The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker
Is magic real? This is the question posed by Sarah Pinsker’s short story The Court Magician, in which a young boy turns into a magician after learning all of the street tricks that have been nothing more than an illusion. As the magician uses real magic the moral questions of the cost of magic come into the forefront of the story. Isaac and Reid discuss the cost of magic, the desire for magic to be real, and the extent a short story can display a variety of themes based upon interpretation.
- The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker (spoilers)
- The Prestige (2006 Film)
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- The King Killer Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
- Animal Farm and The Jungle by Upton Sinclaire
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (and its many adaptations)
- Lord of the Rings (movies)
The Court Magician presents a magic system of cost, but not universally equivalent cost. The magician says a magic word and loses something he loves: fingers, furniture, people, memories. A magic system with a cost places limits on what can be considered magic, and by extent what can be considered plot points. But at the end of this story the overall question of ‘is magic real?’ persists. The court magician only becomes the court magician after mastering the trickery of slight of hand and street magicianship. Magic is nothing more than tricks until his desire proves that he wants to know magic, understand magic, be all that magic is. The court magician, in his own seeking for magic, is willing to do magic, but was it all a trick? Can a magic system be built upon a desire to seek magic? Real or otherwise?
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