Rule #1: No magic within 300 ft. Rule #2: Don't use Magic X. Rule #3: No mages within 10000 ft.
A specific kind of empire
or organisation set in a world where magic is possible and/or supernatural exists, whose agenda is against said magic and supernatural things. It forbids practicing magic, prosecutes mages and supernatural creatures and so on.
The Anti-Magical Faction comes in two flavors:
This version is a Well-Intentioned Extremist
faction trying to cleanse the world
of 'dangerous and unstable' magic for the greater good of all
; it often employs technology instead; or if the setting has a divide between "arcane" and "divine" magic, the faction may wield "divine" magic instead while trying to stamp out "arcane" magic (especially common if the faction is some kind of religious sect or organization). This faction is genuinely against magic and the supernatural.
This version pretends to be the classical version, but has a more sinister hidden goal — that being not to cleanse the world of magic, but to ensure that only
the faction in question is allowed to wield it, hypocritically gathering it all in its hands. In this case, the magic is restricted to its elite followers
or just the leaders
Both versions of the Anti-Magical Faction are likely to wield some form of Anti-Magic
. Their goal is often to impose a total Ban on Magic
. Their ideology often contains a notion that Magic is Evil
, but even if they're right
, their extreme methods often make for Black and Grey Morality
or Evil Versus Evil
. If the faction employs technology, the result is likely to be The Magic Versus Technology War
. Such a faction is the group equivalent of Does Not Like Magic
May also be combined with Muggle Power
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Anime and Manga
- The anti-esper organization called "Normal People" from Zettai Karen Children is probably one of the most shamelessly blatant examples of this.
- This appears to be the aims of Twilight and his followers in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic.
- If mutant powers qualify as "magic," these guys show up as X-Men villains every other week. Perhaps the most notorious of such groups is the anti-mutant hate group "Friends of Humanity."
- Doctor Strange runs afoul of these from time to time, though in the Marvel Universe they tend to be lone fanatics who've amassed a following. In World War Hulk his primary accuser was a wild-eyed woman who claimed he "dances with the Devil" (not true; they're just acquaintances) and had nearly killed civilians (which was true).
- In With Strings Attached, the law in Ketafa is that magic is forbidden; those accused are, at the very least, publicly flogged. Not that it stops a lively magical underground, the Hiddenwizards. (We never see them, but Lyndess mentions them a few times, as do Terdan and Remlar.) And the “Favorites of the Gods”—Baravadans—are exempt from this law.
- Inverted in Terry Mancour's Spellmonger Series, in that the Royal Censorate of Magic is itself run by mages, and they of ban all magic, instead they only make studying all but a few avenues of magical study legal to practice, and they also hunt down magi who are not officially registered as part of their system.
- The kingdoms of the Aldabreshin archipelago in Juliet E. McKenna's Aldabreshin Compass tetralogy. The collected warlords ban magic on pain of having your skin ripped off while still alive and then nailed to a post. Since magical dragons and wizards exist on the mainland it's a little unclear why. And of course Astrology is seen as perfectly okay and non-magical.
- In the Deryni works, the coalition of human spiritual and temporal lords who became regents for King Alroy Haldane installed one of their own as Primate of Gwynedd (at sword's point), passed the Laws of Ramos, and started persecutions of Deryni that lasted for over two centuries. This was a complete effort, with civil liabilities, harsh punishments, and a book of anti-Deryni propaganda authored by a cleric and promulgated throughout the kingdom.
- Karse in the Valdemar series has a habit of killing magic users when and where it finds them, although as it turns out, if the magic-user is caught young enough they're actually recruited into the priesthood, so they're a hypocritical example.
- The Baron in The Wee Free Men has ordered witches on the Chalk burnt since he (wrongly) believes a witch took his son.
- Also a theme in I Shall Wear Midnight, with Tiffany dealing with the spirit of an overzealous witch hunter who has become some sort of Anthropomorphic Personification of the hate and mistrust people have for witches and other outsiders.
- The Star People from The Light Fantastic are apparently this, although they're also pretty much anti- everything that's human.
- Arguably the wizards themselves in Discworld are the anti-magic faction; their role is not to use magic, but to regulate magic and ensure it is not used very much, because the last time magic was used a lot, the world was almost destroyed.
- Witch & Wizard's New Order takes this a notch further and condemns art - although the two persecuted protagonists do have powers.
- In Dragonlance groups like the Minotaurs and the Gnomes disdain magic for various reasons, though they (generally) don't actively hunt magic-users down- they just don't do it themselves, and look down on anyone who does.
- The empire of Istar, however, played this trope very straight as an example of divine vs. arcane magic. It didn't end well.
- The Blood of the Fold in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth is a classical example (though its leader makes use of his sister's magic against other users'), while the Imperial Order from the Old World is a hypocritical example. Ultra-powerful wizards and various magical weapons are used for the Order's cause of Magic Is Bad (one wizard in the Order even says when questioned on his hypocrisy that yes, eventually he will be killed too, after they succeed in destroying all magic). At the same time, the Order's leaders are conferring Immortality upon themselves with it.
- The Whitecloaks in The Wheel of Time, as well as the country of Amadicia and the Seanchan (The first two kill, the third enslave and treat like pets. YMMV on which is worse.)
- Tear is an odd variation- channeling is illegal in Tear, but channelers aren't actively hunted so long as they keep it to themselves, and the Tairens actually send more daughters to the White Tower than anyone, if only because it's the handiest way to quietly get rid of a channeling relative.
- Galbatorix in Inheritance has the ultimate goal of restricting all magic use, though he doesn't wish to wipe it out entirely. He claims that magic is the great unfairness in the world, as someone either can or cannot use it; there is no learning to use magic.
- The Heresy of Galla in V. Panov's Secret City. Their battle cry goes "The Sleeper wasn't a mage!". Galla's Heresy mostly takes male Lyud' who are generally incapable of magic, but also has a significant fraction of Chud', as the Chud' society carries a strong bias against those unable to live up to the Magic Knight ideal. Mages will forfeit their and their children's magic upon joining the Heresy, and the Heresy's temples serve as Power Nullifiers.
- The thinly-veiled Church of the One God in works of V. Ivashchenko is most often of the "divine vs. arcane" variety.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Maesters of the Citadel are an organization of monk-like scholars who study a variety of subjects, including magic. In A Dance With Dragons, Maester Marwyn reveals that there is a faction of the Citadel who want to actively extinguish magic from the world.
- Clan Righteous in The Fires of Merlin from The Lost Years of Merlin series, who use Anti-Magic called Negatus Mysterium-though it only works if you believe it does.
- The Federation Seekers from The Heritage of Shannara are a hypocritical example. They viciously hunt down all practitioners of magic, but are secretly controlled by the vampiric sorcerers known as the Shadowen. Their magic-hunting serves the triple purpose of removing rivals, getting "food" for the Shadowen (who feed off magic) and recruiting (since Shadowen are The Virus). However, as far as most people are aware, the Seekers just persecute magic because it's illegal in the Federation.
Live Action TV
- The Monster of the Week in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Gingerbread" brainwashes people into becoming this, (and has apparently been doing so for a long time). Buffy nearly gets burnt at the stake by her own mother before managing to kill it.
- Uther Pendragon tries to ban magic in Merlin. At the time it's set, he has largely succeeded in destroying a culture. Most of the conflict in the story comes from people hating him for the various repressions and executions involved in this, usually with Arthur stuck squarely in the crossfire, and from Merlin trying to do his thing without getting outed and killed as a traitorous sorcerer.
- Ironically, though, with the exception of Merlin, the series is rather vague on how justified Uther's crusade was. Gaius, himself a magic-user, seems to be of the opinion that there was a significant fraction of evil wizards and witches back then. At the same time, however, we're treated to stories of the brutal slaughter of the relatively benign druids. The magic-users left now aren't really unethical in killing their version of Hitler.
- As time goes on, it's clear that the magical faction wasn't that innocent either. Apparently, the High Priestesses had a magical tower where they sent people to be brainwashed, a serpent they'd summon from the depths of the underworld if they needed to do it quickly, would tear the veil between life and death every solstice (although the summer one was quite tame if done right, the winter solstice set hundreds of depraved souls loose on innocents), and had extremely harsh methods of keeping the non-magical in line. Of course, the remaining high priestess who does all this is pretty far off the deep end, so we're left to draw our own conclusions about how much of this was actually done when Uther declared war.
- The "Home Office" in Once Upon a Time is thought to be a classical example by its Muggle agents like Greg and Tamara, but is really a hypocritical example As Peter Pan is actually the guy in charge!
- Warhammer: The Dwarfs are a fairly straight example, since Dwarfs can't use magic directly and don't seem to trust it, but they do have magical items and for game balance purposes the Anvil of Doom can be used to cast spells.
- The Bretonnians set themselves up as this, but hypocritically, since they have "Prophetesses" who can cast "prayers" that look suspiciously like the spells used by other factions. Similarly, the knights consider missile weapons and siege engines to be unchivalric, but are perfectly happy to let commoners field them.
- It's less "Anti-" as much as it is simple mistrust. Magic-potential children in Brettonia are taken away by the Green Knight. The girls come back as Prophetesses, the boys don't come back at all.
- The Ascended from Feng Shui are a classical example, since the only thing that can revert them back to their original animal forms is magic and they are not very willing to undergo that.
- Warhammer 40,000's Imperium is a borderline example. On they one hand, they have to employ psykers out of necessity for FTL navigation and communications, and psykers can also be rarely found within other organizations. On the other hand, they cultivate fear and hatred of psykers as "witches" and borderline mutants, and actively persecute any that are not under their control. It should be noted, the setting being what it is, uncontrolled use of psychic powers often causes insanity, and other side-effects can include: mutation, possession, death, getting your soul eaten, or otherwise drawing the attention of Chaos. The more dramatic effects (and thankfully much more rare) effects include a chance of getting your entire planet eaten by demons or inadvertently drawing the attention of your friendly neighborhood Chaos Cult or Chaos Space Marines. The Inquisition, though it often a considers it a professional requirement to be overzealous, is Properly Paranoid.
- It should also be noted that Imperium is incredibly hypocritical when it comes to this. They hunt down and kill any psyker not aligned with them, and treat those who are with contempt. On the other hand, psykers who appear "holy" to the Imperium are valued. The "miracles" brought about by the Sisters of Battle are seen as sacred, despite being in all likelihood a manifestation of psychic power on a grand scale (the setting tends to "bend" to faith). And the founder of the Imperium, the Emperor, was the most powerful psyker of all time. Ironically, these abilities caused people to worship him as a god, despite his not wanting people to believe in ''any'' gods, and punishing one of his sons for spreading a religion about him.
- Within the Imperium, the Ecclesiarchy fits the trope more solidly, as they are often concerned with the physical and spiritual purity of Humanity, and thus hate psykers on principal. They're the ones probably most responsible for keeping people afraid of psykers. Also note that they are the same folks mentioned above who tend to praise Saints and miracles brought about by the Sisters of Battle. Within the context of the setting, the Saints may actually have divine powers, or may just have "regular" psychic powers.
- The Dark Eldar also take this trope into account. They are descended from a naturally psychic species, but psychic powers are one of their few taboos. As it stands, their only psychic talents are using psychic artifacts and "drinking" the suffering of others. Any psykers found is immediately considered a plaything, and also a potential hazard. Since psykers do tend to draw Chaos towards themselves, and the Dark Eldar have a vested interest in keeping it at bay at all costs.
- The Tau have practically no psychic presence. While they don't necessarily hunt down or encourage psykers, they don't have much actual understanding of them beyond what they find in other species. They are the faction that puts the most trust in science and technological advance as opposed to the dogma found in most other species, and consider the Warp to be something that can be studied and mastered. (What they're only starting to realize is that the Warp is antithetical to that attitude.) Also, the Tau are culturally inclined to be sympathetic, so the Tau are much nicer to psykers. A species of psykers called the Nicassar are allied with the Tau, and the Tau try to keep them a secret from the Imperium, knowing what they do to psykers. Finally, what they do exactly with psykers that arise in their human populations within their protectorate domains, is a question yet unanswered.
- The Technocracy of the Old World of Darkness are an interesting case as they consider themselves a Classic example, but are in fact a Hypocritical example who (for the most part) don't realise they are doing magic.
- A few of these exist in Mage: The Awakening. The Seers of the Throne are pretty much the "Hypocrite" variant mentioned above: they want to make sure that the only people who get to Awaken are the ones who will throw their will behind their ascended masters. Though at least they're honest enough to admit outright that they're not so much "anti-magic" as "anti-people other than Seers using magic". The Banishers, on the other hand, are mages who had their Awakenings go horribly wrong, and now hunt other mages out of a desire to cleanse the earth of their "sins." The Lucid, meanwhile, are Sleepwalkers who went wrong, kind of like Banishers, and so are driven insane when they sense magic, causing them to instinctively and unquestioningly kill any mage or destroy an magic item they encounter.
- The Coalition States in Rifts is anti-magic in the same way they're Anti-Nonhuman.
- They weren't always this way. The Coalition actually was starting a nascent Special-Ops program using mages, then they got into a bloody war with the one magic-using faction that was nearly as bad as they are (or would be). They turned anti-magic after that, but a few surviving ex-Coalition mages (and their descendants/students) formed a group called The Vanguard, and chose to continue helping the Coalition from the shadows.
- Can be found in Dungeons & Dragons on occasion, though it's more usually a faction enforcing a "nobody in this town/country is allowed to use magic but us" rule. That said, you do get factions like the (now technically former) Cult of Entropy based in the city of Lutcheq in the Forgotten Realms who consider all use of arcane magic an abomination punishable by death, or the Principalities of Glantri on Mystara, an actual magocracy where the use of clerical magic is punished with similar harshness on principle.
- The Inspired in Eberron crack down viciously on wielders of arcane magic. However, this is only true of arcane magic; priests in their service are allowed to use divine magic (since they get it by having true faith in the divinity of the Inspired]], and the Inspired themselves use psionic magic (though they persecute anyone else use uses psionics). Their hatred for arcane magic mostly boils down to it being a force they can't use themselves and have only a limited understanding of- it's not something they risk keeping around.
- Generally speaking (it does show up in other locations as well), D&D anti-magical factions tends to go for being against specific kinds of magic — the Cult of Entropy is anti-arcane magic, but have absolutely nothing against clerical magic (psionics is rare enough in the Realms that the issue hasn't really come up), Glantri as mentioned is fond of arcane magic but opposed to clerical magic, the Inspired persecute arcanists but see divine magic received from worshipping the Inspired as a good thing, and so on. This tends to limit the hypocrisy issue (they aren't using the kind of magic their public ideology says is bad) while allowing a measure of balance and an explanation for why they aren't out-competed by the powerful magic of other factions (because they do have magic on their side, just not that specific kind of magic).
- In Age of Wonders II: Shadow Magic, the aptly named Phobian Empire is on a crusade against magic... or so they say, since their commanders actively use magic, which makes it a hypocritical example.
- In Overlord II the Glorious Empire hunts down magical creatures and magic in general. The creatures that are not killed outright are drained of their magical energies and then put into the Arena. All the energy is accumulated in a vat in the palace for Emperor Solarius' ascension to godhood. A textbook hypocritical example.
- In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the Azadi Empire is of that variety with an added flavor of religious fervor, what with repressing and committing genocide against 'magicals'. They put up a lot of various Steam Punk-esque machinery everywhere instead, the purpose of which is still not known but seems to be linked to the overarching plot. Despite their vehement persecution of magic, their Prophet seems to employ it and command magical creatures, and there are indications that they employ magic-by-any-other-name thaumaturgy, and that some of the things they use are relying on magic as well as technology, but due to the nature of the ending (or lack thereof) it will not be clear until the sequel comes out.
- In Exile/Avernum III: Ruined World, part of the game takes place on an island that's become the epicenter of a religion whose followers reject the use of magic. They aren't particularly sinister, but trying to complete the game as one of them definitely qualifies as a Self-Imposed Challenge.
- The Anama only reject arcane magic and find the use of priestly magic perfectly acceptable. Since divine magic can fill some of the functions of arcane magic and has exclusive access to healing, the trade-off is really whether cheap and early access to the best priest spells is worth giving up magery.
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor The Inquisitor himself turns out to be a classic hypocrite when he eagerly tries to claim the Coconut of Quendor's magic for himself near the end.
- The Qunari in Dragon Age. They use technology instead of magic and kill or silence any mages they come across (by removing their tongues). The Qun, their religion, has no place for mages, and the Qunari's ultimate goal is conversion of all races to the Qun and therefore removal of all mages. This places them in contrast to the human religious institution, the Chantry, which teaches that magic was made to serve man. The Chantry permit mages and even use them against the Qunari (in fact, it is the reason why the Qunari haven't overrun most of the world yet), although they don't really trust them and practically monopolize the training of mages; non-Chantry trained mages are called apostates and are hunted down by the Templars.
- Not that the Qunari are above using the mages as living weapons, either, with each saarebas (dangerous thing) being handled by another Qunari as their keeper. Any saarebas that goes unsupervised is automatically assumed to be possessed by a demon, so the Qunari come across as fearing mages even more than the humans though, it's more like their philosophy doesn't allow them to act any other way.
- Indeed, their dislike of saarebas seems to be rooted in the Qunari philosophy basing itself around achieving total control of one's self. Mages on the other hand, have access to incredible power, yet require no discipline to use it. Such abilities are open to abuse and given that Demons seek to possess Mages to do just that, the Qunari do not believe anyone can safety wield it.
- There's also the Inquisition, an ancient group of mage-hunters that was absorbed by the Chantry and turned into the Templars. They will serve as the focus of the upcoming third game, where the player is given the task of rebuilding them (with the freedom to take any stance they wish).
- The Inquisitors of the Citadel in AdventureQuest Worlds are out to eradicate all magic. Only it turns out that they're actually sucking the magic out of people to create powerful Mana Vacuums because the Grand Inquisitor wants all that magic for himself, so that he can summon a magic-devouring demon by the name of Belrot to hunt down and drain all magic from the land. So they're basically a mixed example.
- Quite a bit more prominent in AdventureQuest Worlds' sister game, Dragonfable. The Big Bad of chapter 3, Jaania, was Driven to Madness by being magically sealed in ice for several centuries as the end result of a Love Triangle that went out of control. The abuse of magic by the Big Bads for the first two chapters almost succeeded in destroying the entire world. Between that, the elementals' never ending wars and frequent dragon attacks, Jaania becomes convinced that magic is an inherently evil force. One of her first acts is to seal away the Hero in an icy prison much like her own. After a Time Skip, the Hero finally breaks free, only to enter a world where most people have come to despise magic, and magic using beings like him/herself are being hunted down by Jaania's organization, The Rose.
- In Quest for Glory, the scientists are Flat Earth Atheists to a man, and while Dr. Cranium is a nice if dismissive fruit cake, the scientists in QFG 5 try to assassinate your mage allies on this principle (they attempt to do you in too, but for different reasons).
- While the five other factions in Heroes of Might and Magic IV are heavily inspired by Magic: The Gathering and use corresponding styles of magic, the Might faction are True Neutral, in the center of the magic wheel. Instead of magic, they prefer brute force combined with the magic resistance skill.
- Orks in Heroes Of Might And Magic V are similar, using magic dampening and war cries.
- The Krewlod branch of the Barbarian/Stronghold faction had a bias against magical things, though it wasn't very strong (their king arranges for a powerful artifact to be destroyed as a test of someone having left magic behind forever, but they also have respected Battle Mages), or reflected in the game mechanics.
- Used interestingly in Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. The world was broken in the past by a civilisation of Precursors, the Kandrans, whose use of magic resulted in their own annihilation. For thousands of years magic was banned until a mage emperor, Garacaius, arose to unite the world. He vanished after the death of his wife, leaving his empire to his four children—two of them keep the magic ban and only use it sparingly for military purposes, while the other two use it freely. In the expansion pack, a fifth Steampunk faction, Creon, invades with a more fundamentalist anti-magic policy; it turns out that they were founded by Garacaius after he fled into exile.
- Team Plasma serves this role in Pokémon Black and White, with a dosage of Fantasy Gun Control. The goal of their leader is to stop the use of Pokemon and have them all released. The organization itself does not agree, and is being manipulated by Ghetsis to leave him the only one left with Pokemon, rendering the rest of the population completely powerless.
- The Ziguranth from Tales of Maj'Eyal are opposed to arcane magic. Specifically, this means magic that relies on mana, Vim, Paradox, Positive or Negative energy. They themselves use Anti-Magic drawn from nature, and freely recruit psionics and the Afflicted. They're extremely ruthless and merciless about hunting down and murdering mages, mage sympathizers, and anyone who might even look like a mage, but with magic still uncommon in the Age of Ascendancy, they're one of the only functional checks against Evil Sorcerers in all of Maj'Eyal.
- The Star Cabal in Star Wars: The Old Republic wants a galaxy purged of all Force wielders. Seeing as how the constant warfare between the Empire and Republic can usually be interpeted as a proxy for a cyclical, genocidal religious war between two equally matched groups of powerful fanatics with the Muggles getting slaughtered by the trillions, the Cabal might have a point.
- Thoria from The Dragon Doctors was founded by a faction of human purists following a war in which magic was used to transform people into "beast-men". Mori has no last name because her parents gave her the magic equivalent of gene therapy to save her life and the Thorian government "erased" them and banished her. However, when Mori discovered the Fountain of Youth and reverse engineered it 70 years ago Thoria began to repeal many of their racist and anti-magic laws so they could have rejuvenation.
- The Crimson Order from The Gungan Council vowed to kill all Force-users, Jedi and Sith included.
- The squirrel species in Tasakeru forbids the use of magic, seeing it as an affront to the Goddess of Life.
- In The Legend of Korra the Equalists are a rising anti-bending and Muggle Power movement within the metropolis of Republic City, where both benders and non-benders are supposed to live together in harmony. They believe the benders of Republic City use their Elemental Powers to oppress non-benders, a belief strengthened by the presence of the Triple Threat Triads, a bender organized crime gang. The Equalist soapboxers advertise a revolution against the bending class, and foster hatred for benders in general. Led by their masked general Amon, the Equalists employ new technologies against benders, and their fighting style makes use of the same Pressure Point chi-blocking techniques notably used by Badass Normal Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender .
- But as of the first-season finale, it seems that Amon is actually de-bending people with bloodbending (a form of waterbending), of all things!
- Though there are many AlternativeCharacterInterpretations with Amon such as him being a Dark Messiah who does what he thinks has to be done.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has Humans for the Abolishment of Magic (HAM), a secret government agency that employs Powered Armor and Power Crystals that allow its agents to see through The Masquerade.
- In the TV series American Dragon Jake Long, the Huntsclan seek to find and destroy all magical creatures, believing them to be unnatural.
- Implied with Lord Farquaad in Shrek. Farquaad banishes all magical creatures from his kingdom, apparently finding them to be disgusting all for the sake of making his kingdom perfect. However, his possible anti-magic beliefs were never looked into or discussed, so it's a little unclear.
- A bit of hypocrisy to that is that he keeps the Magic Mirror with him.
- Pre-modern witch hunts, as well as the Salem witch trials of 1692. Both of these were based on biblical literalism in the interpretation of one passage in Exodus, 22:18: "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live."
- Subverted with The Spanish Inquisition, who did not consider witchcraft to be real, instead regarding the belief in it to be heretical. Which meant they also frowned upon witch-hunters of the classical sort, for believing that said suspected witches were actually practicing witchcraft.
- Saudi Arabia has an anti-witchcraft unit that hunts down any one convicted of witchcraft or sorcery of any sort. The punishment is usually death by beheading.
- Abrahamic religions are very big into this, even unto modern ages. Ask someone from the Bible Belt what he thinks about magic/sorcery/witchcraft, and the answer won't be very different from the one you would get from a member of the Taliban. Historically, said religions have always had rivalries with religions that were synonymous with magic, such as Pharaonic polytheism in Ancient Egypt or Zoroastrianism in Ancient Iran — the Zoroaster priests were the origin of the word 'mage'.