Monday, March 24, 2014

Muggles Rule!: 10 reasons the magical world needs ordinary people

Article by Ty Hulse

These are ten ways which ordinary people, or their inventions could rescue or at least help dysfunctional magical worlds in fantasy books and fairy tales.


Every problem in "Harry Potter" could have been solved with an Encyclopedia and a Library Card Catalog.

In the book "Wizards Bane" by Rick Cook a computer programmer ends up in a magical world where he organizes the magical system and becomes the most powerful person in the world.

All this begs the question; What would it be like to be a librarian in a magical world, especially if you weren't magical yourself?

For those of you who don't remember, Library Card Catalogs let you
look up just about any mention of anything, in any book, newspaper, or
scholarly journal. In fact Google's original system is basically just a card
catalog for the internet.
 So, for example, if you were to look up Petrification you would see
that there were about two dozen things that caused it. Looking at each of these
you would notice that roosters killed a bunch of them.... Problem Solved.

2-Military Structure and Strategy

Military planning, or really any sort of planning never seems to be the strong suit of people in a magical world.

For example, in Narnia they seem to have never heard of such simple things as flanking.

Fire and Movement tactics never seems to be used in most magical worlds, and military training seems to be pretty rare for magical creatures and wizards as well.

A little organization and planning from a non-magical genius could change everything in these worlds. Yes an ordinary person might not be able to use spells, and so might not be as good in a direct fight but that isn't always necessary.

General George S. Patton is considered one of the Greatest Generals of WWII but he'd never flown a plane, he didn't need to, he just needed to know how to use one in combat.

Great generals aren't the best fighters, they are the ones with the tactical, strategic, and logistical know how to lead an army. So A good drill Sargent or General could easily change the course of most magical worlds.

Great generals aren't always the best fighters, and none of them
have flown every type of plane, driven every type of tank, fired
every kind of missile, or managed every computer system, they
just understand how to use these.


In fairy lore the fairies and deities were often faced with extinction because their children were either sickly or they couldn't have them by themselves, thus they needed to marry humans in order to have children.

Of course marrying into the magical world would bring it's own set of problems.

4-Iron and Magical Symbols

Ordinary humans in folk lore weren't so ordinary. We had this uncanny magical ability to use things like Iron, Pentagrams, Crosses, Garlic, and other items which could drive away magical creatures. In fact in Celtic lore it was believed that when two kingdoms of fairies went to war the side with the human would win.


Speaking of being able to use magical items, in Japan many spirits lost their powers when they were around unclean things such as corpses or poop. They needed to possess humans, rocks, trees, animals, etc. in order to avoid being exposed to these. More then this, they sometimes were being attacked by something unclean (such as giant centipedes) and so needed a human to come and rescue them.

6-Underground Rebellions

From the Communist Underground that spanned across nations, to the Germanic Peasants Rebellion, to more modern political movements, ordinary people are able to organize massive international philosophies and at times rebellions.


Just because wizards in a lot of Fantasy Books can't use Tech doesn't mean they wouldn't benefit from hiring a computer geek, or even a simple secretary to help them organize massive mounds of information.

8-Menial Labor

Many mythological beings needed humans for menial labor. Baby sitting their children, combing and grooming their hair, cleaning, etc.

While not glamorous, babysitting a bunch of fairy kids, or becoming a barber for dragons and hags would at least be interesting.


Non-electric systems for communication were invented, which for some uses would put most methods of communication in fantasy worlds to shame.

The telegraph tower had mechanical arms on top. Changing their position in a specific order would communicate thousands of potential messages to other towers, which would change their mechanical arms to relay the message until everyone in the country knew what was happening.  

10-Hue and Cry

When one person witnessed a crime or saw a wolf and yelled, everyone was required to come to help, while also raising the hue and cry to bring more people. This way within a few moments whole villages would be mobilized against criminals, or monsters. So the poor boogyman in the child's closet might find himself swarmed by an angry village of hundreds of people in a few moments.

What are some more inventions and ideas that magical worlds in fantasy books and fairy tales could benefit from?