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I'm nearing the end of The Twilight Watch, book 3 of Lukyanenko's Watch series, and the following sentences caught my attention:

People can't get by without Others. Put two people on an uninhabited island, and you'll have a human being and an Other.

This is from Story 3, Chapter 5, before it's been confirmed that human beings can be turned into Others. It's part of Anton's internal monologue, and the way it's written makes it sound like common knowledge, not anything radical or controversial like the idea of turning a human being into an Other. And yet, it does sound like this is implying Others will be created in the absence of other Others.

Does this quote mean that a human can become an Other naturally in special circumstances? Or is there something I'm missing which is covered in more advanced lore in later books?

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That depends on how you define "Other".

  • If you mean ability to enter the Twilight, that seems to require a certain minimal threshold of "magical temperature" - if neither person on the island reaches it, neither will be able to enter the Twilight, even if their magical potential is slightly different.

  • However, normal people can theoretically do "magical"/Other things even with non-Twilight-level potential - for example we see Muggles create mini-Infernos (e.g. Alysa's mother in book 2). In other words, if you mean "Other" as "able to leverage the magical energy differential to do things", people with slightly lower "magical temperature" can be "Others", just won't have the power to do anything spectacular like throw fireballs etc... You don't even need an island per se; just no nearby higher-power Others to siphon off excess energy.

In order to uplift a normal human into a Twilight-entering Other, you need special action:

  1. The Fuaran incantation

or

  1. MAAAYBE special action by the Twilight itself (since the Twilight can willy-nilly change Others' magical potentials, like it does with the Mirror Other or Two-Faced god, it stands to reason it can raise the potential from zero as well).

  • OK, this is interesting. I hadn't realised there were different ways to define "Other", with either a clear threshold or not. I may need to have another look through the books and try to work out if/where/how "Other" is actually defined there, and where these issues are covered. – Rand al'Thor Mar 15 '17 at 1:17
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I believe that in the same book you will find the secret of the Other's power:

They have lower "magical temperature" than normal humans, so it lets them suck "the heat" from humans.

So if you'd put two people on an island, one would have slightly lower "temperature", therefore making him/her an "Other" (although an extremely weak one, without any powers).

"the Sixth Watch" (the last book in the series) answers this more literally by telling you the origin of the Others:

Vampires and shapeshifters were the first Others, when ancient shamans, priests or simply insane people found that eating flesh/drinking blood of humans can give them power. Twilight (or part of it) is also concious and can give power to anyone it wills.

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In "Sixth Watch" there's depiction of what would happen if Others were killed off. This would raise global "magical temperature" because Others lower it and drain off the magic. Those of "normal" people with lowest "temperature" (closest to being uninitiated Others and already having bonuses because of this) would found themselves on the other side of the median, being currently strongest acceptors of magic, and those who'd initiate themselves would become new Others. With time new, stronger Others would be born and temperature would lower again.

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