Oh, Magic. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
- (You thought I was joking about the counting, huh.) Escape. Movies, music, books, and plays about magic take us out of the mundane world and allow us to escape momentarily into a better (in some ways) world. There is still evil and intrigue, but that's part of the magic, too. And the evil can be defeated.
- Metaphor and theme. We love the metaphor involved in a magical story--the way a person with a goofy name can stand for all that is wrong in the world, or maybe they stand for a principle like, "Self-interest always backfires," or, "People who wear pickles on their feet will never find true love". Any story can have metaphor, but I enjoy the obviousness of themes in magical stories. This layering makes a seemingly cute story turn out to be truly meaningful.
- It's Shiny. Maybe this should have been my first reason. We love the shiny pictures magical stories paint, like Harry Potter being chosen by his wand in Ollivander's Wand Shop or a magical golden ring with a glowing inscription. Lots of money is made on merchandise that helps kids (and adults) relive these moments. Myself, I'm still heartbroken that Quidditch is not an actual game. If I could pay to fly on a broomstick whilst dodging bludgers and scoring points, I would seriously save my money, no matter how much it cost. (Nasa, are you listening?)
- Rules. This one is less obvious, but still a big reason we love magic. There are rules, usually clear-cut rules with predictable outcomes. Since real life is a messy grey blob where the good are sometimes punished unfairly and the wicked get away with murder, it's nice to believe for a few moments in a world where the wicked are always punished and the good, while sometimes misjudged, always triumph in the end. In magical stories, if you follow the rules, you will win.
Okay, I ran out of steam on the counting. This is why I've never been able to count sheep to fall asleep! :-)
I'd like to hear from you, and maybe we'll continue our counting sans the pesky numbers! Why do you love magic?