For this, and any other Wacky Writing Ideas, I happily release them into the wild for anyone to use. If you like the idea and want to write it up, do so with my blessing! If you want to change it or use it for something else, have at it! If you really want to do something nice for me, feel free to acknowledge me and let me know if you’ve used one of them (I’ll link to your creative work from my blog). If you don’t feel like it, no worries. If there’re a few comments with enthusiasm for an idea, I may write it up, so please comment if it sounds like something you’d like to read.
The core idea of this story is that mages (people with magical potential) get sent off for training AGAINST THEIR WILL. The magical “school” is more concentration / internment / boot camp than a British boarding school. At first, the regime running the place is overwhelming and frightening: brutal demands, harsh punishments, failing students executed, etc. Hints at a Hunger Games / Maze Runner type of story.
Eventually, it starts to turn out that the teachers / jailers are just barely able to contain the students. Within wide parameters, it’s pretty easy for the student to break most rules. By breaking rules (e.g. using necromancy to get private tutoring from deceased, great mages) the protagonists become the top students / prisoners.
The civilization needs the mages that are being trained, so beyond a certain point, the school doesn’t want to lose students / prisoners. Capitalizing on this, the protagonist(s) are able to thumb their noses at the authorities and push back in small ways – think M*A*S*H.
Eventually, the protagonist(s) graduate and begin putting in motion plans to overthrow society and shut down the “school”. They’re contacted by a secret organization that took over society years ago and has been quietly running it from the shadows (while pretending to be subservient and controlled). The protagonist(s) are inducted into it, along with most of the graduating class from the school each year. The few who graduated but “played by the rules” and just got through get sent back to the school as faculty (which they, mistakenly, believe is a great honor).
This could be set in a magical version of our world or in a high fantasy world.