Wizard’s Library: Wizard’s Hall

Recently, my family went to a book sale at our local library and Cally discovered the book Wizard’s Hall, by Jane Yolen, a story about a boy’s first days in a magic school.

You can find great books at the library that you cannot find in a bookstore, that might not have a digital version, and that you might not look for anyway!

I recommend Wizard’s Hall if you can find it!

Chapter 5 - Rules

Wizard’s Hall

The Rules

Every realm of fantasy holds its own rules for the workings of magic.  The basic rules taught to the young studying magic, though we only hear a few of them in the book:
  • “Changing the face, but not the race.”
  • “Only girls can go widdershins.”
  • “Magic can’t happen unless it’s meant.”
  • “True Names must never be spoken aloud.”

The power of knowing a True Name.

“All things have a True Name.”  Knowing the True Name can give you power over that person or thing.  It generally means you know and understand them; the name generally relates to their true nature.

The True Name magic isn’t a new concept; it’s been referenced and used in religion, Egyptian mythology, and folk tales.  It’s something that’s been used many times in fantasy stories.

Cover of "Wizard's Hall" by Jane Yolen

Courses available to first years at the school.

For such a short story, the magic system in Wizard’s Hall was elaborate and thought provoking.  Though we don’t get an in depth look at the different courses, many are mentioned in the book:
  • Spelling
  • Names
  • Transformations
  • Curses

School of wizardry, no witchcraft.

Interestingly, the main character is a young boy with unkempt hair and no knowledge of magic. His friends include a know-it-all girl, and a tall red-headed boy with freckles!

This book was published in 1991, six years before the first Harry Potter novel.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you read Wizard’s Hall?
  2. Have you read any other fantasy novels that involve the main characters learning magic in a school or academy?

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