The Magic Council (魔法評議院 Mahō Hyōgiin) is the ruling body of the world of Magic, run by a combination of regular people and Mages with different hierarchy branch systems dependent on the continent.
As the main ruling body of the entire Magic world, the Council possesses almost utmost control over it, acting as a leading government of sort, which divides out into each continent being run by a specific council. The Council rules all of the legal Guilds scattered throughout Earth Land, overseeing them and keeping them in check, and they are responsible for the events caused by Mages, also possessing the right to punish Mages who break the law and to confiscate magical artifacts which could potentially cause large-scale damage (as shown from the Lullaby being in their hands after the Eisenwald incident). Among the things prohibited by the Magic Council is the use of Magic for assassination, something which, if perpetrated, could lead the Council to oust the offender's guild (as shown with "Shinigami" Erigor and the Eisenwald guild). The Council has the right to apprehend Mages charged with crimes anytime, with their messengers being highly respected. Gray Fullbuster went on to say that "Even if something is white, once a Council member says it's black, then it becomes black," showing that the Council's authority is extremely large in the Magic world. However, despite this, the Council is known for sometimes displaying its power as a mere formality, finding scapegoat Mages and trying them of recent, calamitous happenings just to subsequently release them without any punishment, something which happened with Erza Scarlet in regards with the Ishgar Council.
Heavy incidents happening in the Magic world might inflict serious damage to the Council's reputation, going as far as to cause the dismissal of one or more of its members. Following the events of the Tower of Heaven, during which two members of the Ishgar Council were revealed to as traitors and the Council's most powerful weapon, the Satellite Square: Etherion, was fired, the members of the Ishgar Magic Council temporarily disbanded until a personal request for it to be reformed was issued by the King of Fiore himself. Then newly-returned-from-hiatus Ishgar Magic Council returned a single member of the former Ishgar Council, which was Org, and became much stricter than the older version, very single-minded and heavy-handed in its goal to remove all of the Dark Guilds, even if that means sacrificing legal guilds in the process.
In X791, however, Tartaros' Jackal successfully infiltrated Era and the meeting with all the members of the Ishgar Council to discuss the Dark Guild's recent movements only to slaughter the members and destroy the building as a warning signal of Tartaros' rise within the world of Magic, ending the council for a period of time. However, following the defeat of Tartaros, Mest Gryder and Warrod Sequen would remake the Ishgar Council around most of the Ten Wizard Saints with Draculos Hyberion acting as it's new Chairman.
The Ishgar Magic Council (currently composed of the Ten Wizard Saints in Ishgar) occupies nine "seats," going from 2nd to 9th. The top seat is occupied by the Chairman, effectively the leader of the entire Council, who takes the final decisions on every matter.
Working for the Ishgar Magic Council is a series of strange, humanoid creatures, reminiscent of anthropomorphous amphibians, partially covered in spots, who are perfectly capable of talking, and fulfill various roles, such as envoys, guards and magical technicians for the Satellite Square: Etherion. Where they come from or what race they belong to is as of yet unknown.
Such creatures' uniform consist of a wide-collared dark jacket, with wide sleeves and edges and cuffs adorned by a series of light stripes, over a light shirt, held closed on the front by a multitude of laces ending in a bow knot in the upper part, and a long, light skirt-like cloth covering the legs. The outfit is completed by a small, elongated dark hat matching the jacket, which gets larger near its top, and has a flat, round object on the front, reminiscent of a medal. The anime visibly simplified the uniform's shirt, which was deprived of most of its laces, with only the bow knot remaining in the form of an ornamental ribbon.
As it is essentially the government of the Magic world, the Council has an array of armed forces at its disposal, which it uses to maintain peace and make sure that none breaks the established laws.
A military subdivision within the Ishgar Council, acting as a personal constable of sort, Rune Knights are the Council's army. Their job is to enforce the Council's ideals of justice and to investigate crimes related to the Magic world. They are also responsible for dealing with issues such as detaining criminals and passing judgement on to them. They patrol over a large span of land all across the country. They are known to possess several garrisons scattered throughout Fiore, with their numbers being consistent, and have battleships at their disposal for sea transportation. They are divided into squads, with some of them performing particular duties, and most of them being led by a ranked officer. After the Council's reorganization, following the events of the Tower of Heaven, they have become increasingly strict.
The soldiers are clad in a garish uniform, highly reminiscent of those worn by real priests: they don a long, high-collared, sleeveless dark robe over a light shirt with wide sleeves ending below the elbows, where they are circled by thin bands; the robe is covered on the front by a light cloth, bearing the dark, ankh-like symbol of the Council, held still by a light belt circling the waist. Around the soldiers' neck is a long, light cape bearing the Council's insignia on the back, held closed below the neck by a rhomboidal clasp adorned by a gem, and on their head sits a light headgear, with a decorated lower part, reminiscent of a mitre, but with three tops, a central one and two more at its sides. They also wear simple boots with the front parts covered in vertical stripes. Each Rune Knight comes equipped with a long metal staff, ending in a sphere, seemingly a globe made of crystal, topped by a small cross. The anime gave slightly different portrayals of the Council's soldiers, replacing their robe's lower part with very loose pants, mildly reminiscent of hakama, and their boots with sandals, adding to their religious appearance.
High-ranking Rune Knight officers such as division commanders are shown to wear a more formal, less garish attire, which loses most of the religious look distinguishing soldiers: they wear an elegant dark jacket, with light edges and two buttoned bands on each cuff, over a lighter shirt with the Council's dark symbol on it, loose, light suit pants held up by a massive belt, light gloves and distinctive, light shoes, bearing a snakeskin-like pattern. The only similarity between soldiers' outfit and the one exclusive to division commanders appears to be the cape, which in the latters' case, however, also covers the shoulders, and sports a larger clasp closing it. Rune Knight officers aren't shown wielding any weapon.
Rune Knights are known to possess combat skills and are able to perform different forms of magic. However, their fighting prowess is mostly unknown; it is known, however, that particular squadrons, such as the 4th Custody Enforcement Unit, are capable of using Magic similar to Jutsu Shiki, generating glyph barriers which can prevent those caught inside them from leaving until the spell is nullified. Such technique can be performed with enough discretion to remain unnoticed while it is being casted, with the targets finding out about it only after it has become effective. Aside from that, Rune Knights shown so far seemed to mainly employ melee combat, assaulting enemies in large groups and generating magical auras on the ending part of their staffs; something whose effect or aim is unknown. However, even considerable amounts of them could be knocked out by much smaller groups of proficient melee fighters, implying their skills to be just average.
The Ishgar Magic Council is in possession of the Satellite Square: Etherion (衛星魔法陣・エーテリオン Eisei Mahōjin : Ēterion), an extremely powerful Magic taking the form of a satellite structure composed of glyphs, which is held in the Council's headquarters of Era, and can be used to target any point of Earth Land from the sky. Known as "the Magic of destruction that transcends space-time," and referred to by Lahar as "the sealed ray of light," Etherion is the Ishgar Council's most powerful and ultimate weapon, capable of targeting anything on the surface with a devastating beam on huge scale, which has been described as damaging enough to make an entire country disappear. The destructive blast produced by Etherion is known for possessing an astonishing amount of Magic Power, at least 2.7 Billion Edeas. In order for the Magic to be employed from Era and placed in the atmosphere to strike its targets, a certain amount of time is needed, during which Etherion is charged up and positioned above the target.
As damaging as it is, Etherion can't be employed light-kindheartedly, due to it being likely to cause casualties while fired against its targets, catching others in its radius. In the absence of the Chairman, for the firing of Etherion to be permitted, a majority of votes within the Ishgar Council itself is required. If the voting were to end in a draw, then Etherion wouldn't be fired. Measures seem to have been taken to prevent civil casualties from damaging the Council's reputation itself if the weapon were to cause them, these residing in the Article 27, Clause 4 of the National Security Act; however, the death of innocent people would still weigh the concerned councilors' conscience. If Etherion is to be fired, all of the Ishgar Council members are known to religiously pronounce the words "Thus we pray" before the firing, collecting their thoughts in prayer and hoping that the ultimate weapon doesn't wreak havoc on innocent lives.
Etherion, despite being extremely damaging and almost impossible to stop, could potentially be absorbed by a large enough Lacrima crystal, which would in the process gain all of the blast's Magic Power.
Also in the possession of the Ishgar Magic Council is the powerful White Inheritance: Face (白き遺産・フェイス Shiroki Isan : Feisu), a weapon that, when used, nullifies all Magic across an entire continent, leaving all Mages absolutely powerless. The weapon is so dangerous that three former Council members sealed it with Organic Link Magic, with the former Chairman being the only one who knew their identities. It was being sought by Tartaros, as they will be unaffected by its powers due to their abilities being Curses, not Magic.
- The musical theme of the Council in the anime is an instrumental version of the famous aria "La Habanera," from Georges Bizet's opera "Carmen."
- In the manga, the Council members are shown to have their reunions around a large circular table, complete with chairs for them to sit on; in the anime, however, the meeting room was initially portrayed as a massive Magic circle that the Council members stand around. Later on, after the Council was created anew, its members were shown meeting in an even stranger, immense hall, containing four statues placed in a pool of an unknown liquid, with each Council member standing on the hand of a statue. The Chairman himself stood on a high pillar emerging from the water, surrounded by the other councilors.
- The Council itself uses Thought Projections to appear in regional branches to attend official functions; thus, furnishing the necessity to leave their main headquarters in Era.