Being a fan of C S Lewis’s Narnia books, I thought I’d write a blog entry based on a very excellent paper I found on the net describing the two magics (can’t find the link right now, will post it as soon as I get it).
I wanted to comment on another aspect of the two magics.
This aspect of activeness and passiveness. JKR Magic is very active in nature. Whereas CSL magic is extremely passive. In JKR magic, the characters positively use magic or influence it to induce certain results. They perform spells, make potions and stuff of that sort. CSL magic, on the other hand is invoked passively, and in most cases unknowingly (remember, “Thou shalt not tempt God!”). CSL was most obviously promoting Christianity through his books (which I loved).
In CSL, all active magic is also “evil” magic (has a lot of Jedi philosophical similarities). The White Witch, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, etc. were all evil because they “invoked” magic. This has obvious similarities to using power for personal gain. Invoked magic always has the motivation of personal gain (or is implied to do so in the books). All “good” magic is that which is invoked by principle, by definition or by moral superiority. Essentially, if you’re a good person, good things will happen to you. It is actually a brilliant and ingenious way of explaining religion to young children – I certainly got the point much clearly than having read the Bible. The movie even has the quote, “There is a deep magic, more powerful than any of us, that rules over Narnia. It defines right from wrong. It governs all our destinies, your’s and mine.”
Hence, when the children are called to help out Narnians, rarely do we see the good characters actively engaging in magical acts. In fact it is unspokenly tabood to do so.
In the JKR universe, magic is very active. Both good and bad sides use it. Magic is more like a knife – it’s use depends on it’s user. A knife may save lives in a surgery and also may take lives in murders. JKR magic is invoked rather heavily – except when Harry was protected by a deep ancient magic – which sound similar to the Stone Table’s magic from CSL.