The Thief of Always

by Clive Barker

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In The Thief of Always, how does Harvey turn Marr's magic against her?

Harvey turns Marr's magic against her by grabbing hold of her outstretched fingers. Marr attempts to turn Harvey into another creature, but as Harvey's fine with being himself, her magic doesn't work. Instead, it flows back into Marr, who turns into a dirty puddle.

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As well as being grotesquely obese and ugly, Marr is also a very dangerous woman. Why? Because she has magical powers that she can put to evil use. Thanks to those powers, she has the astonishing ability to manipulate human flesh into any shape she chooses.

Not surprisingly, no one wants to be around Marr, who resembles nothing so much as a large, revolting slug. But Harvey works out a way of getting round Marr's magic powers and turning them to his advantage. It seems that Marr can only turn someone into another creature if they dream of being that creature. As Harvey doesn't have such dreams, that effectively blunts the power of Marr's magic.

In a stroke of genius, Harvey turns the tables on Marr, asking her what her dreams are. Marr is completely nonplussed by this, and defiantly says that she doesn't have any dreams. But Harvey doesn't give up; he demands to know what she would change herself into.

Marr starts to panic, and Harvey takes the opportunity to grab her fingers. Harvey can feel the magic coming through Marr's fingers; she's clearly trying to turn him into something. But because Harvey's happy with whom and what he is, the magic doesn't work. Instead, it flows back into Marr, who gradually begins to melt, until, eventually, she's turned into a dirty puddle.

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