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Literature / Schooled in Magic

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Schooled in Magic is the title of both a 2014 crossover fantasy novel by Christopher Nuttall and the series overall, which includes Lessons in Etiquette, Study in Slaughter, Work Experience, School of Hard Knocks, Love's Labor's Won, Trial By Fire, Wedding Hells, Infinite Regress, Past Tense, The Sergeant's Apprentice, Fists of Justice, The Gordian Knot, Graduation Day, The Princess in the Tower, The Broken Throne, Cursed and Mirror Image.


Emily is a teenage girl pulled from our world into a world of magic and mystery by a necromancer who intends to sacrifice her to the dark gods. Rescued in the nick of time by an enigmatic sorcerer, she discovers that she possesses strange magical powers and must go to Whitehall School to learn how to master them. There, she discovers that the locals believe that she is a Child of Destiny, someone whose choices might save or damn their world ... a title that earns her both friends and enemies. She may never fit into her new world ...

...And the necromancer is still hunting her. If Emily can't stop him, he might bring about the end of days.

She knows all sorts of ideas and innovations that can be introduced to improve her new world, but will she have the time to teach her new friends how to make them?



  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Emily wonders if the Quarrel (student society) she joins at Mountaintop serves as this, given how many members come from powerful families.
  • Abusive Parents: Emily's stepfather is a leering man who, while never having touched her, left mental scars by the way he spoke to and looked at her.
  • Addictive Magic:
    • Necromancy addicts its users, while slowly driving them mad too.
    • A Magic Staff is also addictive, and users can eventually become unable to use magic without one.
  • Aerith and Bob: Completely unique names are freely mixed with ones from our world.
  • And I Must Scream: People can be turned into stone or paralyzed by magic, while still being entirely aware of their surroundings but unable to move or do anything about it.
  • Animal Eye Spy: It's mentioned that sorcerers can form a bond with birds to use them this way.
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  • Arch-Enemy: Nanette, originally introduced as the spy Lin, develops a grudge against Emily after Aurelius takes Emily as a sort of protege. After Mountaintop's fall, Aurelius is dead, and Nanette devotes herself to ruining Emily's life, allying with many of Emily's other enemies to attack her again and again. Her actions were partly responsible for kicking over the dominoes that led to the Zangarian Civil War.
  • The Archmage:
    • Void is a Lone Power who first discovered and rescued Emily. While the books haven't come out and said it, the implication is that a Lone Power is a mage who's decided not to take any position with the Great Families, the White Council or other organs of magical society, and has the magical strength to make that stick.
    • The Grandmaster of Whitehall and the MageMaster of Mountaintop are the heads of the most important Wizarding Schools in the world, and Grandmaster Hasdrubal, the MageMaster, and the MageMaster's probable successor Aurelius all have the magical knowledge and power to fit this trope. Grandmaster Gordian and MageMaster Zed are much less powerful than their predecessors, and Gordian in particular has to play a delicate political game to keep his position.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Stripped down to its barest essentials, this is the foundation of magical society. The system of etiquette among magicians and Houses is couched in terms of "honor, obligation and respect," but what that actually means is that it's a way to keep walking One Man Armies from killing each other.
    • In particular, this is the essence of a Lone Power. Void has no position within magical society (though he could easily get one) but everyone respects his power and he's a vital ally in the war against the Blighted Lands because of his vast magical ability. His authority is entirely derived from his ability to kick ass.
  • Attempted Rape: Emily fends off one by a drunken villager, turning him into a pig. He had to be very drunk for trying this on a sorceress. This brings up bad memories about her creepy stepfather. It's stated he probably had done this many times before, and Lady Barb puts a curse on him that will turn him into a pig for good if he ever does again.
  • Badass Bookworm: Emily was a bookworm even before she was brought to this new world. Lucky for her, greater learning equals greater power.
  • Bag of Holding: Trunks which can hold far more than their appearance would suggest exist, due to a pocket dimension. Emily traps a huge cockatrice in hers, although this wrecks it.
  • The Bait: Lady Barb was used as this by Void once while they were investigating a sorcerer suspected of necromancy, resulting in her grudge against him.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Changing someone into an animal is commonly used as a prank by the Whitehall students. Later Emily encounters a much nastier version, in which a murderer is turned into a boar as punishment and hunted to his death.
  • Biggus Dickus: A grotesque example. Emily reads about a boy who tried to "improve" his genitals, and apparently the result was quite horrifying.
  • Black Magic: There is some suggestion that the elves long ago used magic to twist and shape humanity to create the other races. This is just one example of black magic in the books. Black magic is not necessarily forbidden, but it is not taught lightly. The whole world has been shaped by the use of necromancy, a source of magical power that corrupts and destroys, which is gained through killing people to take their mana.
  • Blood Magic: Blood can be used for various kinds of magic and therefore all people carefully try to protect it from being used against them.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Emily defeats King Randor the necromancer, but his dying curse strips her of her powers.
  • Cessation of Existence: This is pondered by Emily in the first book, after she hears the elves can destroy souls. She fears that without an afterlife, people would just do whatever they wanted.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Emily sees a group of women wearing them outside Whitehall, protectors of their virginal sisters. She speculates it's merely to make a statement of their femininity, rather than offer actual protection.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Emily is stated to come across like this to people because she is not from the Nameless world. Also she is repeatedly mentioned to be not observant and unaware of people's feelings. The author states Emily has high-functioning autism.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Emily's Martial Magic teachers teach her very early to cheat as thoroughly as possible in a real fight, a lesson she takes to heart.
  • Commuting on a Bus: After graduating from Whitehall at the end of Fourth Year, Alassa and Imaiqah remain in touch with Emily via chat parchment, but they're not around to be involved in school plots.
  • Compelling Voice: Lady Barb casts a compulsion spell whose effect is through sound, making an angry mob disperse when she finds that the man they accused of child murder was innocent.
  • Corporal Punishment: Punishment in the Nameless World can be quite severe, from simply spankings (with a paddle) to being turned to stone permanently.
  • The Coup: One is made against Alassa's father in book two by nobles upset at the changes he's wrought with Emily's help, making them hide and work to undo it.
  • Court Mage: Emily comes across several court wizards as she is traveling with Princess Alassa. In Zangaria (Alassa's kingdom) the court wizard Zed, a talented alchemist, greatly resents Emily, seeing her as a rival.
  • Covers Always Lie: The title of Graduation Day is Metaphorically True. Emily doesn't graduate, though the author in the afterword says that in another sense, she graduated because she realized that Whitehall no longer had anything to offer her and that she had no reason to sit Sixth Year exams just for the achievement.
  • Cure Your Gays: Discussed by Emily and Rudolf, who wants to know if his sexual orientation can be changed by magic so he won't face discrimination and prejudice. However, while spells can stop people from acting on desire, Emily still doubts sexual orientation is completely changeable.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Any form of necromantic rite is absolutely forbidden, for the power that it gives a person will, with all certainty, drive them insane. It also requires the death of another person with magic.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Necromancers are seen as unbeatable in a Wizard Duel by any non-necromancer, due to the immense power they harvest from death; the usual way to destroy one is to assassinate them with poison (which gets kudos but is not this trope). When Emily takes one down at the end of the first book, she earns the title "Necromancer's Bane," and people are divided between whether she used poison, some kind of magical cheat, or is a necromancer herself. For the record, she cheated. After bringing down her second necromancer, she becomes a living legend.
  • Defiled Forever: This attitude exists toward women who lose their virginity outside wedlock (at least if they aren't magicians, who are not bound by normal rules), with no one else willing to marry them. Emily thus keeps on the female servants of the previous Baron (who apparently raped them) employed so they'll be able to make a living.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Emily finds it very hard to deal with the society of the Nameless World, whose ways (ranging from treating commoners and women as second-class citizen to brutal punishments of criminals) baffle or horrify her at times. Many of the inhabitants find her opinions very odd as well.
  • Disappeared Dad: Emily's father departed from her life when she was very young.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: A magical variation. Those with powerful magical talent (such as Emily) often have difficulty learning alchemy, because using magic to control alchemical reactions requires a light touch.
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: At Wizarding School, it's more common for the excuse to be "my homework ate my dog." It's still a cliche.
  • Don't Look at Me!: Emily is extremely self-conscious of her sexual self at first and is afraid of being looked at in that way. She slowly gets better about this, sharing her first kiss with Jade, a fellow Whitehall student.
  • The Dung Ages: Outside of the mage schools, the world is in this, with abusive nobles, brutal serfdom and poor sanitation contrasting the meritocracy and hot running water of Whitehall. To a magician's nose, even the king smells like shit. In Past Tense, everyone in the past is as bad off as peasants of the modern day Nameless World.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Aurelius has a daughter who he put into stasis to save her life. Her magic overwhelmed her and he'd been unable to find a cure. He's devastated after she dies.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Emily is a magnet for her fellow sorceresses. Frieda falls in love almost immediately after she takes her under her wing, Julienne calls her "beautiful" and "perfect" and spends a page or so admiring her body in the bath, and Alassa's suggestion that Emily turn into a man to marry her wasn't entirely driven by political considerations; indeed, Alassa didn't care about her gender except for political reasons.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Necromancers play a big role in the story as they have taken over fully two-thirds of the world and are far too powerful to fight alone.
  • Familiar: Emily makes a Death Viper one to stop it from killing her.
  • Fantasy Contraception: Study In Slaughter mentions that contraception spells and parental tests exist, though the Allied Lands' culture is still conservative about sex (e.g. women are expected to remain virgins if unmarried in most cases).
  • Fantastic Racism: While Emily only experiences this second hand, there is a superior, almost racist attitude from those with magical powers over those without. There are also intelligent magical creatures in the Nameless World who receive varying degrees of racism.
  • Feuding Families: Emily mistakenly invites two of them to her faire in Love's Labor's Won. She then has to keep both of them from killing each other when their heirs turn out to be a couple.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The laws of war on the Nameless World are mentioned, in the context that most sides in the Zangarian civil war have abandoned them. King Randor is constantly murdering surrendered armies to the last, and even Alassa's forces refuse the parole of noble prisoners, because Randor won't honor the parole and will force them to fight or die.
  • Fish out of Water: Emily is completely out of place in the medieval-like Nameless World, and frequently finds it difficult to adjust.
  • Friendless Background: Emily left no ties behind in the real world that make her long for home. She is only now making friends for the first time in this new world.
  • Functional Magic: In the series, magic is mainly Rule Based. There is Alchemy, Runic magic, Ritual Magic, Blood Magic, Pact magic and Fairy Magic. It is not yet clear how all these relate to one another and if they all follow the same basic rules or not. It does seem that being good at one area of magic does not guarantee that you will be good at others, and in fact Emily finds Alchemy very difficult because it just doesn't seem to make sense to her like other magic.
  • Geas: There are many spells of this sort mentioned or shown. People are compelled to be loyal, obedient and tell the truth with them etc.
  • The Gift: You need to be magically-gifted to use most forms of magic. Rune Magic doesn't require this, but magicians don't teach that to muggles because the Subtle Art is a serious pain in the ass as it is. Alchemy also technically doesn't require magic, but using it safely generally requires magical wards.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Emily has long-term plans for the Nameless World she finds herself in. She is not naive to the fact that there will be upheaval and revolt during the process of change, but she will not simply stand by and watch the serfs suffer under their lords and ladies forever. Therefore she is always sharing her technological knowledge with the lower classes first. Even so, she does not share everything she knows for fear that it will be abused.
  • Hates Being Touched: There are times in the first book where Emily is described as being very uncomfortable and self-conscious with someone's non-sexual touch (i.e. brushing past her). She gets over this with time.
  • Heroic Bastard: Emily is believed to be Void's bastard daughter, which means she's treated like a daughter of foreign nobility. However, this is not the case.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Emily sacrifices herself to a demon to save Whitehall's students in Trial by Fire, then the Grandmaster sacrifices himself to save Emily.
  • Heroic Suicide: Sergeant Harkin willingly offers himself up for death when Shadye forces Emily to choose one of the prisoners to kill to take his mana. Except Harkin had no mana, since he's not a sorcerer, and this surprise distracts Shadye long enough for Emily to get the vial of her blood that he's using to control her from him, saving the school. It also doubles as a Batman Gambit.
  • Human Sacrifice: This is how the necromancers gain their power.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowledge of a person's true, full name can be used to work magic against them, so mages use just their forenames or an adopted one.
  • I Have No Son!: Both the heirs of House Ashworth and House Ashfall are formally disowned after it's discovered they're a couple and intend to get married. They feel it's an acceptable price for them being together.
  • Indy Ploy: Emily combines this with being Crazy-Prepared. She has a lot of broadly-powerful (and usually unknown-to-others, and therefore unexpected) tricks at her disposal and is constantly developing more, but in the end she tends to use them in balls-out insane ways when it all hits the fan. For example, her response to The Coup involves opening her Bag of Holding and releasing a cockatrice into the royal palace.
  • Interrogating the Dead: Emily suggests this to discover if two dead criminals had any accomplices, but finds out it's completely taboo after people react with outrage at the very idea.
  • Interservice Rivalry: In Sergeant's Apprentice, the various branches of the army don't get along, such as the archers and muskets hating each other over competing roles, and the cavalry being, A, annoyed by the decision to defend a city (where they wouldn't see much use) and B, being a bunch of Upper Class Twits with only contempt for common-born superior officers.
  • Just Between You and Me: The villain in the second novel obligingly reveals the entire plan to Emily while Alassa is being held at swordpoint. Naturally, Alassa and Emily turn the tables after this has happened, resulting in the villain's death.
  • Just Following Orders: In the Nameless World, this normally excuses everything. If your superior orders a war crime, you're guilty of nothing.
  • Love Potion: They're available outside Whitehall, but banned inside. A love potion's effect can be permanent, and lessened only if redirected onto something else. It's stated any student caught with them will wish they were merely expelled. The ones outside Whitehall apparently don't really work, just give people confidence, and true love potions are much rarer. Later some are shown to be sold which only work if people drink them willingly, to insure a married couple stays in love to conceive a child.
  • Made a Slave: Slavery is a common institution in the Nameless World. While not a large part of the story, it is mentioned that magic (as well as political power) is used to enslave people for various reasons. The Allied Lands have slaves to some extent, though the necromancers' lands are outright slave societies with slaves used as human sacrifices.
  • Mage Born of Muggles: Emily is an Earthling of no magical family. She escapes the usual prejudices against this because everyone thinks she's the daughter of a Lone Power, but when she goes to Mountaintop, she finds that new magicians from outside the Great Houses are thoroughly abused there, to the point of being turned into Living Batteries after expulsion.
  • Magical Library: There is a library of magical books at the school which are rare because they have to be hand-written (there is no printing press before Emily introduces it).
  • Magically Binding Contract: A person who swears a magical oath but refuses to fulfill it, or deliberately puts themselves in a situation so they cannot, will die. If they're unable to fulfill it because of something beyond their control, though, it won't kill them. It's discussed by name at greater length in book 3, when Emily starts taking a class in Law.
  • Magic Is Mental: Magic is a mental exercise often described as being similar to programming in the mind.
  • Magic Wand: Wands are used to store spells which have been prepared ahead of time, and are thus the sign of a weak sorcerer who can't cast things on the fly, or muggles.
  • Mana: In the series, magic is fueled by mana both from within the body and also from the world around them depending on the type of magic being used. For example, a rune or spell-work might be powered by a ley line running below a site. Mana is not limitless and can be used up and dissipated. Or it could build up in a location (like at a ley line) and cause strange effects.
  • Medieval Stasis: Despite having magic that could easily create most technology in our world, no one thought of doing so before Emily, and they still remain at a medieval-level society, though this is rapidly changing due to her innovations.
  • Mind Rape: Emily is constantly appalled at the use of magic that endangers or attacks a person's mind. Many spells, which are viewed as mere pranks by most, could permanently alter a person's mind (we hear of one girl who was made into a broom that still partly thinks she is one after being changed back, for example).
  • Misery Builds Character: Aurelius justifies the poor treatment many students receive on the basis that they must be strong for surviving as adult mages. If they can't handle bullying and pranks, they'll have no chance.
  • Mundane Utility: For those who possess magic, it is an indispensable part of life and is used for even mundane tasks.
  • Necromancy: In the books' universe, this involves magically draining people of mana through human sacrifices, which gives necromancers great power. This also drives them insane over time however.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Word gets around that Emily is extremely kind to servants.
  • No Name Given: The Grandmaster, who is only ever referred to this way until after his death. His name is Hasdrubal.
  • No Periods, Period: In the first book, female students at Whitehall are instructed to turn over any of their clothing with blood on it to be destroyed at once so this won't get used against them. While not explicit, this clearly means from menstruation. Female students are also provided with potions to minimize both bleeding and discomfort related to their menstrual cycle. Menstruation is also repeatedly mentioned in relation to female fertility, both regarding Alassa's possible infertility and the fact that imprecise and wasteful magic use in Past Tense causes infertility among magicians of the far past. No character is ever mentioned actually experiencing a period though.
  • Nuke 'em: Splitting atoms is actually a pretty trivial spell, as Emily discovers in book four. Emily is very grateful that magical law allows her to protect her secrets after she has to nuke her second necromancer.
  • The Oath-Breaker: Emily briefly considers Roger this after he defects from King Randor, but realizes that Roger had gone above and beyond in keeping his oath to a mad king, and when the King completely crossed the line, Roger couldn't do anything but reject him. He still suffers a fair measure of mistrust from the rest of Alassa's forces.
  • Odd Friendship: Imaiqah starts off as a friend who is also bullied by Alassa and her lot. When Alassa becomes friends with Emily she also becomes friends with Imaiqah despite the vast difference between their stations in life (Emily is an exception because of her celebrity status and supposedly being the daughter of a powerful wizard).
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: Emily seems to know a great deal about history and the way things work. This is often attributed to "memory spells" which allow her to recall past learned facts perfectly. While she's no Renaissance Man, she knows enough to bring about inventions that turn her new world upside down.
  • The Paragon: After becoming a baroness, Emily passes the Cockatrice Charter and rules as a semi-constitutional noble. The rights she lays out in the charter become the basis for the Levellers' demands, and later the Great Charter of Zangaria.
  • Parental Neglect: Emily's mother is depicted as a neglectful alcoholic.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Emily, by the end of book four. Indeed, many of her problems later in the series can be partially blamed on the fact that her spell repertoire goes from the kind of magics expected of a student directly to those that... well, aren't. Although she is extremely clever in the application of her lower-level spells, the end result is that she lacks a proper level of response for adult sorcerers, who aren't as scared of her as perhaps they should be.
  • Pocket Dimension: Pocket dimensions are described by name, and used for containers which serve as Bags Of Holding. Emily uses one to destroy Shadye and then store excess magic (although this gets her in trouble, partly because it's just dangerous, also as it would make necromancy feasible-i.e. not drive its practitioners insane).
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Mountaintop's wards turn out to be powered by the expelled students, who are also made into the zombie-like Proctors when they've been drained of all magic.
  • The Power of Love: Discussed and mocked in Work Experience. Some of the ballads about Emily claim she defeated Shadye by using this, to her embarrassment, finding the idea it could work on a monster like him absurd.
  • Powers as Programs: It's mentioned that spells tend to work a lot like computer programs in their design. Emily lampshades the fact that a computer programmer would be a hell of a wizard.
  • Prophecy Twist: Emily thinks Shadye made a mistake kidnapping her thinking she's a "Child of Destiny" due to her literally being one, as Destiny is her mother's name. However, it turns out that she really is a Child of Destiny in every sense.
  • Really Gets Around: Sorceresses, unlike other women in this world, are usually free to have sex with whoever they want. In particular, Imaiqah usually has a new boy in her bed every night. This is due to them having contraception spells (which most women lack).
  • Secret Test of Character: Emily is appalled by the poor treatment older students' Shadows receive at Mountaintop, but when she complains to Aurelius, he then reveals that it's this-only the ones who treat their Shadows well can advance in authority. She's still unhappy that the Shadows have to suffer for it though.
  • Sex Slave: Female slaves used for sexual service appear to be fairly common in the Allied Lands.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: In the first book Emily wonders where the rest of a person's mass goes when they're turned into a frog.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The plot has a strong similarity with Harry Potter, particularly in the wizarding school Whitehall. One part even seems like a direct reference to something from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where Emily reads about different magical accidents in a book and there's a story of a girl who brewed a potion to look like someone else but accidentally used cat hair instead of the other person's, which turned her into a cat girl instead. This is exactly what Hermione does, except here it cannot be reversed and the girl is stuck that way forever. It could also be a mild Take That!.
    • Later after learning about the world's magically binding contracts, Emily wonders whether being entered into a contest like Harry Potter is in Goblet of Fire with no knowledge of it would still bind you. It turns out no, you have to be aware of it.
    • Emily notes that putting "unscrupulous creatures" in charge of your prison isn't a good idea (a reference to the Dementors of Azkaban). Plus the entire plot of Study In Slaughter is very similar to Chamber of Secrets, though the author stated this was unintentional. Even so, Emily thinks how a basilisk would be easier to kill than what they face in the book.
    • She also uses the blood test for Changelings idea from Deep Space Nine.
    • Later she wonders about whether dwarves spend their free time courting and trying to tell which one is female, like Discworld.
    • At one point she tells Frieda the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    • There's also a village she visits where a beefy blacksmith doesn't seem impressed with a fishmonger who's shouting "Get your fresh fish here! Fresh fish! It's lovely", a reference to Asterix.
    • Love's Labor's Won references an alleged lost Shakespeare play by the same name, possibly a sequel to Love's Labour's Lost (though the plot is more akin to Romeo and Juliet-another reference).
    • Alassa, at one point, suggests that Emily might want to marry Baron Silver because they both have huge tracts of land. Emily cringes, even though Alassa has no idea that she's dropped a Monty Python meme.
    • When Viscount Hansel says that he doesn't have to play nice with the commoners because he has an army, Emily responds with "They have a Hulk."
  • Spoiled Brat: Princess Alassa starts out as a complete brat who believes that she is entitled to be worshiped by others. She gets better over time though.
  • Stable Time Loop: Emily learned magic at Whitehall, then went back in time to teach Lord Whitehall the principles of modern magic, helping him to found his school.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Laughed at by Sergeant Harkin. Only someone unwilling to fight back would be caught just by grabbing her upper arm; breaking free would be trivial.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Love's Labor's Won involves two lovers who come from rival feuding families. The pair are disowned when found out, but still stay together.
  • Straight Gay: Rudolf, in Work Experience. It turns out to be why runes intended for compelling him into a marriage didn't work, since he lacked any desire toward women this could exploit.
  • Sympathetic Magic: Things connected to a person (their blood, name, etc.) can be used in magic against them. In the finale of the first book, Emily's mind is taken over remotely by Shadye using some of her blood that he stole, allowing him to destroy Whitehall's wards from the inside and invade with an army.
  • Taken for Granite: Being turned to stone is pretty common, even as a punishment for breaking rules in the library. More serious offenses are said to be punished with this permanently. At one point Emily's petrified by an enemy and she only narrowly escapes.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: There is a teleportation spell which is too complicated and powerful for any lowly wizard to use. Also large teleportation gates which are used by all others.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The aging Lord Alfred walks into a duel he can't survive and ends in a Mutual Kill. DemonMastery is discredited among the younger magicians, allowing Whitehall's art of magic to flourish, and the duel goes down in legend as the last great duel of the DemonMasters.
  • There Are No Therapists: In this world, a wizard who's mentally unstable does his damnedest to hide it instead of seek help, because anyone else would suspect that the instability was a result of necromancy.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: When King Randor reveals himself to be a necromancer, his army breaks up and deserts en masse. Even Sir Roger Greenwood, one of the most honor-bound men in Zangaria, considers his oath to the king void, defecting to Princess Alassa and begging her to stop him and save the kingdom.
  • Tough Love: When Emily is plunged into depression in Cursed, Cat tells her to get her ass out of bed, beats her and threatens to rape her. This works; Emily is forced to fight back, and realizes that the depression is part of the curse, which helps her get her shit together. Then she makes it clear that if Cat tries that again, she'll castrate him.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: You need to be magically-gifted to use most forms of magic. Rune Magic doesn't require this, but magicians don't teach that to muggles because the Subtle Art is a serious pain in the ass as it is. Alchemy also technically doesn't require magic, but using it safely generally requires magical wards, and some forms of alchemy use magic directly in the brewing. However, originally Alchemy and magic were separate skills.
  • Trapped in Another World: Emily, a lonely, depressed modern girl, is abruptly transported to a parallel world by an evil sorcerer who believes she's the chosen one meant to defeat him. She's rescued by another sorcerer and sent to a wizard school because it's revealed she can do magic. Emily really never even wonders if she can go back, in spite of having a lot to adjust living in a very medieval world, as her only relatives were a negligent mother and an abusive step-father. As a result, she has no incentive to even try.
  • Truth Serum: Spells which force people to tell the truth exist, and they're used in court cases, ensuring that innocents are not convicted.
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary: Emily casually drops trope names taken directly from this wiki in her thoughts, usually without capitalization. invoked
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The necromantic rite is actually fairly easy magic, and most necromancers aren't particularly skilled magicians even before they cook their brains with too much power. However, the rite also gives them far more power than any regular mage can use.
  • Virgin Power: Some spells must be performed by a virginal woman, and so there's an entire group of them called the Virgin Sisterhood, protected by their armed, intimidating sisters.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Void, Emily's mentor, likes to take animal shape. So does enemy sorcerer Crow, who turns into a group of them (and this is likely the source of his name). It's stated this is a very difficult form of magic, as keeping one's mind intact in another form can be quite hard. Crow spreads his out for that purpose.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: A significant problem for Emily. Saving the school and the world are no excuse for failing marks on her exams, and while she usually doesn't lose too much sleep over it, she's often unable to study for weeks because she's busy resolving the latest plot. On the other hand, Emily's teachers do know what she's up to, and at multiple points, they refrain from assigning her punishments because she legitimately has too much to do to serve detention.
  • Wainscot Society: Magical and mundane societies maintain a certain separation. The White Council is the center of magical society, which also includes institutions like Whitehall and the Healers, and there are great wizardly families with their own estates as well as mundane nobility. The separation is regulated by the Compact, which seems to be a very limited Alien Non-Interference Clause; the White Council and magicians officially employed by it or its institutions don't get involved in the politics of the Allied Lands, but membership isn't a requirement (it's only required if you want to learn a specialized profession) and many nobles and noble retainers are low-level magicians. Emily herself operates as a mundane noble, but it's mentioned that if she wants to take certain jobs, she'll have to give up her barony because the job is incompatible with her feudal oath.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Much is made from the fact that the Allied Lands are constantly bickering and fighting with each other, instead of the necromancers. It's stated all of them would have been conquered long ago if the necromancers had not been doing the same thing.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Master Highland explains this viewpoint. According to him, mundanes can't matter when compared to magicians, since their opinions will always be overridden by any magician with any talent at all. His proposed solution is segregating magicians from mundanes to avoid tempting magicians to rape and plunder.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Necromancers all eventually go mad with the amount of power they acquire from human sacrifice. The mechanics are revealed over the course of the books and fully explained in Past Tense. It's not necromancy itself, but too much mana for the human brain to handle, and the necromantic rite in particular fries the user's brain like an egg from the amount of power drawn. In the past, all magicians eventually went mad from channeling too much uncontrolled power, before the introduction of proper spellwork techniques.
  • Wizard Duel: Several of these occur in the books, such as Emily fighting necromancers. Some sorcerers also engage in them to settle quarrels or as entertainment for others.
  • Wizarding School: The series of books involves Emily learning magic in school or from teachers outside of school, although the story is not entirely focused on school life like the Harry Potter books. In Graduation Day, Emily drops out and doesn't return to school, though she does get an apprenticeship with Void.
  • Wizards Live Longer: While we aren't given any exact ages, it is implied that powerful mages can keep themselves alive and looking young for much longer than is natural.
  • The World Is Not Ready: While Emily introduced several innovating ideas from Earth which dramatically change the Nameless World, she does not share all that she knows for fear that it will be more dangerous than it is worth. For example, she invents a nuclear bomb spell which requires comparatively little power or talent to cast.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Princess Alassa is described as being the vision of perfect beauty. Completely flawless. Unnaturally so, as her beauty is due to magic.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Grandmaster of Whitehall opposes the ideals and methods of Mountaintop. However, he respects the mages there for their power and skill, and after Emily mucks up the school's traditional source of power (for good reason), his response ends with "Thus passes glory."

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