Tiffany: Magic with a K? Magikkkk?
: That's deliberate. Mrs. Earwig says that if we are to make any progress at all we must
distinguish the higher MagiK from the everyday sort.
Magick means, in fact, magic. "Magick" is an archaick spelling, dating back to Early Modern English
where it appeared in the worcks of poets such as Edmund Spenser. Aleister Crowley
revived this spelling to add an air of archaism, distinguishing "actual magic"
from stage shows
and other Neo-Pagans, influenced by Crowley (though they would often deny it), have picked up the Crowleyan spelling. Others use newer idiosyncratick spellings like "magique" and "majik." For whatever reason, this casual approach to spelling seems to have taken off in the mass media, especially things trying to be edgy
. The constant misspelling of "magic" has been known to drive Grammar Nazis
up the wall, but it is reckommended you don't worry about it too much
In fiction however, Magick is used to diffrentiate it from other Fantasy genre magic. To simply put, while Fantasy magic has manna-fueled magic and wand waving, magick on the other hand is less flashy, spontaneous, invisible, and far more realistic. "Magic" is a word with a long history, and, like most older words, has been spelled all sorts of crazy ways at various times. That said, "magic" has been the official spelling ever since modern English was standardized.
Note also that one specific spelling, "majic", has entirely different connotations: It's an abbreviation for Majestic 12, an alleged secret organization involved in hiding the existence of aliens
Magick Spelles may well include Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe
, Xtreme Kool Letterz
, Phantasy Spelling
, and/or Canis Latinicus
. See also Post-Modern Magik
- A title of one volume of DC Comics' The Books of Magic was Books Of Magick: Life During Wartime. Word of God has it that this spelling was used to make it clear the series was set in a separate continuity to the Books Of Magic, and not because the writer was a pretentious dumbass.
- Unlike other fantasy genre magic who is filled with shooting lightning from your hands, and casting spells with wands nonsense, Magick in the Hellblazer mythos (and the whole Vertigo universe) is spontaneous, invisible, unlimited, and omnipotent. This means that although Magick is powerful, it is not flashy as seen in many fantasy genre, making it more of a realistic magic.
- Willow uses this spelling in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight.
Willow: Passion and love are more potent magicks than you think.
Xander: You're talking magic with a K, aren't you? Screw magic with a K.
- Doctor Strange occasionally refers to 'magick,' though as Master of the Mystic Arts he can usually go into more details about what he's doing.
- Experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger's Magick Lantern Cycle, which consists of nine thematically connected short films.
- In Esther Friesner's comic fantasy books Majyk by Accident, Majyk by Hook Or Crook, and Majyk by Design, "Majyk" is The Force that makes "Magic" work.
- Between "Magyk" (of course), "Flyte", "Physik", and "Queste", the individual titles of the Septimus Heap series seem to have been designed to make a teacher's life that much harder.
- And every misspelled word in the books is in a boldface font.
- In the Diana Tregarde novels by Mercedes Lackey, the heroine comments on how pretentious a foe who insists on spelling magic with a k is.
- Spoofed in the Discworld series, mainly in the Witches books, where Granny Weatherwax's snooty rival Mrs. Earwig uses the word "magick" to differentiate actual spells (which is what Mrs. Earwig considers real witchcraft) from the folk medicine and such that makes up the bulk of most witches' work (which is what Granny considers real witchcraft).
- Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series started with "magik" but later shifted towards "magic". However, Asprin was also rather lax about keeping the spelling of minor characters' names consistent, so he probably didn't much care.
- The short-lived comic book adaptation rendered it as "majik".
- In The Obsidian Trilogy High Magic, the newer and more formalised magic, is often shortened to magick, while Wild Magic tends to get shortened to simply magic.
- Parodied in X-Play when Adam and Morgan go to New Mexico searching for the hole they buried the E.T. video game cartridges in, and meet Aleister Crowley. When asked if he knew any spells, he said he was "Founder of Modern Magick". When asked why he added a K instead of replacing the C with one, he said that was an X-Men character. He could apparently do hat tricks, but he called them "hat moves".
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers made an album called "Blood Sugar Sex Magik." It is unclear why.
- Starflyer 59's "Majic". It's not consistent either: The vinyl version of Dial M (released by Burnt Toast Vinyl) spelled it with a J in the title and the lyrics ("Sometimes the majic works, sometimes it don't"). On the other hand, every Tooth & Nail Records release of the song has consistently spelled it "Magic". Jason Martin has said that he doesn't remember which spelling he intended.
- "Amber Canyon Magik" by Brightblack Morning Light.
- The metal band Virgin Steele have the spelling "magick" pop up frequently in their lyrics.
- The name of a song by Klaxons.
- The Japanese Psychedelic Rock group Magick Lantern Cycle, named after the film series (see above).
- A few years back Magic: The Gathering had an April Fools joke saying they'd been sued by the Orlando Magic and had to change their name to "Majique."
- The surprisingly high-quality Buffy the Vampire Slayer Board Game had one absurd little flaw: the spelling of magic, unsupported by the source material, as 'majik'.
- In Mage: The Ascension, "True magick" was always referred to with a k, until the "Revised" edition, wherein all magic was sans-k - and then they hung a lampshade on it with a sidebar titled "Special K". Flame wars resulted on the relevant forums.
- And now the 20th Anniversary Edition is bringing the Special K back. Discussions surrounding this decision often include comments by users with names like Perdita X. Dream and Morose Glomdring discussing that they are magical witches irl and the K is very, very important.
- The Heroclix figure of X-Men character Magik is misspelled 'MAGICK'.
- In Unknown Armies adepts, people who can actually perform magic, tend to use the "magick" spelling when referring to what they do. Yet most of them seem to think that the people who believe in the stuff Crowley advocated are stupid. Go figure.
- In Postmodern Studios' Bloodsucker: the Angst, a parody of The World of Darkness and Goth culture, the Crowley clan uses "Magic(k)". The game consistently spells the word like this, even in its adjectival form "Magic(k)al". Other RPGs from Postmodern tend to use "magick", with varying degrees of irony.
- Castle Falkenstein also uses the "magick" spelling for what wizards do.
- The Elder Scrolls uses the pseudo-Latin "magicka" to refer to Mana (the power you use to do magic); but magic itself is generally just called "magic."
- Kingdom of Loathing has fun with this, with one quest item being the "boock of darck magicks."
- RuneScape has the "Ancient Magicks" spells. Especially weird because "magic" is usually spelled normally.
- In RuneScape, it appears to be that it is just "c" for singular and "ck" for plural, as in magic vs. magicks. It could also just be an archaic spelling, considering that knowledge of the Ancient Magicks was locked away in a pyramid for who knows how many years.
- In Final Fantasy XII, the writers use the "magick" spelling and turned "technique" into "technick". It was tragick.
- It's now being used in the newer Ivalice titles; the remake of Final Fantasy Tacticks spells "magick", and also in Final Fantasy Tacticks A 2. This is rather jarring for people who played the original Final Fantasy Tactics and prefer "magic" over "magicks."
- The PSP port of Tacticks is actually justified, considering that the entire script is in arcane English.
- In Dissidia, Gabranth calls Shantotto "A wielder of magicks", whereas all the other characters use "magic".
- Oddly enough, this was inverted in Final Fantasy X-2, where a group of Al Bhed deliberately eschew the word "machina" in favour of "machine", because it has less mystical connotations.
- In the French translation of Final Fantasy games, in EVERY game that features summoners, this word is translated as "invokeur", which is horribly un-French, instead of the more accurate "invocateur". This may be for technical reasons (number of letters).
- Averted for the most part in Final Fantasy X, where magic is always referred to as 'magic', but when Auron uses the Magic Break technique for the first time, the subtitles say "You place too much trust in your magicks!". Any other time, characters say 'spell(s)' or 'magical abilities'.
- Eternal Darkness has "magick" spells.
- It's right in the title of Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura.
- Likewise for Magicka.
- In Valkyrie Profile, Lezard Valeth "commands the lost magicks", whereas magic that is not lost is spelled normally.
- It may also be a character moment, what with Lezard being something of a Large Ham.
- "Magick missiles" in the Catacomb Fantasy Trilogy.
- Spoken and written this way in Dragon's Dogma, but given the game's time period, it's understandable.
- "Magik" and "Magiks" were used in the first Warcraft games, Orcs and Humans and Tides of Darkness.
- Aleister Crowley called his teachings "magick" in order to distinguish his "real" magic from "cheap parlor tricks". (He also added the K for numerological reasons, with lots of predictably sexual symbolism: the letter can stand for kteis, ancient Greek for "vagina." Conveniently, it's also the eleventh letter of the alphabet and the number eleven is highly significant in his system of numerology.) He is in essence the originator of this trope, or at the very least, the popularizer of it.
- "Magique" can be seen in some medieval or renaissance English text - before "modern" English standards and back when a lot of borrowings were spelled the French way.
- Internal consistency was optional before regularized spelling came into vogue, and in fact one of the things done by the people responsible for regularizing spelling was making the spelling reflect the origin of the words. Even if the result did not make that much sense phonetically, and it meant you got silent letters which would make learning to read even harder than before, they felt obliged to spell it rather like it would be spelled in French. Thankfully, later dictionary editors decided to not try to inflict some of the more bizarre ones — thus why, for example, we use the spelling 'Shinjuku' instead of the (technically) official transliteration of 'Sinzyuku.'
- It's not spelled either way in Japanese as it uses a different script (actually three different scripts). Kunrei-shiki transliteration is more faithful to Japanese grammar than the more common Hepburn (which makes certain regular word endings irregular), but its transliterations do not match the actual sound of the letters in Western languages, making it useless for anyone who is not intimately familiar with Japanese.
- It's worth noting that when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel to a root ending in "c", the usual action is to add a "k" after the "c". Thus, just as "picnic" becomes "picnicking", "magic" (when used as a verb) might become "magicking".