Wizards in Fiction

Wizards in Fiction

Wizards are easily the most recognizable characters in fiction. In this post, we will explore the archetype of the wizard and how it is expressed in fiction, especially pop culture. From their interpretations in media to how you can look like one, we take a quick look at the portrayal of the fictional wizard.

Types of Wizards in Fiction

There are different terms for wizards that can also work for the name of the type of wizard. For example, the terms of mage, warlock, sorcerer, and witch can all be names for wizards, depending on the fictional world. Also, there are popular powers, themes, and stereotypes for wizards. These include necromancers, elementals, and evil sorcerers.

Wizards also tend to take up archetypal roles such as mentors, leaders, professors, and nemeses. Some highly popular characters in pop culture that work with these archetypes include Gandalf and Merlin as well as multiple characters from Harry Potter. Merlin himself has multiple versions that appear in fiction, ranging from the version in the original Arthurian legends to the one in the popular TV series Merlin and the animated version in the Sword and the Stone. There is a wide range of portrayals of Merlin and wizards in general.

Limitations of Wizards in Fiction

Regardless of the portrayal of a wizard in a piece of fiction, there is a common fact among all of them. That fact is that there must be some limitation upon their magic. Otherwise, they aren’t believable enough for the viewer or reader to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story. With Lord of the Rings, there were a few different limitations such as the level of effort magic seems to require. Also, the Istari like Gandalf were forbidden from using large and open displays of power. In Harry Potter, there are multiple rules that restrict the use of magic. One example is that wizards cannot conjure food out of thin air. Another one is the Statute of Secrecy, which sets up the general times and places that magic is used in the series.

Besides these popular examples, magic restriction in general takes on one of two forms; magic is either rare among the general population as in Harry Potter, or it requires a lot of practice or work to acquire. For example, the term warlock is often a term for magic-wielders that make deals to acquire their power. With Dungeons and Dragons, the type of magic-wielder that one is will change the rules and gameplay that affects them. For example, sorcerers do not choose to have magic powers, while wizards rely more upon the magic around them.

Wizard Imagery

No matter the type of wizard being depicted, there are similarities in the way they are shown in fiction. Wizards usually have some sort of flowy clothing such as a robe or cloak. Of course, they have some way of casting their magic. This is usually a staff or wand. In addition, many portrayals of wizards will depict them as old men with long beards and wearing pointed hats.

Some common accessories that wizards or magic wielders have include potion bottles, spell books, and crystal balls. Their function and importance vary depending on the setting and rules of magic. To illustrate, a crystal ball like the Triple Moon Goddess Gazing Ball could be used for viewing the future or a far-off place through scrying. Spell books like the Spellbook of Visions Journal may be restricted to those with magic or anyone capable of reading them.


When it comes to outfit inspiration, you can take a few different routes. If you were looking to look like a mage along the lines of Gandalf’s style, then you could wear the Wizard Robe and Cloak Set with the Gandalf Hat and Illuminated Staff.  Of course, Gandalf also carries things like his pipe and wears a belt around his waist, so you could add these items to your outfit as well. Gandalf is a popular and easy to recognize character, so his style is a good one to base your look after.

Another pop culture depiction to look at would be the characters from Harry Potter. There is a lot of inspiration to look at as well as different styles. An outfit based off of McGonagall during the Sorting in the Sorcerer’s Stone is one possibility. You could choose to wear the Mens Medieval Ritual Cloak with the Mens Celtic Ritual Robe underneath. Any of the Hogwarts lapel pins we offer would work as a possible accent. The Gryffindor one fits with the McGonagall theme the best. You could wear the Wikka Witch Hat on your head and hold anyone of our LARP Wands in your hand.

Versatile vs. Specific Themes

When it comes to a versatile wizard wardrobe, keep in mind the items described above. Here is an article that goes into how to dress as a mage for Dungeons and Dragons. It works just as well when it comes to how a wizard would look in general. Then, you can add additional items for a specific theme. For example, if you want to use the sample outfit for a necromancer, then you would want to stick with dark colors. You could possibly add some gothic elements such as skulls. Similarly, if you want to be an elemental wizard, then you could stick with the colors of your element. For example, an ice wizard may dress in light blues, grays, or white. Meanwhile, an earth mage may choose browns and greens.

In Conclusion

When it comes to fictional wizards, there is a large range of ways to portray a wizard. In this post, we have taken a look at the most popular and most recognizable depictions of wizards in fiction. Whether you are trying to create a world of wizards in your own work of fiction or trying to dress up as one, we hope that this post gives you an idea of archetypes and appearances that you can try.

Wizards in Fiction

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