Magician Archetype

What is a Magician Archetype?

Magician archetype characters are often bearers of the knowledge of both this and the world lying hidden from the public eyes. They are considered wise, sagacious, and full of worldly acumen, having thoughtful nature to reflect upon the matters and events of the world and answer public questions. Such characters often occur in folk stories, epics, traditional stories, and some fantasy stories.

Types and Names of Magician Archetype Characters

Although magician archetype characters are attributed to having good qualities and channeling their power of knowledge for the greater good of the public, some of them turn toward society, the public, and some people. Also, they use their knowledge for ulterior motives or their own interests. They are also called the dark magician archetypes. Therefore, some are good magician archetypes, and some are bad magician archetypes. Some of the other names used for magicians in popular cultures are as follows.

  • Shaman
  • Sages
  • Knowers
  • Seers
  • Prophets
  • Wizards
  • Alchemists

Character Traits of Magician Archetype Characters

Such characters are often highly unique due to their knowledge and disciplined lifestyle. However, they share this knowledge and discipline with the public for the greater good. They are clever and intelligent and use both of these traits to inform the public about their views and lurking dangers in life. They understand and pick up clues very quickly, showing their perceptive powers and the use of knowledge to get things done. Therefore, they are generally wise, but sometimes they prove otherwise as well.

Negative Traits of Magician Archetype Characters

When a magician becomes a misanthropist, he shows highly negative character traits. Some of the dark magician archetypes harbor these traits and demonstrate them when they go through storylines. For example, they behave arrogantly toward others when they realize the power of their knowledge, and this sometimes becomes their hubris. They are also indifferent toward the public suffering and often harm people only to fulfill their own desires. When it comes to obduracy, they show obsession for certain things and get them by hook or by crook.

Magician Archetype Character Examples in Literature

Example #1

Merlin in Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

Although Merlin is not the first magician archetype character, he is the most popular and interesting magician character in the legends of King Arthur. Created by Geoffrey Monmouth three centuries earlier, he appeared not only wise but highly prophetic, the reason that he senses dangers beforehand. His rise to power, however, depends entirely on the rule of justice. He sees the past as well as the future of different people in the kingdom and advises them on how to act in their best interests. He is, therefore, termed a good magician archetype character.

Example #2

Pug in Magician by Raymond E. Feist

A fantasy novel published in 1982, Magician by Raymond Feist presents Pug, a young orphan, in the Castle of Crydee with his adoptive parents. He soon finds himself as an apprentice of Kuglan, a magician, learning the art. It happens that when the war breaks out between the isles in which he also takes part and becomes the prisoner of war, he finds himself powerful enough to break the shackles and turn the tables on the opponents. He is a good magician archetype character example in the novel due to this role in the war.

Example #3

Ged in A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Although Ged appears in other parts of the series, he is introduced in the first novel of Ursula Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea as its protagonist. Despite his arrogance, he becomes the wisest magician in the land, and interestingly his character also matches that of Pug in Magician. He also is caught in the battles between the Kargan Islands and his island, Gont, in which he plays an important role. Despite some weaknesses, he proves a good magician character archetype.

Example #4

Hermoine in Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

She is perhaps a good example of a female magician who is not only smart and clever but also a dedicated student. She acquires magical powers very fast and makes fun of her colleagues and friends for not learning fast. Due to her good role in the series, she is a good archetype character example though she also displays some weaknesses at different points. In fact, she is a professional magician who makes fun of others for not weaving the correct spells.