“Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange.
Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never could.”
This is, in its own way, a rant of sorts. A form of courtesy in its own sense, opening with a timely quote from Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
The raw power that magic offers is a bit like winning the lottery. All your flaws are suddenly magnified by the power of ten, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. Screw everyone over, why don’t you! Who cares about consequences? You ain’t got time for that shit!
It’s certainly hard to restrain yourself as a magician when you feel wronged. Until you’ve been hit by the ripple, you’ll always throw rocks at the pond. Or trucks. Or drowned cats. Really, who am I to judge? If it makes a splash, you’re liable to toss it in anyway. Who cares? And if the results come swift and hard, then so much the better! They got what they deserved! Let’s self-rationalize all the things!
But then the waters part, and a rotting hand grabs your leg. Or the rock bounces and hits the person behind you. And then you realize, too late, that perhaps you should have restrained yourself. Perhaps, if you had been more considerate in not turning every molehill into a mountain, the kick of the rifle wouldn’t have broken your shoulder.
Perhaps, if only you remembered to exercise a little courtesy, you wouldn’t be crying in the dark.