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Magical Romani

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One common stereotype attributed to Romani is their relationship to the supernatural, especially witchcraft and fortune-telling. This stereotype can be used to exoticize them as easily as it can be used to demonize them. It's usually attributed to women, but it's not unheard of in men.

This character often is a Hot Gypsy Woman if they're a Hot Witch, while fortune tellers are more likely to be mysterious old women.

May be a Discredited Trope, as it tends to stem from less-than-flattering ethnic stereotypes. There's some Values Dissonance to this trope as in some regions (such as the Americas), more specifically in regions without a large Romani population or history with Romani, they're often not viewed as an ethnicity and thusly this stereotype isn't usually deemed as offensive as other ethnic stereotypes.


Related to Fortune Teller and sub-trope to Ethnic Magician. Supertrope to Gypsy Curse (which they may cast). Compare to Magical Negro, Magical Asian, Magical Jew, and Magical Native American for other ethnic minorities associated with magic and/or wisdom. Sister trope to Roguish Romani. See Wandering Culture.


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    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, one of Marvel's preeminent magic users, is a Romani woman raised in the fictional Wundagore Mountain alongside her twin brothernote . It turns out that her significant magical power is in part due to an elder god in the mountain imparting some of his power onto her. Volume 2 later explains that the "Scarlet Witch" title and powers are passed down through Wanda's family, so there is a definite undercurrent of magic in the tribe's history.
    • Doctor Doom, arch-nemesis of the Fantastic Four, is the son of a folk healer father and a Romani witch mother. Upon perusing his slain mother's heirlooms, young Victor von Doom discovered his heritage, and fervently studied the arcane arts to the point where Doom has the esteem of Doctor Strange.
    • Lilia Calderu is known as the "Witch-Queen of the Gypsies", the keeper of the Book of Cagliostro. She's one of the allies of Doctor Strange and half-niece of Baron Mordo, as well one of the most powerful witches in Europe.
    • Nightcrawler's adoptive mother and sister, Margali and Jimaine Szardos, are powerful Romani sorceresses as well. Margali was even briefly Sorcerer Supreme.
  • The DCU:
    • Madame Xanadu is a 'good witch' who'd help people out with their supernatural difficulties. Seen as first as a Fortune Teller, later is revealed she was Nimue and the sister of Morgana Le Fay, being an important character for all DC's magical universe.
    • Cindy Reynolds of the Justice League of America has illusion-casting powers and is of Romani descent. She invokes this with her superhero name, Gypsy.
    • In DC Comics Bombshells, Zatanna (the heroes' primary magic user) is of Jewish/Romani descent.
    • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Zenna Persik is a "gypsy" woman whose family was almost entirely wiped out by the Nazis and who uses her magic to track and kill Nazis who escaped justice. She also uses it to attack superheroes for no apparent reason.
  • My Little Pony: Gypsy is a unicorn who loves tambourine playing. She has a gift for magic and fortune-telling.

    Eastern Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Wanda Maximoff as Romani on her mother's side, and she's an extremely powerful sorceress - and mutant, as it happens. Not only that, but while she inherited her mutant powers from her German-Jewish father, she inherited the magic from her mother's Romani clan, with it being noted that they've provided some senior White Council practitioners in the past. However, being raised by Doctor Strange from the age of 13 means that she has practically no overt cultural signs, much less the associated magical stereotypes - Harry doesn't even realise that English isn't her native language until she points it out in the sequel, as she speaks it flawlessly (the same way, she notes, that he speaks Russian - though there were different reasons for that).
  • Pinkie Pie in Friendship is Witchcraft is Romani, though she initially denies it. She has magical abilities, which wouldn't be unusual in the setting if she wasn't an earth pony instead of a unicorn.
  • In Anastasia/Quasimodo – We Hit a Wall, Lady Tremaine falsely accuses her husband's mistress Esmeralda of putting a Gypsy Curse on her children. This leads to Esmeralda being executed. Lady Tremaine's kids run away due to the shame and shock.
  • The Harry Potter fic A Different Future has Harry being adopted by a family of wizarding Gypsies when the Dursleys try to abandon him on the steps of a church. They give him an potion to make him look more like one of the family and the name Alex, pretending that he is the twin brother of their daughter Beth. The author has clearly done some research on the Romani and shows them in a good light, and it's mentioned that Harry's adoptive grandparents survived The Holocaust.
  • The description of Silent Dreamer by TheNight130 describes the roma Esmeralda as either a witch or a demon.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Romanis are associated with fortune-telling. Esmeralda uses some mundane magic tricks as a part of her acts, such as using puffs of smoke to disappear. After she turns away Frollo's advances, he accuses her of seducing him with actual witchcraft and tries to have her burned.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Subverted in Countess Dracula, where the titular countess lures a fortune teller into her chambers. She does a Tarot reading for Elizabeth, not once guessing that she's about to become her next victim.
  • The Little Mermaid (2018) has Thora the fortune teller, who's also telekinetic and capable of stopping time. While her being Romani is never stated, she's dressed in the traditional aesthetic.
  • The Wolf Man (1941) - a tribe of Romani are there to give convenient exposition that what's happening to Larry is that he's turning into a werewolf. The tribe's matriarch, Maleva, also displays the power to temporarily turn a werewolf back into its human form.

  • Professor Leo Chin from Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria is half-Romani on his mother's side, though he rejects that side of his heritage. His knowledge of magic comes from his childhood experiences in Romania. His Romani heritage also puts him at conflict with the titular cats as he was raised with the superstition that cats are evil.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: The fantasy Alternate History setting's version of the Roma are the Tsingani people, some of whom have the gift of dromonde, which lets them speak prophecy and see into the past. There is some In-Universe lore behind it: According to legend, the Tsingani were cursed to wander the earth for refusing hospitality to an Angel Unaware, and Mother Earth granted the dromonde so that they could "see truer" next time.
  • Jane Eyre: A Romani fortune teller visits the estate at one point, and Jane has her fortune told. The fortune teller winds up being Rochester in disguise.
  • In the science fiction Liaden Universe, the Bedel are a group of space travelers who are characterized as Gypsies In Space. They have a number of mystical-seeming abilities due to Magic from Technology. Also, one of the ways they make money is by doing fortune-telling for non-Bedel, but that's explicitly said to be a confidence trick; some of their elders do have a limited ability to see the future, but they wouldn't waste it on outsiders.
  • Villains by Necessity: The old Gypsy woman whom Kaylana consults with works as a fortune teller and uses a crystal ball to see the party's futures (admittedly vaguely).
  • In Stephen King's Thinner the main character has the titular curse placed on him by a Romani woman's tribe after he escapes justice for running over and killing her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Highlander: Duncan flashes back to a fling he had with a young Romani woman. She gets angry with him and storms out for no apparent reason, though he soon get an explanation... she accidentally read his palm, which revealed that he would love many women, but marry none. Believing he was stringing her along when he did fully intend to marry her, her family forces Duncan to leave. Remembering this, Duncan asks Tessa, his current lover, to marry him. She doesn't survive the episode.
  • Riverdale: Downplayed. Cheryl Blossom's grandmother Rose is revealed to be of Romani descent, and at point does a traditional ritual over Polly, who is pregnant with Jason's Blossom's child, with which she predicts Polly will give birth to twins. Alice Cooper denounces it as occultism, but everyone else treats it as just a tradition. She does turn out to be right, however, twins are quite common in the Blossom line.
  • Subverted with Jenny Calendar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is of Romani descent; her Anglicized surname stands in for Kalderash, the Romani group she is from, but prefers technology and modern means over the old magic ways. It was her clan's magic that cursed Angel to have a soul, so when Angel manages to break the curse by having a moment of true happiness with Buffy, Jenny tries to find a solution. She tries to translate the old curse using technology so it can be used again, but Angelus finds out what she's doing and brutally snaps her neck.
  • The 10th Kingdom of course features a fortune teller and magic-using Romani tribe. Despite it being a fairy tale universe, their magic is shown to be dark and mysterious. They imprison magical talking birds to help in their spells so, when Virginia frees them, they punish her with a Gypsy Curse to get hair that never stops growing.
  • Charmed (1998) has an episode "The Eyes Have It" in which a Romani tribe is being hunted down by an enemy they defeated years ago. They're portrayed as having similar powers to the witches - of course with an emphasis on clairvoyancy. The ones with powers are referred to as Shuvanis - which is indeed a term for a wise woman in Romani culture.
  • Gets a somewhat unfortunate mention in the second episode of Constantine, where John says in passing, "There's nothing darker than Gypsy magic." Keep in mind this man regularly deals with Hell.
  • The Romani characters on Peaky Blinders are generally considered (in-universe, at least) to have some degree of second sight. In the first season, for example, when the Lee family put a curse on a horse Tommy bought from them, he doesn't think twice before shooting it.
  • A Romani woman claims to have put a curse on Inspector Brackenreid in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "The Black Hand", although since this is the same conversation where she sarcastically calls herself "Queen of the Gypsies", she's probably just playing up to the stereotype.

  • In the song "Love Potion #9", the singer, who is "a flop with chicks", goes to a "gypsy" named Madame Ruth, who mixes him a vile potion over which she makes "a magic sign". When he drinks it, he starts "kissing everything in sight"—including the beat cop.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ariel in WWE's version of ECW was introduced as a Romani fortune teller who was then bitten by Kevin Thorn to become a vampire.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Old World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade, Clan Gangrel was said to be on fairly good terms with the Romani, who had some vaguely-alluded-to mystical powers. When they finally got a sourcebook expanding on them, it was unfortunately filled with incredibly racist stereotypes. Clan Ravnos is more or less "stereotypical pop culture Gypsy as vampire with illusion magic."
    • There was also a release called World of Darkness: Gypsies, a whole book on the Rom people and their long fight against the creatures of darkness, including their sensitivity to the spiritual and magic abilities. You could even make a "gypsy" character to play in game. It was one of the earliest World of Darkness releases and is very much considered an Old Shame.
  • Changeling: The Lost: "Grandma Mara" the elderly Fortune Teller and charm saleswoman deliberately dresses like a Roma stereotype when she sets up her tent. She's actually a True Fae who Exploits the stereotype to impress her marks, whom she manipulates with mind-reading and Fate magic.
  • Ravenloft: The Vistani are very much based on the portrayal of Romani in Gothic Horror novels (and the Universal and Hammer horror films they inspired). They're mysterious and alien to most citizens of The Land of Mists, and are able to traverse the famously-unnavigable realm with relative ease. Some of them are just ordinary nomadic folk making their way in the world. . . but some work for the various evil beings of the land, up to and including some Darklords.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Strigany are the nomadic descendants of the people of Strigos, an ancient human nation that was ruled by vampires. The fortune-telling Strigany mystics maintain the true history of their people, which happens to include some genuine necromantic lore.

    Video Games 
  • Rose from Street Fighter Alpha is an Italian Fortune Teller who was born from the good half of M. Bison's soul when he purged it from himself. She wields the "Soul Power", which is the good version of Bison's Psycho Power.
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations somehow manages to both avert and exploit this trope at once. One of the sidequests involves a Romani woman who is having trouble with the guards because everyone thinks of her and her people as witches (which is not the case). Her solution? Take a expensive-looking chest and have Ezio poison everyone who goes after it to convince them that it's actually cursed. It works spectacularly.
  • Ultima IV opens with you, the Featureless Protagonist, approaching a traveling fair and entering the fortuneteller's tent, where an "old gypsy" woman administers a Player Personality Quiz to you and then teleports you to the parallel world of Britannia (with your exact destination depending on the results of said quiz).
  • Romani magic features in two of the Last Half of Darkness games, and is very creepy, although also of aid to the player.
  • Wind Child Black has Alexia, who belongs to the Chergari tribe, has the ability to see the past and present in her dreams, has some skill as a thief and con artist, and can oddly enough use storm magic, something unusual for not only other Chergari, but for nearly anyone else in the world, save the Black Knight.
  • Zig-Zagged in Psychonauts. The Aquatos are a family of traveling Romani performers with a vocal contempt for psychics. Half of them are secretly psychic themselves, including the protagonist, Razputin. This does not make for a healthy family dynamic. Tensions only escalate when Razputin rejects the "Romani" part of his identity to embrace "Magical" half by running from his family circus to join the eponymous psychic spy organization.
    Frazie: We had to hightail it out into the woods because you're ashamed of being an Aquato!
    Razputin: I'll stop being ashamed of that, if you stop being ashamed of being psychic!

  • In El Goonish Shive, the shop monster is portrayed like this having the characteristics of a Romani woman and selling magical artifacts.

    Web Original 
  • Cat Ghost: Elon and her mentor Malone traveled around Colonial America in a wagon, all the while practicing witch-craft. Elon's presence in Gideon, Beth, and Naarah's town brought fears of Romani activity along with it.