Fantasy Favourites: Magic Systems

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Last year I started a series of posts called fantasy favourites, where I basically share my favourite things in fantasy books. As you can already tell from the title, I’m going to be talking about my favourite magic systems. You guys should know by now that I read a lot of fantasy and there are a lot of fantastically written magic systems. Some books have multiple magic systems but I have chosen to focus on one from each book. Let’s get started.

The Bells / Old Kingdom trilogy / Garth Nix
The Bells are used by the Abhorsen to control the Dead. There are seven bells and each has a name and a power. Each Abhorsen has a favoured bell. In this trilogy the most used bell was Saraneth.
    • Ranna or the Sleeper – sends all who hear it to sleep, including the listener
    • Mosrael or the Waker – sends the listener into life, but the ringer further into death
    • Kibeth or the Walker – sends the listener to go where you wish or sends an inexperienced user to walk where they don’t want to go.
    • Dyrim or the Speaker  – allows speech or makes things mute
    • Belgaer or the Thinker – allows independent thought to the Dead or erases memories.
    • Saraneth or the Binder- binds the Dead to the ringer’s will
    • Astarael  or the Weeper – sends all who hear it deep into death, including the ringer
Abhorsen-in-waiting may sometimes use pan pipes before the bells with each pipe corresponding to a bell. The pipes are considerably weaker the the bells.

Powder mage / Adro series / Brian McClellan
Powder mages metabolise gunpowder as the source of their power. They can ingest or snort gunpowder to enter a ‘Powder Trance’, which means they are stronger, faster and their senses are heightened. If you stay too long in said trance, they run the risk of going ‘Powder Blind’, which may lead to falling into a coma, losing the ability or even death. Gunpowder is also highly addictive, so mages must use it with some care. Other powers include:
    • Detecting nearby powder
    • Detonating powder from a distance
    • Absorb the blasts from gunpowder
    • Fire multiple shots with one charge and in different directions
    • Heals faster in a Powder Trance
Most Powder mage has an affinity with certain powers. Taniel can control two bullets at the same time and hit two separate targets with them – hence his nickname ‘Two Shot’. On the other hand Vlora is adept at detonating powder from a distance and can do it the longest distance than other mages. Powder mages avoid the mineral gold at all costs as it neutralises their abilities.

Theotypes / Theonite series / M. L Wang
Theonites are superhumans who have elemental powers. Most theonites have access to only one element, with the possibility of using a different element slightly, however a rare few have the power to use multiple elements adeptly. 
    • Tajaka – a theonite with the ability to control fire
    • Fonyaka – a theonite with the ability to control air
    • Jijaka – a theonite with the ability to control water
    • Fankatigi – a sub-theonite with enhanced strength
    • Littigi – a sub-theonite with the ability to control light
    • Sondatigi – a sub-theonite with the ability to control sound
Theonites generally need calm and focus to use their powers, so cannot use their powers when overcome with emotions. Adyn is the term used for humans with no enhanced abilities or powers. 

Allomancy / Mistborn trilogy / Brandon Sanderson
Allomancy is based around the use of metal. An allomancer ingests metal and gains certain powers from different types of metal. There are sixteen Allomantic metals. Examples of allomantic powers:
    • Steel – pushes on nearby metals
    • Iron – pulls on nearby metals
    • Tin – enhances senses
    • Pewter – enhances strength
    • Zinc – en-flames emotions 
    • Brass – dampens emotions.
Allomancy is a hereditary power and must be awakened in someone, in a process called ‘Snapping’. This normally occurs during intense emotion. Allomancers can either burn one metal, making them a Misting, or every metal, making them a Mistborn.

Jan’Tep Bands / Spellslinger series / Sebastien de Castell
The Jan’Tep magic system consists of seven main fundamental forces; iron, ember, silk, breath, blood, sand and shadow. Initiates are banded with six metallic tattoos around their arms which they learn to’spark’ to gain their power. Most will spark a couple of their bands, however the most powerful will spark four or more of their bands. The seventh band, Shadow, is not banded onto children as it is seen as cursed. This magic is used through a mixture of incantations and somatic shapes, or hand gestures. 
    • Breath – used to control wind/air and is considered one of the weakest bands. 
    • Blood – can be used to heal or to harm and can be used to track. It is the most feared of the bands.
    • Iron – can be used to affect physical objects and matter
    • Ember – it is the magic of energy and can be used to create fire and lightning
    • Silk – can be used to read or even control minds
    • Sand – used to slow down or speed up time, and predict the future with varying degrees of accuracy. 
    • Shadow – the most feared form of magic, it is banned by the Jan’Tep. It can lead to having different powers.
Mages often specialises in certain disciplines, depending on what bands they have sparked. Mages can also be counterbanded to prevent them accessing certain branches of magic. Counterbanding take six nights to complete and goes from the strongest band (Ember) to the weakest (Breath). 

That’s it for today. There are alot of amazing magic systems, these are just a few of my favourites. What are your favourite magic systems? Let’s chat in the comments. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.





3 thoughts on “Fantasy Favourites: Magic Systems

  1. Such a fun post! I loved the bells in The Old Kingdom series – I’ve always thought an Abhorsen cosplay would be good fun – and I read The Sword of Kaigen in January and really enjoyed the magic system. M.L. Wang is such a talented fantasy writer, I need to try more of her work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s