Win or Die
Magic is a little understood force in the world. It has been so long since magic was truly potent that most understanding of it only lives on in superstition and rituals of questionable validity. Blood, life, and death seem to be keys that can help unlock the secrets of magic.
In Westeros and most of the lands west of Valyria, magic is held to be a mythical force only. The maesters of the Citadel may apply for a Valyrian steel link for the study of magic, but they believe it to have faded away following the Doom of Valyria, since there has been no record of its use in Westeros since that time.
Magic has remained a potent force in Qarth, where the enigmatic warlocks of the House of the Undying, are said to possess great powers. All manner of sorcerers, necromancers, spellsingers, aeromancers, and more are said to gather and practice their arts in the lands by the Jade Sea and Asshai by the Shadow.
Some of the abilities exhibited by those who practice magic are:
- Elemental control: Firemages and the Red priests of R'hllor seem able to control the element of fire, being able to evoke fire with their bare hands in order to engulf their weapons in flames, to use the fire alone as a means to attack enemies, or just to amaze crowds. The wizards of the Rhoynar were able to use water magic to manipulate water, such as the river Rhoyne. It is possible that other wizards and sorcerers know ways of using other elements.
- Divination: Some people exhibit the ability to see the future either through dreams or looking in the fire in the case of the followers and priests of the Lord of Light. This is called greensight if following the way of the old gods or dragon dreams if it is done by a Targaryen.
- Warging: The ability to enter the mind of an animal and control its actions. It is a rare ability with only one man in a thousand being born a Warg. Having the blood of the First Men may make it more likely for someone to be a Warg.
- Raising the dead: Some followers of R'hllor have been capable of performing the extraordinary feat of raising a man from the dead after performing the last kiss. However the reborn person may have difficulty remembering parts of their past life or exhibit a change in personality. The revived additionally still have any wounds incurred before their passing.
- Necromancy: Some are rumored to dabble in necromancy, the ability to raise the dead as mindless automatons bound to serve a specific purpose.
- Glamoring: Some wizards and sorcerers can change their appearance or the appearance of others by using light and shadow. Some glamors are associated with specific objects. Years of practice can be needed for effective glamor use.
Other than the children of the forest, who said to be strong in magic, native magic in Westeros is much rarer. In days past, the greenseers of the children possessed incredible powers over nature, including warging, slipping into the minds of beasts, and greensight, the power to foretell the future. Though the children of the forest and their greenseers have long passed from Westeros, there are still descendants of the First Men who possess those powers.
The knowledge of the the existence of warts is exceedingly rare in Westeros, except perhaps among the free folk that live beyond the Wall.
Members of the Alchemists' Guild know some sort of magical ritual involving the making of wildfire, and possibly smiths who re-work Valyrian steel know something of the arcane as well.
All Valyrian magic was rooted in blood and fire. It is said that they could set dragonglass candles to burning with strange, unpleasantly-bright light. With the obsidian candles, they could see across vast distances, look into a man's mind, and speak with one another though they were half the world apart.6 It is often said that the old wizards of Valyria did not cut and chisel stone, but worked it with fire and magic as one might work clay. The people of Valyria were very strong in magic, and they would use their powerful wizards and their dragons in conjunction with their armies to conquer most of the eastern continent. Dragons were controlled by whips, magic horns and sorcery.
In the flesh pits of Gogossos Valyrian blood mages mated animals to slave women to bring forth half-human creatures.
In Qarth, the enigmatic warlocks of the House of the Undying practice curious rituals. Shadowbinders, spellsingers, and aeromancers from Asshai are capable of great and terrible feats.
Blood magic is said to be darkest and possibly the most powerful of magics. They have dark spells to save a man from death, though some say death is cleaner.