If not, then brace yourself, because we’re about to embark on an amble through one of the most intricate magical systems in modern fantasy.
The Skill and the Wit
In Hobb’s universe, there are two primary forms of magic: the Skill and the Wit.
The former is a bit like telepathy on steroids, while the latter is basically Dr. Dolittle’s dream come true.
The Skill allows its users to enter others’ minds, influence their thoughts, and even heal physical wounds.
Sounds great, right?
But there’s a catch. It’s like trying to sip from a firehose.
Too much, too fast, and you’ll wind up more scrambled than a plate of Sunday morning eggs.
The Wit, on the other hand, lets its users communicate with and understand animals, and even bond deeply with a single creature.
It’s like being BFFs with every critter from here to the Six Duchies.
But as with all good things, there’s a potential downside.
Too much bonding, and you might just forget you’re a human and start thinking you’re a squirrel.
And let’s face it, no one wants to spend their life hoarding nuts.
The Elderlings and Their Magic
Now, the Elderlings are a bit of a different kettle of fish.
They’re a race of humans who have been changed by their close contact with dragons.
That’s right, dragons. Fire-breathing, wing-flapping, bigger-than-your-average-bungalow dragons.
And what do you get when you pal around with these creatures?
Well, you might just get some magical abilities thrown in for free.
Elderling magic often involves working with a substance called “memory stone.”
It’s a bit like a magical USB drive.
You touch it, and it records your experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Then someone else can touch it and download all that information.
A bit invasive, perhaps, but who wouldn’t want to remember where they left their keys?
Last but not least, we have hedge magic.
This is the kind of magic that doesn’t fit nicely into a category or follow any particular rules.
It’s like that odd sock that always seems to surface when you do your laundry.
You’ll find characters using charms, oracles, prophetic dreams, and all sorts of odds and ends in this category.
And while it might seem a bit haphazard, it’s the unpredictability that gives hedge magic its charm.
It’s the wildcard of the magical world, and who doesn’t love a good surprise?
So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of the magic systems in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series.
It’s a wild ride, filled with mind-bending telepathy, chatty animals, memory-storing stones, and rule-breaking tricks.
It’s a bit like trying to juggle a porcupine, a peacock, and a pint of ale all at once. But isn’t that part of the fun?
Just remember: if you start thinking you’re a squirrel, it might be time to put the book down.