Hedge wizard

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The term hedge wizard comes from "hedge witch", a term used in folklore for the cunning folk or local herb-doctors who also use spells and charms to heal the sick.

In fantasy literature, a hedge wizard or hedge magician is generally a wizard of low ability, usually self-taught or with a low education background as opposed to the common examples of being apprenticed to a mentor or studying through a structured educational system. Some fictional backgrounds identify them more with rural than urban backgrounds. In the novels of Mercedes Lackey, the term is derogatory, describing a character as incompetent, uneducated, of lower social standing or of lesser power. It is similar to calling someone a hack writer or a slob but specific to practitioners of magic in these stories.

In role-playing games and video games a hedge wizard is usually a weaker wizard encountered when still at a lower level. With a limited number of spells and lacking in power they are normally easy to defeat. In the Ars Magica roleplaying game, a hedge wizard is any mage not of the Order of Hermes, who claims the largest monopoly on power.

Discworld[edit]

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of novels, the term 'hedge wizard' is used to describe a wizard who specializes in the magical properties of plants. Although this does fit with the idea of a more rural wizard, given Pratchett's humorous proclivities it is likely here to be a deliberate pun on the word 'hedge'. For example, a character says: "If you invited a hedge wizard to a party he'd spend half the evening talking to your potted plant...and he'd spend the other half listening to it."

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