The Role of Magic

I talk a lot about fairy tales on this blog (and I like to think you all enjoy reading about them). And when most people think about fairy tales, one of the first things that comes to their minds is magic.

But it might surprise you to know that fairy tales rely on magic a lot less than most people think.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Our favorite fairy tales wouldn’t be possible without magic. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White. All those stories rely on the presence of magic.


And it’s true that magic is a hallmark of fairy tales. But think about it for a moment. How often does the protagonist of a fairy tale wield that magic for themselves?

Not very often.

In fact, you’ll mostly see villains and mentors using magic.

Why is that?

Well, I think it’s because magic has a very defined role in fairy tales. It’s not meant to solve problems. It’s meant to teach.

Think about it. Magic, when wielded by a mentor, generally helps the protagonist along and teaches them a lesson. And when it’s used by a villain, it presents a challenge to overcome and a moral to be learned along the way, by either the hero or even the villain in some cases.

In a nutshell, magic is used as a means to accomplish something, but is never really the solution.

What’s your favorite use of magic in fairy tales?

Until next time, word nerds!

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