Study Guide

The Color of Magic The Supernatural

By Terry Pratchett

The Supernatural

Supernatural elements tend to make fantasy worlds seem more welcoming than our reality. But think about it: If not for its magic curriculum, Hogwarts would easily be the worst reviewed school in terms of student safety and learning proficiency, wouldn't it? It'd be sued and then shutdown. But along comes the magic makes everything feel hunky-dory. Not so on Discworld.

In The Color of Magic, magic is all well and good, but it doesn't make the problems of life go away or even any easier. If anything, characters like Rincewind want something more like our science and technology, believing those would make the world a more reasonable place. It's a case of the grass always being greener on the other side, regardless of whether you use fertilizer or a green-thumb spell to grow it.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. How does the novel subvert the typical supernatural aspects of fantasy, and what does this suggest about the novel's use of the supernatural?
  2. How do supernatural elements relate to the societies of the Discworld? How do they change the lives of the citizens or not? How is this different than in other fantasies?
  3. Do you see any notable fantasy elements missing from The Color of Magic? Which ones? Why do you suppose they are absent, and what does this tell you about this theme's use in the novel?

Chew on This

Many fantasy novels just assume magic will work because that's the way of fantasy, but The Color of Magic goes to great lengths to explain magic's origin in this universe, not to mention the multiverse. Oddly enough, these explanations give a scientific quality to the supernatural.

The character with the least imagination, one Hrun by name, is also the character who notices the supernatural and fantastical elements of the world least.