"There it is. A definite ripple in the walls of the world. Very worrying. There's probably another world making contact. That's never good. I ought to go there. But… according to my left elbow, there's a witch there already." (1.6)
Miss Tick feels magic throughout her body, which can lead to some pretty strange findings. For example, she knows that another witch is around due to her left elbow. What the what?
"Once you learn about magic, I mean really learn about magic, learn everything you can learn about magic, then you've got the most important lesson still to learn," said Miss Tick. (2.50)
When Tiffany first meets Miss Tick, she has no idea what real magic entails and all her ideas about witches are taken from storybooks and rumors. Miss Tick is ready to set her straight.
"Er, no," said Tiffany. "The important thing about magic," she added haughtily, "is to know when not to use it." (4.260)
Tiffany really knows how to hedge her way around the lack of magical power thing. She claims that she's not going to use magic when the pictsies ask her about it.
"Well, spiders spin webs. Dromes spin dreams. It's easy in this place. The world you come from is nearly real. This place is nearly unreal, so it's almost a dream anywa'." (8.148)
The supernatural creatures in Fairyland are definitely a product of the Queen's dreams (or nightmares, depending). The dromes are a literal product of this—they actually trap people in dreams, which is worse than it sounds.
Little things were wrong, though. There were hundreds of people in the room, but the ones in the distance, although they were moving about in quite a natural way, seemed the same as the trees—blobs and swirls of colors. (9.93)
Tiffany learns how to spot the inconsistencies that tip her off to the fact that she's in a magical dream. She knows how to see through the pretty façade and to look for the areas that don't look like real life.
"That kind of physical magic is, indeed, very hard. But I can make you think I've done the most… terrible things. And that, little girl, is all I need to do." (11.13)
The Queen is so unpleasant. She may not have the power to actually hurt Tiffany physically, but she can make her think that she's being tortured—which is arguably just as bad.
And it stayed there, crackling, and two dogs formed.
Steam rose from their coats and blue light sparked from their ears as they shook themselves. (13.68-69)
The Queen's not the only one who has powerful magic on her side. Tiffany has her Nac Mac Feegles clan and some magical lightning and thunder dogs that her Granny Aching sent.
The Queen was as light as a baby and changed shape madly in Tiffany's arms—into monsters and mixed-up beasts, things with claws and tentacles. But at last she was small and gray, like a monkey with a large head and big eyes and a little downy chest that went up and down as she panted. (13.156)
We knew it, and so did Tiffany—the Queen doesn't look like a beautiful lady after all. She's actually a weird little magical creature, and she uses dreams to disguise her appearance.
"Nicely said," said Mistress Weatherwax. "You're sharp. But there's magic, too. You'll pick that up. It doesn't take much intelligence, otherwise wizards wouldn't be able to do it." (14.110)
When Tiffany finally meets more witches, she learns that she will be able to learn magic. She'll be taught the ways when she's old enough… but even without that, she's already a witch.
"The thing about witchcraft," said Mistress Weatherwax, "is that it's not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin' out how you passed it. It's a bit like life in that respect." (14.145)
Learning magic isn't like learning a lesson or a card trick. It's much deeper and more personal than that, and Tiffany's going to have to go through a lot of learning to really get the hang of it.