Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Magical Education

After I posted yesterday about the return to curly hair and remembering wanting the long, swingy hair when I was a kid, on the noon news they had a story about the Sesame Street video that's gone viral, with a little black girl puppet singing about loving her curly hair and how the song was written by a father who'd adopted a little girl from Ethiopia who envied her Barbie doll's hair. He wanted to give her something that would help her feel good about herself. They referenced the Whoopie Goldberg routine about putting a towel on her head to pretend to have long, flowing hair. I'm about the whitest white girl who ever whited, with Norwegian and Scots-Irish ancestry, but I still related and that still resonated with me. Just once, I want a movie makeover with a curly-haired woman where they don't straighten her hair to make her beautiful.

Back to the ongoing series of reader questions about the Enchanted, Inc. series. I had a question about education in this universe, particularly about Owen's. I didn't write down the specific question, but I recall it having to do with his degree and what that might have to do with his future with the company.

Well, I can't get into the future because I don't have it entirely planned, and even if I did, I wouldn't want to spoil it. But I will get into how I see the magical educational system in this universe.

In my world, there is no Hogwarts equivalent -- no magical school system. The magical kids go to ordinary schools and then go to ordinary universities to get ordinary degrees in their particular field of interest that relates to their magical field of interest. For instance, Owen has a thing for researching ancient magical documents, so he studied linguistics and specialized in ancient languages, which he thought would be useful in deciphering ancient magical languages. Knowing the principles of the way languages work and knowing some of the root languages like Latin and Greek would be helpful in reading ancient texts. I think Rod studied psychology, since his focus in magic involves manipulating other people's minds and anticipating what they want to see so he can create the right illusion. And then that also applies to his human resources job.

In some towns like Owen's hometown where most of the residents are magical and magic is used fairly openly, there might have been a little more magical training in the school, or at least there would have been something like a magic club. Otherwise, the school focused on the usual reading, writing, math and science stuff.

The magical education is an extracurricular activity, kind of like scouting. You advance through levels by completing certain projects or mastering certain skills. Or kids might be home schooled in magic by their magical parents. Or both. Some kids get a much more stringent magical education and learn a lot about the theory and the "science" behind it, while others might just learn the basics and the spells that make life easier.

The reason I decided that Owen and Rod went to Yale was that Yale is fairly notorious for its secret societies, and I figured it would make sense that if you were going to have a magic club for elite-level training at a university, it would have to be a secret society. I liked the idea that people on the outside might think they were just another fraternity-like group doing silly rituals to make themselves feel superior, when actually they were intensely focused on mastering the higher levels of magic. Not that there weren't pranks and stunts, since these are students we're talking about. That's where Owen's highly detailed prank spells came in.

There may be a short story or two in there somewhere, like fanficition for my own universe, but I don't know when I'll get to it.

I'm almost out of questions, so if you've thought of something you want to know about this series, the ideas behind it, the universe or the characters, ask away!

1 comment:

Hope said...

I have to say that you treatment of magical beings in the real world was one of the things that appealed to me most about the Enchanted Inc series. I was always bothered in Harry Potter when the wizards didn't know anything about the Muggle world, including how to dress! But your magical world is so normal, at least in that sense :) It makes sense that magical education would be something done in the home, or as an extra-curricular activity, since the magicians still have to work, and navigate the world on a daily basis.

A question I have is about the rest of the US and magic - we know that Texas doesn't have much magic in it, partly because it hasn't been settled by magical people for as long as NYC. What about the rest of the western US? Does that extend to California and the Midwest?