|ATTENTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!!|
This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.
The Change, also known as the Apocalypse or the Age Of The Beholding, is a cosmic change to reality that occurred as a result of Jonah Magnus' mass ritual, transforming the world into a feeding ground for the Entities.
After the failure of his ritual attempt, Jonah Magnus spent over a century attempting to perfect The Watcher's Crown. As more time passed and more rituals were attempted and failed, he began to consider that there might a fundamental problem with the rituals that prevented them from ever succeeding. In 2015 he concludes that a ritual needs to draw in all the Entities at once to be successful.
As part of this plan, he makes Jonathan Sims into the Archivist and orchestrates events to have him be "marked" by each entity, in order to have him act as a linchpin to summon the entities into our world.
He succeeds in 2018, after using the Archivist's compulsion to read statements to force him to perform the chant to summon forth the entities, the ritual was completed, triggering the Change.
Effects on Reality
After the intrusion of the Entities into our world, the universe has changed in a number of ways.
Collapse of Spacetime
In the post-change world, time and space no longer flow normally. While it's accurate to say the Change occurred on October 18, 2018, it's equally accurate to say that it has always been the case. Oliver Banks implies that all days are the "first and last day of the Beholding", and counts time according to the ebbs and flows of fear in his domain rather than an objective measurement. In MAG 163 John does say that he and Martin had been walking for 14 hours and 23 minutes but acknowledges it doesn't mean much, and Martin later claims to have been walking for a "literally uncountable amount of time".
Space is equally warped- it is stated this journey from Scotland to London would be the same regardless of whether it was walked or driven, and the Panopticon can be seen anywhere on earth. Domains are also distorted: Not-Sasha's is stated as being "objectively" a half-mile in diameter, but still possible to walk around for days without getting back to the start.
Most of the world post-change consists of Domains, supernatural pockets of terror apparently separated by wasteland. These domains are pocket dimensions that consist of a wide variety of environments that are designed to create fear to feed on.
The Domains are formed by the people inside them, and warp to accommodate their specific fears. While most are aligned to an entity, the categorization of entities is less strict post-change, and some domains have unexpected combinations, such as a Hunt domain based around betrayal or mixes, such as a Corruption domain that also includes fears of outsiders and strangers.
The Preservation of Humanity
In order to avoid the loss of humanity's fear, it is in most cases not possible for people to die. Human adults don't age, and people do not need to eat, drink or sleep, although in some domains they can still feel hungry, thirsty or tired. No new humans are being born.
In most cases, humans are reborn after death. There are a few exceptions. The Corpse Roots, and presumably other End domains, kill their victims by their nature. Hunters are seemingly capable of permanently killing people. John can, via the Beholding, kill others permanently- it is currently unknown if other Eye avatars can do this or if it is a quirk of his nature as the Archivist.
In addition, due to the dream logic nature of the new world, it is possible for people to permanently die if killed in a symbolically appropriate way. The only known example of this is Daisy dying permanently after being killed by Basira.
The Gaze Of The Eye
The sun has been replaced with the Eye in the post-apocalypse world. This appears to be literal- rain is mentioned as now consisting of the Eye's tears, and several people have mentioned the sky watching them. However, some domains do include normal sunlight.
This effect is also metaphysical, forcing all beings into categories of the Watchers, who cause fear, or the Watched, who suffer it. This metaphysical distinction is powerful enough to kill beings by changing their status in this dichotomy.
As well as the domains, random supernatural phenomena occur in the new world- Martin's tea turned into an unspecified creature, and the cabin they were staying in became some kind of sentient, malicious entity. The details and of these phenomena and their frequency has not yet been explored.
State of Humanity
The vast majority of humans are trapped in domains, being tortured to obtain their fear. These people mostly appear to be in a delirious state, with only vague memories of their life beforehand. In most cases, inhabitants of domains have no real understanding of what is going on, and it is stated that inhabitants are either uninterested in or literally incapable of noticing things outside their suffering. However, this may vary based on the domain: Francis, one of the Web's victims, appeared to be fully aware of their life before the Change, that something had changed and that they were looping through tortures.
Some humans are not trapped in domains. Avatars rule over their domains, although MAG 184 implies they are unable to leave. Hunters specifically seem to be able to move freely between domains, as can The Distortion and John himself. Martin is protected by John, although he becomes vulnerable if he strays too far from him.
A few other humans are also free- Melanie and Georgie both noted that they were unaffected by The Change, likely due to their respective severances from the Entities, and are currently hiding in the tunnels beneath the Magnus Institute with their cult of other survivors. Basira is also capable of moving between domains to follow Daisy. Of note, Martin is able to pull himself out of the Lonely by remembering his love for John- while this may be unique to dating the Archivist, other people have also escaped the Lonely in this way before the Change.
Mikaele Salesa and Annabelle Cane are at Upton House, a pocket of the world seemingly untouched by The Change, and more importantly a place where The Archivists vision does not reach. Humans are also seemingly able to eat and sleep in Upton House. We later discover that the tunnels beneath the Magnus Institute are a similar pocket, and where Georgie, Melanie and their survivor group are hiding.
In MAG 200 The Change was seemingly reversed by channelling the entities through the reality crack at Hill Top Road into a number of different universes.
- According to Oliver Banks, due to the End killing humans (and the fact that no new humans are being born), the Change is unsustainable, and will eventually kill all life, ending fear and thus the Entities.
- MAG 160: The Eye Opens
- MAG 168: Roots
- MAG 163: In the Trenches
- MAG 176: Blood Ties
- MAG 164: The Sick Village
- MAG 173: Night Night " the children are allowed to age"
- MAG 176: Blood Ties "He could [Kill you], yes. If he were still a Hunter."
- MAG 178
- MAG 166: The Worms
- MAG 175: Epoch "Perhaps this idiot apparatus thinks it can protect from the relentless heat of the sun"
- MAG 176: Blood Ties "They’d have no interest in us. We’re not one of them."
- MAG 163: In the Trenches "They don’t even know we’re here. We’re not part of their nightmare."
- MAG 172: Strung Out
- MAG 161: Dwelling
- MAG 170: Recollection
- MAG 48: Lost in the Crowd, MAG 150: Cul-De-Sac