Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Spell Books

Why do wizards always have spell books? It’s something that has just struck me as slightly odd. They always seem to have the same kind of big, leather bound tomes, which raises some fairly obvious thoughts (to me. I’m resigned to the fact that what I consider obvious strikes other people as slightly odd).

First, where do they get them? The decline of the independent book shop (and yes, it is a phenomenon that has spread to fantasy kingdoms) surely means that it is becoming harder by the day. All right, so maybe they send off for them, but really, we’re talking about some quite specialised bookbinding skills here. Particularly when you consider the effort involved in preserving these things. Speaking as a man who has had to sit on hard chairs in archives while the books got cushions, I know what I’m talking about.

Second, are they available as ebooks? Possibly not so applicable to medieval fantasy (though watch out for those magic mirror readers) but surely perfectly all right for anything urban fantasy related. Though I should point out that my urban fantasy series featured a witch who not only had the obligatory big leather bound books, but actually lived in an independent bookshop.

Third, with these books written by Things from Beyond, and various other capitalisations, do said things acquire their book deals in the normal ways? Does Xlarglpop the Destroyer have an agent, and if so, does that mean it will be postponing the destruction of the universe until after its next book signing?

Also, isn’t it worth experimenting with other approaches to aiding your memory for these things? Post it notes, for example, or carefully trained talking birds (I sense a list coming on). Why is it always the big, leather bound book?


Joshua said...

I never understood the spellbook either. I understand the need for them to be written down so that you can learn them, but the thought that you couldn't remember it once you'd learned it was always odd to me.

stu said...

I suppose it's either because A) spells are really difficult, and you need the books in the same way you need a wiring diagram for repairing complex electronics, or B) because D&D needed a game mechanic.

Julie Daines said...

You raise many valid and interesting questions. I'd love to see a book about witches or wizards who download the spellbook app. Every spell or curse you need just a few taps away.