Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Properly speaking the sung, spoken or written words of a Spell (> Magic Words); the word comes from the Latin carmen, "song". In more modern usage a charm is usually the words of a spell imbued into an object, as for example a Talisman or an Amulet, worn by its possessor in order to achieve some magical effect: protection from other Magic, Invulnerability. Invisibility, etc. Charms may be given to or bought by a character, and have general application; or they may be provided specifically for the character by a magic-user with the power to create them. Possessing a charm does not imply the owner is able to perform magic; indeed, it usually indicates one cannot. [CB]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.