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Say One-Eye is an order of magnitude weaker than Shadowspinner. That really only means that it takes him ten times as long to get the same work done...More like two orders really, probably.

Goblin, Bleak Seasons

Magnitude is a term used to describe the raw power a wizard holds. A higher magnitude denotes a greater talent and mastery over magic, allowing the individual to cast greater spells as well as achieve feats which lesser wizards would require far longer time to carry out, or would be incapable of doing. The Dominator and the rare handful of individuals of his power are at the top of the upper spectrum, whereas minimally-trained practitioners like Raven and the Captain are classed at the lower end.

The term is never explained in detail, but One-Eye and Goblin occasionally make reference to it, as does the Lady. For example Goblin in Bleak Seasons states Shadowspinner is "more like two orders really, probably" higher than One-Eye. It should be noted this does not take into account other skills and factors within a wizard's disposal, and frequently in the series lesser wizards were capable of combating seemingly far stronger adversaries. For example, Uncle Doj in She Is the Darkness was even capable of severely injuring Soulcatcher using a combination of his cloaking magic and swordsmanship skills with Ash Wand.

Comparative orders of magnitude[]

Highest magnitude[]

  • The Dominator is universally considered one of the most powerful sorcerers ever.
  • The Unnamed Prisoner trapped beneath Father Tree is described by the Lady to be "something as virulent as my husband" and demonstrates immense power, much like the Dominator.
  • The Master could not be defeated, killed, or Taken by the Dominator and as such is at a comparable level of magnitude.
  • The Paingod is a sorcerer-tyrant from 200 years in the past, and his magnitude is not detailed. But the fact that the populations of three cities (the Triplet Cities) sacrificed themselves to defeat him strongly suggests he possessed immense power.
  • Several of the sorcerers who fought at and were interred in the Ghost Country a thousand years ago are said to have been on par with the Dominator or greater. One particular revenant, described as "Dominator-scale or worse", is awakened during the Empire's subjugation of the Ghost Country, and is only destroyed by the combined force of practically every sorcerer in the Empire, including the Taken; without their presence and preparedness for such a threat, it is believed this monster would have obliterated the Empire's entire Eastern Army.

Higher magnitude[]

  • The Lady openly states that despite her immense sorcery, she is less powerful than the Dominator.
  • Tobo, by the time of Soldiers Live, is stated to perhaps be more powerful than the Lady at the height of her strength. However this might not be a statement about his inherent magnitude, but his overall power including the extended influence of his loyal, ever-present Unknown Shadows.

High magnitude[]

  • Harden was able to utterly freeze three of the Ten—Soulcatcher, Stormbringer, and the Hanged Man—in their tracks, with no time to prepare, and would have killed all three had he not been ambushed by Shapeshifter.
  • The Ten Who Were Taken and Blind Emon
  • Whisper was a very strong sorcerer in addition to being a military genius.
  • The Circle of Eighteen, several members of which could contend against the Taken.
  • The new Taken, except for Whisper who was stronger, seem to be next in magnitude.
  • Bomanz was educated in sorcery at the Black Campus. He easily killed individual enemies with a single "word of power" and could send a long-distance "killing sending" to slay targets at considerable distances. He also slew the Barrowland dragon, took command of the fire-eater from the Limper's influence, and stated with confidence that he fully expected to become Taken if he survived the Battle of the Barrowland.

Medium-high magnitude[]

  • Moonshadow had spells at his immediate disposal which shook the earth and caused multiple charging war elephants to explode into pieces.
  • Longshadow was a significant sorcerer but his power was mostly due to his control over shadows. His incredible fortress Overlook was built with impressive sorcery but over a period of many years, in much the same way One-Eye perfected his black spear. Despite Longshadow's relatively middling power among human wizards, he was literally "dreaded in the demon worlds" and a powerful imp, Frogface, deeply feared him.
  • Shadowspinner is, according to Goblin, "more like two orders [of magnitude] really, probably" higher than One-Eye. Despite being badly hampered by Longshadow and injured by ballista bolts, Shadowspinner was able to use highly destructive spells over a long distance during the second day of the Battle of Dejagore and during the subsequent Siege of Dejagore.
  • Gossamer and Spidersilk: "their powers were an order of magnitude less deadly and ferocious than those of any of the Ten Who Were Taken" according to The Silver Spike
  • Papa was an independent necromancer at the time of the Domination who was highly skilled yet managed to escape the Domination's notice for years. He was able to weave defensive spells of such subtlety that they ensnared the Howler and almost ensnared the Dominator, and he created a method of restoring the dead to life, his driving obsession.
  • Papa's son, Precious Pearl, inherited his father's talents.
  • Two Dead, a wizard colonel who served under Whisper during the Empire's eastern campaign before briefly joining the Black Company, is described as a "near-Taken" and indisputably more powerful than any other sorcerer enlisted with the Company at the time.

Medium magnitude[]

  • Smoke: the court wizard of Taglios, Smoke credibly stated the following without any need to brag: "I'm superior to [One-Eye] in talent, skill, and training"
  • N'Gamo is known to be of higher magnitude than Tom-Tom, who admitted "I'll never be his match".
  • Buzz, Two Dead's bodyguard

Low magnitude[]

Lower magnitude[]

  • Shukrat is estimated by Tobo to be the most powerful of the Voroshk teenagers except Magadan, but, without her shefsepoken and rheitgeistiden, she is not as powerful as the debilitated One-Eye at the end of his life.
  • Uncle Doj and Gromovol are considered to be of roughly equal magnitude by the well-trained Tobo.
  • The Third, an unmotivated apprentice to One-Eye and Goblin.

Lowest magnitude[]

  • Raven frequently used a minor sorcery to make his daggers seem to appear from nowhere. He also had supernatural tracking abilities. Despite his low magnitude, he used his talent to great effect, and was able to ambush Raker and the Limper, much more powerful sorcerers. His low magnitude was plenty sufficient to transform him into an unrecognizable monster upon touching the silver spike with his bare hand.
  • Shadowweavers were very minor wizards who had been trained by Longshadow to manage his shadows in the field. Although Longshadow mentioned that his process of training them was long and laborious, he kept them on a tight leash to protect himself. They were most often seen by the Black Company during the years of the Shadowmaster wars to be traveling in groups of six.
  • Chasing Midnight, an inexperienced witch who nevertheless had independently developed two small kinds of sorcery by the events of the On The Long Run short story arc: her keep-off-me spell made potential rapists impotent (used on her own cousin and later Rusty), and a second spell she called "get small" which addled the senses of people nearby to permit her to avoid attention and to escape unseen.
  • The Captain had some minimal talent for wizardry, which was revealed only when he flew the Lady's flying carpet for a distance only to die after crashing it.