Yes, magic works by specific laws, but not always as you expect it to, especially if you, like Harold Shea, are new to the art. Harold trying to hold his own among the Norse Gods... the prison guard with huge, huge nose... Harold's first time on a flying broom... the laughing until your sides ache and tears are running down your face. If I had a criticism of these wonderful novels, it would be that in my opinion, the second and third are not quite as good as the first. But that would be a splitting of hairs that are already quite fine to begin with. These books are simply splendid.