We are so excited to be beginning our series on magic systems today! The episodes in this series will delve into specific types of magic, but today we’re discussing examples of hard and soft magic. These terms were popularized by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, who is known for his complex magic systems that have a lot of rules and explore how magic works. This is “hard magic.” Think Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles or Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.
Soft magic, on the other hand, is when magic is a mystical part of the universe and the story doesn’t go into detail about how it works or even why it works. It just does. Think J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Most books are somewhere in the middle of these two systems. Harry Potter, for example, is near the center point of this continuum, as Rowling’s magic has rules and laws, but, as a whole, you’re still not entirely sure what magic is capable of and the system is expanded throughout the series.
- Emma’s example: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Hard magic)
- Kyle’s example: Heroics for Beginners by John More (Soft magic)
- Allison’s example: The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix (somewhere in between)
- Read Sanderson’s Laws of Magic
- Join our Discord Community
Produced by Mythos & Ink.
Announcement Music: Coffee Beats by Aaron Parsons (Used with permission)