Friday, November 8, 2019

Magical Powers I Wish I Had (For Totally Mundane Purposes)

Everyone wants magical powers, am I right? Or superpowers, if you prefer that term — they're honestly about the same thing, just with slightly different connotations and sources. Anyway. We frequently pick the powers we'd want based on sheer Rule of Cool — I mean, how absolutely storming awesome would it be to be able to fly or shoot fire from your hands or use most standard forms of gravity manipulation? But at the same time, most of those would be pretty impractical or even dangerous if you're not a superhero or fantasy adventure hero. And then there are powers that might not be flashy but would actually be incredibly helpful for the average person (and some that are flashy or cool but would still be really useful even in the every day). Today, I thought I'd highlight a few of those powers that I'd particularly like to have, not because I want to have adventures but because they'd make my life easier or better. And, just to make things a little more interesting, I'm going to limit myself to only specific powers from books, movies, and so on, so I can't just wish for generic time manipulation (because we all know that's the best superpower).

Magical Powers I Wish I Had
(For Totally Mundane Purposes)

  1. Ashna's color manipulation (Lady Dragon, Tela Du). Some of you may be asking "Sarah, what the heck? Why is this topping your list?" And to that I ask: why is it not topping yours? Maybe it doesn't solve the "big problems" that some of the other items on this list will deal with, but if I had this power, I would use it literally every single day. Or at least a couple times a week. It has basically a million applications. Can't find a matching or coordinating outfit for the day? Bored of the color of your phone or laptop case or backpack? Change it, then change it back later! Thinking of dying your hair but not sure if you want to commit? No problem, and no expense! Colors just won't come out right on the poster you're working on? No need to spend your whole print quota trying to fix it! Just nip in and adjust them on the print you've got. Boom. (Obviously this won't work if you have a large number of items, but if it's just a few things, you're fine.) And just think of the possibilities for cosplay! All you have to do is find or make pieces that are the right shape or fit, then change the color to suit. We've already mentioned the possibility for hair color, and if you're cosplaying, say, Gamora or some other character with a non-human skintone? No need for body paint or makeup! You have the power! Storms, you could even make money off of it. So, yeah; this is about as non-flashy as you can get, but it takes the cake for most practical magical power.
  2. Sliding/Subsuming, aka Bendalloy Twinborn Compounder (Mistborn: The Alloy Era). Y'all knew this one was going to be on the list. For the uninitiated, Sliding in the Mistborn world is the ability to create a "bubble" in which time is expanded (giving yourself more time relative to the outside world). Subsuming is the power to basically store energy for later without having to do the whole convert-it-to-fat-and-burn-it thing. Either on their own is pretty great, but if you can use them both, it would be the the second-best-power ever, possibly the best power ever, for someone like me. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, if you have both the Allomantic and Feruchemical versions of a metal power, you can get ten times as much power on the Feruchemical side. So, basic M.O. with this power:
    1. Eat whatever the heck I want and, instead of it all turning to fat and making my life more difficult, I store everything except what I really need in my metalminds (the pieces of metal used to store Feruchemical power). Boom, I've already eliminated one source of stress.
    2. Whenever I have a lot to get done, tap into the Allomantic side of the power to create a time bubble until I'm done, have accomplished a decent amount, or need to move outside the bubble.
    3. Once I'm done, tap the Feruchemical side of the power to restore all the energy I just used up.
    4. Repeat.
    5. Use some of my extra time to go to the gym more often.
    6. Profit (emotionally and physically, because I'm less stressed and more fit).
  3. Gold Feruchemy/Bloodmaking (Mistborn, both eras). Ok, yes, there are much more practical and efficient healing powers out there, most of which don't require you to make yourself sick so you can store up health to use later. But most of those more efficient healing powers require just as much energy as being sick does — and the Feruchemical version of healing comes with a built-in bonus, even if you're not a Compounder (which would, of course, be the ideal). What's that? Simple: an instant out of any undesirable social situation. No one wants to hang around a sick person, so you can provide yourself a future benefit and give yourself a perfectly legitimate reason to stay home instead of going out at the same time. And, yeah, being sick isn't fun, but if you're not an action hero, you wouldn't have to spend nearly as much time storing up health for later because you wouldn't use it as quickly. (The downside of this, of course, is that it somewhat increases rather than decreases the time you spend being sick, even if your usual approach is "If I'm sick anyway, just make myself more sick and get all the misery over with at once", but I currently can't think of a singular healing ability that does ward off sickness, so, yeah. If anyone knows of one, let me know.)
  4. Basically any force field ability (various media). I'm going to cheat a little with this one because there isn't one specific version of the power that I'd want, and there's a very simple reason I would want it: instant umbrella. This would be particularly helpful if you're a college student at any campus that has a lot of wind. For one thing, you wouldn't have to worry about your umbrella flipping inside-out or getting pulled out of your hands. For another, you could potentially adjust the shape or angle of the force field to be the most effective against wherever the rain is coming from. (Water manipulation could also work for this purpose, but force fields have the bonus advantages of giving you a personal space bubble, which is practical in a lot of situations, and letting you make yourself a hoverboard, which sounds great to me.)
  5. The Arc of Time (Fairy Tail). Ok, so this is a slight spoiler for one of the Tenrou Island villains, but basically this lets you turn back the clock on the state of non-sentient objects so you can restore them to a previous condition or fast-forward them to a future condition. And while the wiki page says this ability is primarily used in combat, let's be real: it would have so many everyday applications that there's no way the people who have this magic wouldn't use it all the time. Just think about it. Stain or tear in your favorite shirt? Arc of time it back to its previous condition! Need bananas but everything in the store is green? Doesn't matter; get them anyway and fast-forward the amount of fruit you need to the perfect ripeness. Dropped your final project in a puddle and now it's ruined? Never fear; you can fix that in an instant with this power! You could even use it to make a ton of money restoring artwork and architecture if you so chose.
So, yeah. What about you? What magical ability or superpower would you love to have for mundane reasons? Any ideas for other uses of any of the ones I've mentioned? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)


  1. I would take perfect memory... the most useful superpower in my chosen profession! No more sorting through giant piles of notes looking for that one citation!

    1. Ooooh, yes. That would be amazing too. (And, as an author, no more trying to remember what you named that one minor character or what that brilliant twist you had planned was.)