The electric chair has often served as a symbol for executions. I remember a disturbing scene from The Green Mile where an electric chair execution went horribly wrong. The reason it went wrong was because a dry sponge was on his head during the execution instead of a wet one. When the sponge is wet, it conducts the electricity directly into the subject’s brain. When the sponge is dry, electricity is conducted throughout the subject’s body, causing them to die a slow and painful death.
After watching this execution scene, I wondered how such an execution would have been done if it was magical in nature. In medieval times, executions came in many diverse forms such as hanging, beheading, or drawing and quartering. However, none of them involved the use of electricity. If magic was involved, it would have been easy to use electricity as a form of execution.
First, you would cover the criminal in a suit of chainmail and plate armor and nothing else. Like a lightning rod, metal armor would conduct electricity. If you add anything else, it would soften the effect of the electricity. When electricity is applied, the superheated armor would cook them from the inside out. By the time the execution is over, the armor will be melted and charred and the body would be so badly burned that the armor will have fused onto their flesh. Such a spectacle would instill a tremendous amount of fear into the populace and think twice about rebelling against the monarch. I will be featuring something like this in my third fantasy book.