With JK Rowling’s worldwide phenomenon now over, many aspiring authors and entertainment producers are desperate to fill the void. Many have tried and failed. Some almost came close, but are still a distant 2nd and 3rd. One of those that tried is Lev Grossman with The Magicians. Unlike many young adult authors that attempted different formulas to spawn fantasy stories, The Magicians appears to be an adult version of JKR’s Harry Potter.
The Magicians features the story of mentally disturbed Quentin Coldwater whose Princeton interview turns out to be a test to enter Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. While it still revolves around the idea that Quentin is “The One” destined to save the world, he is not an oppressed orphan longing for his parents. The TV series will spin a somewhat different story from the novel as it starts out with Quentin diagnosed with depression because he does not belong in the normal world. He finds his rightful place when he is accepted into Brakebills and meets other students like him.
A major character in the series that was not part of the novel is Quentin’s childhood friend Julia Wicker. She is invited to take the test at Brakebills at the same time as Quentin but fails to enter. Having the instinct that she will be rejected, she secretly wounds herself during the interview to ensure she remembers regardless of what spell is cast on her. When she returns to the normal world, she remembers not getting in and spirals into depression. Desperately searching for any knowledge on Brakebills, she only receives confirmation when Quentin visits her with his new friends. Julia pleads with Quentin to help her get a second chance at Brakebills. Quentin rejects her, explaining that she cannot force herself to be worthy to enter. He reasons that the school will simply make sure that the she actually forgets about them when they realize she remembers.
I noted this important part because it will be the one thing that may make the TV series a better version of Grossman’s tale. Julia will be lured into another group of magical people who may end up being the nemesis of Quentin and his friends.
The pilot episode was aired on December 16, 2015 while the regular season will start on January 25, 2o16 with episode 2. Did I like it? It was interesting and I am definitely hoping it delivers on its promise. I do love Harry Potter and watching a darker side to the story where students are edgier will be something to look forward to in the coming weeks. While it does have sexual content (while levitating), it’s not as adult and as raw as Game of Thrones. I’m crossing my fingers that The Magicians is not just all hype and Quentin Coldwater will not be as lame and pathetic as he looks in the pilot.