17.49: Bodies Are Magical

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, C.L. Polk, Fran Wilde, and Howard Tayler 

Let’s put a stake in the ground here: disabilities do not grant magical powers. And yet that exact trope can be found in multiple genres, across multiple mediums. In this episode we talk about why this happens, and how we might better portray the magical awesomeness found in our bodies.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Everyone is going to be disabled. Look at your cast and decide which disabilities they have (visible, invisible, known, unknown). Make sure none of those are plot points.

Killjoys (on SyFy)

5 thoughts on “17.49: Bodies Are Magical”

  1. I’m taking slight issue with the podcasters throwing Daredevil around as a bad example. As far as I know, his disability doesn’t become a plot point.

    If women can have Captain Marvel, why can’t I have Daredevil?

  2. Thank you for this series. This episode really exposed problematic elements in my writing. I appreciate it.
    However, my greatest take away from this series has not been in my creating, but in my parenting. Thank you for giving me the words, and the mindset of empathy and compassion to speak to and teach my children about people – including their uncle who was born without an arm, their sister who needs glasses, their grandmother who can’t do stairs, a lady in our church who is blind. I’ve been struggling with how to speak about people with different bodies to what we are “used to” and this series has just opened my mind to categories, language, and attitudes I didn’t know where an option.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Thank you for the last few episodes. I’ve started re-evaluating the way I portray my protagonist (she starts off having a certain magical ability, but then, in an accident where she shields someone else from harm, she loses all control of magic, upending her life); and the same for other persons in the story, for whom both the lack, and possession of some magic is both detrimental and beneficial in different ways.

  4. This week, Mary Robinette, Chelsea, Fran, and Howard took a look at the common trope where disability turns into superability. Height, long hair. The MICE quotient and disability as a plot point. The fight as a staple of superhero comics does not lend itself to exploring characteristics. Lots of good discusion that you can read now in the transcript available in the archives.

Comments are closed.