The Skill, the Wit, and Elderlings: A Guide to Robin Hobb’s Magic Systems

Explore Robin Hobb’s intricate magic systems—Skill, Wit, Elderlings, and unpredictable hedge magic—in her captivating Realm of the Elderlings series.

If you’re a fan of fantasy literature, you’ve probably had the pleasure of diving into Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series.

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?

Hedge Magic

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.

Stealing the Heart: Why Fantasy Readers Can’t Resist a Good Thief

Discover why fantasy readers can’t resist the allure of thieves in this thrilling blog post. Explore the thrill of heists, wit and charm, anti-hero archetypes, redemption journeys, and the captivating fantasy element. Get ready for an adventure you won’t forget.

Trial of Thieves by Jon Cronshaw

Thief characters are a staple in the fantasy genre. From daring heists to cunning schemes, stories about thieves offer a unique blend of action, suspense, and wit.

But what is it about thieves that fantasy readers find so appealing? Let’s explore.

The Thrill of the Heist:

Stories about thieves often involve daring heists, and the excitement of watching the characters plan and execute their schemes is hard to resist. The tension and suspense of a well-executed heist can be incredibly engaging, especially when the stakes are high.

The Wit and Charm of the Thief:

Thief characters are often charismatic, quick-witted, and smart, which makes them a joy to read about. Whether they’re charming their way out of a sticky situation or coming up with a clever plan, these characters are always one step ahead of their opponents.

The Anti-Hero Archetype:

Thief characters often fall into the category of anti-heroes, which means they possess both good and bad qualities. This makes them complex and multi-dimensional.

The Idea of Redemption:

Many thief characters are struggling with their own moral dilemmas and are looking for redemption. This makes them relatable, and readers can connect with their struggles and journeys towards a better life.

The Fantasy Element:

Fantasy novels often take place in fantastical worlds, and the addition of thieves adds a unique twist to the traditional crime story. The use of magic, mythical creatures, and other elements of the fantastical world make the story even more engaging and thrilling.

If you love fantasy with thieves, you can get my novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.