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In Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch series, there are several different "grades" of magical power, from seventh-grade all the way up to first-grade and then beyond. As I understand it, everyone above first-grade power is called a Higher Magician (or Higher Vampire, etc.): they are "Higher Ones".

But another title I've seen used now and then is "Great One". Gesar and Zabulon are sometimes addressed or referred to as Great Ones, and I think so is Foma/Thomas the Rhymer in Edinburgh, Rustam in Uzbekistan, and a very few others. But when

Anton becomes a Higher One

at the end of Twilight Watch, nobody in Last Watch ever refers to him as "Great One".

What is the difference between a Higher One and a Great One? Is "Great One" a loosely defined term of respect for extremely experienced and high-ranking Higher Ones? Does it mean something not directly related to magical power? (Do the original Russian terms make anything clearer?)

  • Can you please provide exact quote and location for calling "Great One"? I'm not sure it's not just an artefact of translation. My version of Russian Night Watch explicitly states "Великие маги и волшебницы уходят за пределы человеческих эмоций. Наверное, они испытывают какие-то свои, вот только нам их не понять. Даже Гесер, маг вне классификации, не Великий. Ольга так и не смогла стать Великой." - meaning that Geser wasn't "Great", neither was Olga (this was in context of discussing Svetlana's future) – DVK Jun 6 '18 at 11:29
  • Another issue - there's also a random use of the term "great" with lower case G, e.g. in the same Night Watch, Geser and Zavulon are described as lower-g "great": "Но есть цель, что оправдывает средства. Два великих мага, сотни лет противостоящих друг другу, затевают очередную маленькую войну." – DVK Jun 6 '18 at 11:32
  • And just for s and giggles, he contradicts himself in the same Night Watch, stating that Olga was a former Great one: "Она выдавливала слова, будто ей сдавило горло. Не верю! Не бывает стыда у Светлых магов, проживших тысячи лет. Они спасали мир так часто, что знают все этические отговорки назубок. Не бывает стыдно Великим Волшебницам, пусть даже бывшим. Их самих предавали слишком часто. Я засмеялся." – DVK Jun 6 '18 at 11:35
  • And Day watch calls Geser Great :( – DVK Jun 6 '18 at 14:43
  • @DVK I don't have the books to hand right now, but I'll try to remember to check tonight. Have a look in Last Watch (#4) - I'm pretty sure Gesar and a few others are called Great Ones there. (Maybe this question is even more interesting than I'd thought, if it uncovers contradictions in the books!) – Rand al'Thor Jun 6 '18 at 15:40

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