Magical Schools in Fantasy

Tough Traveling

Each Thursday, The Fantasy Review Barn uses Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and tours the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s tour topic is Invisible College. I chose to highlight all kinds of magical schools, since I could think of only three that are hidden in some way! All the links take you to GoodReads. The picture of Hogwarts is from Harry Potter Wiki.

1. Unseen University
From the Discworld series, by Terry Pratchett
I love how institutionalized these wizards are! Well, they are mostly old men who are very set in their ways. Once in a while, though, a newfangled type of magic or wizard makes its appearance, and the staff has to deal with some changes. While the university is called Unseen, it’s not actually hidden. It’s in Ankh Morpork, and the core part of it is a tall tower, so it’s pretty difficult to miss.

2. The Tower of High Sorcery of Wayreth
From the Dragonlance universe
I have to admit that it’s been a long while since I’ve read a Dragonlance novel, so I can’t remember if the Tower was actually the place were the mages studied. Well, at least they went there to take the Test of High Sorcery. There are other towers, too, but Wayreth’s is the only one in “modern day” Krynn that still holds the Test (it’s the place where a certain Raistlin Majere took it). It is also a hidden tower, which can appear in different locations, only showing itself to the people it chooses. All the Towers of High Sorcery are surrounded by a magical forest of their own, through which only mages can find their way.

3. The University
From The Kingkiller Chronicle, by Patrick Rothfuss
The University that Kvothe attends is a huge complex with a lot of different fields of study. It has its own campus and shops, and is basically a mini-town. It’s a place of higher learning, and not only for magic: you can study medicine, languages or mathematics. Then there are the magical fields of study, like Sympathy, Alchemy and Naming. There is some pretty weird staff on board, and you’d better not get on their bad side. This university isn’t actually hidden, but it is pretty hard to get into, especially if you do not have a rich backer.

4. The School for Wizards on Roke
From the Earthsea Cycle, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Again, another fantasy book that I read so long ago, that I can’t remember much about the school itself. Ged studied here in A Wizard of Earthsea. It is situated on an island that is protected by magic, which makes its impossible to travel there if you are not welcome.

5. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
From the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
You can’t leave this one out. We’d all want to visit it, right? Along with the Tower of Wayreth and the school on Roke, this University is actually hidden, at least from Muggles. There are also magical schools in other countries than Great Britain, like Beauxbatons in France, and Durmstrang in Bulgaria.

Which of these schools would you most like to visit? I think the University from the Kingkiller Chronicle might be the safest choice if you don’t want a magical accident to befall you… but I’d still like to visit the Unseen University, although I think the accident rate is pretty high, there. And of course I’d visit Hogwarts, because, come on.


12 thoughts on “Magical Schools in Fantasy

  1. I haven’t seen a list this week that didn’t include Hogwarts or the University, lol. Next week’s is easier, at least :D

  2. I think what makes the school/colleges/Uni aspect difficult it most of them tend to be children or younger type books – like Hexed or Poison study. It was difficult to come up with any that were magical – I could find a few others but they didn’t fit in with that theme. I must read Black Prism though – that was on one of the lists and I’ve had the book for ages.
    Lynn :D

  3. I love magic schools and colleges. The one in the Discworld series is so much fun… I love how devious those old farts are. And Hogwarts is definitely a favorite of many I’m sure. I didn’t realize there was one in Dragonlance – it’s been years since I’ve read them (I only read the Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman ones)

    • Yep, I mostly read the Weis-Hickman ones, as well (The Chronicles and Legends), plus a couple of others here and there. Mostly if they featured Raistlin in any way. :) He’s my fav, so that’s why I remembered he took the Test at Wayreth.

  4. Of those, I’d definitely chose the University to visit! :) Actually, that would likely be my choice from any list of magical schools. Chromeria might be tempting for colors, but, yeah, the University would win out easy.

    • I think the University campus would be amazing to see! I’d love to see my favorites teachers, Elodin and Elxa Dal. Elodin I would only watch from afar, but Elxa Dal I would like to have an actual conversation with. :)

  5. We were the same on three of the five, and I knew of Earthsea but only started listening to it recently. I know everyone would go to Hogwarts, but I won’t have my fate decided by a hat. So Unseen it is, hopefully I can just go be the librarian’s assistant.

    • I would love to visit Hogwarts, not actually attend as a student! :D Unseen University would definitely be great to see, although I’d try to be very, very careful there. Well, around Ankh Morpork in general!

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