Laws of Magic

The Seven Laws of Magic are the rules set in place by the White Council for all practitioners of magic. More than that, they appear to be intrinsic to the nature of magic. Those that violate the Laws quickly find themselves on a slippery slope in which they are unable to control their own action (and become unplayable) if they don’t meet the business end of a Warden’s sword first. The Laws do not apply to magic arising from sources other than within oneself (though getting power from an Outsider breaks the Seventh law) so the Winter Knight for example might use Unseelie Magic to kill without losing control. The Unseelie Accords technically protect non-spellcasters from the Wardens if they violate the Laws but the lawbreaker may still face punishment from his own faction or even be sacrificed to avoid the wrath of the White Council.

Thou shalt not kill by use of magic. A plea of self-defense is allowed in mitigation, though it seems to work only rarely. Probation is only granted if another wizard is willing to tie their life to the warlock’s. Wardens often wield swords when detaining and executing warlocks to avoid a technical infraction of this Law. The use of magic to kill non-human beings, on the other hand, is lawful; a wizard may, for example, use magic to kill a vampire, a ghoul or any being of the Nevernever without breaking this Law. Note that this is explicit to magic. A wizard may freely kill people through non-magical means without violating the First Law though doing so is likely to create lots of other problems.

Thou shalt not transform others. This specifically forbids transforming the body of another person through the use of magic. A ‘person into newt’ spell would be a violation of this. Changing one’s own body is a bit of a gray area and changing the body in a way that would be natural (healing spells and the like) is typically OK.

Thou shalt not invade the mind of another. This law forbids the use of magic for reading the thoughts of another living human. Reading emotions might be accepted and the Soulgaze that occurs whenever a wizard locks eyes with another mortal is not a violation.

Thou shalt not enthrall another. Enthrallment is the term for magically dominating another through binding their will to one’s own. It is not the same as compelling non-human beings through arrangements or exchanges; if the wizard does not actually control the being’s mind through magic, the Law is not broken. It is implied that this is one of the Laws which extends to wizards acting upon denizens of the Nevernever.

Thou shalt not reach beyond the Borders of Life. This Law prohibits both research into and the practice of necromancy, described as the summoning, binding and exploitation of the unwilling dead. The Law applies specifically to human necromancy, though it is implied that the distinction for use upon animals is all the same frowned upon. It is unknown if this rule would apply to dead non-human sentients, as most inhabitants of the Nevernever are ectoplasmic and not of flesh. Communicating with spirits of the dead who are willing to do so is not a violation of this law. The manipulation of ghosts is a gray area as they are simply reflections of once-living beings.

Thou shalt not swim against the Currents of Time. This prohibits any attempt to change the past through temporal manipulation for fear of paradoxes. Even magical prediction is frowned upon except in the vaguest, most general forms.

Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates. What the “Outer Gates” are is unknown, but the implication is that they mark the furthest boundaries of Dresden’s multiverse. Beings from beyond the Gates are known as Outsiders, and are among the deadliest known threats to humanity – their existence itself is antithetical to the universe. Summoning Outsiders is a full violation and even attempting research can be a violation, making this the only law that can be violated without even using magic. The Gatekeeper of the Senior Council is given certain exemption from this law as it is his duty to monitor the Outer Gates.

Laws of Magic

Dresden Files: Shades of Gray Weatherwax