Category: magic in fantasy

Ursula K. Le Guin, American author

2001 Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin

Martin: I wanted to talk to you especially about writing Earthsea. My first question is what drew you back to that world, years after writing Tehanu, which you called at the time the “last” book of Earthsea?

Le Guin: Well, when I finished Tehanu, I really thought I’d probably come to the end of the story. And I had in many ways. I got them together and so on. But, I did leave a big unanswered question at the end of the book: who is the child Tehanu, who or what is she? The dragon [Kalessin] has called her “daughter.” What does that mean? So there were a lot of questions hanging. At the time I thought, well, that’s alright, you don’t have to answer all the questions at the end of a book.

But as time went on through the ’90s, I kept thinking about Earthsea, and I found myself going back in its history to find out some questions that puzzled me about the way things are in that place.

And I began getting answers. In other words, I began getting stories.

[Click on the photo above to read the rest of the 2001 interview with Ursula K. Le Guin.]

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman

The Demands of Magic in Fantasy Literature – Grossman’s The Magicians

In Lev Grossman’s delightful, if slightly disturbing, 2009 book, The Magicians, the author draws high fantasy’s sword from the stone one more time, but sharpens and hardens the edge to slice and dice a re-imagining of a fantasy world that is tougher, more mature, and more realistic than the high-school world of Harry Potter or that of Narnia’s more innocent children.

The Nature of Magic, in Le Guin and Tolkien

The description of magic, and the underlying concept of it, is variously tackled in many a fantasy book. What does it feel like to use magic? Is it…

The Magic in Fantasy that Pervades Everything

Magic in fantasy occurs as a central nervous system of the fiction. And though is it the systematic underpinning of all that happens, it is frequently mysterious, capricious,…

Harry Potter, Magic, and Moral Caution

Is Harry Potter a decent person? Okay, we all know that the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been the subject of Christian concern, some criticism, and…