variations of their own. I think some Native American tribes had medicine bundles to perform magic - they were leather pouches filled with plants and animal parts that were meant to have magical powers.

    So yeah, that's my extremely long-winded theory of magic. Kudos to anyone who managed to read it all.

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