Reflecting upon the possible ways of moving my characters forward, I’ve been reminded of the varieties of magic, as we call it in the world-building community.
In your fantasy tale, you can make use of magic that obliterates or magic that grows. I incline to Gandalf’s attitude, ‘I must have something to work on; I cannot burn snow.’
A great deal of fiction, whether ‘realist’ or ‘speculative’, delights in the ability to burn everything that gets in the way – just as if it were not possible that on many occasions, in fiction (and in life), things may be found ‘in your way’ for a reason.
Magic – or doing things, as you might call it in the business world – need not fall into the assumption that it must always act spectacularly. How cataclysmic a scene would result if we could indeed burn snow; how destructive, to return to the example of my enclosed characters, it would be if they found some appropriately mythopoeic way to get out of their domed chamber.
The fragments of the beautiful dome would scatter to the winds and be lost.
Maybe they need to change something within themselves, rather than in their surroundings, to reach the time when it’s right to leave the chamber? maybe they will find, on exit, that their time inside it has been their salvation?
We shall see – when we read ‘The Dry Well,’ due for publication later this year.