magic exists

Joe Hisaishi’s One Summer’s Day (from Spirited Away), heavenly cover, amazingly played in HARP by twitter user Nanakokko0217 !I can’t believe this magical thing existed and I hadn’t listen to it ‘til now, Νεφέλη! >_<

千と千尋やで!!!!ハク様やで!!!!

wizards of waverly place, Hannah Montana, suite life, and that’s so raven we’re in the same universe bc of crossover things. this suggests that magic not only secretly existed in suite life/Hannah Montana but perhaps that wizards and that so raven’s magical aspects are in some way related. Furthermore all of these television shows exist but are fictional in Sonny with a Chance where Selena Gomez appears as herself and they make references to Wizards. thanks

You are part of the first ever time-travelling expedition. You and your fellow chrononauts travel back in time to discover that magic has indeed once existed! This leaves an interesting question: what happened to it?

9

Favorite Films, 2015

  1. Mommy, dir. Xavier Dolan
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road, dir. George Miller
  3. Girlhood, dir. Céline Sciamma
  4. The Lobster, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos 
  5. Anomalisa, dir. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
  6. Carol, dir. Todd Haynes
  7. Queen of Earth, dir. Alex Ross Perry
  8. It Follows, dir. David Robert Mitchell
  9. 45 Years, dir. Andrew Haigh
  10. Magic Mike XXL, dir. Gregory Jacobs
  11. The Diary of a Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller
  12. James White, dir. Josh Mond
  13. Tangerine, dir. Sean Baker
  14. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, dir. Roy Andersson
  15. Mistress America, dir. Noah Baumbach
  16. Appropriate Behavior, dir. Desiree Akhavan
  17. Nasty Baby, dir. Sebastián Silva
  18. Inside Out, dir. Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen
  19. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, dir. J.J. Abrams
  20. The Hateful Eight, dir. Quentin Tarantino
  21. Maps to the Stars, dir. David Cronenberg
  22. Entertainment, dir. Rick Alverson
  23. The Mend, dir. John Magary
  24. Junun, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
  25. Love, dir. Gaspar Noé

Special Mention to Possibly the Greatest Short Film Ever Made: World of Tomorrow (dir. Don Hertzfeldt)

Honorable Mentions: Amy (dir. Asif Kapadia), Beasts of No Nation (dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga), Clouds of Sils Maria (dir. Olivier Assayas)Creed (dir. Ryan Coogler), The Look of Silence (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon), Reality (dir. Quentin Dupieux), The Revenant (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu), The Tribe (dir. Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy), and White God (dir. Kornél Mundruczó)

When Your Spell Fails

no witch succeeds with their spells 100% of the time. here’s a short list of reasons why it could have happened and some solutions

possible reasons why:

distraction - a spell you’re not invested in isn’t going to have much power behind it. if you’re concentrated more on you. if you cast a motivation spell while planning out your vacation, it’s going to subtract from that motivation. 

rosemary replaces everything - supposedly. it supplies general power, but if you add nothing into the spell that has any real meaning to you, then what is that power supposed to do? where does that energy go with no direction?

associations - the correspondences everyone else lists for herbs and stones and planets can be very useful, but sometimes you have a personal conflicting association. perhaps lavender is gross to you, and not peaceful at all. then that dream sachet isn’t going to give you peaceful dreams. 

didn’t help the spell - magic does not exist in a vaccum. spells can only do so much, but if you don’t make the effort, it much less likely to work. job spells dont work if you don’t fill out applications, love spells don’t work if you don’t go out and talk to people, and so on. 

too many cooks - if you cast 10 love spells, and yet no one is attracted to you, it’s entirely possible they all did work but they all conflicted with each other, and ended up canceling each other out. 

shot for the stars- sometimes you try to achieve something, and you set your expectations too high. either it’s impossible, you’re trying from the wrong angle, or you didn’t get as much as you wanted.

cancellation - sometimes a spell may appear not to work when it does, but the results are invisible because it canceled something else out. say you cast a money spell and get no extra cash after several weeks, it could be just helping you maintain your current income and blocking extraneous expenses.

impatience - unless you programmed a working time limit into it, the spell could be working and you just don’t see the results yet. these things can take time.

out of your depth - if you don’t feel like you’re ready to do a spell, your lack of confidence or discomfort can either disable the spell or not give it enough power to work

what to do:

  • take a break, ground, cleanse, and give it time. refocus your intentions
  • contemplate each ingredient and step in the spell, and modify
  • use the ingredients that you know best work for you, old standards hold up.
  • think about what you could do to help the spell work. what mundane methods haven’t you tried?
  • take a step back and look at it realistically. is there another angle you can approach this from, can you break it down into smaller steps?
  • return to the spells you are comfortable doing, and work from there.

Why develop a fictional culture?

When you’re creating a race of people for your new world, you need a culture to give those people and their way of life some context. The culture helps determine how the characters act, dress, eat, solve problems, among so many other things. You can (and sometimes, should) have multiple cultures in your world, depending on how large your focus area is. Cultures affect each other, but also serve in a narrative sense to draw contrast in-world and to draw parallels to the reader’s world. 

So here are some thoughts, big and small, that are meant to help inspire you as you create amazing cultures. (And remember that you’re thinking about the following questions in the context of the general population, not your main character(s).) You can simply answer these questions in short-answer form, or you can write a short story to flesh out one or two or three questions at once. If you do that, submit them to me! I’d love to feature them on the blog. 

  • How old do people believe their race is? How old are they really?
  • How prevalent are religions to the common person?
  • What is/are the origin stories of the main religion(s)?
  • What do most people think should be the highest priority:
    • biological family?
    • chosen family?
    • career?
    • service/charity (of any kind)?
    • religion?
    • entertainment/fun?
    • nation?
    • expansion (of nation/culture/influence/understanding)?
  • How do culturally shared priorities shape interactions?
  • What is the common greeting? Does it vary by age, class, rank, or sect?
  • How is gender viewed by the majority? Why?
  • What are common myths/legends of your people and how heavily do they influence the modern day?
  • How trustful are people of outsiders?
  • How welcoming are people, in general, of strangers into their homes?
  • How well do people of various factions (class, race, religion, etc.) get along in society?
  • How far has technology advanced, and how has it been implemented into their daily lives?
  • If magic exists, what do they believe is its origin? Its source?
  • If there is division between magic/non-magic, how do the two treat each other and why? How long has it been that way?
  • What sort of relationship do they have with their ruler?
  • How content is the average person?
  • How do people make their living and how big a part of their life is their career (if applicable)?
  • Do they have “weekends” and if so, what sets them apart from “weekdays”?
  • How do they treat their close friends?
  • How do they treat their enemies?
  • How do they handle small conflict, between individuals or small groups?
  • How do they handle larger conflicts?
  • How are they prepared for any potential war? Do they have some sort of military or militia in place? 
  • How many wars have they, as a society, fought over the course of their lives/history? How much of an impact does that have on their cultural identity? (i.e. WW2′s impact on patriotism in America, and how it’s yet to go away.)
  • What virtues do they value in individuals? What virtues do they say they value? If those are different, why?
  • How do they dress? Does it vary greatly by gender, or not? Is their focus on clothing very practical, religious, sentimental, or simply driven by the latest arbitrary fashion? How do the above answers reflect on the culture on a deeper level?
  • How do they treat their elderly?
  • How do they treat their children?
  • At what age does a baby become a child, a child a young adult, a young adult an adult, an adult an elder?
  • How much regulation does the day-to-day life of the average citizen entail? Or, how involved is the government in micro affairs?
  • How are these people seen throughout their known world? How do other cultures view this culture?

Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
New Species
New Worlds 
Map Making
Politics and Government
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions, & Groups
War & Conflict
Science & Technology

Theory Time: Moana Died in the Crash

After rewatching Moana a couple of times (maybe twelve or something idk whatever don’t judge me) my best friend (@elisekova) and I stumbled onto a pretty dark but undeniably plausible plot theory.

The ocean crashes her boat in the storm (and onto Maui’s island) and intentionally neglects to save her. Why? Because it needed her to die.

Outside of the anthropomorphic nature of the ocean (which can be explained away by the ancient power of an ageless entity able to transcend planes) and the “Bang the drum” scene with granny (which is more of a hallucination that could have been sent from the spirit world) there is no proof of magic or monster prior to meeting Maui. Possible reason? Because all the monsters and magic exist on a limenal plane. A sort of purgatory, if you will. Like a purgatory where someone such as Maui may have been stuck for 1000 years. And how does one get to purgatory, you ask?

Moana’s death explains quite a bit, not just about her ability to see and touch the spirit of her grandma (“If you are ready to go home, I will be with you.”) as well as travel to lands no mortal should be able to travel to (aka that crazy portal jump to Lalotai), but it explains away her ability to withstand things that should otherwise be damaging or fatal to a human. Again, Lalotai, Tomatoa, the Kakamora fight, and especially the definitely would-be-fatal blast in their first fight against Takka. Among others.

Even Maui proclaims that he would, “never make this journey with a mere mortal,” but then turns around and makes it anyway. Perhaps he realizes she’s no longer quite mortal, so to speak.

Basically, in order to do all these things, survive all these creatures from a noticeably “other” world or plane, Moana had to exist on that plane as well. The only way to achieve that being the undisclosed sacrifice of her life. A sacrifice repaid in full by Tefiti once Moana returns her heart.

Maui has already told us that Tefiti’s heart carries the ability to “create life itself.” So what better way to thank Moana for giving up her life, then to give it back. Along with a fancy ride to take back to her plane and her family.

It can even be argued that the heart is a beacon for life, not just glowing brighter and beating stronger as it gets closer to Tefiti, but keeping Moana in the In-Between. When Moana gives the heart back to the ocean, her vision of the spirits (granny as well as all the past voyagers) becomes much stronger. The moment it’s back in her hand, everything seems normal again. Like Moana is closer to life than she is to crossing over.

Perhaps Moana wasn’t even aware of her death, “waking up” exactly where she needed to be, in the presence of the Demi-god she needed to lead. Or perhaps she was aware, taking every impossible obstacle in stride because of it. Either way, she follows her path and returns the heart, her only purpose in the aftermath of her death. Possibly even adding to her inability to turn around and go home when given the chance.

All this also gives much stronger meaning to the line in the final song: “I have crossed the horizon to find you.” It also puts weight in Maui’s tearful goodbye, knowing that in many ways, he can not follow her back. As a hawk guarding her sky, but no more. And once she returns, the symbol of Tefiti is no longer present on any of the boats, and with the symbol, that final link to the spirit world is gone.

Long story short, Moana may have gone a liiiiiiittle ways past the reef.

In my head, somewhere, there’s this muggleborn Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, who loves history. And she’s so excited about History of Magic, she reads all the books she can find, she looks for how it fits in with muggle history…

And then she gets to Hogwarts and realizes that wizards don’t care about history. At all. Class is taught by a ghost who doesn’t care about anything modern and seems surprised when he realizes students actually exist, no one cares if they fall asleep in class, everyone has been assigned the same essay topics every year for the last five hundred years. It’s all about rebellions and wars and treaties, and there’s no social history at all.

And her first couple years she just deals with it, because, hey, new fascinating world she’s learning all about, she can deal with one poorly taught class.

But what made me think about this was the title of Harry’s essay in third year. “Witch-Burning in the Fourteenth Century Was Completely Pointless - discuss.” Because look at that from the point of view of someone who knows something about the motives behind witch-hunts.

So that’s when she loses it and spends the whole summer researching and writing an essay on the historical effects of magical existence on muggles. How wizards let people scapegoat other muggles and especially women for things muggles wouldn’t believe in if there weren’t real wizards everywhere. How pureblood wizards were happy to screw up the lives of the muggles living near them and then avoided all consequences because hey, they had Flame-Freezing Charms if the worst happened, what did they care if someone else was caught and died horribly instead of them. How even today muggles were falsely diagnosed with mental illnesses because wizards weren’t careful enough with their Disillusionment Charms, or because wizards thought Memory Charms were the solution to everything no matter how they affected the victim.

And she hands it in at the start of the year and a week later she gets summoned to the Headmistress’s office.

And Professor McGonagall smiles at her and says “This is a bit unusual, but would you be interested in a TA position?”