I have been reading The Wheel of Time books, and found the Seanchan Damanes to be very similar to The Tethered Mage books, where magic is rare and strictly controlled (even with minders that use devices to control the magic). I also saw a very similar control of magic in The Fifth Season where Guardians controlled the Orogenes' use of magic.

Is there a clear origin to this trope of strictly controlled magic (typically wielded by women) and a non-magic class that controls the wizards/witches?

  • Are you asking just about cases where the magic is under control of the source, but their actions are compelled, or also cases where the source is used essentially as a battery, but the use of the magic is performed by someone else?
    – DavidW
    Dec 9, 2021 at 16:11
  • I hadn't come across the second case before. I was asking here specifically about cases where "magic is under control of the source, but their actions are compelled", but would be interested in both now that I know more!
    – spardy
    Dec 9, 2021 at 16:15
  • 1
    The first instance of the latter that I can think of offhand is probably Norton's Witch World (1963) where after they are married Jaelithe basically loses her ability to do magic except that she can assist Tregare's magic.
    – DavidW
    Dec 9, 2021 at 16:18
  • Posting this question on Reddit led me to the "oppressed magic" trope which has a lot written on it and then tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuperHumanTrafficking which lists Hercules as a plausible origin of this trope.
    – spardy
    Dec 10, 2021 at 17:13


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