Solar flares represent the rapid conversion of energy as the magnetically stressed solar corona relaxes, with magnetic energy going into plasma heating, the kinetic energy of accelerated particles, and mass motions. The magnetic field also determines the modes of storage, transport and dissipation of energy. Flares are now observed in exquisite detail with imaging and spectroscopy across the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing increasingly meaningful comparisons with detailed theory. In this talk I will give an overview of some recent flare observations and the framework in which they are interpreted, before focusing on one aspect of flare physics, namely the need to rapidly transport energy through the corona and accelerate particles. I will discuss recent work on models motivated in part by processes in the Earth's magnetosphere, and show how the combination of radiation hydrodynamics modeling and high spectral resolution observations may be able to constrain energy transport and dissipation models.