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Physical is the Discipline group centered around the ability to manipulate the nature and properties of matter and energy. The many disciplines that branch from this group allow Magicians to manipulate heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, gravity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.
This group is the area of magic that focuses on matter and energy. Physical magic is described as gruesome and disgusting by Eliot and Janet when Quentin and Alice are able to get inside the Cottage.
At Brakebills, students of this group are dubbed Physical Kids. They are statistically the rarest of all of the groups, and therefore are typically very snobby about it. Due to the small amount of Physical students in the series, Quentin gets placed with them for the remainder of his time at Brakebills, but it is later revealed that his is a more obscure discipline of Physical Magic.
A Victorian-era country house, referred to as the Cottage, is the official housing facility for the Physical Kids. It is located towards the outer rim of The Sea, set behind a small band of trees. The Cottage is the closest Discipline house to the Welters field.
- Phosphoromancy: The art of manipulating light. It's said to be a very clean and technical discipline, as Alice stated. This form of magic can be used to refract light to render an area invisible, redirect and focus it to burn objects, and to freeze single photons in mid-air.
- Repair of small objects: An innate skill to repair objects. This is Quentin's discipline in the series. Quentin later teaches about his discipline in a subject called Minor Mendings during his time as a professor in Brakebills.
- Cryomancy (Cold Magic): Ice and cold related magical proficiency. This is Janet's discipline. It allowed her to make annimated swans of ice during a party, as well as utilize Sorrow & Sorrow, her twin magical staves.
- Flight: The ability to levitate, hover, and fly unsupported while having full control over trajectory and velocity. While not inherently a discipline on its own, this ability manifests naturally for Physical Kids, and can be train to varying degrees of proficiency by its user. This was seen throughout the series, notably by Eliot, Janet, Julia and Quentin. Despite it's frequent and casual appearance in the series, unsupported flight (flight without a physical medium) is said to be a major arcanum, requiring a high degree of magical capability.
- Telekinesis: The ability to move things with the mind. While not inherently a discipline on it's own, telekinesis can be trained to varying degrees of proficiency by its user. This form of magic typically manifests first for Physical Kids, as it was the first form of magic both Eliot Waugh and Quentin Coldwater were able to perform in their lives.
- Portal Creation: A highly technical discipline, this focuses on creating doorways in spacetime between locations as a form of transportation. It's execution can be botched, leaving travelers with a chilling aftereffect when the doorway is incorrectly constructed. This is Josh Hoberman's discipline in the book series.
- Mixology: The study or skill of preparing mixed drinks and magical brews. Attributed as an informal discipline, mixology takes prominence in the Physical cluster of disciplines. Physical Kids are renowned for their parties, with Eliot being known around campus for his signature cocktails. Notably, this was used in a combined effort of Margo and Eliot to summon a Djinn. (TV)
"You can bend physics to your will, and possess great fortitude of mind, magic, and liver. Contrary to popular belief, mixology is not a formal part of this Discipline." (TV)