"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.
"Oh, no; that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken."
--L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
"I wish they taught magic at school," Jane sighed. "I believe if we could do a little magic it might make something happen."
"I could begin right enough," said Anthea; "I’ve read lots about it. But I believe it’s wrong in the Bible."
"It’s only wrong in the Bible because people wanted to hurt other people. I don’t see how things can be wrong unless they hurt somebody, and we don’t want to hurt anybody; and what’s more, we jolly well couldn’t if we tried."
--E. Nesbit, The Phoenix and the Carpet
For example, magic has been used traditionally in fairy stories to give a visible form to the invisible spiritual powers...."Good magic" in traditional fairy stories represents these very realities, symbolizing the intervention of God in the lives of good men put to the test. It is actually a metaphor for grace and miracle, the suspension of natural law through an act of spiritual authority, culminating in a reinforced moral order.
--Michael D. O'Brien, A Landscape With Dragons
While Rowling posits the "good" use of occult powers against their misuse, thus imparting to her sub-creation an apparent aura of morality, the cumulative effect is to shift our understanding of the battle lines between good and evil.
--Michael D. O'Brien, "The Problem of Harry Potter"
Supernatural is a dangerous and difficult word in any of its senses, looser or stricter. But to fairies it can hardly be applied, unless super is taken merely as a superlative prefix. For it is man who is, in contrast to fairies, supernatural (and often of diminutive stature); whereas they are natural, far more natural than he. Such is their doom. The road to fairyland is not the road to Heaven, nor even to Hell, I believe, though some have held that it may lead thither indirectly by the Devil's tithe.
Even fairy-stories as a whole have three faces: the Mystical toward the Supernatural; the Magical toward Nature; and the Mirror of scorn and pity toward Man. The essential face of Faerie is the middle one, the Magical.
--J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories" in Tree and Leaf
Sometimes a possessive mother even grudges a child his dream kingdom.
I remember a little boy who was punished for day-dreaming. His dream kingdom was a deep green forest peopled by wizards and gomes and magic children but where no grown-up people could come. Here he was king. But when I saw him his white face was dirty with tears, and his mother explained that she had punished him because when she asked for his attention, he was "so far away."
--Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God
Saturday, March 29, 2008