Ask Luna #179

From: Alicia

Hey, Luna, how’s things?

Here’s an easy one (I hope!).

Alex mentioned in Taken that he doesn’t drink coffee. So, I find it odd that he meets people in coffee shops a LOT. I’ve been going through the books again recently and I can think of several off the top of my head: the Starbucks in Angel, a coffee shop in Soho, another coffee shop in Islington where you guys met Chalice for tea, a cafe in Highgate and so on. 

It’s puzzling.

Do you like coffee? What’s your favorite coffee drink?
(I love coffee, so seeing a guy who doesn’t drink coffee visit so many coffee shops has made me curious!)



It’s not as odd as you think, and the reason is really simple:  Camden has a LOT of coffee shops.  Actually, that’s true for all of London, but it’s especially true for places like Camden/Islington.  You can pick a random spot on a random Camden shopping street, turn 360 degrees, and you’ll see at least one coffee shop and usually more.

So if you want an easy place to meet someone that’s sheltered from the weather, a coffee shop is just kind of the standard.  Meeting someone for coffee is a very non-committal sort of thing that doesn’t really imply anything.  Now that I run the Emporium, I’ve started doing it too.

Oh, and no, I don’t drink coffee either, these days.  Just sort of drifted out of it.  Sometimes I think I’ve picked up some of Alex’s habits over the years.

From: Logan

1. What can you tell me about mage families? I’ve heard there are mage families, but not heard a set of individuals that were clearly both mages that were also parents/children, brothers/sisters, husbands/wives, etc. Besides Light, Dark, and Independent, I would think familial connections would play a large part in mage politics/grudges and not be so hidden that you’d never know who’s related, especially when the mage population of Britain sounds like a few thousand people, but I haven’t heard of any related mages.

2. Are Vari’s family normals or mages? I would assume normals, since they went to Jagadev for protection instead of them and none of them were involved that one Christmas when Vari had that problem because he was Alex’s dependent.

Actual mage families aren’t as common as you’d think.  Mages have families, but that doesn’t make them mage families, and the reason is that as far as I can see, magic isn’t actually all that heritable.  If your mother’s a mage, that makes it more likely that you’re a mage, but given that mages are outnumbered by normals by thousands to one, “more likely” doesn’t actually count for much.  Even if both your mother and your father are mages, the chances of you being a mage as well are still really really low.

So the usual story with ‘mage families’ is that you get a mage mother, and a mage father, and then the kids are sensitives at most.  You’d probably have to have some ridiculous number of children to make it likely for one of them to be a mage, and most mages don’t have many children.  Every now and then someone beats the odds and you get a father/son who are both mages, or whatever, but it’s very rare.  What’s much more common is that you have a mage somewhere in your family tree, just from a really distant branch.

Vari’s family are normals or sensitives (it’s a bit hard to say which).  His family’s got a history of producing mages but he’s the only one in the current generation.

From: Dave

Hi there. You’ve listed the common types of magic in the past, but I’m curious about the rare types that are barely or never mentioned at all, such as Illusion, Light (as in, light-spectrum), Lightning, Sound etc.

What other rare types have you encountered or heard about? Any “shadow mages”? “Blood mages”, perhaps? Some more exotic types? Can you list them?

Shadow mages are a thing.  Blood mages I’ve heard of, but from what I can tell it’s just a nastier branch of life.  As for rare ones, hmm . . . Shapeshifting, obviously.  Gravity.  Entropy.  Some of them (like body mages) just seem like a mix of a standard type with something else, while others (like matter mages) feel like completely their own thing.

From: Celia

Hi, Luna! I know you haven’t had a lot of time for just sitting around and playing games, lately. But I’m curious, back when you guys had time to play, did Vari ever accuse you guys of cheating? Seems like everyone but Variam could use their powers to influence games. Alex could use pathwalking to make decisions, Anne could use lifesight to read peoples’ reaction to their cards, you could use your curse on dice (though Alex at least would notice.) All Vari could do is burn your hotel down to the ground if you play monopoly. 😉 And Vari seems like the competitive type who might not take well to losing!

ALL THE TIME.  It got to the point that he’d start complaining before we’d even set up the pieces.

Looking back on it, I probably should have used my curse to sabotage everyone else so that Vari could win once in a while.  But my control wasn’t good enough to do that back then, and eventually Vari just started refused to play at all.  I guess there’s probably a lesson there.  People won’t keep playing with you if they lose every single game.

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