Hello once more.
Today I would like to talk to you about wizards.
Wizards are a linchpin of Fantasy. They crop up in each and every established Fantasy novel I can think of and in most new writer's work as well.
What makes a Wizard?
In order to answer the above question we must understand all the parts of this strange beast.
The word Wizard comes from a combination of old English words. Wys meaning; knowledgeable, philosopher-like or...wise...
And ard meaning; "hard as nails", "wouldn't want to mess with him" and "Arrgh! He turned my left knee into a black hole that's tearing me apart but which will stop short of consuming the entire planet!"
Honestly I have no idea at all what the ard means. Neither does the internet or my dictionary.
In 99% of cases Wizards conform to a certain appearance. Almost a uniform if you will. Each aspect of the uniform fulfills a specific function whilst also projecting a general sense of Wizardliness that calms the slopmonging peasants and reassures them that, despite the vast, amorphous cloud of borderline-personified-evil, all will be well, anyone who can pull off that beard must know what he's doing.
The Wizard's uniform lets the world know who he is, what he is likely to be doing in the area and that his credit is good in any bar that wants to remain a building and not a pile of steaming feces.
All Wizards (with the exception of the pre-pubescent Potter, beloved of millennials everywhere except the States) own or wear a beard.
Hair, as so eloquently theorised by Danny in "Withnail and I", acts as a form of cosmic satellite dish. If not attracting then certainly capturing what he calls "Cosmic Rays" and what I call Magic/k. All the best Wizards have a beard, the ones who don't have a beard and fly around on broomsticks (you know who I mean) are in fact witches, which is a different kettle of fish altogether.
The beard (along with all body hair, regardless of length/density) allows Wizards to capture and focus the ambient background Magic'k of Fantasionia to be channeled into their magic works and mad-cap schemes.
Using the scale of Magic/k energy provided in Dragons Part Three, we can surmise that an average sized shovel beard (a beard which looks like a shovel, but which should probably not be used to muck out a stable) we can assume that a Wizard is able to harness 0.25 Giga Kadabra(TM) per day. Now, this is actually quite a lot of magic enabling the Wizard to do all sorts of amazing things that have the power to wow a peasant into a state of blinded awe.
Gudguff rolled up his sleeves and flexed his ancient knuckles in preparation for what was to come. From windows all around, frightened faces peered through ragged curtains and a layer of filth at the mighty practitioner.
Gudguff focused all of his powers onto a single point three inches in front of his nose. His tongue protruded from his mouth slightly and his crossed eyes began to water from the strain. Ethereal energies coursed through his bushy beard and crackled into the ground at his feet.
Fifty yards away the cooking fire burst into life, the kettle on top of it immediately coming to the boil. Gudguff sighed as he was able to uncross his eyes. The screaming began not long afterwards. Gudguff span to see a hideous apparition coalescing from the village's communal shit pit.
"Ah. Bollocks." Gudguff stared at his stinky adversary and knew only he could stop such a monstrosity.
Wasting no time, Gudguff flung a hastily summoned fireball at the Crapper, realising too late what effect the naked flame would have around that much methane.
Hats were, at one time, the height of Wizarding fashion. Quite literally, as the standard pointy hat could add as much as three feet to a Wizard's height. Hats were used predominantly for the storage of excess magic/k, akin to a Wizarding lunchbox. A wizard's hat would commonly be lined with a mixture of clay and Elf pubes in order to replicate the storage abilities of a Wizard's beard.
However, according to a number of market survey questionnaires, hats are no longer considered a necessary part of a Wizard's uniform.
Robes are an essential, if not the most essential, part of a Wizard's uniform.
As well as acting as a sign, letting all who tread in the vicinity that the man before them is in fact a Wizard capable of turning anyone and everyone within a ten mile radius into a very confused chihuahua, Robes are also used as a grounding mechanism.
Un-grounded Wizards are prone to a whole host of problems. Given the effectiveness of a Beard's magic/kal storage capabilities, if a Wizard is not grounded the pent up Magic/k will accumulate until the Wizard is accidentally ripping holes in the fabric of reality just by sneezing. The Robe allows a Wizard to safely disseminate the unused Magic/k from his beard back into the wild and prevent him from transforming innocent passers by into steaming piles of ice cream with his farts.
Robes fall into one of two categories. Spangled and impressive, decked in runes etc. Or, plain and weather worn. In either case the robe works in the same fashion.
Robes are able to do this because of the Law of assumptions(TM), which states that anything assumed to be true by a being sufficiently divorced from any commonly held facet of reality is transmuted into a fact by the power of their belief. Quite literally; I assume, therefore it is.
Robes are also used by Wizards to circulate air around the body and prevent sensitive, dangling, areas from overcooking. A Wizard's bollocks are well known to hold the store of their knowledge, not their brain as is commonly thought. The convenient location (out of sight, protected by the bulk of the body and provided with its own Magic/k capturing apparatus) allows for Wizards to get away with some truly absurd ideas and still maintain an appearance of wisdom.
In fact, a Wizard's Bollock-brained ideas are often so stupid that they succeed just because nobody could plan for their level of sheer dumb-fuckery.
Gudguff stared at his witless but prophesied hero and began to explain his scheme.
"The dark lord must be overthrown for reasons which I wont go into but with which I'm sure we're all au fait. In order to do this, I will lead this witless, pubescent simpleton away from his/her friends and family in order to obtain the last Whyn Gumme of Throckoff the White.
Once obtained it will be completely forgotten as it was just a training and fact-finding exercise anyway, the true purpose of which is to round up a band of misfits, mercenaries and nutters to form the core of an army of simple farmers with which we shall overthrow the Dark Lord's crack troops, leaving him open to our final move." He paused for far longer than necessary to build the tension before realising that the crowd of slopmongers before him were staring vacantly at a bird which had chosen to shit on his shoulder from the tree above.
"Our final and devastating blow will be..." Gudguff raised his arms in a dramatic motion, startling the cursed bird out of the tree. "A brick through his window! With a really mean note about his mum...and how he is fat...and...and..." Gudguff struggled for a moment before inspiration struck. "Then McGuffin, our Hero can run up behind him while he's reading the note and stab him." Gudguff looked around, pleased with himself. The gathered peasants were as vacant as before, except for a young woman at the front of the crowd who had forgotten how to breathe and was dying of anoxia.
A set nifty set of robes are also (for "reasons") a bar to the purchase and wearing of heavy armour, thus creating a necessary Achilles heel in a being all too capable of tearing a hole in the arse of reality. Allowing a great Wizard to be threatened by a goblin with a pointy stick.
Beards, Hats, Robes... Pubic hairs... I see... what about the Staff?
A Staff is an additional method by which a Wizard may focus his energy or ground any excess Magic/k. It can also be used to light gloomy caverns, batter unsuspecting highwaymen and solicit services from That kind of tavern wench in a suggestive but fairly subtle manner.
Where do they come from?
Wizards are actually what happens to the weedy kid that everyone bullies in school. At some point around puberty they stop shaving (men and women both) and grow a beard to make themselves look tougher and stop "Tiny" (Six feet eight inches tall) from using them as a tent peg on school camping weekends.
The beard undergoes a magical transformation after three months, turning it into a Magic/k superconductor that creates a Wizard.
Or they make a deal with a Demon or a God for franchised power rights and as many crispy souls as they can get.
What happens to Wizards once they have knocked off the local Dark Lord?
They go back to their tower and hibernate in a chrysalis made of hope and duct tape until a new Dark Lord rises, at which point the hope will be corroded by the Dark Lord's natural evil aura and the duct tape will eventually fall away because it's a bit shit.
...What have you been eating recently?
Gone off dehydrated orange juice.
Why are Wizards central to most Fantasy?
Wizards are a great way to introduce your main character(read someone sympathetic to the audience) to the wider issues of the world and to keep them on track in their role as a good person. Without the stabilizing effect of a Wizard, most Heroes would do one of the following;
1) Never leave their remote and forgotten corner of the world, marry their childhood sweetheart and spend the rest of their life as their parents did, perhaps complaining about the occasional child-cull or rate of taxation.
2) Get killed really quickly.
3) Get bored/lost/distracted by something shiny so that the required window of opportunity is lost and things stay as they are.
4) Go over to the Dark Lord's side because; a. He pays. b. The uniform is much better. And, c. It's a lot less scary working for the Dark Lord than it is fighting against him/her/it.
Are there any examples of Fantasy without Wizards?
Yes, but I'm not going to tell you what they are because that would spoil the enjoyment of discovering these things for yourself.
So there we have it. Wizards, what they do, why they do it and why they wear those odd clothes.
The best reason for Wizards being (in 90% of cases) old men will get 10 Dietrich points, answers below.