Magic (trope)

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Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresMagical Realism, Sex Magic, Magic AU
Related articles on Fanlore.

Magic is often used to give characters or objects, powers that don't exist in the real world.

It is a common plot device used in pro fiction. It helps to advance the plot, sometimes providing the protagonist with power over their world and in other cases, a magical adversary can use their power to challenge or obstruct the hero's journey. In many pro and fan works, magic usually comes at a price and the magic user may underestimate or be unaware of.

Works including magic often appear in fandoms where it is already canon and fans often create works that follow the existing system of magic in that Universe. In some works the main character may be so proficient in the use of magic, that some of the rules do not apply; such as the use of wandless magic in Harry Potter fanworks. In other works, magic gone awry and curses are used to introduce common fanfic tropes, and can be used to get two characters together.

There are also Magic AUs.

Common Tropes & Storylines

Magic Gone Awry

Magical spells going wrong can often lead to humorous and unintended consequences, despite the best intentions of the spell caster. This was a common trope used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. In fanworks, it is often used to introduce fanfic tropes that may not be canon, such as: body swap, memory loss, de-aging and time travel.

Love potions and spells regularly go awry in fanworks. This can include casting a love spell on the wrong character, leading to an unexpected pairing. Alternatively a character may accidentally ingest a love potion. This trope is often used to get together two characters who wouldn't normally consider beginning a romantic relationship. In some fics, the spell may cause physical pain if the character is not near their love interest, forcing these two to spend much time together while they look for a way to break the spell.

In other cases, a love spell may more closely resemble a lust spell. These scenarios can lead to PWP works, but there are also works examining the dubcon or noncon nature of the relationship. There may also be considerable angst after the curse is broken.

Other magical spells or mishaps that appear in fanworks include: Truth spells and Accidental bonding.

Magical Curses

Fanworks featuring magical curses range in tone from crack to angst works. This trope features heavily in fandoms where magic or supernatural creatures are canon. Works featuring magical curses do not always require a witch/wizard to cast the offending spell, as cursed objects are often to blame. Alternatively a curse can be inherited, with a character discovering that their family is cursed.

Curses can often be used to introduce common fanfic tropes. They may also result in characters losing their magical powers/superpowers, or been transformed into an animal or child. Curses often provide an opportunity for characters to work together as they search for a way to break the spell. Some works employ fairytale elements, such as a sleeping curse that can only be broken with True Love's Kiss.

Dark Magic

In works with Dark Magic, making a deal with the Devil, or a demon, or a dark magic user often comes at a considerable cost to the protagonist.

In other works a magic user learning dark magic may become a more dark version of themselves. In some cases, these works are canon AUs, such as works featuring Dark!Willow in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom.

Example Fandoms

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