"Wards and shields protect Brakebills. They are encoded to each authorized person on campus and no one else."
Pearl Sunderland[src]

Wards are a form of protective magic involving the use of magical barriers. They are either presented as "force fields" used to screen off areas of hostile intrusions or wearable in combat, such as through the creation of magical armour.


Wards serve as shields meant to keep something in, or out, of a specified area, and come in many variations so as to protect against the many forms of magic. They function on different levels of power, and are erected from either spellcraft or sigils.

Wards take the form of stitched together magical formulas in the Syfy adaptation, akin to a large net, with the equations being linked by lines of phosphorescent magical energy. They are able to be perceived through either the use of Revelation Charms and charmed lenses, or by powerful magical beings, shown to be capable of revealing wards with a gesture.

In certain applications, ward magic may also be used to create high-end locks, encryption and other security devices, including more aggressive countermeasures such as magical traps.

The wards of Brakebills are able to be bypassed by those with expressed permission, given to graduates in the form of Alumni Keys, and are encoded to Professors for undaunted access.

Types of Wards

Psychic Wards

Psychic wards are used to protect a magician from any telepathic invasion, such as mind reading and possession, as well as dream walking. This form of magic is used extensively by Kady Orloff-Diaz, whose mental wards are virtually impenetrable as potent Psychics like her boyfriend, Penny, and Master Magician Professor Mayakovsky were unable to discern her thoughts until she dropped her wards.[1] However, beings with extreme magical capabilities, such as the demigod John Gaines, are able to bypass these wards to access the mind.[2]

Obfuscation Wards

These wards are used to hide areas from detection. This is one of the many wards used to protect Brakebills campus.[3]

Barrier Wards

This form of ward magic creates a substantial barrier between two areas, functioning as a sort of 'force field' to repel any intrusion from those beyond its borders. This is one of the many wards used to protect Brakebills campus.[4][5] This form of protection is adequate enough to keep Reynard the Fox out of the Brakebills campus.[3]

Anti-Magic Wards

This form of ward magic dispels magical attacks. This is one of the many wards used to protect Brakebills campus.[4]

Anti-Traveler Wards

These wards, used in bank vaults in the form of sigils, are used to prevent Travelers from escaping after touching them. Due to this, Penny had to resort to using a gravity belt in order to remain off of the warded floor of a bank vault, able to Travel in and out so long as he remained airborne.[6]

Subspace Wards

Subspace wards are a form of magical protection against Horological manipulations and other forms of tampering with the space-time continuum. This is one of the many wards used to protect Brakebills' campus[7]. Plum Purchas set off a number of alarms at the school, signifying that the wards had been breached, when she and Quentin Coldwater, a Professor at the time, were dragged across subspace by the then Niffin form of Alice Quinn, due to Plum attempting to play out an elaborate prank on a student by the name of Wharton.[7]

Incorporate Bond

Stated to be the last line of defense in magical security, Incorporate Bonds are virtually unbreakable. This form of warding locks a three-dimensional object with a four-dimensional anchor, rendering it almost impossible to move.[7] The theoretical mechanics are simplified as the Bond serving as a 'four-dimensional paperweight' acting upon the affected object. The bond is capable of being adjusted so as to restrict the target within a geographical boundary, as is the case for Professor Mayakovsky's punishment.[7]


The only way proven to circumvent a ward is through the act of "picking" a ward, akin to how one would pick a lock. This takes the form of magically unstitching the wards by piecing apart the magical formulas used to erect them.

However, Deities and their demigod offspring are known to at least bypass Psychic Wards, though Reynard the Fox, a Trickster god, was unable to access the heavily warded area of Brakebills.[3]

Martin Chatwin displayed this ability when breaking down the wards of Marina Andrieski's apartment. Hannah, Kady's mother, was also able to pick one of Julia Wicker's wards surrounding a warehouse she was temporarily using, though the ward itself was stated to be weak.

The ability to pick a ward doesn't seem to be well known, as Julia herself didn't seem to know how to pick the ones of Marina's apartment or safehouse. However, Julia was able to circumvent the wards of Marina's safehouse by utilizing a theoretical process she envisioned through a spell, pulling a cabinet through various dimensions before relocating it back at her warehouse.

This process strained Marina's wards intensely, violently shaking the building that was protected, and even taking off a section of a nearby wall with the cabinet.

Known Wards