1. ElvenSorceress
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    ElvenSorceress Member

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    Magic Titles

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ElvenSorceress, Dec 17, 2010.

    I am currently working on a Fantasy novel but I have come upon a problem. One of the races in my world are the mages. What I would like to know is what is the difference between mages, witches, sorceresses and enchantresses. Is there really a difference or have different names just evolved over time. I am at a loss! :confused:

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I believe they're all the same mages, witches, sorceresses and of course there's another male version, warlock. You could make the argument that an enchantresses is a person who can fill a thing with magic. For instance, an encharted tree might be given the power to talk via a spell. Meanwhile a witch/warlock is the source of the power and can shoot lightning bolts, freeze people with a wave, etc.

    I like to change names of traditional titles like this and make up my own. In a universe I create, witches do not exist but female Nhraal do. A good example of this is in the TV show, The Walking Dead, no one has heard of "zombies" at all, and the zombies are called "Walkers" so it's less trite.

    Hope that stuff helps.
     
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  3. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    They can mean the same thing, but here's a loose breakdown.

    Mage=usually more battle oriented; someone who throws fireballs, etc. Mages usually seem to rely mostly on innate power. They can be seen as the opposite of witches, who use almost entirely ceremonies and external power sources.

    Enchantress/Enchanter=someone who is more mysterious; might use ancient tomes or mystical arts more than just accessing power. They often are used in emotional context.

    necromancer=use the souls and bodies of the dead, sometimes summon demons. They worship death and sometimes use bits of dead people as magical items.

    sorcerer/sorceress=quite general, they usually have innate magic but seem similar to a mage in the way they access power. Not entirely sure about these guys.

    Witch=can be male or female, and rely on symbols, chants, and ceremony for power. They can not just decide to throw an energy bolt according to most sources.

    That's the way I generally think of each type of magical person, I could be wrong for some of them. I am completely sure about necromancers and witches though.
     
  4. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    There are a thousand different ways to define/write a witch, sorcerer, mage etc... and none are more right or wrong than the others. (well, maybe some, but you get the point.) :D

    Remember, this is your story, and you can make them mean or be anything you want. If you write it well, it won't matter which name you go with.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with Allegro 100 percent about changing the names to make it more original. I don't like when people use the same old elves, dwarves, men, witches, wizards etc over and over and over. Changing the name and maybe a few characteristics will make your story your own, and not 1 of 1000000.
     
  6. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Yes, and it adds mystery.

    For instance, a person will read "witch" and get an instant mental picture, and that's good for little kids maybe, but to intrigue older reads something different is needed. No one has a mental picture for a Tengelkind, because I just made that off two seconds ago, but if I invent powers, looks, and personality for one, that's unique (even if it's not).
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Precisely. For example, if you're writing a horror story about some horrendous blood-sucking monster, you don't want to just call it a "vampire" because people will get pictures of the stupid sparkly Edward stuff. In your case, just saying "witch" or "mage" will bring to mind a stereotype, whether it be the "pointy black hat and broomstick" image or the "lives in a cottage making spells" image. Even if some of those elements are indeed there, you won't have much room to expand or create new territory if readers refuse to alter their pre-created image of a common, steoreotypical fantasy race name.

    Hope that made any sense lol. :)
     
  8. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does it matter what you call them? Does it matter if you give what could be defined as a mage a completely different name even though they are similar anyways? Does the changing of the name anyway make it less original or not? Should I call my humans... uh well anything but human?

    A name is just a name. Whether you decide to call them for what they are, like humans or call them Pepaluntals. They would still be Humans. There name is just different, doesn't change much.


    Anyways as for the differences.

    Well wikipedia has them all pretty much being interchangable for the name Magician. Though Sorcery seems to be linked to using evil spirits to ones gain or whatever.

    It pretty much comes down to... what do you want them to be?

    Your wizards could be the type to study hard and lock themselves up in libraries or their studies researching and studying magic. They could be a more peaceful and find ways to use magic to better the world.

    A mage could be those who train and study magic for the purpose of battle.

    Well you get the idea.

    The only thing they seem to have in common is the idea that they use magic. What you call them, or how you distinguish them, is completely up to you. Maybe some only practice certain kinds of magic maybe thats all they can practice. You know depending on how magic users obtain the ability to use magic .Whether its something they are born with or not.




    Really? You have that low of faith in humanity? You really think Twilight completely and utterly destroyed the name Vampire? The only, and I mean the only, reason I thought about Edward Cullen(Why did she name him Cullen? Poor Tom. M-O-O-N that spells Poor. :( ) is because YOU brought it up.

    Though if this is true, that Stephanie Meyer has singlehandedly put into motion the complete destruction of the Vampires. Then I am in awe. Not quite sure at what. That someone could have such power to to destroy a concept that has been around for centuries, or the fact that humans are really that crappy as to let some book, that they don't even like, effect them so much to the point that it influences future reading.
     
  9. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I completely disagree.

    At this point in my life when I see the word "vampire", "zombie", or "dragon" I'm out of there. I will not be buying or consuming the product unless there's some highly original twist.

    That's because in my life I've seen several resurgences of all of said beings, and it's boring. It seems to be on some media cycle to hit teens who never heard of the monsters, so it's an easy sell.
     
  10. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    EDIT: nevermind.
     
  11. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    You just made that up on the spot, or did you consult the D&D Player Manual?

    As for the actual origin and meaning of the word, all it took was a 3 second wikipedia search:

    Nothing in there about fireballs.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have faith that most people will have forgotten about Twilight for the next big fad in ten or twenty years :)

    I could be wrong, though.
     
  13. ElvenSorceress
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    ElvenSorceress Member

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    Thank you for an actual list, this is exactly what I wanted. Also thanks for everyone elses imput on the different types as well.

    Many of you do bring up a worthy point about stereotypical characters. But I don't fully agree that all these names have been ruined because of overuse. I know I have still enjoyed vampire novels even after Twilight, even with all his glitter. To me if the author writes the novel well enough to begin with, these characters (mages,vampires,witches, etc) can conjour up a new mental image in my mind and break the mold. However that's not to say that I wouldn't enjoy a novel about a Tengelkind.
     
  14. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    I agree with the others about making something original, but since you asked for definitions I provided them. Once again, in most cases it would be better to make something up.
     
  15. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Ha ha, I actually did get a mental image when you said, "Tengelkind." In my mind, I see a German forest nymph child. Don't mind me though, I'm just weird.

    However, you do have to be careful when making up a different name, since certain words can remind the majority of readers of something else.
    For example, though Burgernkin may be a "new" name, it might remind some people of their local Burger King. The reader doesn't want that, and you don't want that either. So say the name a few times outloud, perhaps trying some different accents. You may be surprised what comes up.
     
  16. Pook
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    Pook Member

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    Mage(s) would have experience of all that you mention.
     
  17. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    If you would like to write about the Tengelkind, I allow you full use of the name.

    Your Burger king comment was funny. On a recent episode of 30 Rock a guy who longed to start his own restaurant always failed in part because he chose names of other businesses for his place. For instance, he called the one place Staples, because food is a staple, and so on.
     
  18. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are historical definitions of these things (as HorusEye has pointed out) but fantasy seems to be the premiere genre for tinkering with historical standards. In this case, I approve of that practice 100%. Various writers have chosen their own ways of defining each 'magical class.' Just make sure you remain consistent within your world (or at least within cultures / regions of your world) and readers will catch on and know what's what. Define them in a way you think makes logical sense and stick to it.

    I usually define them as:
    mage or mages or magi (pl) = any magic user
    wizard = synonymous with 'mage' but typically implies greater wisdom and a deeper understanding of magic
    battlemage or war wizard = same as above, but specialize in combat-magic, focusing on faster, less-efficient spellcasting
    sorcerer or sorceress = specialize in drawing magic from a source, hence the name; usually good at detecting magic or strong sources of magic and, therefore, are adept at scrying or divination
    enchanter or enchantress = one who pours magic into a vessel; this can include permanently binding a spell into an object (i.e. a rug enchanted with a levitation spell = flying carpet); can also pour magic into others (i.e. mind control, curses, etc)
    witch or warlock = derogatory term for magic users; basically the same as 'wizard' but with a negative connotation; historically 'witchcraft' referred to communing with the devil, therefore this word also implies the person gets their magical power from a less-than-reputable source

    But, of course, those are just my personal definitions and I'm not at all trying to say they're canon. As always, do what best suits your story.

    My sentiments exactly. I disagree with the notion that renaming something somehow makes it original. A vampire is still a vampire, even if the author chooses to call it a "tengelkind" or whatever. Personally, I believe writers should spend their more time coming up with original ideas instead of coming up with original names for existing trends. When I talk about the "Walking Dead" with friends, we still call it a zombie show; it's the content and characters that set it apart, not what they call the... umm... the zombies. "Tengelkind" made me envision some kind of tentacled swamp creature or sea monster. ("tengel" = "tentacle," to me) Unless the creature actually is something totally new, just call it what it is. I've never seen a piece of writing criticized for lacking fanciful names.
     
  19. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I just discovered something pretty hilarious. This "Tengelkind" we were talking about? Separate the two, and you get Tengel Kind. This literally means "lath child" in Dutch. Literally.
    Just goes to show how careful you need to be with naming things. You could end up naming your character after construction material. Ha ha.
     
  20. ElvenSorceress
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    ElvenSorceress Member

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    AnonyMouse I could not agree more. While I give authors points for creativity for coming up with an interesting new name, if it is still the same old story again just with new names nobody is going to be interested. Personally I would rather just have the term vampire, if the character is going to be of that race. It saves the reader time in discovering it is only a vampire and allows them to become more involved in the plot and main characters. Anyways who is to say that just because it is a vampire that it is not a new type of vampire with special powers that no vampire has ever had before.
     
  21. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I have Dutch on my mom's side, so maybe it's genetic memory!

    Seriously though, just for fun I'll name chatacters after words in Slovak, Polish, Japanese, etc and slightly alter the spelling. My screen name here in an anagram of my full name, and many authors use that technique. Steven Erickson names many of his characters things like doorknob, and so on.

    If you have a good story you can name your guy Donkeyface if you want, not that I would.
     
  22. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Yes, it would be odd to rewrite Dracula and just change the vampire title to Schampire, but that's not what I was talking about. You can do two things:

    1. Change the name and deepen the lore and rules associated with vampires. Anne Rice did not change the name, but she smartly changed the lore about how and what vampires are. I believe that if you do both, you can completely crave your own niche.

    Another good example is Michael Moorcock's Elric, who is a vampire, but it is never ever said. He has a sword that sucks the souls of those it kills and feeds them to Elric.

    2. Mention vampires, but change the name of your vampires and treat them as if they're the real deal and "vampires" are something in novels and movies. That belittles the genre while allowing you to recreate it a bit.

    There was a recent episode of Supernatural where they made fun of Twilight, while featuring their own vampires.
     
  23. ElvenSorceress
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    ElvenSorceress Member

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    If the author does take the time like Moorcock did to really develop some interesting new twists on a vampire, then yes that character should be addressed as something else. However I have read some books where they have not changed any aspects of that species and placed a new name on it (and not even for good reason).

    Overall I think it will just come down to what the author feels is best for their current series.
     
  24. MetalRenard
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    MetalRenard Member

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    This is a killer technique IMO.
    This way the word "vampire" becomes the equivalent to "Blue" or "Happy" or any other adjective - all it does is give you a brief glimpse of what the character is but doesn't define him.
     
  25. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    I made that up on the spot, following the books I've read and movies I've watched. I did say that I could be wrong.
     

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