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Shadow Magic Musings

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Shadow magic.
Is it good? Is it evil?

First off, as Aesop said "Every truth has two sides; it is well to look at both before we commit ourselves to either."
On that note, to see Shadow magic as pure evil may be a bit simplistic, yet, to say it is not could be rather naive.

What is it? To us, it is well, shadow. Darkness is often times referred to as evil. Not because of the color, but because it hides things from us. We fear darkness because of what may lurk there. In many ways, darkness is the unknown, the half hidden.
However, I want to argue that shadow is not darkness. H.K. Barclay said "When walking through the valley of shadows, remember, a shadow is cast by a light" Shadow, unlike darkness, is only there if light is near.

In the game, from Wizard101 under Shadow Magic it says: "An ancient magic that's unstable and difficult to control..." and also "shadow magic is an ancient form or magic, so powerful and so dangerous that Bartleby and Grandmother Raven told Merle Ambrose not to delve into it and not to teach his students." Here, is where it gets interesting; "Shadow magic was forbidden for it touches the true essence of the Spiral" This here, is key. This, might change everything we know about shadow magic. "...touches the true essence of the Spiral" We learn in Mirage that to create the spiral, Grandmother Raven took the Spider's heart and used it to to hold the spiral together. Grandfather Spider than added that if you destroy him, you destroy the spiral. Does, that mean that shadow magic, it a broken heart? "unstable and difficult to control" "so powerful and so dangerous"....
Love and a broken heart do seem like a good likeness to Light and shadow.
Shadow magic, if you look at is as broken heart magic, takes on a new feel, but also seems to fit with the spells. The tragic side of life.

So, is Shadow magic love or a broken heart?

A comment that stuck me the most was by Grandfather Spider when he called us "The tainted one" This brings in a lot more to me and in many ways points to what might be the source or the inspiration behind shadow magic. In the series The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson, there are people with great powers. In a strike to take down evil/darkness, they were hit with a backlash, a bit of his powers that "tainted" the male half of the "source" tainting their powers. This would drive any that used the tainted powers to insanity, some faster than others and the more they used it, the faster is could. Sounds a bit like Morganthe here, no?
What is interesting is in the end, the hero comes to the point where he can end The Dark One, but first, gets to see the world without his existence. In that world without evil, the light in peoples eyes were gone. They were good because they had no other choice, their fire to do the right was not there. They were them but, without the option to become evil. In the end, the Dark One was sealed away again to where he had less powers, but so people could still choose.

So, is Shadow magic evil's taint?

Maybe both?

Are our wizard's evil for using Shadow magic? Are they evil for having those pips at their feet? There is a story that I really liked. A spirit walker on his way to see friends came city. As he walked though it, he noticed but one demon walking about. "My" he said to a man who lived there "These people must be very good people" before the other could say a word, an old and bend man passed, followed by a dozen demon or more each one focusing on the man. Again the spirit walker spoke "He has to be the most evil of men I have ever seen" At last, the other spoke, shaking his head. "The city is to vile, it only takes one demon to keep them in chaos. That old man, he has never done wrong. That is why the demon work so hard in him." Sometimes, it is not what we are surrounded by, but by what we are resisting that makes us or our wizards good.

I do see shadow magic as a "taint" or a past mistake that can hold some back or be seen as a stepping stone. Our wizard's did give up the vast majority of the shadow powers they took on to face Morganthe, and in many ways are left with the scars. A bit of shadow that creeps into the spells now and then (shadow and shadow enhanced spells)

Remember "Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby" -unknown author. Our wizards have proven time and time again that they are light. That they seek light. So it does make sense that a shadow would be nearby.
"Good can imagine evil; but evil cannot imagine good." W.H. Auden

The bottom line is, I think how it is used matters more than what it was made for.

Updated 2-12-17 at 5:48:19 PM by Spellbinder