By: Rachel Lyle, May 19th, 2017
In Uprooted by Naomi Novik wizards tend to have a type of magic that is concentrated on one area of magic such as healing, or medicinal magic or plant, or earth magic. Each wizard has a wizard name based on what their concentration of magic is, such as the Raven, or the Falcon. Most wizards can be taught their magic and taught the mechanics of it and how to use it and how do produce spells.
Agneiska has a concentration of magic that seems to focus mostly on healing but in general she can do all magic well and doesn’t do one kind of magic better than the others. She can also not be taught magic the way most wizards can and her magic seems to be more of a “natural” kind of magic. She does need to be taught and teaching won’t help her in any way. She just does things with magic and she does not know or remember how does it or what she does but she does it right and does it well.
The Dragon who is the wizard that has taken Agneiska to live with him and under whom she is apprenticing does not at first think like the fact that her magic is more “natural” and she cannot be taught to use her magic or taught how to perform magic,
“What made you pick this up?” he demanded. “It was full of notes!” I said. “I thought it must be important.” “It is not important,” he said, although for how angry he seemed over it, I didn’t believe him. “It is useless— it has been useless, for all five hundred years since it was written, and a century of study has not made it anything other than useless.” “Well, it wasn’t useless today,” I said, folding my arms across my chest. “How did you know how much rosemary to use?” he said “How much lemon?” “You used all sorts of amount, in those tables!” I said “I supposed it didn’t much matter.” “The tables are of failures, you blundering imbecile!” he shouted, “None of them had the least effect — not in any parts, not in any admixture, not with any incantation — What did you do?” I stared at him. “I used enough to make a nice smell, and steeped them to make them stronger. And I used the chant on the page.” “There is no incantation here!” he said. “Two trivial syllables with no power—” “When I sang it long enough, it made the magic flow,” I said. “I sang it to ‘Many Years,” I added. He went even more red and indignant. (Pgs. 87-88).
He does not agree with her methods of figuring out how to use her magic and he also does not believe that her magic does not have a specific concentration type to it. He believes because she is good at healing spells and incantations she has to be a healing wizard.
I believe that this dislike for her magic being different from his magic is stemmed from a secret, hidden prejudice that he has subconsciously. I believe that he is sexist against women and doesn’t realize it until now and later in the book tries to fix to make amends for it. In my opinion he believes that since she is a woman she can be taught, so she can be taught how to use her magic properly and taught how to hone her magic. Since she can be taught she can be taught the way he was, so he should be able to teach her the way he wants to and in ways in which he was taught. He thinks she can be taught the methods to use her magic and her skills the way he was and can have the same type of magic he does, the learned and perfected type.
I think that he believes that women are inferior and so they can be taught by men to obey men and to be the way men want them to be. Because of his belief in this he thinks that he can teach her to have magic the same way he has magic and the same type of magic that he has and he train her in a way to use magic like he does because this is the way he wants her to be. He believes because she is a woman he can make her concentrate on healing magic and teach her magic to make her be good at healing magic.
I believe that the Dragon has a subconscious sexist prejudice against women which causes him to believe he can make Agneiska the kind of wizard he wants because she is a woman.