Gods and magic in the fantasy novel

Last week, I wrote about incorporating gods and religion into the fantasy novel. Since many works of fantasy also include magic, I wanted to address magic and gods.

As I have said before, all magic needs established rules to be believable. How do the gods play into these rules? Are they the ones who established them? Are their powers also limited to these rules?

Here are some questions to get you thinking as you are building your world.

1.) How does your god or gods view magic?

2.) Is there a god of magic?

3.) Is magic a gift from god? Or is it the gods answering the participants “prayer”?

4.) If magic is really the result of the gods responding to the “magician,” why would they do this? Is there any restriction on what they can do? What prevents them from always saving the day?

5.) If you are calling on a god for help, do you call on the same god each time or does it depend on which god would be the most helpful?

5.) Does your religion require priests or priestesses to be magicians?

ritual6.) Is magic forbidden and if so, why?

7.) Does your magic involve rituals (religious or otherwise)? Do the participants expect an immediate response or will the ritual take effect three months later?

8.) Does your magic revolve around spirits or magical beings sent to do tasks?  (“I, Ago the mighty, summon you using your true daemon name to do my will…”)

With my trilogy, The Elemental, I did not involve gods in the story so I did not have to  address these questions. There were two types of magic – innate (Elementals) and learned (Learners) but neither received these powers as a gift from God. In my current work in progress, magic was bestowed on the disciples of the gods and so only descendants have magic. My gods are a little further removed from the current story.

4 thoughts on “Gods and magic in the fantasy novel

  1. intheAMDay says:

    Good questions! I never even thought about all of this when I created my characters. But because they are descendants of the Greek gods, seems only natural for them to have powers of the gods. One big twist in my Throne of Olympus series is that they do go to “temple” and call on the gods’ help. The one in particular—the God of Gods is over Zeus and the others. Now, I’m going to go back and ask myself your thorough questions and try to answer them. Thanks! Love this post…makes me think!

  2. […] numerous times – Creating Believable Magic, Innate versus Learned Magic, Magical Duels, and Gods & Magic. But looking back over what I have written, I realize there was more to address so I have written a […]

  3. […] learn more about writing about magic, check out my other posts on magic: Rules of Magic, Magic & the Gods, Magical Duels, Innate vs Learned Magic and Believable […]

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