Raising Exceptions

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Explanation of Magic in The Witcher

09 Dec 2019 | rants

I came across a poignant explanation of magic in The Witcher: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski. The explanation came from sorceress Yennefer as she was teaching her student Ciri about the power of magic. It captured the essence of magic in the novel.

“Magic is, in some people’s opinion, the embodiment of Chaos. It is a key capable of opening the forbidden door. The door behind which lurk nightmares, fear and unimaginable horrors, behind which enemies hide and wait, destructive powers, the forces of pure Evil capable of annihilating not only the one who opens the door but with them the entire world. And since there is no lack of those who try to open the door, someone, at some point, is going to make a mistake and then the destruction of the world will be forejudged and inevitable. Magic is, therefore, the revenge and the weapon of Chaos.”

“Magic, is, in some people’s opinion, art. Great, elitist art, capable of creating beautiful and extraordinary things. Magic is a talent granted to only a chosen few. Others, deprived of talent, can only look at the results of the artists’ works with admiration and envy, can admire the finished work while feeling that without these creations and without this talent the world would be a poorer place.”

“There are also those according to whom magic is a science. In order to master it, talent and innate ability alone are not enough. Years of keen study and arduous work are essential; endurance and self-discipline are necessary. Magic acquired like this is knowledge, learning, the limits of which are constantly stretched by enlightened and vigorous minds, by experience, experiments and practice. Magic acquired in such a way is progress. It is the plough, the loom, the watermill, the smelting furnace, the winch and the pulley. It is progress, evolution, change. It is constant movement. Upwards. Towards improvement. Towards the stars.”

— Yennefer

The explanation resonated with me because you can replace the word magic with programming and suddenly you have a beautiful explanation of programming.

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