Morning soon came and before he knew it, Harry was already waiting for his Aunt in her study. The study was rather large and spread over multiple levels. Almost all of its wall was covered with shelves of books. Books from languages old and new, modern and extinct. Some books were old enough that they look to be moments away from turning into dust. Their fragility protected by preserving spells. While few were extremely recent. He could even see a few statues barely a handspan high flitting around cleaning and arranging books. From what he recalled, they were called Library Golems. They were created to manage libraries or large book collections. It was even said that its advanced version, Library Genies or something similar maintained libraries such as Hidden Library of Alexandria, The Library of MACUSA, which was the magical area of Library of Congress.
Apart from this, the room was filled with trinkets. Some of them were even from the muggle world. But in the center of all this mess was her study. A large wooden table took the majority of it. The table itself was made of burnished wood. Delicate gold filigree went around its borders. He could make out tiny runes carefully inserted in the filigree design. On the top was a large globe. A stack of paper precariously balanced stood in one corner. Other stationery such as fine tip eagle quills, ink bottles, blotters and so, were carefully arranged in one corner. All in all, it was a systematic chaos. Probably only she knew where everything went and where the rest were hiding.
Behind the table was a large comfortable looking chair. Like the table delicate gold filigree and carvings covered it. A burnt red colour cushion and back were sewn to it. As his observations were coming to an end. He heard the tell tale sign of floo. And as he expected she emerged from the fireplace, which itself was hidden behind a stack of books, from one corner.
She didn't wait for any greeting, nor she gave one. She simply nodded and took her seat. She was dressed in a tight black robe. The probably unofficial British wizard uniform. Her hair was in a bun. Her face was slightly sharp and carried the same aristocratic Black trace. She didn't ask anything about his former studies but directly said, " I don't care what you have studied or what you want to study. I am your teacher and you will follow me. I will be responsible for your education. I don't expect you to just listen to me, I want you to ask questions. Be inquisitive. And that's the first rule of magic, 'Ask Questions.'"
She waited for him to acknowledge it and she then continued, " Magic is not definite. Never accept anything as a matter of fact. Question it. Test it. And then confirm it. And it's not a one time thing. It's a life long learning and researching. If you are my student, I expect you to have your own thoughts."
"So before we go any further. What is magic?" she asked him. Her sharp eyes bore into him.
Harry immediately knew that this was a test. From what she had just said, she expected him to make his own conclusions instead of parroting what books said. He thought for a bit as he rapidly went through everything he recalled regarding it. And slowly said, " There is no definite answer. But magic is a form of energy." This was the simplest abridged definition of most descriptions regarding magic. But he added another sentence, " But i think it's the most fundamental form of energy."
She just looked at him before replying, "I expected your own thoughts. You are saying the same thing just with an additional word. I don't want something copied from books. Once again, what is magic?"
He honestly didn't know what to say. She waited for a while and finally sighed. "Harry you are intelligent. But far too reliant on books. If I had asked this question to another seven year old, he probably would have replied that magic is magic. And that would have been a better answer than this. You don't know magic. You are regurgitating what you have read."
She said nothing more but walked towards the shelf and picked out a thick book. The title was faded but the leather bound book looked old. "Mesopotimian Wizards believed that magic was God's grace. They prayed to gods to obtain power. The native tribes in Africa believe that magic is from their ancestors or blessing of spirits. Greek's called it Hecate's blessing. Wizards being from her blood. The Chinese call it Qi and that magic is life energy. Some old journals show that people believed it to be dark power. Or power from chaos, as it had no fixed rule. Some assumed it to be energy from different dimensions."
"So magic has no exact definition. Yes, it's a fundamental form of energy. Probably the truest form of energy. It overrules all laws which govern our planet. So when we cast magic, we are altering the rules that bind the universe into something we want. Your definition is right in some ways, but at the same time incomplete in others."
"But why do most books use that as definition?" he asked, confused.
"Because it's probably the closest correct theory we currently have. But once you say, start your mastery, you will realise that this definition and it's accompanying theory answers some core questions but only messes up the rest. Still, it's the best we have."
"So there is no correct answer?"
"Yes. The theory will help you during your basic studies. But once you move on for further studies people will expect you to come up with your answer. In fact, it has become a sort of ceremony for a Master to propose his own view on Magic during graduation." she answered with a small smile. Probably happy on him asking questions.
" Keeping this aside. Another important point to keep in mind is, Is magic a science? Or is it an art?" she questioned.
Harry looked at her confused. As far he knew Science was basically, chemistry, geography, physics and such. While arts was drawing, painting, sculpting and all other artistic work.
She looked at his dumbfounded expression and smirked. She could see what he was thinking without even using legilimency. Almost everyone when starting studying would be confused between the same. " First point, we are talking about Science and art as a process and not a subject." She looked at him, waiting for him to realise.
"What is Science?"
She paused for a moment and seeing no answer coming slowly answered her own question. " You can call it a systematic study of the world. We observe something and experiment about its nature. Why does wind flow? The ancients will tell you that it's god's will. We scholars will prove you that it's due to earth's rotation. We have proper study of how and why wind blows. Why is night dark? Egyptians will tell you about how Ra is swallowed by Apophis and so night happens. But we know that it's simply because our part of earth is not facing the sun."
"You see, everything has a cause and effect. And we study it. Every answer is backed by evidence. And we can prove that evidence. And beyond everything, science is universal. You will get the same answer every time and everywhere beyond a few scenarios."
"That's why we call magic a science. It has its rules. It has a systematic body of knowledge. You can try and test some magic and will get the same result every time everywhere. Everything which happens follows fixed laws. For example, we know that mixing the energy rune and light rune will give light. Whether you do it here in Britain or back in France. It's always the same."
She suddenly stopped for a moment and warned, "Remember that what i have described is for you. It's been heavily simplified so never take this as a complete answer. As we study further, I will explain to you more about this."
"Now why do you think Magic is called an art?"
This time Harry carefully went over what she said. Then what he called art. And slowly said, "Because it requires imagination…?"
"It's right. Magic despite being the same for everyone, is heavily influenced by your imagination. Your creativity. Everyone can do magic, but not everyone can do good magic. Some may find charms simple, others will find it difficult. We Blacks find Dark Arts easy, but Potters find Transfiguration easy. So even if it is the same thing we are doing, it's affected by your imagination, creativity and skills."
"And between all this, Magic requires practice and knowledge. If you don't know how you won't be able to do magic despite your best efforts. How to hold a wand. How to flick. How to control your magic...everything is an art."
"So, what do you understand from all this?"
All this had overwhelmed Harry. Until now he always assumed that you just needed to imagine to get results. Many books talked about intent. But here he was being told, that basically intent was an extremely small part of magic. And so now he was confused.
"But what about intent? Many books talk about using intent…" she trailed off as he saw her knowing smirk.
"What is intent?" she casually questioned.
"Your intention or purpose," he rapidly answered.
"So if your purpose for doing something is not determined, how will you do magic. You have to 'want' to do magic. Just pointing something will not make it happen. You need to establish your purpose and then guide the magic to reach that purpose, You want to lift something. Just chanting Wingardium Leviosa will not lift it up. How will magic know that you are chanting or just mentioning it. It's not the spell which is making it happen. It's the process of you imagining the object being lifted up and using magic to make it happen which is responsible for it."
And so he realized. Intent was just basically you being determined to do magic.
"So now do you understand?"
He hurriedly nodded.
"You might be thinking, why am i teaching you this?"
And Harry was actually wondering why she was teaching him this. It was not boring or anything. He just felt confused about its purpose.
She slowly spoke with a teasing grin. "You will soon realise."
A/N : The chapter was supposed to be updated around 30 mins or more earlier. My inkstone account shows that it is published but webnovel doesn't. I am hoping that it was because of the long AN. I didn't see any word limit on desktop version, but the mobile version shows a 500 character limit.
The real A/N : I actually want to spend next few chapters trying to merge magic of various civilizations and myths. Rowling didn't exactly talk about magic and specialisations of various countries. The problem is, that it might become too theoritical. Like some sort of info dump. And we are talking about atleast 3-4 chapters worth of background lore and so on. Should i put as an auxillary chapter or just continue in this format?