The Rules of Magic: On the Balance of Chaos and Order

Guest Post by: Charlotte Henley Bab


In writing about a fairy godmother, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the rules of magic. How magic works, what it can and can’t do, and what it costs, is a pillar of all fantasy, whether set in an otherwhere or in the midst of an urban slum. In some ways, fantasy exists because of a tension between the “real” world of Newtonian physics and observable phenomena and the “fantasy” world of unseen energies, illusions, glamour, and quantum physics.

A symbolic oversimplification would describe this tension as Order and Chaos.  According to nearly all creation stories around the planet, the Creative Intelligence (under whatever name) started with Chaos and created Order, the clockwork of the Universe.

But if you’ve read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, you’ll note that the effects of Order can be as destructive as the randomness of Chaos. A dynamic balance must be maintained, and often those on the magical side must keep this balance. This view of order has developed with the Industrial Revolution and the concept of people as machine operators. Robots do a better job of controlling equipment when precision is needed, but people do better when judgment and skill is needed. Treating people like machines never works out well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Think about the last decade and the scandals in big banking and big business.

One trope of my magical system is that the temptations to do magic for oneself, to go into one’s own story as both heroine and magical helper, leads to becoming an evil queen/sorceress. The temptation to control others, to make them into puppets and minions always turns out badly because the one thing that most magic systems agree on is that love trumps magic. While a practitioner might make a love spell or potion, the result is at best an aphrodisiac, a glamour, which always fades to reveal the lie and the betrayal.

Fiona has fought this temptation for most of her life, as she is very powerful. She restrains herself, denying herself the luxury of having things her way, although she has sent some of her former fairy godmothers into a story where their power is limited until the story plays out. And a few she has sent to their death at the claws of Grizelda the Troll.  Fiona oversees the wishes being granted, but she does not try to control all the magic that might be done in Faery, and she has no jurisdiction anywhere else.

The limits Fiona has set for herself have kept her from becoming evil. She is also helped by her partner, Belle, so that she is not without love, and Belle’s very practical nature, despite dealing with the mini-dimension of Twilight Lounge, keeps both Belle and Fiona grounded.

Maven tips the landscape a bit more toward Chaos, making the edges between the two a bit less defined, and opening up the possibility that a few more women will get their wishes granted. In her way, Maven keeps the dynamic balance of Order and Chaos from leaning too far to the side of order, rigidity and death.

Charlotte Henley Babb is the author of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, available from  Muse It Up Publishing (, Smashwords, Amazon and B&N. Her websites are and

Author Bio:

Charlotte Henley Babb is the author of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, available from  Muse It Up Publishing (, Smashwords, Amazon and B&N. Her websites are and

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?


Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle:  dinosaur dating site   B&N Nook: reviews of mature singles only dating site     Smashwords:

Where to find Charlotte:   
Goodreads:   dating in thailand | Website:dating site for free in australia


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.