A magician, mage, sorcerer, wizard, or a person known under one
of many other possible terms in fiction is someone who uses or
practices magic that derives from supernatural or occult sources.
Magicians are common figures in works of fantasy, such as fantasy
iterature and role-playing games; they draw on a history of such
people in mythology, legends, and folklore (see Magician (paranormal)).
Although occasional practitioners of sleight-of-hand appear in modern
fantasy, they are usually simulating the magic that others perform—or
sometimes concealing their actual magic.
Fantasy magicians have powers arising from their study, possibly based
on innate talent, rather than having their magical abilities occur
entirely spontaneously, or be granted by another source.
(Other fantasy characters can use magic or be magical, but they have
generally not acquired their powers by study.)
Still, most fantasy wizards are depicted as having a special gift which
sets them apart from the vast majority of characters in fantasy worlds
who are unable to learn magic.
Magicians, sorcerers, wizards, warlocks and practitioners of magic by
other titles have appeared in myths, folktales and literature throughout
recorded history, and fantasy draws on this background. They commonly
appear in fantasy as mentors and villains, as they did in older works,
and more recently as heroes themselves. Although they are often portrayed
as wielding great powers, their role in shaping the fantasy world they
inhabit varies; much of fantasy literature writes of medieval worlds with
wizards in a fairly limited role as guardians or advisers.
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