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Court Mage

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The Dragonborn: Does [Jarl] Ulfric have much need for magic?
Wuunferth the Unliving: No, but then I don't have much need for Ulfric.

In fantasy series, it's fairly common for a king or other high-ranking ruler to keep a magic-user on staff, primarily to provide mystical advice and magical spells, and possibly general wisdom and advice on politica strategies. Can also show up in historical fiction or even Real Life, as during time periods when sorcery was widely believed in, having a mage or alchemist on hand was generally seen as a smart idea. The character can be The Good Chancellor, the Evil Chancellor, or anything in-between. Sometimes they're also the Court Jester or the High Priest (if the kingdom's dominant or state religion is or is at least believed to be magical in any way). The mage may also help out during battles, either offering strategic advice, divining the enemy's intentions or casting spells. As a general rule, the mage will likely keep their quarters and workshop at the top of the castle's highest tower.

If the character has a higher standing than other mages as well as the king, they may be The Archmage. If this is common and magic is real and powerful, one may have to ask why wizards don't run things themselves, but then again there are disadvantages to being officially in charge. Contrast The Magocracy, Sorcerous Overlord and Benevolent Mage Ruler, where they do. One reason that Arch Mages may prefer to have a king or queen appear to lead (as a Puppet King) is that there are advantages to being the power behind the throne: if a ruler becomes unpopular, a new one can be swapped in.


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  • This ad has a court mage offering to make the king immortal and to curse his enemies, but all the king wants him to do is conjure Bud Light.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Arak: Son of Thunder, Malgigi was the court mage to Carolus Magnus (a.k.a. Charlemagne).
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Any lord of high enough standing employs at least one mage if they're smart about it, since not being prepared against the enemy employing magic against them could cost them their heads in this war-torn setting.
    • Ghorgor Bey's sworn enemy keeps a mage by his side. Quite hilariously, when Ghorgor slaughters the entire castle guard and advances on the two, the lord orders the mage to kill him, at which point he says "I'd love to, your lordship, but I've got a teleport on the boil!" and teleports away.
  • Empyre: Wiccan becames the Court Wizard of the Kree-Skrull Alliance, as well as consort to Emperor Dorrek VIII (better known as Hulkling).
  • Doctor Stephen Strange in Marvel 1602 is both the Queen's physician as well as the court sorcerer/alchemist.
  • Nodwick: In the It's a Wonderful Plot story "It's a Wonderful Farce", the Alternate Universe where Arthax never joined the party shows he became a court magician, advising his king and entertaining the courtiers with simple tricks. In the Bad Future story "A World Without Piffany" from the print comic, he becomes the court soothsayer of Big Bad Baphuma'al, a God of Evil, by being permanently bonded to the Orb of Omniscience.
  • Reality-warping mage Mr Mxyzptlk from the Superman comics is a Court Jester in his home dimension. The mage thing probably isn't a big deal there because everyone in his world has similar powers.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • The Amazon's royal court usually contains a seer and a witch/mage, though just who those characters are varies through the iterations.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Eudia is Hippolyta's mage, and cast the spell to siphon off half of Diana's power to Artemis in order to ensure Diana wasn't the Wonder Woman who died as was foreseen. This ended up backfiring and killing Diana when Neron noticed the spell and took advantage.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Archmage Saros was the court mage of Princess Amore Diamante. He secretly desired her, and when she marries a peasant named Bene Lyric and has a daughter, he eventually becomes King Sombra, murders Amore and her husband, and takes over the Crystal Empire.
  • Child of the Storm had Merlin and Taliesin a.k.a. Doctor Strange — the former being the senior adviser to Arthur Pendragon, while the latter was officially Court Physician and Court Bard.
  • My Choices: Twisted Tales Through Time: One of the more influential positions in ancient Equestria's Royal Court is that of Magical Advisor to Princess Celestia, given to the most skilled or accomplished unicorn wizard around and invested with a great deal of power over magical law and education.
  • The Vow (a Kung Fu Panda fanfic) has Ah-Ma, an old and wise goat who serves as the court Soothsayer and The Good Chancellor to Gongmen City's nobility, first to Lord Shen's parents and then Lady Lianne. She's asked to foretell the future several times from her bowl. One of those instances has her foretell the prophecy about Shen's fate.
  • The Westerosi: Captain Jade Hasegawa finds herself promoted to this role for King Robert early on. Her tenure does not survive the coronation of Prince Joffrey. After Jade leaves, Euron Greyjoy takes the position.
  • With Strings Attached: Lyndess, kind of,. Her main job seems to be providing sexual stimulants for Grynun, the Idri-Head. And she really, really doesn't want to be there, but it's the best place for her to be, given that she's cursed to remain in Ketafa.

    Film — Animation 
  • Jafar from Aladdin. He hypnotises the Sultan to get his way and wants to get the magic lamp and marry the princess, Jasmine so he can take over. It's somewhat ambiguous if he's officially this or just an Evil Chancellor who practices sorcery on the side, but the latter is implied.
  • Rasputin in Anastasia was said to be the court mystic for the Romanovs but he was banished for treachery in a mysterious incident, leading to him becoming an Evil Sorcerer. The writer of the Don Bluth film said he was inspired to create his Rasputin based off of myths about the real Rasputin, feeling it would fit the fairy tale style adaptation of real-life history.
  • Schmendrick becomes this in The Last Unicorn, entertaining King Haggard with magic tricks to distract him from the gang's attempt to free the unicorns. He replaced a previous court mage called Mabruk.
  • Rafiki from The Lion King is the Seer or Witch Doctor variant, seeing he's able to divine things and communicate with Mufasa's spirit. His position is also highly respected, seeing the animals bow to him as he makes his way to Pride Rock during "The Circle of Life".
  • Hotep and Huy from The Prince of Egypt, though it's unclear if they really have powers beyond clever sleight-of-hand. Given the source material and the fact that they're patterned after Siegfried and Roy, it's heavily implied that their feats are just really impressive tricks.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Sokurah from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad until he betrays the Caliph in order to reclaim his lost magic lamp.
  • Lord Arthur's "Wise Man" from Army of Darkness is knowledgeable on the subject but doesn't seem to be able to do magic without the Necronomicon.
  • Conan the Destroyer: At the end, Queen Jehnna offers Akiro the Wizard to be her royal advisor and he accepts.
  • Jeremy Irons plays one of these (also an Evil Chancellor) in the Dungeons & Dragons (2000) movie.
  • The Ten Commandments (1956): Jannes the High Priest of Egypt, as played by Douglas Dumbrill, is also one of these. But although the demonstration of his powers with turning his rod into that of a cobra is clearly real, Moses through God humiliates him in front of his pharaoh and the Royal Court by Moses' rod turned cobra swallowing his, and then discrediting him and his gods by causing plagues that Jannes clearly proves unable to prevent.
  • In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale has John Rhys-Davies play King Konreid's magus named Merick, serving this purpose. Later in the film, he mentions that a magus only has his power as long he serves a king, meaning the magi were always in this role. However, only two (three if you count Merick's daughter Muriella) magi remain: Merick and Gallian. The latter has somehow managed to become extremely powerful and uplift the mindless Krug into a horde, all without serving a king. During their confrontation, Gallian reveals that he found a loophole — no one says you can't declare yourself king of some group (like the Krug) and serve yourself. Of course, it's implied by Merick's reaction that only a madman like Gallian could justify such twisted logic. By the end, it's implied that Muriella will now serve this role for Farmer, AKA Camden Konreid.
  • Red Sonja: Queen Gerden has a wizard who serves her. He aids her in the final battle against Sonja, until the latter kills him.
  • The Thrilling Sword: Lord Xie is a sorcerer serving as the King's advisor and the kingdom's protector against giant monsters, ranging from dragons to ogres... except, he's also summoning them as a Monster Protection Racket. The hero's aim is to expose Xie and defeat him.
  • In the first Wishmaster film, the court wizard in service to a ruler who once fell prey to the Djinn's machinations sealed the Djinn in a gemstone to prevent him from granting a third wish (which would unleash Hell on Earth).

  • The Belgariad and its sequels have instances of this:
    • Ran Borune XXIII, the Emperor of Tolnedra and Ce'Nedra's father, has one who appears early in the series. As it turns out, he's a charlatan and Ran Borune knows it (like most Tolnedrans, he doesn't believe in sorcery on principle), bluntly stating that he keeps him around for amusement value.
    • Belgarath and Polgara occasionally serve in a variation of this function. Unlike most examples, they're not subservient, and their advice is usually as much political and military (sometimes even technological) as it is mystical. Indeed, their 'advice' often involves bullying recalcitrant monarchs into doing something sensible/not doing something stupid. Belgarath usually handles the Alorn kingdoms, and Polgara sometimes helps, particularly with Riva, but she mainly spent her time dealing with Arendia, keeping it more or less peaceful for 600 years (since it takes nothing more than misplaced sneeze to start a war in Arendia, this is quite an achievement), as well as a few months in Nyissa a century before the first series weaning the somewhat dim but rather sweet Salmissra of the time off drugs and giving her a basic political education.
    • Agachak theoretically functions as an evil and domineering version of this to Urgit, the King of the Murgos in the sequel. As it is, his 'advice' mostly involves using Urgit as a puppet. This is quite easy, since Urgit is a very nervous King who only survived his childhood/young adulthood by getting hold of the keys to the treasury and avoiding confrontation with anyone dangerous, and has Zakath, Emperor of Mallorea, an incredibly powerful sociopath who's out for his blood for something Urgit's presumed father Taur Urgas did. Once Urgit grows a spine, and starts taking some of Garion's initially reluctant advice on how to be a good King onboard, he stops being pushed around so easily.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Greensparrow was this for Avon's king before taking power.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: Several variations:
    • King Stephen and Queen Anne from the first book keep a wizard named Trian as one of their closest advisors; he is a friend to both royals and The Good Chancellor.
    • The Sartan are a powerful Mage Species, but those of Abarrach have lost most of their magic, the chief exception being Necromancers. Some of their rulers (like Dynast Kleitus) are necromancers themselves; those who are not tend to keep a necromancer as an advisor. Baltazar, Court Necromancer to the king of Kairn Telest, is a significant character in the third book.
    • When discussing the distant past, the Sartan leader Samah describes how the Sartan's rivals, the Patryns (also a Mage Species) would often take this role and use it to manipulate mensch governments without sitting on the throne. He gets rather defensive when the person he's talking to points out that the Sartan used to do the same thing.
  • Deryni: A variant of this recurs. Since the Haldane kings need help (including a magical ritual) to access their powers, one or more other Deryni serve this function. It starts with Camber and his family discovering the Haldane Potential and helping Cinhil Haldane and his sons in the Legends of Camber and Heirs of Camber trilogies. Generations later, Donal Haldane uses the services of Deryni (including Alyce de Corwyn Morgan) and actually imprints instructions for his son Brion's ritual in the minds of Alyce and her son Alaric. The adult Alaric Morgan and Duncan McLain work together in this unofficial position for Brion's son Kelson.
  • Nevyn in the Deverry novels sort of takes this role on occasion, although he prefers his royal patrons to see him as an uncommonly wise herbalist who gives good general advice, and leave the dweomer out of it if possible. He also has to pull My Grandson, Myself to explain why people with this odd name keep appearing in the history books.
  • Discworld:
    • Mort: Played with. When Princess Kelli becomes all but unnoticeable to non-wizards, she appoints the mage Cutwell, to be her Royal Recognizer. He also fills this trope, albeit incompetently.
    • Lords and Ladies: At the end, Ponder Stibbons is offered this position by King Verence of Lancre. "He says other kings have always had fools, so he'll try having a wise man around, just in case that works better." This apparently doesn't work out, since he's back at the University by Soul Music.
  • Dragonlance: Marwort the Illustrious was this to the Kingpriest, despite the latter's well-documented Fantastic Racism towards wizards (it only worked out because Marwort swore never to use magic without the Kingpriest's permission, and then never in his presence). Other wizards, of course, considered him a traitor. Later on Fistandantilus took the job for his own ends.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Cimorene learned some magic from her father's court mage before she was told that magic wasn't a proper pursuit for princesses.
  • The Eyes of The Dragon: Flagg is the King's magician and also an Evil Chancellor.
  • Forest Kingdom: In book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), the Astrologer serves as this, and before him the High Warlock.
  • Forgotten Realms: The Kingdom of Cormyr has a hereditary Court Mage. The original, Baerauble Etharr, was a human who managed to become this to the king of the Elves; after the elves decided to leave Cormyr and suceed power to the growing human settlements that would eventually become Cormy, the king ordered Baerauble to stay behind and continue guiding the newly-crowned human king. After his death, his descendants kept up the position for each succeeding king of Cormyr, acting as both advisor, and The Chessmaster who works behind the scenes.
  • Goosebumps: In A Night in Terror Tower, Morgred served the previous king and cast a spell on Prince and Princess Eddie/Edward and Sue/Susannah of York to protect them from their wicked uncle, the usurper. It fails because the High Executioner interrupted his ritual and stole one of Morgred's magic orbs to chase the children into the future, causing the new memories Morgred gave them to be incomplete.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: We meet several in Vows & Honor; downplayed in that one of the rules of Kethry's order, the White Winds, is that they don't accept permanent posts.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy books, the Emperor of Mankind is far and away the most powerful psyker in the galaxy, but he's got an empire of over a million worlds and he has his hands full with researching Eldar Webgates. Not to mention he's got some prejudices that really affect his judgement. So his buddy Malcador the Siglite is a distant 2nd or 3rd greatest psyker and he provides counsel to the Emperor, not fearing to disagree with the Emperor if he feels his boss is in the wrong. As the Emperor withdraws deeper into his research, Malcador takes on an increasing amount of rulership in the Imperium.
  • Howl's Moving Castle: The King's Sorcerer, Suliman. He's missing for most of the book, and it turns out one of the things Howl has been so enthusiastically avoiding is getting stuck with the job.
  • The Last Unicorn: Schmendrick becomes one of these for King Haggard, displacing his former court wizard Mabruk.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Both Gandalf and Saruman have done stints as advisors to various monarchs.
  • In Daniel Polansky's Low Town, the Blue Crane was one of the greatest wizards in the setting and served as the court mage for a few years. Surprisingly for the "grimdark" subgenre, the Blue Crane is indisputably good, using only healing and protection magic. He's completely beloved by the kingdom, especially the poor, since he regularly donates to charities to help the less fortunate and it was his ward that stopped an epidemic of the plague. Too bad his student Celia doesn't have his power or morals.
  • Magister Trilogy: A popular profession among the titular Magisters. Kings consider these immortal, nigh omnipotent sorcerers indispensable to their reigns. One of the big reasons why having a Magister Royal is so indispensable is that if you have one the Magister Law forbids other Magisters from screwing around with your kingdom.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: Most civilizations have a court mage of some kind: the Malazans have Tayschrenn, the Letherii have their Atri-Cedas (High Mages), and so on.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: Doctor Morgenes is officially employed as a scholar and physician by High King John, he's also a wizard of not-inconsiderable talent, albeit one who prefers to use his powers sparingly and not flaunt them. After John dies, his son Elias makes Pryrates his chief counselor. Subverted later in the series with the Duke of Nabban's advisor, the astrologer Xanassavin, who is presented as a quack, albeit one who occasionally gets lucky.
  • Myth Adventures: Skeeve becomes one early in the series. His mentor Aahz insists it's a cushy job, where all you have to do is show some parlor tricks and be a status symbol. As it turns out, the king expects Skeeve to single-handedly face down an invading army...
  • Prophecy Approved Companion: The Kingdom that the Evil Emperor took over, had court mages that apparently could not withstand his might.
  • The Queen of Ieflaria: Archmage Arran Eads, who is the liaison from the Temple of Talcia to the royal court (because Talcia is the Goddess of Magic). He's among the most powerful mages in Ieflaria, though Esofi thinks that isn't saying much since Ieflarians are weak in magic overall. Most of the time he isn't really concerned with magic, but medical science, and it's confusing for Esofi.
  • Raven of the Inner Palace: The Raven Consort fits this purpose. Despite her title, she performs no night time duties and does not serve the Emperor, and yet she is someone the Emperor and his Court consult with on mystical and supernatural matters. Magic is mysterious and awe inspiring in their world, but there's a reason she does not rule.
  • Redwall: Many vermin leaders have a seer on hand to explain their prophetic dreams, give advice, and keep the troops afraid with stage magic (multicolored smoke and explosions are popular). However, it's not a very desirable position, as they're just as likely to be victim of the warlord's mood swings, tantrums, and general bad temper.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: Pug's first master Kulgan in Magician served as this for Duke Boric of Crydee. Pug himself was Prince Arutha's court mage for a short period, though he more often showed up temporarily to provide advice in times of need. On the Tsurani side the Warlord had a pair of Great Ones who supported his political ambitions functioning very much like this, though the Tsurani Great Ones normally stand outside the political intrigues that a part of life in the Empire.
  • Schooled in Magic: Emily comes across several court wizards as she is traveling with Princess Alassa. The court wizard in Zangaria (Alassa's kingdom) is named Zed. He is a talented alchemist as well.
  • Second Apocalypse: The Imperial Saik are an entire order of court mages serving the Nansur Empire.
  • In Kathleen Duey's Skin Hunger it is mentioned that having a court mage became quite common after Somiss' formalized magic education and made it male-exclusive. (Beforehand, there were witches and wizards, of questionable skill, who offered their services on market places and the like.)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Melisandre serves as a combination of court mage/religious adviser/oracle to Stannis. In later books, Qyburn becomes this to Cersei, and Moqorro to Victarion. Danaerys briefly has Mirri Maz Duur, but it ends badly for both of them.
    • Generally, this position is filled by court scholars called maesters. Some of them study magic, but ultimately believe that it is fictional. Many of them are secretly hostile to it.
    • The Mad King Aerys used to have pyromancers at his court to make wildfire for him. He is obsessed with burning people, and has them make enough wildfire to burn King's Landing to the ground.
  • So This is Ever After: After becoming king, Arek appoints Matt, who's a mage, to be his.
  • Tales from Netheredge has Myr of the North (and previously his father Goren) serving as the court mage to the royal family of Bow.
  • In Tales From Verania, the protagonist Sam Haversford is the apprentice to the King's Wizard, and is supposed to someday serve his son, Prince Justin. Part of the conflict of the first book is that Justin is an asshole who Sam has to rescue from a horny dragon.
  • In Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell's The Tangled Lands, the Mayor is essentially the king of the great city of Khaim. Magister Scacz is the last great Magister in the world and for all his power, he has no interest in governing and only cares to use magic and prevent others from casting spells. As such he'll aid the Mayor completely as the two essentially share goals and are kindred spirits. While Scacz does some advising and planning, he and the Mayor are more like partners in crime than a superior and his subordinate.
  • Third Time Lucky: And Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World:
    • In "Third Time Lucky" Magdelene's son Tristan served as court wizard for a northern king.
    • In "The Last Lesson" her master Adar served another king this way too.
    • In "Be It Ever So Humble" Warlord Herrick attempts to coerce Magdelene herself into being his. It goes poorly for him.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, the courts of Alba, Morea and Daar as Salaam all keep hermeticists on staff to advise them with magical problems and perform whatever sorcery would be needed.
  • Uprooted: Wizards are required to register in the royal court of Polya and are de facto nobility. Those who remain in court advise the king on magical matters and include an Ultimate Blacksmith, a scholarly bishop, and a healer. Best exemplified by the Falcon, who's a politically active socialite and constant companion to Prince Marek.
  • Older Than Dirt: The Westcar Papyrus, dating from the late Middle Kingdom or Second Intermediate Period of ancient Egyptian history (c. 1650-1550 BCE), tells of the lector priest and magician Djadjaemankh, court magician to King Sneferu of the Old Kingdom Fourth Dynasty (from the 26th century BCE). Djadjaemankh was allusively associated with several wonders, but the only one that survives (from the story in the Westcar Papyrus) involves him parting the Nile to pick up a piece of jewelry a beautiful lady in Sneferu's service had dropped in the river during a pleasure cruise. Please note that while Djadjaemankh seems to be fictional, the lector priests in attendance at the ancient Egyptian royal court really were associated with magic (though their alleged abilities tended to be rather less impressive than Djadjaemankh's).
  • The Wheel of Time: Rulers commonly have an Aes Sedai advisor. Most of the time it's kept secret, however, because the Magical Society has a well-earned reputation for Exact Words and political manipulation.
  • Several examples in Tamora Pierce's books, with probably the straightest being Quenaill Shieldsman and Ishabal Ladyhammer of The Will of the Empress — Quenaill specialises in protective magic while Ishabal specialises in destructive magic. The plot of the book is the four leads trying to escape becoming this themselves. The Emperor of Yanjing has a whole fleet of court mages from all around the world, while Inoulia keeps Yarrun Firetamer around to protect her lands from wildfires. Sandry also acts as a court mage to her uncle, but also handles his finances, runs his household and handles entertaining at his castle.
  • The Witcher: Serving a term as a Court Mage for a minor lord is a standard step in a magician's career in the setting. High-ranking magicians are independent, but often advise kings and other rulers.
  • Wizard of Yurt: Daimbert serves as the Royal Wizard of Yurt. Other kingdoms also have a royal wizard-it's a standard position for them.
  • For good King Henry, the Wizard of Wizards, Warriors and You is the advisor and master artificer - dispensing advice and the occasional new weapon to the armory. When real danger threatens the kingdom, the Wizard and his friend, the Warrior become Henry's champions against all threats.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arabela has Mr. Vigo, although it seems to be more of an Informed Attribute, since we never see him performing any magic.
  • Game of Thrones: Melisandre to Stannis. She is a Red Priestess in the religion of R'hllor, the Lord of Light, who has magic powers and a close advisor to Stannis in his campaign to take the Iron Throne.
  • Surprisingly averted in the episode of Sliders where the heroes find a world where magic is real. However, played straight in another episode where they slide into a world where a significant percentage of the human population has Psychic Powers. After one of them foresees and warns Abraham Lincoln of his impending assassination, the President creates an official Cabinet position of Prime Oracle, which appears to be a lifetime appointment. Not only that, but the next Prime Oracle is chosen by the previous one, not by the current President. Presumably, he or she uses their abilities to pick someone who will not be corrupted by this position.
  • An episode of Legend of the Seeker has Zedd accidentally rewriting history with a spell and making Richard the ruler of not only D'Hara but also all of the known world. Apparently, Zedd is his court wizard. Interestingly, while Darken Rahl himself had a powerful wizard and hundreds of sorcerers in his employ, they don't really fit, as they were never present in his court. Rahl himself could cast some spells.
  • The Witcher (2019): Almost every single monarch in the setting has a wielder of magic at their court. Most of them are provided by the Chapter and trained at Aretuza or Ban Ard. Cintra stands out as they steadfastly refuse to accept a Chapter mage at their court, but have a druid filling the same role. Triss, Yennefer and Fringilla were three of those we see with this position, which lets them pull strings behind the scenes.


    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible ascribes court magicians to Pharaoh (Exodus 7 and 8) and to the King of Babylon (Daniel 1, 2, 4, and 5). Confirmed at least for Egypt by historical sources: a Pharaoh always had a court mage and a physician on the payroll — the latter was expected to perform mystical healing arts as well as mundane, thus overlapping the role somewhat. It's believed that the death of at least one Pharaoh was indirectly caused by a treacherous court mage removing the divine protection from him, and getting caught in the act — placebo can work in both ways (the negative effect is actually called "nocebo").
  • According to some historical interpretations, The Three Wise Men would have had this job (rather than being kings themselves, as in other interpretations) — they are specifically identified as magi (singular magus, and the word "magic", "magician" and numerous European words for "wizard" descend from), a Persian priestly caste of sorts who also practiced alchemy and astrology and were widely considered magic-users. This makes sense considering they are shown to be Astrologers who correctly interpret the Star of Bethlehem as signaling the birth of Jesus.
  • Merlin the Magician, of course, was King Arthur's advisor and councilor at court. Unquestionably the Trope Codifier.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Defied in Ars Magica, where the Order of Hermes prohibits its members from "interfering in the affairs of mundanes". This is in part to protect the somewhat open secret of their existence on the fringes of society; in part to avoid stepping on the Church's toes in a setting where divine powers are demonstrably real; and in part because the Gift of Magic causes innate distrust and disgust in people nearby, which causes quite enough problems outside a royal court.
  • Changeling: The Lost: The Office of Vizieral Counsel are an Entitlement based on serving as The Good Chancellor to their Court, but Viziers need to be well-trained in the occult and can learn new Contracts at a reduced XP cost. Their founder was a mad archmage who bound himself to service in order to preserve the last shred of his sanity.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Supreme Patriarch of the Imperial Colleges of Magic is responsible for advising the Emperor on all magical matters, though the Emperor's attempt to formalize the role with an Electoral seat was stymied by the sitting Electors. Informally, Thyrus Gormann remains the Emperor's trusted advisor even after being replaced as Supreme Patriarch by Balthasar Gelt.

  • Westeros: An American Musical: The court of Stannis, the most legitimate bidder for the throne, includes Melisandre, the only character in the story able to use magic.

    Video Games 
  • Rone from Avernum counts for the titular kingdom of that game, whereas Garzhad is the court mage for the Empire.
  • Battle for Wesnoth:
    • Delfador is a respected mage and the advisor to King Garard II in the backstory of Heir to the Throne, prior to Garard's death due to his son and Asheviere's betrayal. After Queen Asheviere is defeated, Delfador once again becomes the advisor mage to Li'sar. How he got the position is shown in Delfador's Memoirs.
    • Also in Delfador's Memoirs is Sagus, the predecessor to Delfador who was fired for dismissing Delfador's warnings about Iliah-Malal. In the final mission of the campaign, he is revealed to be Asheviere's father, and turned himself into a Lich out of bitterness and resentment over Delfador usurping his position.
    • Dacyn is a white mage and the advisor to King Konrad II in Eastern Invasion.
  • Evil Chancellor and Mad Scientist Lord Yuna serves this role to Emperor Soniel in Breath of Fire IV.
  • A staple in the Dragon Age series:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Mage Warden can become this as well as The Good Chancellor, for the new King or Queen of Ferelden. Another ending can similarly have them share this responsibility with Wynne.
    • In The Stolen Throne, Severan serves as this to the Usurper King Meghren. Since Meghren is completely insane, this means that he gets to run the country behind the scenes.
    • In Dragon Age II, a Mage Hawke unofficially serves the Viscount of Kirkwall in this role, becoming a legend throughout Thedas as the Apostate who rose from a simple refugee to become "The Champion of Kirkwall". Due to the fact that the "City of Chains" is known worldwide as a Templar stronghold, Knight-Commander Meredith was not happy that the people chose to embrace a Mage as their protector.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Vivienne was the former Court Enchanter of Orlais. While this originally more or less amounted to the role of a court jester who performs parlor tricks for nobles, she managed to make it into a role of influence. However, by the time of the game, the the title has been taken by Morrigan, something that Vivienne is still incredibly bitter about.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The office of Imperial Battlemage was created to serve as this to the Emperors of Tamriel. In addition to being a master sorcerer, the Imperial Battlemage also advises the Emperor on all matters of magic. Some of the more notable Imperial Battlemages in history:
      • Zurin Arctus served in this role to Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire who ascended to godhood after his death as the "Ninth Divine" Talos. Arctus brokered the armistice between Septim and the Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec which joined Morrowind to Septim's Empire as a Voluntary Vassal. In order to gain special favors for Morrowind, Vivec also traded Septim the Dwemer-crafted Humongous Mecha known as the Numidium. Septim tasked Arctus with powering and controlling it. In official Imperial dogma, Arctus put his own soul into an unimaginably powerful soul gem, known as the Mantella, to power the Numidium, but would betray Septim. According to (likely more-accurate) apocryphal stories, Arctus was instead Septim's Hypercompetent Sidekick and trapped the soul of a Shezarrine, Wulfharth Ash-King, in the Mantella instead. However, with his dying breath, Wulfharth killed Arctus, fusing the two into an undead being known as the Underking. After Septim used the Numidium to complete his conquest of Tamriel, he began using it in under-handed, backstabbing ways which infuriated the Underking. He destroyed the Numidium and flung the Mantella into Aetherius, the realm of magic, where it would become an important MacGuffin hundreds of years later during the events of Daggerfall.
      • Jagar Tharn served Emperor Uriel Septim VII in this role, but took it down the Evil Chancellor/Evil Sorcerer path. Tharn trapped Septim in a pocket realm of Oblivion and usurped his throne. Tharn then acted as the Big Bad in the events of Arena.
      • After the Tharn debacle, Uriel VII appointed the Altmer (High Elf) mage Ocato to this position. Ocato would also serve as High Chancellor of the Elder Council, performing exceptionally in both roles while acting as a Redeeming Replacement to Tharn. He was very much The Good Chancellor to Uriel, and later to his bastard son, Martin, after Uriel and his legitimate heirs were assassinated during the Oblivion Crisis. With no Septim heir remaining, Ocato exhausted every alternative option before reluctantly accepting the title of Potentate in accordance with the Elder Council Charter. He capably held the Empire together for 10 years before he was assassinated by Thalmor agents in a (successful) attempt to destabilize the Empire.
    • Skyrim:
      • Despite the Nords' racial dislike of magic and magic users, every major Hold (and two of the four minor Holds) have a Court Wizard serving the Jarl in this role. (Though that isn't to say they get the respect they deserve...) They serve as vendors for various magical spells and accessories, while their quarters/laboratories contain alchemy and enchanting stations. Most also serve as minor side-quest givers, with their quests generally involving magic or mystical occurances.
      • Farengar Secret-Fire, the Court Wizard of Whiterun, factors into the main quest as a dragon researcher. He also tries to take a sample of blood and scales from Odahviing when he's captured in Dragonsreach, but that doesn't end well. Farengar is also the only one (aside from the Jarl himself) who is aware of the ancient Daedric artifact they've got sealed in the basement of Dragonsreach.
      • Malur Seloth is actually the Jarl of Winterhold's steward, but dialogue seems to imply he fills this role as well. He's not actually a wizard - the Jarl just assumes he's connected to the College because he's a Dunmer.
  • Minwu the White Wizard from Final Fantasy II served as the court magician for the royal family of the kingdom of Fynn.
  • Kefka Palazzo, the Monster Clown Big Bad of Final Fantasy VI, serves this role to Emperor Gestahl.
  • Donald Duck holds this position at Disney Castle in Kingdom Hearts.
  • In The King of Dragons, atleast according to the SNES manual, the king of Malus has an advisor in the wizard Guindon.
  • Merlin reprises his usual role in Knights of the Round.
  • MySims Kingdom has a wizard named Marlon. He created the wands that are used to build various structures throughout the game at the behest of the king. He also teaches the player character how to use them.
  • If the Daughter from Princess Maker 2 is a good enough mage, has a decent Faith and her Intelligence is higher than her Sensitivity, one of her prospect endings will have her appointed as the Court Magician of her kingdom.
  • The King of Enrich from Shining the Holy Ark has two. His old trusted Good Chancellor; Sabato, and an evil old hag that turned up a few months ago (in which time the King has gone a bit strange); Rilix.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • In the backstory of Warcraft, the Court Conjurer of Stormwind, Nielas Aran, was such a powerful and talented mage that the Guardian Aegwynn believed he would be the perfect father for her successor Medivh. Aegwynn left their son for Nielas to raise. Things went pear-shaped when Nielas was slain by the backlash of Sargeras' and the Guardian's power awakening within Medivh. Medivh then took on his father's role, all the while working to destroy Azeroth under the influence of Sargeras.
  • A number of characters from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, including Dethmold, Sile de Tancarville and Triss Merigold.
    • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt depicts Yennifer of having become this for Nilfgaard, and it's an interesting case of both the Evil Chancellor and The Good Chancellor variants — Yenn is ultimately motivated by her own goals that are only marginally in alignment with Nilfgaard and she has no plans to remain loyal to them, but her own goals are pretty heroic (finding/protecting her adopted daughter). Thanks to the events of the previous game, the Kingdom of Redania has turned on mages, and Witch Hunters are actively hunting former Court Mages as their former station makes them notable enough to be made examples out of.
  • Yes, Your Grace: Partway through the game's second act, the Player Character will get a witch in his court. After her arrival, some petitioner demands will be better suited to her magic than the abilities of the army's general, who is initially the only character who can be sent out to deal with problems on location.

  • Aikonia: There was one, until the king killed him out of paranoia against mages.
  • Erfworld shows many examples of this trope with the side's casters. In Erf, casters are the units able to use magic and owners of special sense related to their discipline. They are popped randomly by a side and, although the respect they get is widely dependent on the side they popped in and their specific discipline, are generally considered a very useful asset. In sides with many casters there's even a position called: Chief Caster, which is a high rank position but still below Chief Warlord.
  • In Girl Genius it is said that Sparks used to work for nobles as court mages, until the industrial revolution gave them the opportunity to build armies and take over.
  • Svana Blackheart, the Castle Witch in Latchkey Kingdom, is a rare example of a Court Mage who also has to deal with mobs who want to Burn the Witch!.
  • Erik plays this role in the Kings War arc of Roommates, despite not having any magical abilities himself, because James who got promoted to Goblin Regent temporarily and also got the magic with it had absolutely no clue how the spellcasting thing works.
  • Suitor Armor: Magic is considered dangerous and high regulated in the kingdom the story takes place in. Court mage Norrix Gorelight is the only person licensed to practice it, until he takes the protagonist Lucia as an apprentice.

    Western Animation 
  • Waterbending Master Pakku could be seen as Avatar: The Last Airbender's version of this in the Northern Water Tribe, while the Earth Kingdom's Long Feng is a more malevolent version.
  • Sorcerio from Disenchantment fills the role but can't do any magic past card tricks. His motivation for helping the king catch Elfo is the hope that elf blood will let him do real magic.
  • Lord Viren from The Dragon Prince is explicitly the High Mage of the Kingdom of Katolis, and King Harrow's close friend and advisor (at first, anyway). He constantly looks for ways to solve the Kingdom's problems using Dark Magic (the only magic humans have ready access to, considered taboo by the magical denizens of Xadia since it drains the life force of creatures as a power source), something that the King finds increasingly problematic.
  • The Magus to Princess Katherine in Gargoyles. The Archmage previously held this position to her father, but was banished for attempting to usurp the throne with his powers.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Orko was a ridiculously powerful archmage in his home dimension but got stranded on Eternia, working as King Randor's jester because magic works differently on Eternia vs Trollia.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), Orko the Great was the court magician to King Grayskull one thousand years ago. The position of court magician continued in Eternos until King Randor eliminated the position when his court magician Evelyn attempted a coup against him alongside Prince Keldor and Kronis. He would reinstate the position after the Masters of the Universe save Eternos and named Teela his new court magician.
  • The Smurfs (1981) have Mordain serving King Argon in "The Good, The Bad, And The Smurfy", and Morlock serving Prince Theodore in "The Prince And The Hopper". Both are evil mages who seek to take over their kingdoms, and both were deposed from their positions with the help of the Smurfs.
  • Sofia the First Cedric. It’s been a family business for a while as well, with his ancestors being royal sorcerers. Early on, he uses it to try and take over Enchancia, but later has a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Naugus was originally this in Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). He was one of the few beings War Minister Julian Robotnik feared (because Julian's technology couldn't do jack against him), so when he decided to explore the Void Julian took the opportunity to leave him stuck there.
  • In ThunderCats (2011) Apart from being head of an order of Church Militant Praetorian Guards, Jaga holds this position in the court of Thundera's King Claudus, which means that all his subordinates are also Kung-Fu Wizard Magic Knights.

    Real Life 
  • As noted in Literature above, the lector priests who attended ancient Eygptian monarchs were the primary practicioners of ḥeka', i.e. "magic" as the Egyptians understood it. This largely consisted of reciting ritual spells invoking the gods at appropriate moments, which shows the extent to which the line between "court mage" and "court priest" can be blurry.
  • Astrologers:
    • Thrasyllus, Sr. and Jr. — court astrologers of Tiberius and Nero
    • Angelo Catto — court astrologer of Louis XI of France
    • Guido Bonatti — official astrologer of the city of Florence
    • Michel de Notredame (Nostradamus) — court astrologer of Catherine de Medicis
    • Lucas Gauricus — court astrologer of Popes Leo X and Clement VII
    • Galileo out of all people served as court astrologer (sensing a pattern here?) to the Grand Duke of Tuscany — astrology still being an accepted branch of astronomy during the 17th century.
    • Joan Quigley — astrologer whom Nancy Reagan consulted to help plan her husband's schedule while he was President of the United States.
  • Dr Faustus is often associated with the court of Charles V.
  • Dr. John Dee — magician associated with the courts of Elizabeth I of England, Stephen of Poland, and Ruldolph II of the Holy Roman Empire (also associated with Rabbi Loew, the creator of the Golem).
  • Rasputin the Mad Monk — A peasant born prophet he befriended the notoriously reclusive Romanov family, in part due to his alleged ability to heal Prince Alexei, who suffered from haemophilia. Back in the day, Rasputin was often depicted as an Evil Sorcerer manipulating the royal family for his own days. Nowdays, historians usually think he was simply a bizarre eccentric or charlatan who was scapegoated by the public for the royal family's controversial decisions to avoid lèse-majesté.