This SAL is all about what you want to see on the blog. Each month I ask for suggestions for themes and then put them up to the members of the IHSW Group on FB to vote for their choice. This is what they have chosen:
November - Magic
The Wizards are major characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Their title is said to be derived from the archaic word "Wys-ars", meaning one who, at bottom, is very wise. In addition, Rincewind once said in Sourcery that the plural of wizard was once war.
Wizard magic is known to be taught at the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, Bugarup University in XXXX and Krull University in the secretive nation of Krull, as well as the recently-established Braseneck College in Pseudopolis. It is very much a scholarly study, largely (many believe) to prevent anyone outside the universities realising how easy it really is.
In fact, the older wizards tend not to understand how magic actually works at all, instead relying on centuries of lore to achieve their effects. Younger wizards enthusiastically experiment, pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and making new discoveries about the nature of the universe. They don't understand how magic works either, but have much more exciting words to explain why not. These often invoke images of particle physics (the events of TSOD are brought about by an experimental apparatus to split the "thaum", for example).
Really, wizard magic is telling the universe what you want it to be like, in terms it can't ignore. This is very draining, due to the Law of Conservation of Reality (which states it takes the same effort to do something with magic as it would to do it mundanely). This is why most wizards store magic in a staff (with a knob on the end). The most complicated parts of most spells aren't the effects, but the baffles to ensure the wizard survives. Magic is treated by its practitioners on the Discworld in a similar fashion to how nuclear weaponry is treated in the real world: it does no harm for people to know you've got it, but everyone will be in trouble if it gets used.
An eighth son of an eighth son is automatically a wizard. When a wizard nears death,(on the discworld, all practitioners of magic can foresee their own deaths, as well as seeing the character, Death) he formally passes on his staff to a wizard just born. Any children a wizard has will also be wizards. If wizard himself happens to have an eighth son, this child will be a "wizard squared" or "Sourcerer"; so called because he is a source of magic - a Sourcerer generates his own magic, and can therefore do just about anything with no effort. This is very dangerous, both because absolute power corrupts absolutely, and because it increases background magic levels considerably, which is why a rigid celibacy law for wizards means there are no sourcerers any more (although Sourcery records an exception).
At the time of release she said "This piece was designed in response to numerous requests for a "wizard". Since I am an avid reader of fantasy, inspiration for this project was certainly not lacking! The challenge, of course, was to come up with something original: ideally something that was a synthesis of my favorite impressions from all that I'd read and/or seen. I chose to show a young wizard (mage), perhaps an apprentice, studying and practicing his art. Exactly why I decided to show this aspect instead of a grander portrait of a wizard in full regalia doing something appropriately fantastical I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because I feel the process of "becoming" (growing in knowledge) is a journey that never truly ends....
I'd like to do a special shout out to Rachel and Jocondine who have linked up for every single post since we started this SAL. Last month's post marked our second choice-aversary and we are now starting our third year of letting the People Chose. Honourable mention to Leonore who has managed 11 posts again in the last year!