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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Making Senses of Magic Powers -- Hearing

Author Topic: Making Senses of Magic Powers -- Hearing
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Member # 59

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Sense of hearing:

This one is personal to me because I've lost most of the hearing in my left ear. That means I have a hearing aid, and hearing aids are a real pain. In order for me to be able to hear anything at all in that ear, things have to be turned up. But only certain things. I can't hear anything below a certain decibel level (such as whispers) -- which is a good thing, because if the hearing aid were turned up so that I could hear whispers, everything else would be unbearably loud.

So what kinds of magic powers would go with hearing?

And what could go wrong with such powers?

[ December 15, 2012, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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To listen to the voices of the spirits of course. Whether they be the spirits of the dead, or the powers above or below. To receive revelations not granted to ordinary mortals.

Alternatively, it could be a power to eavesdrop magically. I imagine that any king/emperor/duke/jealous husband/rival tradesman/curious neighbor would make a mage very rich in return for the use of such a power. Which would spur a lively business in scam artists.

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In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, witches have the power to hear the words that people leave unsaid.
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Grumpy old guy
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For a writer, hearing the muses would be nice. And I do like rcmann's take on it. State secrets? Not any more.


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Robert Nowall
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Sorry to hear of your hearing loss, Kathleen.

I was reading recently of an alleged bass note that could kill, but I don't know whether or not that'd be magical---or whether it involves hearing the note or just experiencing it with the rest of your body.

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I would say a good hearing power would be something along the lines of hearing the "pitch" of other senses. I've had times when I look at something, and get a ringing in my ears. What if you touched something and could "hear" energy associated with it. A panicky shrieking squeal touching a knife would tell you somebody had been hurt by that knife. A subtle melodic harmony as you climb in a car would mean it's well tuned and in good shape.

Get creative with it, and you can have lots of fun filling in the gaps of other senses.

Of course, what could go wrong with that is that those crazy tones would be . . . well . . . crazy tones that might not be something you can filter out. Aside from driving you nuts, it might make actually HEARING things hard. And there's also . . . you might not know what senses or objects the tones you're hearing are associated with.

I guess that's a bit like seeing "auras" around people or things, but with hearing instead.

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To listen to the voices, across time, across space, across language... Corin's post makes me consider magical "white noise" and what might be done with "noise-damping" headphones.
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