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I've been trying to remember what the price for magic is in the Harry Potter universe, but I can't seem to remember. Obviously Voldemort's more powerful and nature-violating spells came with obvious prices, but what of other spells? In Harry Potter, magic is more of a learned skill then something mystical. I don't really recall any specific price. Were there any? And if not, than this is a very good example of how to create a system where a price is not necessarily needed. Great read, though. Some authors can get very creative with thier magic prices.
In Harry Potter, I think the only price was energy. Energy came from the witch or wizard to full the spells, but you had to learn how to use it in a school setting. A lot of magical systems rely on the wizard giving up energy that is naturally replenished by their bodies. It's the simplest kind of "price" and lets you get away with a lot. but you are right; it is more of a learned skill. Although I'm sure that having wands made of magic wood with cores made of things that are naturally magical took some of the burden of the magic generation off of the wizard.