The return of magic

weirwood One thing I’ve noticed both in Dance with Dragons and in earlier books as the series has progressed is the emergence of magic in Martin’s world. At first, there is very little magic at all. It is all but absent from the world and the dragons are all long-dead.

Then Melisandre comes with her fire. And the healings begin with Beric Dondarrion’s outlaws. The dragons are born. White walkers and direwolves roam the forests. Magic seeps up out of the dirt and into the places and people of Westeros and the Free Cities.

This, in itself, is an interesting twist on an old theme. In Lord of the Rings and many other fantasies, magic is seeping from the world not the other way around. In many fantasies we are the tail end of a golden age of magic, when it has all but faded from the world and the old glories of distant eras are little more than memories and myths. This is true, also, in Game of Thrones. The difference is, in Martin’s stories the magic is returning, the old gods are waking from their long slumber – for good or ill.

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the editor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.