Before the novel officially begins, Lani has included no fewer than four epigraphs:
Some people are magic. . .While others are just the illusion of it.
– Beau Taplin
I imagine that this statement was intended to mean something along the lines of “some people are really awesome and worth knowing, but others just seem like they are and are actually not worth your time. Which I guess is true enough; I’m sure everyone has met someone who seemed really cool, but ended up being disappointing for some reason or another.
However, there are no such characters in “Handbook for Mortals: Book 1 of the series”. So really, This quote being included makes no sense unless it’s literally taken as a kind of world-building statement: In this novel, the protagonist, Zade, and her mother are the only people who can do actual magic. There are the illusionists, but all of them end up being pretty cool dudes. I would say more about this, but giving examples would be spoilers, and I’m sure you don’t want those.
It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.
– Terry Pratchett
Well, yeah? I get that this quote is saying that knowing how something works doesn’t make it any less wonderful, but in this novel, the big secret about the protagonist’s magic is. . . that it actually is magic. Poorly defined, omnipotent magic. And the importance of protecting the mechanics behind the actual illusions is touched upon several times, so this one really doesn’t reflect any sort of theme.
I like the night. Without the dark we would never see the stars.
– Stephanie Meyer
As far as I can tell, this quote is only here because in one scene, Zade and one of her suitors stargaze a little bit. There is no thematic significance of needing bad times to emphasize the good, or anything.
Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny.
– CS Lewis
As SomethingAwful user chitoryu12 points out in their sporking of HfM, this is not actually a quote from C.S. Lewis (at least, nothing resembling it exists within The Chronicles of Narnia; you can search the PDF for yourself if you don’t believe me). In fact, it is the tagline for the film version of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, although it appears that this quote has really resonated with a lot of people because if you google it, you get a lot of pintrest/instagrammy image macros.
It’s still nonsensical, though, because journeys kind of by definition take us far from home, and everything we do by definition “leads us to our destiny.” But it sounds important and cool, I guess. Those Google results don’t lie.
So here is what we have learned from the epigraph:
- Lani Sarem doesn’t understand the purpose of epigraphs
- No one checked to make sure all of these quotes were attributed to the right person.