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Looking at the magic tangent that derailed the Sword/Lance Pegasi topic, I decided to try to outline what we know for certain of magic in FE. 

In the Mystery of the Emblem notes on this site, it is mentioned that in Archanea, the first of the continents, magic is derived from deities. The nature of these deities is "primitive" which I infer to mean they need not have much intelligence. They don't have to be capable of anthropomorphic thought; they could be as sentient as amoebas for all we know. I mean FE is made in Japan- and I believe not all kami in Shinto have human intelligence.

Archanea also gave us what I call the "battery idea", which all FEs, except for one, have borrowed. Tomes and staffs store magical energies, which a mage/healer can draw on using their own abilities. The notes also state prayers/studying/special words can unlock the secrets to better magic use. Though I'd argue prayers don't necessarily mean that the deity tells the user how to better use magic. It could just be the state of mind that one enters when praying is conducive to the brain/soul naturally coming to a better understanding of magic.

Gaiden is the one exception, it has no tomes or staffs. Magic here is fueled through the sacrifice of the user's own vitality/magical energies, not the power drawn into a manmade object. Though no other game features the itemless magic of Gaiden, it is referenced elsewhere. FE7 makes it suggests in supports that in Elibe, magic attacks deplete both power from tomes, and from the user- a blend of Archanea and Gaiden, even though the gameplay only involves the first. Tellius suggests itemless magic use is rare, but it does exist to an extent. And Micaiah's Sacrifice is almost like a Gaiden spell with the HP cost.

Now Jugdral presumably operates under the rules of Archanea and Gaiden (Deidre's warping of Julia probably involved no staff). Here, magic gets divided into five types of tome magic and staffs, but why is not clearly explained. Perhaps it's just how Jugdral chose to study magic for war use.

Elibe, and Magvel it seems too, offers the clearest in-game explanation of magic. The threefold division of attack magic is simple and academic. Light magic (and staffs)- based on faith in something (doesn't have to be a god- Kenneth worships Nergal). Anima- based on philosophy. Dark- based on scientific knowledge.

There is no explanation as to the division of magic in Tellius, but it seems to inherit the system of magic everything else laid out before it with adjustments. A novelty of Tellius is Spirit Charmers. And though the only one you get is a Dark Sage, Spirit Charmers seem to have no exclusivity to any magic type. If Spirit Charmers were only dark mages, Pelleas and Calill, informed magic users, would have suspicions about the markings on Micaiah and Soren, when they are in fact convinced they're Spirit Charmers. Plus Ashera has a load of spirits fighting with her- none of which use dark magic, only anima. Plus, the spirits seem unintelligent, adding to my kami argument.

So what I can say, is that there is a good deal of continuity in the series concerning magic. However, IS regularly tweaks things, such as toning down the prevalence of itemless magic in Tellius, making hexes a big deal in Awakening, and changing their minds on whether dragons degenerate or not. The big picture remains roughly the same, the minutiae is always open.

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I was thinking of making a topic along these lines, but you beat me to it, lol. :P:

So healing magic and light magic being from a divine source is pretty much confirmed, as I was talking about in the Pegasus knight topic. Dark magic, on the other hand, comes from invoking pacts with mysterious, dark forces. I wouldn't call it "scientific knowledge," since it's pretty explicitly still fantasy magic. Rather, it is mysterious knowledge of primal forces, which very often corrupt those that invoke them, in a "this wasn't meant to be seen by human eyes" pseudo-Lovecraft way. See Canas' three brothers essentially becoming vegetables, and Julius falling prey to Loptyr's possession.

But I believe that elemental magic in the series is derived from the same source - I remember an interview/supplementary material from IS on the Archanea games revealed that anima mages go into a trance when casting their magic, and thus invoke elemental spirits that exist around them in the world that are normally undetectable, and it likely carries over throughout the series. If we're going off of Tellius, it seems like these same elemental spirits may be responsible for dark magic as well (or there are unseen dark spirits alongside the elemental ones), since Pelleas is a confirmed spirit charmer who can use dark and thunder magic. As for the spirits being unintelligent... I don't know, as some things point to them being at least some degree sapient, especially with the concept of spirit charmers. The whole spirit charmer thing is pretty much a deal with the devil scenario: The spirit charmer allows him/herself to be possessed by these spirits and gains greater power from them, but in return, their soul is consumed by the spirits.

I mentioned in the Pegasus knight topic that magic seems especially hard to learn, but thinking over it now I don't necessarily think that's the case, since Ephraim in Sacred Stones mentions that he's tried his hand at every weapon, including magic, but ultimately settled on the lance. Though I do think that it is more inherently dangerous to use, considering Erk almost dying, and having to be saved by Pent siphoning off some of his magical energy. Not to mention Calill lecturing Tormod on being careful enough not to blow up his own allies.

Edited by Extrasolar

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Can you guys provide some specific citations for where you are getting these lore ideas? I know about the Natasha x Knoll support (Dark magic is knowledge, Light magic is faith) and the discussion of Kenneth (faith need not be in a literal god). Specifically I want to know where it is said that Elibe magic takes energy from both the tome and wielder and how Anima magic is powered by "philosophy". The matter of faith vs knowledge is a bit vague. Does merely having faith give one the potential to draw forth light magic? Is 'knowledge' studying books that tell one how to conceptualize dark magic, or is it recorded words that call forth magic? Does magic have an origin or is it created and shaped by the user? 

 

Edited by NekoKnight

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10 minutes ago, NekoKnight said:

Can you guys provide some specific citations for where you are getting these lore ideas? I know about the Natasha x Knoll support (Dark magic is knowledge, Light magic is faith) and the discussion of Kenneth (faith need not be in a literal god) but I'm seeing a lot of assumptions about lore being shared between games.

 

Which ones do you mean specifically? Unless you want me to cite every single point?

Anima magic coming from communing/invoking elemental spirits (Canas and Nino B-support):

Quote

Canas: My wife and I are magic users like yourself. When I look at one of my wife’s tomes, it truly lightens my heart… Anima is the magic of nature… This communion with the spirit of all things unleashes the heart. This magic makes us feel free… The elder magic that I use requires great strength to master its forces.

Note that he mentions that his own magic "requires great strength to master its forces." More on that, with him talking about dark magic's corrupting influence and his brothers (Canas and Pent B-support):

Quote

Canas: Oh, no! They are alive! But…barely. They merely subsist… As you know, elder magic is based on the forces of darkness… It is even more powerful than nature magic, which is often called anima. But to use this magic, you must invite the dark forces within you. The temptation to submit to the darkness is…great. …Unfortunately, the darkness took my brothers… They live…and breathe…their eyes open and close… But…they do not move. And they do not speak.

Erk almost dying from using his magic too much (B-rank support with Pent):

Quote

Erk: …Nghh… ……
Pent: Erk! Get a hold of yourself!!
Erk: Ah!!
Pent: You are using too much magic… This is not good… It requires a severe remedy, but I have no choice. … …
Erk: Master…Pent?
Pent: So you are with us, Erk? Can you move? Do you feel numbness anywhere?
Erk: Ah…no. I feel…fine, master.
Pent: Oh. Very good then.
Erk: Ahh! Master! You have given me half of your magic, haven’t you?! How could I have made you do such a thing…in the midst of battle!!
Pent: Erk, you really do bring my ire… How could I do such a thing?! Why, using all the magic in your body… Don’t you know that you could have killed yourself?!
Erk: F-Forgive me… I thought I would cast…one more spell…before I rested… But then all of those enemy units appeared… I used more magic… than anticipated.
Pent: Did I not teach you that the accomplished mage has mastery of his own resources in addition to mastery of the spell?
Erk: Yes, master…
Pent: Reflect upon that, Erk. Now, back to battle.
Erk: M-Master? I truly am…sorry.
Pent: Don’t make that face. Everyone makes mistakes. Just don’t make the same one twice, understand? Got it?
Erk: Y-Yes!!

Calill telling Tormod not to blow people up because magic is especially dangerous, unlike other weapons:
 

Quote

Calill: Oh, my heavens! Tormod! Aaaah! Enough! That’s enough! We’re done for today.
Tormod: Oh, come on! Teach me more magic! I won’t catch the drapes on fire again, I promise!
Calill: No way! By the goddess, I’ll be lucky to get out of here with my eyebrows still affixed to my forehead.
Tormod: But I can do better! I know it! I already learned fire, thunder, and wind!
Calill: Yes, yes, I’ll admit that you’re a quick learner. And, truth be told, you have a lot of raw talent.
Tormod: Yeah, I knew it!
Calill: But you lack discipline! You’re impatient. And rash. You can learn new spells all day, but you won’t truly master any of them until you know each one intimately.
Tormod: You’re just mad because I’m more talented than you! You don’t want me to learn anything because you know I’m the best!
Calill: Oh, why did I ever agree to this… Now listen here, child. And listen well. If you keep up this half-baked spell casting, you’re going to have a serious accident someday.
Tormod: An accident?
Calill: Magic doesn’t react well when miscast. I’ve seen fingers get blown off… And you’ll be lucky if it’s just a finger! Sometimes it’s an arm or a leg… And in really unfortunate cases, it can take a life!
Tormod: Heck! I’m not afraid!
Calill: I didn’t say YOUR fingers or YOUR life!
Tormod: What? You?
Calill: Me, Commander Ike, anyone! We can’t afford to have you overshoot our enemies and rain death down on us instead!
Tormod: …
Calill: Tormod, magic is unlike any other weapon. It does not forgive. If you lose concentration… If you hesitate… If you fail to respect it… People will die. Friends…will die.

Did I miss anything?

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I too have interest in unlocking the inter-game secrets behind magic. I've only one point to add to the OP, and that's that Magvel mages also follow Elibe in suggesting that magic can be harmful to the user when not used in moderation. In Ewan x Saleh C: 

Spoiler

Ewan: Thanks, Teacher. I remember when you first decided to teach me some magic. I was so excited that I went out and practiced over and over again.
Saleh: You must pace yourself. Using too much magic can drain both body and soul.
Ewan: Yeah. Boy, I know that. After that time, I was so tired that I couldn’t stay awake. I was so tired that I slept for a full day. I woke up in bed…
Saleh: Technically, it was two days.
Ewan: Oh, so that was you who carried me home?

Though it's hard to say whether Ewan's two day coma really implies that his life was truly in danger as neither of these characters seem overly concerned in retrospect. Saleh doesn't mention whether he had to perform the same remedy that Pent did for Erk.

Edited by Gustavos

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Thanks Extrasolar, that was some of the information I was looking for. Where is the confirmation of healing magic (aka staves) is from a divine source?

From what I gather, Akaneia and Elibe (and Tellius?) confirm that anima magic is powered by invisible spirits/dieties, similar to shinto beliefs on "kami". Dark magic is either calling upon "dark powers" or alternatively from understanding...something. Light magic (in Elibe and Magvel at least) is based on faith (although the specifics of that are left vague). Both anima and dark magic are known to be potentially dangerous from overusage (confirmed in Elibe, Magvel). Spells take power from the user as well as the tome (Gaiden, Tellius, Elibe, Magvel) Does that sound about right? My thoughts are a bit disorganized because each continuity offers only partial answers to the nature of magic.

Edited by NekoKnight

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20 minutes ago, NekoKnight said:

Thanks Extrasolar, that was some of the information I was looking for. Where is the confirmation of healing magic (aka staves) is from a divine source?

Knoll's line from the Natasha/Knoll support chain:

Quote

Knoll: Your magic stems from faith in the unknowable, the divine presence.

 

EDIT: And your summary up there seems about accurate as to how magic has been fleshed out in the series. And I'd say Tellius definitely confirms the spirits theory, considering we see what the spirits look like for the first time in Radiant Dawn in the battle against Sephiran. They're attacking people directly there underneath Sephiran's direction, as it seems, so that could mean that the mage is simply taking control over any spirits that happen to be in the area and directing their power against the enemy. I imagine that the tome is just used as a focus, or something similar.

Edited by Extrasolar

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4 minutes ago, Extrasolar said:

Knoll's line from the Natasha/Knoll support chain:

I think that's a bit different than how you describing it. The sentence is talking about faith in the unknown. It doesn't specifically say that a divine presence powers healing magic, rather believing in divinity is where healing magic comes from. Elibe at least suggests that light magic is usable by anyone who perceives the concept of a god, even if that figure isn't a literal god.

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1 minute ago, NekoKnight said:

I think that's a bit different than how you describing it. The sentence is talking about faith in the unknown. It doesn't specifically say that a divine presence powers healing magic, rather believing in divinity is where healing magic comes from. Elibe at least suggests that light magic is usable by anyone who perceives the concept of a god, even if that figure isn't a literal god.

I think it's being pretty specific about it being granted from a divine source/from a god - Knoll doesn't know which one, but he knows it exists. We do get one god, a war god called Fale, being mentioned by Vanessa.

Light magic or healing magic being usable by anyone who simply perceives the concept of a good seems a bit free-form and loose. If that was the case, why bother with the churches and holy institutions of the FE worlds at all? If the powers aren't granted by actual prayers or religious service to a deity (the way a member of the clergy would do it), then how come everyone who simply believes in a divinity (as pretty much every person in FE believes in the god(s) of whichever world they are in) doesn't have access to light magic or healing magic?

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53 minutes ago, Extrasolar said:

I think it's being pretty specific about it being granted from a divine source/from a god - Knoll doesn't know which one, but he knows it exists. We do get one god, a war god called Fale, being mentioned by Vanessa.

Light magic or healing magic being usable by anyone who simply perceives the concept of a good seems a bit free-form and loose. If that was the case, why bother with the churches and holy institutions of the FE worlds at all? If the powers aren't granted by actual prayers or religious service to a deity (the way a member of the clergy would do it), then how come everyone who simply believes in a divinity (as pretty much every person in FE believes in the god(s) of whichever world they are in) doesn't have access to light magic or healing magic?

You do need to worship something with the same fervor as those in organized religion but since Kenneth can still use light magic without actually worshiping a true god, that would indicate (in Elibe at least) light magic does NOT come from an entity, it comes from a quality of the user. Now, it's possible an entity did grant Kenneth his ability to use light magic, but he wasn't consciously worshiping it, if that's the case.

Presumably, light/healing magic still takes training to use, regardless of your piety, so you don't see the average peasant shooting off beams of light.

Edit: Hold on a second, if faith is believing in something without hard evidence, wouldn't that mean that no one in Elibe/Magvel can definitively prove gods exist? If they know that there are divine beings, getting power from them is almost the same as anima magic.

Edit 2: Fale isn't confirmed to exist, although some people believe in it.

Edited by NekoKnight

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11 minutes ago, NekoKnight said:

Presumably, light/healing magic still takes training to use, regardless of your piety, so you don't see the average peasant shooting off beams of light.

Healing also requires staves to channel the energy or whatyouhave. Micaiah not needing one (transferring her own life force) was a big deal.

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10 minutes ago, NekoKnight said:

Knoll's wording is ambiguous. He could mean that light magic is divinity powered, or he could be saying that it's specifically faith powered. Knoll seems pretty dismissive of the church (and he uses dark magic himself) so it's hard to imagine him acknowledging there are gods while not worshiping them.

You do need to worship something with the same fervor as those in organized religion but since Kenneth can still use light magic without actually worshiping a true god, that would indicate (in Elibe at least) light magic does NOT come from an entity, it comes from a quality of the user. Now, it's possible an entity did grant Kenneth his ability to use light magic, but he wasn't consciously worshiping it, if that's the case.

Presumably, light/healing magic still takes training to use, regardless of your piety, so you don't see the average peasant shooting off beams of light.

I don't recall Knoll ever being dismissive of the church...is there a quote or something that proves that he was?

I don't think one has to worship a "true" god to get the magic. Naga isn't really a god, but grants her magical power to mortals several times. So long as it's an extremely powerful being with access to magical power, I think it works much of the same.
 

2 minutes ago, Vaximillian said:

Healing also requires staves to channel the energy or whatyouhave. Micaiah not needing one (transferring her own life force) was a big deal.

Not in Gaiden. Since the mages of Valentia can use their own life force to heal, I don't think it's much of a stretch to say the others could learn to heal without staves (granted, they'd have to sacrifice their own life force to do so).

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6 minutes ago, Extrasolar said:

I don't recall Knoll ever being dismissive of the church...is there a quote or something that proves that he was?

I don't think one has to worship a "true" god to get the magic. Naga isn't really a god, but grants her magical power to mortals several times. So long as it's an extremely powerful being with access to magical power, I think it works much of the same.

Perhaps I should have said "defensive" against the church. He has a lot of negative assumptions about them. Also, did you see my edit? I added some more stuff.

So are you suggesting that Nergal gave Kenneth the ability to use light magic?

(I like that I'm fiercely discussing the nature of magic in a fantasy setting. Fire Emblem is serious business. lol)

Edited by NekoKnight

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1 hour ago, NekoKnight said:

You do need to worship something with the same fervor as those in organized religion but since Kenneth can still use light magic without actually worshiping a true god, that would indicate (in Elibe at least) light magic does NOT come from an entity, it comes from a quality of the user. Now, it's possible an entity did grant Kenneth his ability to use light magic, but he wasn't consciously worshiping it, if that's the case.

Presumably, light/healing magic still takes training to use, regardless of your piety, so you don't see the average peasant shooting off beams of light.

Edit: Hold on a second, if faith is believing in something without hard evidence, wouldn't that mean that no one in Fire Emblem can definitively prove gods exist? If they know that there are divine beings, getting power from them is almost the same as anima magic.

Edit 2: Fale isn't confirmed to exist, although some people believe in it.

For your first point, that's why I think that it's more a case of the staff-user directly communicating with their god/gods (in a figurative sense, but they still get feedback via the magic they cast, which seems to confirm that the deities exist) rather than simply believing in them. It's the same deal with the spirits - I think the mage can see, feel, or on some level intuit that they are there through some other sort of sense, when invoking them to cast magic. I don't think there's really any ambiguity when it comes to the gods in FE world - they just know that they exist.
 

42 minutes ago, NekoKnight said:

Perhaps I should have said "defensive" against the church. He has a lot of negative assumptions about them. Also, did you see my edit? I added some more stuff.

So are you suggesting that Nergal gave Kenneth the ability to use light magic?

No, my bad, I didn't see your edits.

But Knoll's attitude toward the church doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't believe in any gods the church worships, even if he doesn't worship them himself.
People in FE often talk about the existence of other gods or acknowledge their power, even if they themselves don't worship them; Seliph and company have no problem recognizing Loptyr as a godly being and the source of Julius' power, even when they definitely don't worship him.

I'm not saying that Kenneth's light magic came from Nergal. He's still a priest, so even if he's on the bad guys' side, he's likely still invoking St. Elimine's power to get his magic. Just saying that in other cases, divine magic doesn't have to come from literal gods. Of course, that's a whole 'nother debate as to whether Naga actually counts as a god, even when she herself says she isn't. (Considering she's a divine dragon, and is a god in everything but name...)

Edited by Extrasolar

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39 minutes ago, Extrasolar said:

I'm not saying that Kenneth's light magic came from Nergal. He's still a priest, so even if he's on the bad guys' side, he's likely still invoking St. Elimine's power to get his magic. Just saying that in other cases, divine magic doesn't have to come from literal gods. Of course, that's a whole 'nother debate as to whether Naga actually counts as a god, even when she herself says she isn't. (Considering she's a divine dragon, and is a god in everything but name...)

I see. I'm still unsure of the implications Kenneth has for light magic. He specifically left the church of Elimine and worships Nergal, who as far as we know didn't give him powers. I don't see how he could be getting power from the god of the Church of Elimine if he doesn't worship it.

This is what he says on the topic:

Kenneth:
“Are you referring to my relationship with the “gods”? Are you still held in thrall of such a concept? You’ve met Lord Nergal, haven’t you? Then there is something you must know. Gods are lies created by the weakness in all mankind. …If a god truly exists, then it is my lord Nergal. Only him.”

Not only does he not worship gods, but he doesn't believe in them.

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This is a fascinating subject.

Regarding the whole discussion about light magic and Kenneth, I would like to bring up another example: Riev.

He can wield light magic, but he's also an excommunicated bishop and worships the Demon King. Yet can still use light magic. So is his faith in the Demon King granting him the use of light magic? An interesting thought, I'd say. Unless he still believes in whatever gods Magvel has, but I would think his devotion to the Demon King and drive of revenge against Rausten are more important in his mind.

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A shame Magvel is underdeveloped, more backstory on Riev would have been nice (as would the names of the 3 legendary heroes not Grado and Latona). I imagine a monster as powerful as the Demon King could make his dark magic into light if he wanted to. And while he does in all likelihood power up Riev, I have my doubts that he gives Riev light magic.

Is Naga a god or not? Well, Naga started as a mortal Divine Dragon, that we know for certain. But, it appears that Naga somehow survived her bodily death and eventually resurrected- in the form of Nagi in New Mystery (the dialogue in that game declares the SD revival non-canonical). Because a physical body can be a chore to care for, she presumably later opted for a wholly spiritual existence- Awakening.

What defines a god is debatable. The Crusaders of Jugdral appear to be worshipped as gods, or saints at least, even though they were clearly mortal. And in human history, people have worshipped their leader (pharaohs and Chinese emperors) as gods. This is a lower level deity, or not even a deity- a demigod. Naga's ability to live in a wholly spiritual state for millennia, revive herself, and powerful magic able to take down Grima (who we could call godly for sure) all seem to be worthy of the title "god". A mid-level deity I'd consider her. As for high-level, I guess we have Ashunera, for Ashera and Yune are only mid-level or high-but-less-than-top being halves of Ashunera. Technically, to be the highest of high, Ashunera has to exist before or at the same time as the primordial watery chaos, Yune says she came into being only later. (Though how does Yune know that the chaos existed before Ashunera when nobody existed before her?) The mark of a highest level deity for me is creation from nothing/chaos, Naga lacks that power.

On the topic of Naga, one of the Jugdral notes weirdly calls the Holy Weapons of Jugdral, plus the Falchion and Aura, "dragonstones" and states all of the Jugdrali weapons have orbs (like the spheres on the Shield of Seals?) on them, even though the weapon sprites suggest otherwise. Given Falchion is a literal fang of Naga, "dragonstone" could be meant loosely. That all of the crusaders' weapons and (Archanea) Aura and Falchion are packed to the brim with draconic power- the power contained in a dragonstone. Dragonstones have always offered stat bonuses, and that the Jugdrali weapons offer ones the size of the moon (plus absurd might). On top of that the Naga, Forseti and Loptyr tomes seem to contain a trace, if not the whole, of their titular draconic creators' wills and personalities.

And on that note, I speculate that the Lightsphere, Geosphere, and the elements they represent at their purest. The Lightsphere is are energies of Light refined to 100% purity (or as close to it as possible) in a very heavily concentrated physically holdable form. The Starsphere is the power of the stars in such a form, the Darksphere purest darkness, the Geosphere that of the earth's, the Lifesphere of life's spiritual essence.

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6 hours ago, NekoKnight said:

I see. I'm still unsure of the implications Kenneth has for light magic. He specifically left the church of Elimine and worships Nergal, who as far as we know didn't give him powers. I don't see how he could be getting power from the god of the Church of Elimine if he doesn't worship it.

This is what he says on the topic:

Kenneth:
“Are you referring to my relationship with the “gods”? Are you still held in thrall of such a concept? You’ve met Lord Nergal, haven’t you? Then there is something you must know. Gods are lies created by the weakness in all mankind. …If a god truly exists, then it is my lord Nergal. Only him.”

Not only does he not worship gods, but he doesn't believe in them.

I'm not sure that divine magic works the way it does in tabletop in FE, where if you violate the code of the deity that grants you your powers and/or stop worshiping them, you lose access to the powers the deity grants you. As we see corrupt bishops and priests invoking divine magic all the time, it seems to say that even if the priest turns their back on the church or does something that their deity may or may not agree with, they never lose the ability to tap into that divine connection and use those powers.

Ashera in general kind of exemplifies this, as she's most definitely the source of divine magic in Tellius, and grants her magic to people that definitely don't agree with her worldview. I imagine it may be the same for Elimine and other gods.

I also don't think Kenneth counts as a reliable narrator in this case. He's pretty messed up in the head, not to mention being slavishly loyal to Nergal in the first place. Him ignoring all other gods in favor of Nergal makes sense.

3 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

A shame Magvel is underdeveloped, more backstory on Riev would have been nice (as would the names of the 3 legendary heroes not Grado and Latona). I imagine a monster as powerful as the Demon King could make his dark magic into light if he wanted to. And while he does in all likelihood power up Riev, I have my doubts that he gives Riev light magic.

Is Naga a god or not? Well, Naga started as a mortal Divine Dragon, that we know for certain. But, it appears that Naga somehow survived her bodily death and eventually resurrected- in the form of Nagi in New Mystery (the dialogue in that game declares the SD revival non-canonical). Because a physical body can be a chore to care for, she presumably later opted for a wholly spiritual existence- Awakening.

What defines a god is debatable. The Crusaders of Jugdral appear to be worshipped as gods, or saints at least, even though they were clearly mortal. And in human history, people have worshipped their leader (pharaohs and Chinese emperors) as gods. This is a lower level deity, or not even a deity- a demigod. Naga's ability to live in a wholly spiritual state for millennia, revive herself, and powerful magic able to take down Grima (who we could call godly for sure) all seem to be worthy of the title "god". A mid-level deity I'd consider her. As for high-level, I guess we have Ashunera, for Ashera and Yune are only mid-level or high-but-less-than-top being halves of Ashunera. Technically, to be the highest of high, Ashunera has to exist before or at the same time as the primordial watery chaos, Yune says she came into being only later. (Though how does Yune know that the chaos existed before Ashunera when nobody existed before her?) The mark of a highest level deity for me is creation from nothing/chaos, Naga lacks that power.

On the topic of Naga, one of the Jugdral notes weirdly calls the Holy Weapons of Jugdral, plus the Falchion and Aura, "dragonstones" and states all of the Jugdrali weapons have orbs (like the spheres on the Shield of Seals?) on them, even though the weapon sprites suggest otherwise. Given Falchion is a literal fang of Naga, "dragonstone" could be meant loosely. That all of the crusaders' weapons and (Archanea) Aura and Falchion are packed to the brim with draconic power- the power contained in a dragonstone. Dragonstones have always offered stat bonuses, and that the Jugdrali weapons offer ones the size of the moon (plus absurd might). On top of that the Naga, Forseti and Loptyr tomes seem to contain a trace, if not the whole, of their titular draconic creators' wills and personalities.

And on that note, I speculate that the Lightsphere, Geosphere, and the elements they represent at their purest. The Lightsphere is are energies of Light refined to 100% purity (or as close to it as possible) in a very heavily concentrated physically holdable form. The Starsphere is the power of the stars in such a form, the Darksphere purest darkness, the Geosphere that of the earth's, the Lifesphere of life's spiritual essence.

Looking at the official art of the Jugdrali Holy Weapons, they all do have orbs placed within them (Tyrfing's is in its hilt, for example), and their power does indeed seem to stem from drawing upon those magical energies. Another facet of Naga weapons seems to be the ability to slay other types of dragons (seems inherent to Divine Dragons, as the Divine Dragon breath is usually supereffective against other types of dragons). The Book of Naga in Heroes is extra effective against Manaketes, so had their been any Manaketes to fight in Genealogy, I imagine it would have had the same effect. The strange thing about the Book of Naga, though, is that its original wielder Heim is confirmed to have had Naga overwrite his personality through possession, but Julia receives none of these effects. Where did Naga go the second time?

Holsety seems to contain at least some part of the dragon of the same name within it, but he's only able to posses Lewyn's body and speak through it after Lewyn has died, implying that he was incapable of overwriting Lewyn's soul while it remained in his body. The Loptyr tome seems to contain Loptyr's remaining essence in its entirety, as the goal of the cult was to resurrect him through the use of Julius.

On the Jugdral crusaders being worshipped as gods - I think it's safe to say they were deified after their deaths, though whether they still exist as gods somewhere in Jugdral cosmology is a bit up in the air. We get confirmation that Loptyr still exists through him speaking through Julius right before Julius dies, and Loptyr's will, if not his entire soul, is contained within the tome of the same name. One thing that points to the crusader gods being around in cosmology is Blaggi: He seems to be the power that the Blaggi priests are invoking when they use his magic, and Claud communes with Blaggi in order to learn of his impending death in the last few weeks before the Battle of Belhalla. 
 

Edited by Extrasolar

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On the Lewyn topic, I hope that Forseti or whatever it is that Lewyn becomes after Gen 1 didn't do a full takeover right away. Erinys deserved her husband and Ced and Fee deserved a father. I'd prefer if original Lewyn and Forseti Lewyn alternated in the years prior to the Issach Rebellion, with Forseti Lewyn gradually spending more and more time in charge as the time of liberation approached. As for why Naga didn't full possess in Gen 2, idk. Maybe she thought it wasn't necessary this time, whereas it was with the Crusaders.

Also, I want to bring up one more person with regards to magic. In Blazing Blade we get the most complete explanation of dark magic in the entire series. Now it seems all magic, or at least anima and dark, involve to some extent sacrifice of one's own being. But dark magic is indisputably the riskiest. When one lets dark magic into oneself, you can be consumed by the darkness and become an inactive vegetable- like Canas's brothers. On the other extreme, darkness can consume you and turn you into a hyperactive and dangerous shell of your former self- Nergal.

But what if you manage to walk the thin path of success that looms over these two abysses? This we would never have known, were it not for Bramimond. 

Bramimond has let the darkness in and it penetrates him to the core. In the process, he has lost the ability to maintain an independent personality, a great sacrifice. Yet, he is no vegetable. Bramimond maintains his memories and his will and the ability to act on them. Bramimond has in exchanged gained the power to sense who knows what through the vast impenetrable darkness his mind's eye is open to. He has not annihilated his self, but he has sublimated it. He is a Buddha of darkness I daresay.

He has also gained the ability to live for centuries, a degree of omniscience, the ability to seal and unseal the world-altering legendary weapons remotely, one of which is the product of his own mastery of darkness- the powerful Apocalypse. And even resurrection- something even Elimine's Saint's Staff can't do. 

Given the sacrifices made and perils braved involved in achieving dark Nirvana (equilibrium of the self and darkness I also like to call it), it is no surprise that few would seriously consider walking this path. And that even fewer would succeed. 

Yeah, I'm a Bramimond fan in case you can't tell. How I wish he had been playable; he actually has NPC data in the game with stats that would be realistic for a Gotoh.

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22 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Yeah, I'm a Bramimond fan in case you can't tell.

You aren't alone. I thought he had a cool concept, even if his on screen time is short.

I think it's an interesting distinction that while anima magic can harm the body from over usage (evidenced by Ewan x Saleh and Erk x Pent), dark magic has the greatest effect on the soul/spirit of the user. Canas' brothers were physically intact but they lost their capacity to think. Others like Nergal and Bramimond lost their memories or had their personality twisted/erased. Also, unlike anima, it seems impossible to truly master dark magic without sacrificing some portion of yourself.

Light magic doesn't seem to have any stated draw backs, but perhaps it can be inferred that the rules of anima magic (personal mana consumption) still apply.

 

I was thinking of a fanfiction/headcanon idea where light magic is granted by gods and has no negative effects because it it loaned power. Anima magic takes power from natural elements but it takes some personal investment. Dark magic is the most dangerous because it takes power exclusively from living things, either the user or things around them.

Edited by NekoKnight

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I've always felt that researching information on Dark magic in the games is more or less like it is for characters IN the games to research actual dark magic in that universe, lol. It's endlessly fascinating, and yet it feels like there's not nearly enough information on it. 

What we get of it from Lyon / Knoll in Sacred Stones is rather interesting as well, where Lyon was apparently researching the beneficial, even medical applications of elder black magic, if I recall correctly... To me it begs the question of what was different in ancient times that made Dark magic so apparently prevalent and influential. I can't help but wonder if perhaps the dragons were involved in that to some degree (at least in Elibe), given Sophia and Nergal's combined factors of their practice of it and residence in Nabata (at least for a while in the case of Nergal). In the case of Magvel it's more difficult to guess, but I wonder if the Demon King's power/energy might have played into it to some degree. 

16 hours ago, NekoKnight said:

Light magic doesn't seem to have any stated draw backs, but perhaps it can be inferred that the rules of anima magic (personal mana consumption) still apply.

I was thinking of a fanfiction/headcanon idea where light magic is granted by gods and has no negative effects because it it loaned power. Anima magic takes power from natural elements but it takes some personal investment. Dark magic is the most dangerous because it takes power exclusively from living things, either the user or things around them.

I'd be willing to bet that the power of Light magic takes some investment in terms of holy rites, worship/praying, and other such pious practices (possibly on top of being granted by a divine source)... There's no real evidence for this theory beyond the (mostly) pious nature of the Monk/Cleric characters themselves, and it's definitely the least rigorous and intensive of the three types of magic, but that would at least mean that it has SOME manner of upkeep required to fuel its power. That could work for Kenneth as well to some degree, if he 'worships' Nergal with the same piety needed to maintain less-corrupted versions of the power. 

 

Unrelated question: Does anyone know what lettering is used in the illustration for Canas' Cipher card? I recognize the magic rune in the background as the flattened carousel-shaped one that appears in the GBA animations for Nosferatu and Luna, and it appears to be interlaced with some sort of ancient runes/text as well, a detail I never noticed in the sprites before (though it actually is sort of there, albeit very small and obviously unrecognizable). I'm not sure knowing this would even reveal anything but I can't help but be curious haha.

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This is an interesting discussion What is obvious is that magic requires some outside source whether it be life energy spirits deities or the like.

While I can't prove any of it from the evidence (particularly the realm linking seen in FE13+)it is my hypothesis that magic as a whole is based on the source of which magic is being drawn. And is likely connected to however spirits/gods/realms emerge from the interlinked mess we have been shown exists between realms.

Taking the idea that all these worlds are linked requires multiple independent creation events.  Which if taken to the next level makes me suspect worlds in the fire emblem universe are formed around powerful spirits (whether they be dragons,pure divines or powerful "demons") These spirits are able to exist for some time but eventually seem to be forced out of these lower realms by some sort of feedback that eventually drives them towards insanity.(Accounting for the old sealing of the earth dragons+ Fates dragons as well as not conflicting with any of the other game lore as far as I could find)

 

With that out of the way I can get to how my hypothesis would classify magic under a unified framework 

First off I suspect there are several ways to produce magic that would be called particular categories such as light/dark/wind/fire/thunder etc. (hence my loser conditions for each category).

Miscellaneous first hand magic would be magic that costs life force from the user I would surmise this is probably a candidate for the ancestral source for magic 

Light magic for instance seems the most "refined" of magic broken down to the most basic form light. I suspect the reason light magic usually requires faith is that the normal source is already purified "mana/essence" given by some more powerful spirit/entity either directly or indirectly serving as an analog to a ISP provider(giving users an interface and service at X cost with variability based on the provider) 

Elemental magic would be partially refined essence separated into a form likely by weaker spirits(such as elemental spirits_ or perhaps even in some instances strong individuals close to the power level where they could be termed a god but not there yet.

And lastly Dark magic would be the real outlier due to its more unstable volatile and chaotic tendencies I would posit there are two typical sources of Dark magic

-Self study:Here the user draws raw magic from elsewhere. Due to it being a first hand source it would have a great deal of both difficulty and variability allowing both for it to preform more customized uses but also coming with the catch that the user would be responsible first hand for any repercussions (which in cases where it was refined by someone else would have been preformed by said deity/spirit) Gharnef(through study of darksphere artifact) Canas Nergal Bramimond Loptyr(not his followers but Loptyr himself).-Most of these examples could thus be argued to have stepped above their limits in pursuit of power and thus payed the price(insanity or worse).

-external source:These are the casters that draw power from a higher being that has no regard whatsoever for their well being thus are fed poorly refined magic meant to fulfill whatever goal the entity in question wants to achieve. Examples: Loptyr cultists, Grima Cultists, Fomortiis's minions etc. (In all of these cases their followers are completely disposable and thus unlikely to be given "real" magic by their selfish "gods")

 

This is entirely speculative so feel free to pick holes in this and the likes it is simply my current head cannon based on what we have been told so far in the games

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In the Akaneian universe we get some things added from interviews with Kaga:

Q3: What is magic in the world of Fire Emblem?

Comment: Originally primitive deities existed at Akaneia and people believed these deities existed in all things. To lead mankind, Gotoh utilised the power of these deities. Magic (both offensive and recovery) is about as advanced as the dragon race’s technology, but it was difficult and dangerous for humans to use. Gotoh convinced humans to borrow the deities’ powers and warned them at the same time. So fire magic comes from the deity of fire, wind magic is borrowed from the deity of wind and etc. Magic is thus the technology where one harnesses energy that exists naturally. Spell books and staves can be thought of as vessels that store this energy. To release this energy requires a certain amount of skill, such as by chanting keywords or through mental control techniques. In order to acquire a sufficient skill level, one must undergo self-training. Prayers to the deities seems to reveal the keywords, while it also raises one’s mental capacity. Meanwhile, to protect the most powerful spells, like Aura or Excalibur, Gotoh attached a contract to them so that only the user could wield them. The same kind of protection was also placed on the Falchion.

link: https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/mystery-of-the-emblem/mysteries-of-fe-akaneias-story/

We can probably assume that without the conduits that Gotoh introduced, like books and staves, it would function like it does in gaiden, where the wielder sacrifices some of their vitality in order to cast a spell

 

On 1.3.2017 at 5:00 PM, Interdimensional Observer said:

On the topic of Naga, one of the Jugdral notes weirdly calls the Holy Weapons of Jugdral, plus the Falchion and Aura, "dragonstones" and states all of the Jugdrali weapons have orbs (like the spheres on the Shield of Seals?) on them, even though the weapon sprites suggest otherwise. Given Falchion is a literal fang of Naga, "dragonstone" could be meant loosely. That all of the crusaders' weapons and (Archanea) Aura and Falchion are packed to the brim with draconic power- the power contained in a dragonstone. Dragonstones have always offered stat bonuses, and that the Jugdrali weapons offer ones the size of the moon (plus absurd might). On top of that the Naga, Forseti and Loptyr tomes seem to contain a trace, if not the whole, of their titular draconic creators' wills and personalities.

And on that note, I speculate that the Lightsphere, Geosphere, and the elements they represent at their purest. The Lightsphere is are energies of Light refined to 100% purity (or as close to it as possible) in a very heavily concentrated physically holdable form. The Starsphere is the power of the stars in such a form, the Darksphere purest darkness, the Geosphere that of the earth's, the Lifesphere of life's spiritual essence.

Q: How do the Holy Weapons work?

A: The dragon tribe has the ability to transfer their power and will into dragon stones (what humans refer to as orbs). The Falchion from Mystery of the Emblem and powerful magic like Aura, as well as the orbs on the 13 Holy Weapons of Jugdral, are all dragon stones. Humans can obtain tremendous strength from these dragon stones, but they are also in danger of losing their own will. Usually, only those who have formed blood pacts with the dragon tribe can use the power of the dragon stones, but there are exceptions if the seal on the orb has been broken.

from: https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/holy-war/playing-guide/

I assume this is what you meant?

I belive what they mean is that every legendary weapon (or holy weapon) has a dragonstone embedded into it, like the falchion for example, it might be the one on the guard or on the pommel:

Spoiler

latest?cb=20100919035335

Similar gems can be found on nearly all holy weapons, the only I can't directly see are on the spell books, and we can assume the pact made by the heroes who first got the weapons also gave them the ability to harness aditionall strength from the stone or other effects that aided them in battle (most apparent with the falchion only in the first game, where it had the effect to seal all non-dragon direct attacks) and with the holy weapons they obviously made the wielder physically stronger, faster, hardier or other beneficial effects. The shield of seals also has a similar effect in boosting Marths stats when it's spheres, which are dragonstones, are returned to their sockets.

Sorry for going a bit of topic, just wanted to throw that out there since it came up.

Edited by ClassyWolf
corrections to spelling

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2 hours ago, ClassyWolf said:

In the Akaneian universe we get some things added from interviews with Kaga:

Q3: What is magic in the world of Fire Emblem?

Comment: Originally primitive deities existed at Akaneia and people believed these deities existed in all things. To lead mankind, Gotoh utilised the power of these deities. Magic (both offensive and recovery) is about as advanced as the dragon race’s technology, but it was difficult and dangerous for humans to use. Gotoh convinced humans to borrow the deities’ powers and warned them at the same time. So fire magic comes from the deity of fire, wind magic is borrowed from the deity of wind and etc. Magic is thus the technology where one harnesses energy that exists naturally. Spell books and staves can be thought of as vessels that store this energy. To release this energy requires a certain amount of skill, such as by chanting keywords or through mental control techniques. In order to acquire a sufficient skill level, one must undergo self-training. Prayers to the deities seems to reveal the keywords, while it also raises one’s mental capacity. Meanwhile, to protect the most powerful spells, like Aura or Excalibur, Gotoh attached a contract to them so that only the user could wield them. The same kind of protection was also placed on the Falchion.

link: https://serenesforest.net/general/designers-notes/mystery-of-the-emblem/mysteries-of-fe-akaneias-story/

We can probably assume that without the conduits that Gotoh introduced, like books and staves, it would function like it does in gaiden, where the wielder sacrifices some of their vitality in order to cast a spell

That's the interview I was looking for! I couldn't find it for the life of me.

I understand how a tome could have a user restriction, in that the magic simply wouldn't activate for people who weren't designated as users.

Though I never really understood how the "only the designated person can wield this" weapons, or what exactly stops people from picking it up and trying it anyway? What, does it activate and shock anyone who holds it that isn't the wielder?

I liked the change to the Jugdral Holy Weapons in that one fan GBA remake of FE4 romhack, which let people without major blood wield the weapons, but not at their full potential; they didn't get the amazing stat boosts that the major-blooded wielders got. It makes much more sense, in my opinion.

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58 minutes ago, Extrasolar said:

That's the interview I was looking for! I couldn't find it for the life of me.

I understand how a tome could have a user restriction, in that the magic simply wouldn't activate for people who weren't designated as users.

Though I never really understood how the "only the designated person can wield this" weapons, or what exactly stops people from picking it up and trying it anyway? What, does it activate and shock anyone who holds it that isn't the wielder?

I liked the change to the Jugdral Holy Weapons in that one fan GBA remake of FE4 romhack, which let people without major blood wield the weapons, but not at their full potential; they didn't get the amazing stat boosts that the major-blooded wielders got. It makes much more sense, in my opinion.

My guess is that the protection on the weapon is in the dragonstone embedded into the weapon, since some tomes like aura has a dragonstone in them, stated in the second interview above. What otherwise happens if it's not the actual user who is wielding it, other that they can't tap into the dragonstone, no idea.

Maybe, since Gotoh is a divine dragon, he added the dragonstones to excalibur and aura as guardians to make sure noone but the ones he appoints (and probably their bloodlines) are able to wield them, but thats just speculation.

... and I'm most likely giving to much credit to what those stones can actually do.

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