For some reason, just because you wield magic (or Magick
), even if you don't practice the dark arts
, your life span is expanded. This can be reasonable if you practice healing magic (as you can heal your body's natural decay). And this is not lives relying on the suffering of others
or the some other questionable method - it's just a simple equation. Got magic? Live longer.
Expect long lived wizards, especially of the Wizard Classic
variety, to have particularly impressive Wizard Beards
This is a Justified Trope
in Taoism, since not
practicing the dark arts would help one live longer. The energy from qi
and the five elements is believed to be flowing through your body and supporting it. Practicing the dark arts would likely decay your body faster.
Subtrope of We Are As Mayflies
, though it may not extend that far. Whether this is straight up immortality
or merely a few tidy extra decades (or centuries), it certainly is a nice bonus — assuming you don't get killed in action. Universes where Cast from Hit Points
and Cast From Lifespan
are in play are less likely to have this hold true.
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Anime and Manga
- In Hunter ◊ Hunter, nen practitioners tend to age more slowly because they can keep the aura that naturally leaks out of their bodies close to them, while a Muggle's aura just dissipates uselessly into the air.
- When Joey duels Yugi in the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, he uses his Time Wizard to make Yugi's Dark Magician 1000 years older. Not only does this fail to kill the Dark Magician, it ends up transforming him into the more powerful Dark Sage because the magician simply spent those thousand years studying and training.
- This mechanism is imitated in the card game, but it only works if the controller of the Dark Magician uses Time Wizard and only if they call the coin toss correctly.
- Implied in Slayers when Shabranigdu tells Lina "Those who employ sorcery sometimes live for centuries". There are definitely limits, though, as Xelloss later makes clear:
Xelloss: Rei Magnus was a sorcerer who lived five thousand years ago, you realize.
Lina: Details, shmetails. What's a millennium or two among sorcerers? You can live as long as you want if you've got the guts!
Xelloss: And what sort of life-extending magic guts might those be?
- Mu, espers from Toward The Terra, not only live longer than normal humans, but also age slower. Itís implied that the more power they have, the longer they live. Blue, being one of the most powerful Mu, in age of 300 still looks like a young man, when his peers seem to be in their thirties or older.
- Witches in Soul Eater live extremely long. Medusa was alive 800 years ago and still looks like she's in her 20s.
- In Fables, wizards can live longer if they learn and use the right spells.
- Wizards and witches in the Douwe Dabbert series of comic books can live for centuries.
- The Ancient One, Doctor Strange's mentor, lived to be over 600. Strange himself is The Ageless, having come to an agreement with Death as part of his trials to earn the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
- Inverted in "The Covenant" where magic shortens your lifespan.
- A possible explanation for Yoda's longevity expressed in "Return of the Jedi" (instead of a species trait). The expanded universe generally doesn't give ages, but agrees that Jedi have significantly longer lifespans than others of their species. This is justified by the healing explanation given above, one of the most basic force techniques involves the manipulation of one's own body functions.
- Obi Wan however, aged rather horribly, going from looking like he was in his late 20s early 30s to an old man in a timespan of just 20 odd years.
- Wizards in The Dresden Files can live for about three or four centuries. One book has Harry's go-to doctor realize, after observing his x-rays over a period of time (Harry gets injured a lot), that this is because their bodies' natural healing processes, for some reason or another, work a lot better than that of normal people, healing them until they are perfectly well, instead of until the injured part can work again, and the cell copies are perfect.
- The Old Ones in The Dark Is Rising are immortal.
- It's stated that sorcerers live as long as they "need to," although notably even after the plot has been completely resolved, they show no sign of starting to die off.
- From the same series, witches (who use magical powers based on manipulating nature spirits, as opposed to sorcerers, whose powers come from within themselves) live quite a bit longer than normals, though not nearly as long as sorcerers.
- Channelers in The Wheel of Time live for hundreds of years because use of magic causes "slowing" (slowed aging), with the effect supposedly larger in stronger channelers (the age cap for present Aes Sedai is about 300 years). In later books it is discovered that the Oath Rod actually drastically reduces one's lifespans; non-Aes Sedai channelers live much longer.
- Averted, however, for male channelers, who quickly degenerate mentally and physically due to the taint on the male half of the One Power. Rand, the Dragon Reborn, is in his early twenties, and most inborn channelers (that is, those whose power comes on unbidden rather than needing to be taught) are of a similar age or younger. Rand is very interested when he meets Mazrim Taim, who he guesses to be in his mid thirties and still not insane. Neither of those things might be correct however.
- Mages in the Heralds of Valdemar series, especially the Tayledras and others who work with node magic, tend to be preserved at late-middle age some years beyond the average lifespan. The flipside is that when they do reach the end of their life, they burn out and die in a matter of days or weeks.
- The Others (mages secretly living among humans) in Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch series stop aging soon after their Initiation, that is, consciously using magic for the first time.
- Children will still tend to age to maturity at a normal enough rate, but if you're old and not initiated until say 70, good luck with being 70 for a very long time. (Even though magic can make that be a very healthy 70...)
- A few uninitiated Others refuse to undergo initiation and live out the rest of their lives as normal humans.
- Several novels mention that it works different for witches, who are Closer to Earth and, thus, can't completely stop their aging process. They can sustain themselves indefinitely through magic, but taking magic away drops the mask, and they end up looking like old hags and will, eventually, die if magic is held off for too long. One witch is so old that removing magic from her is likely to cause her to crumble to dust. Naturally, magic makes her look like a young hottie.
- Wizards and Sorceresses in The Witcher, which seems to go with the whole voluntary shape-shifting thing they have.
- In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, the titular character has always thought of this trope as wish fulfillment. She learns from a retired professional magic handler that while most ordinary magic handlers won't notice much difference, those who are powerful and steep themselves in magic can live to be very old indeed. This is not a cheerful thought, given that The End of the World as We Know It is predicted within the next century.
- In Inheritance Cycle Dragon Riders live much longer than normal humans, and the witch Angela also mentions being "much older than she looks".
- Happens in Discworld. Barring fatal accidents (or less commonly "accidents"), most mages live well past their nineties, even despite their horrible Big Eater habits.
- Windle Poons died of old age at 130 years old and even spent a few days after that as a zombie.
- Unlike most examples here they age at the same rate as normal people, thus having the same amount of youth and a lot more of being very old. Poons had been infirm with age half his life.
- Magical characters in Harry Potter seem to naturally have a longer lifespan than average. Dumbledore is the picture of good health despite being 110 during the events of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and there are several living characters that are a generation older than him - Bathilda Bagshot and Griselda Marchbanks to name but two.
- Nicolas Flamel, the wizard responsible for creating the Philosopher's Stone itself, is said to be 664 in the first book - though this is explicitly due to the immortality serum the Philosopher's Stone generates. Plus, this was stated in a book that Hermione got out the library, so it is very likely that he was even older since we do not know the books publication date.
- It's implied that without the Stone, Flamel won't live for very long. As Dumbledore put it, he has just enough serum to put his affairs in order.
- Hagrid is well into his 60s by the time the books take place, though doesn't look it. Having both wizard and giant ancestry gives him an extended lifespan even by ordinary wizard standards.
- Word of God says that wizards can live twice as long as Muggles, though apparently this isn't always the case - most of the Black family seem to have died long before their 100th birthday.
- Gellert Grindelwald managed to outlive Dumbledore by a year, before Tom "Uses Avada Kedavra on EVERYTHING" Riddle came calling. And this was while he was imprisoned in the top floor of the prison he had used to house his opponents. Admittedly, he would have been 60-something by the time he was thrown in there, but still.
- Armando Dippet, Dumbledore's predecessor, was in his 300s when he died, according to Word of God.
- Justified with the "wizards" in Lord of the Rings, who are explained to be divine beings on the level of low-ranking Biblical angels.
- Also justified with the nine sorcerer-kings who became the Nazgul, as the Rings which gave them their powers also anchored their souls to the mortal world. Unfortunately for them, this had the ultimate side-effect of turning them into soulless undead horrors after a few centuries.
- Inverted in the Young Wizards series. Wizardry is a high-risk occupation, since being a wizard makes you a personal enemy of the Lone Power. And as you get better at magic, the riskier the jobs get, and all the while the Big Bad keeps getting more and more pissed off at you. Cast from Hit Points and Cast From Lifespan are also viable ways of tapping into extra power in a pinch, such as once incident where a main character uses a shield spell that uses up a year of her lifespan for every hit it takes.
- Played straight for magic users who join the Lone Power, as it invented death in the first place, jealously protects it, and makes sure anything a natural lifespan can be traded in for... is very ugly indeed. Although there have been hints that the few wizards the Lone Power merely likes (they oppose it, but make useful tools) do tend to live long and stress-free lives - because they never confront it when it wants to win.
- Inverted in CS Friedman's Magister Trilogy, where "ordinary" magic-users (witches) have drastically shortened life-spans because their magic slowly eats them up. Also played straight with the titular Magisters, who have learned how to latch on to the souls of others and use them as an alternate source of power, which has the side-effect of rendering them functionally immortal.
- In the Dragonriders of Pern series, dragonriders can live well past 100 during an Interval (a minor character lived to 130 and was at most slowing down). During a Pass, however, the constant combat against Thread tends to give them shorter lifespans.
- The Thousanders in Anathem are implied to be able to hold their long lives steady via manipulating worldtracks despite living near piles of radioactive nuclear waste.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe states that Jedi tend to age slower than normal folk. Knights of the Old Republic lampshades it when someone remarks that the Exile doesn't look a day older than s/he did during the Mandalorian Wars a decade earlier. By contrast, most Sith seem to burn out faster, but are still able to extend their life past what it ought to be using the Dark Side, to the point where they're almost zombies. Freedon Naad and Darth Sion being great examples.
- The dark side version of this is displayed in Darth Xedrix, a respected Sith Lord likely well over a hundred years old. Though he tries to convince everyone that he is every bit as powerful as in his youth, when he is actually forced to fight he quickly reveals himself as a frail and powerless old man.
- Human ages in the SWEU vary Depending on the Author; in Timothy Zahn's works a governor can be forty and considered young, and sixty is middle aged, perhaps because they have better medical technology in the Galaxy Far Far Away. At least one later-set book states that Han should have until he's about a hundred twenty before his faculties start to fail, though other books regard human ages with more Earth-standard eyes. However, a Force-Sensitive woman in The Courtship Of Princess Leia is stated to be three hundred years old. According to the wiki, Tales of the Jedi has an example of a Force-Sensitive human living to eight hundred.
- In German author Michael Peinkofer's Orks and Wizards series, mages are usually elves, but the only human mage also lives at least a thousand years without any explanation. On the other hand, his specialty is time magic, so maybe he's just lucky.
- Sufficiently powerful sorcerers in the Riftwar Cycle can live for several normal lifetimes; many evil ones use Black Magic on top of this to try for genuine immortality.
- Both the Elantrians and the Dakhor monks from Elantris have longer-than-natural lifespans, though how long precisely is never said.
- From the same author: the Steel Inquisitors in Mistborn are longer lived than normal humans, though other forms of magic user (including the eponymous Mistborn) are not.
- In Warbreaker Awakeners have longer lives than normals and are resistant to disease. The most powerful are completely ageless and immune.
- The Fellowship of Seven in Janny Wurt's Wars Of Light And Shadow are over ten thousand years old. Their apprentices are also capable of avoiding aging, as are the Koriathain.
- Inverted by chaos mages in ''The Saga Of Recluce'—unless a mage is extremely careful with chaos energy, it will degrade their bodies faster than normal, leading them to age and die sooner than non-mages (unless they Body Surf out, as some eventually learn to do; their new bodies go even faster). Order mages, on the other hand, do tend to live longer. The few mages who understand both have a technique to stop aging entirely, so long as they don't screw around with pure chaos.
- Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn is temporarily immortal partially due to incompetence. His teacher decides there is no way he can reach his proper potential with a normal life span, since his talent for screwing up is even more powerful than his aptitude for magic. He's too potentially powerful to just let let him pass on unfulfilled, so he gives him immortality with a clause: if he ever figures out how to cast spells properly, he will be mortal again. Schmendrick wants to be a magician so bad, he regards his immortality as nothing more than proof of his failure.
- In Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series (and by extension the Tamir Triad which occurs in the same universe) wizards can potentially live up to 400 years old. Mainly due to the (human) wizards of this world being genetic throw-backs to inter-breeding with the Aurenfaie (Elves, essentially), from whom they inherit the long lifespan and magical abilities.
- Wild Wizards at least in David Weber's War God series. Wencit of Rum wasn't precisely young during the Fall of Kontovarr and is showing no signs of slowing down over a millenia later. The same 'magic field' that gives Wencit his power is also responsible for the Hradani living twice as long as humans and the immortality of the elves is explicitly linked to magic since they used to be a human strain of spellcasters with a specific natural gift rather than a learned ability.
- In Dragon Wing, the first book of The Death Gate Cycle, Hugh the Hand remarks to King Stephen's court wizard how young he looks. He responds "wars and kingship age a man; magic does not." Further reinforced by the Sartan and Patryns, both Witch Species who can live for centuries.
- Seems to be the case in Rivers Of London, with last english wizard being hundred years old.
- This appears to be a unique or at least recent phenomenon, however. It is stated that he began aging in reverse sometime in the 1970s, and he's as mystified by it as anyone else. Other wizards did not have this trait.
- In the Deverry Cycle, Nevyn the wizard lived over 400 years... but he was fate's plaything and that's not normal. One of his rivals, an Old Master, lived to over 200 due to extending his life with magic. Typically wizards don't seem to live longer though; only really skilled wizards master the art of living long.
- In Warhammer 40000 psykers can live much longer lives than normal humans due to the power of the Warp, keeping them young and healthy for hundreds of years, or they can burn out a few hours after their powers have been awakened and become ashes, or mutate into a horrible creature, or live a long time but steadily become older until they look like mummies without the wrappings, or explode and usher in the doom of the planet as The Legions of Hell begin to march on it, or just live a normal lifespan with the added ability to set people on fire. It varies as the power of sheer unreality tends to do.
- In general, it seems to be a rule that races with psychic ability live longer. The Tau have almost no warp presence, and live 40 years. Humans have some warp presence, varying from person to person, and live hundreds. Eldar, the standard psychic powers race, can live to be over 1,000 (with specialized fortune-tellers living far longer, one even managing to stay alive for over 10,000 years). The two races most connected to the warp, the Orks and Chaos proper, are both effectively immortal, though still capable of being killed by injury.
- And much of the expanded lifespan is because of expensive rejuvenating technologies that can be used by non-psykers too.
- All three of the "core" openly magical Arcane Backgrounds in Deadlands have some way to reduce the effects of aging. Hucksters get a year of their life added in the here-and-now (unless they suffer a Critical Failure) while the Blessed and Shamans have ways to greatly reduce the rate at which they age.
- Mad Scientists, on the other hand, lack a method to slow aging, but can opt to go transhuman instead, like Darius Helstromme did. In the nineteenth century, "transhuman" equals "reanimated zombie brain in a jar in a clanky steam robot body".
- The mages of Mage The Awakening tend to be able to live to a decent age, but especially those with sufficient Life magic. Fairly basic knowledge of Life lets one hold off injury and disease, purge toxic substances from their bodies, and enhance their bodily functions (such as metabolism and heartrate). More advanced Life magics can have a side-effect of increasing the mage's lifespan by somewhere between 30 and 130 years. The most powerful magics can let them slow down or stop the aging process (albeit with a spell with very short duration). Mages with mastery of Death magic can steal the lifespan of others, and mages with mastery of both Life and Death can Body Surf (which is heinously evil due to destroying the soul of the victim but can be used with artificial bodies or homunculi that don't have souls).
- Exalted live much longer than mortal humans do, assuming nothing manages to kill them. On top of that, most kinds (except Sidereals, who have a preset death date due to the way their Exaltations work) can extend their lifespan even further through various kinds of magic.
- Solars and Lunars - apparently average around 2,000-3,000 years, though use of various Charms and treatments can push it much higher; Solars can theoretically hit 10,000 years.
- Sidereals - depends on when their Exaltation is due to move to a new host, but generally at least 3,000 years. One has been known to last 5,000.
- Terrestrials - 200-500 years, those with good Breeding tend to live longer than those without.
- Abyssals and Alchemicals - functionally immortal, as they are essentially Undead and Golems, respectively.
- Infernals - depends on Essence, going from 150 years at lowest to 2500+ years at highest. However, they can gain apotheosis - and immortality - before age becomes an issue.
- The immortal elves in Shadowrun are all stupendously powerful magicians, but the causality goes the other way around: they're that good because they've had thousands of years of practice, and because they know techniques from the previous magical age that everyone else hasn't (re)discovered yet.
- Planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering used to be able to live indefinitely, and post-nerfing they still live for a very long time. Even wizards who aren't planeswalkers can extend their lifespans by drinking water from an area where time passes more slowly.
- In older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, wizards could craft potions that made them live longer. It took so long to reach that level of expertise that most wizards got old before they could brew these. And of course, if you messed up, you took back all the years delayed by the potion... Wizards never seemed to live longer just due to being magic though.
- Aeons from Threads Of Fate could live much longer than a regular muggle and wizard, due to their magical artifacts known as [relics] but, even though most lived for over 1000 years (an example is Fancy Mel), they were not immortal, so they tried to evade death as much as possible. Also, one of Valen's apprentices, was skilled enough to imitate a Valen Doll to perfection, however he had a soap opera disease, and even though he was taught by the in-game greatest sorcerer of the world, he still died prematurely.
- Magic-users in Warcraft have an expanded lifespan (the most powerful like archmages or the Guardian of Tirisfal in particular can live for several centuries). However it's also mentioned that using magic also makes you age faster, even if your lifespan is increased.
- Then again, Aegwynn (Medivh's mother) was still fertile after a thousand years. This troper is fairly sure that her use of magic didn't do much to age her...
- Aegwynn used a specific anti aging spell to preserve not just her life, but her looks for hundreds of years. This was mentioned as being risky as it could possibly fail at any time. Eventually she sacrificed this spell to escape Medivh, and after the First War actually did look her age. For some reason, she was still as physically fit as a healthy woman at the younger side of middle aged.
- After Medivh was resurrected (thanks to Aegwynn's remaining power) without Sargeras in him, he used his Guardian powers to help his mother. This is mentioned in The Cycle of Hatred novel, when Jaina Proudmoore finds her childhood hero still alive and living in Kalimdor. Aegwynn eventually becomes her advisor.
- Wizards in the Zork series display this thanks to the unashamedly named Long Life Spell. Semi-subverted in Zork: Grand Inquisitor where a wizard becomes suicidal but is unable to die because of casting this spell on himself.
- In Fire Emblem 7 the only 2 heroes from the Scouring that are left alive are the spell casters.
- Just to clarify, the Scouring was an ancient war between humans and dragons occurred about 980 years before the events of Fire Emblem 7 (1000 years before the 6th game).
- Archmages in Bungie's Myth series of Real Time Tactical games are known to live for very long times. Alric, a heroic archmage from the first game, was still alive and healthy enough to stride the battlefield in armor during the second game that takes place sixty years later. Even more than this, the Fallen Lords of the title, are even older, having been heroes from a millenia ago that have undergone an inverse Heel Face Turn due to a cosmic system of cyclic fate (though they may be reincarnations rather than long-lived individuals.) Bungie has stated in interviews that some of the most powerful wizards in the Myth universe simply cannot be Killed Off for Real, as one could chop them up, burn their bodies, mix the ashes with salt, and drag them to the four corners of the world, but if someone put them all back together again they would simply reanimate. Indeed, after beheading the Big Bad in the second-to-last mission in Myth: The Fallen Lords, you must then use the next mission to carry his head (still alive and taunting you) to a Bottomless Pit and thow it in, thus preventing its retreval and restoration.
- Played straight in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, where elves, the most magically inclined race, have the longest lifespans, and humans who practise magic tend to live slightly longer than technologists. Elves who actively practice magic live even longer and can apparently watch an entire millennium pass by. Also subverted, since orcs and halflings, who were created by magical mutation, have shorter lifespans than their non-magical cousins, the humans and gnomes respectively.
- Divayth Fyr is an example of this in The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, where, due to being a sorcerer, he has lived to 4000 years of age.
- It is heavily implied (by means of explicitly stating it for several of his fellow Telvanni lords) that he has been actively using magic to live that long. Still, the implication picked up over the series is that mages do live longer than their less magically talented compatriots even without that — just on the order of decades rather than millenia.
- Implied in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. The headmaster of the Mages College in Winterhold promises that the lessons you learn at the college will last a lifetime... or possibly several, if you prove particularly talented.
- Usually the case in Dominions, where most mages start out older than usual and plenty live longer or never die. An exception are fire mages, who lose maximum age with more power.
- Zig Zagged in Suburban Knights. It turns out that magic is actually Cast From Lifespan, so using magic will actually shorten your life. However, we then learn that Malachite has lived for millennia because he has magic, but simply hasn't used it for a long time. So it extends your life, but only shortens it if you use it to excess. He's after the Hand of Malachite because it contains a gem that will allow him to use magic without the costs, and extend his lifetime indefinitely because of it.
- Avatar The Last Airbender: Benders and the spiritually connected seem to have better than normal life spans (Bumi is over 112 and still active, and Guru Pathik is 150 and still active), and Avatars seem to live even longer than them.
- Avatar Kyoshi, most Badass Avatar ever, lived for 230 years, the longest of any Avatar, and presumably retained all her faculties until the very end. (And no, this was not merely a Hand Wave on the writer's part so that they didn't have to invent four more Avatars to go between Roku and Kyoshi.)
- Aang himself is chronologically 112 years old, due directly to his Avatar abilities. Physically and mentally he's still twelve. Word Of God states that Aang's time frozen in the iceberg burnt out much of the extra time being an Avatar would have granted him. He died at the age of 66 (or 166 chronologically), relatively young for an Avatar, and because of this only about 70 years have passed since the end of the last series before Korra takes over.
- Though he hasn't appeared yet in the Sequel Series, Zuko is confirmed to be still be alive and active (at age 87) and currently Walking the Earth and acting as an unofficial peace ambassador.
- Merklynn from Visionaries. He was a prominent figure during the first Age of Magic...which was over a thousand years ago as the series begins.
- Leonard Powers of Ugly Americans is over 400 years old, and looks every decade of it. His "apprentice" is 50 and appears to be a young teenager.