I have vague recollections of a fantasy novel (or series) where the training for the magic system requires holding as many contradictory thoughts as possible at once. If I remember correctly, this correlates to how many magic spells the protagonist can cast at once.

  • 2
    Could it be Patrick Rothfuss, The Kingkiller Chronicle? IIRC, this was one of Kvothe's early training exercises while he was still with the troupe of Edema Ruh.
    – Niall C.
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:21
  • @NiallC. I definitely read them, and the system of magic looks right. Feel free to add an answer and unless something else comes up that fits my memory better I'll accept it shortly.
    – Sam DeHaan
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


This sounds like the 'Sympathy' magic system which exists in Patrick Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle, which involves Alar, described here as

to believe something so strongly as to give it the force of reality.

Once Kvothe had mastered believing one thing enough to perform Sympathy with it, one of his training exercises was to believe two or more things, again with the goal of being able to perform Sympathy.

  • I'll search for and add some corroborating quotations from the books later. I have the dead tree editions though, so it might take me a little while.
    – Niall C.
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:56
  • The opening bit where Abenthy trains him in this technique is good. "I want you to believe that the rock will fall up." It bent my brain just listening to it.
    – Radhil
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:25
  • He teaches him to keep believing the rock won't fall when he lets it go. When he finally manages to keep believing it even though he just watched the rock fall, the teacher smirks at him at says "Now, I want you to believe both that the rock will and will not fall"... I stared at that line for a few minutes before I found my jaw and moved on :D Mar 14, 2015 at 5:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.