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The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
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The Magicians > So that Q guy...

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Whiny-ass? Or whiniest ass?

Discuss.


message 2: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new) - rated it 4 stars

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1041 comments Mod
He's essentially the "classic American teenager."

We were all assholes at that age.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree a lot(most) of us were assholes back then.

But not all of us were emo at that age. Quentin seems like the gothy kid with the jet black hair/clothes/makeup you find in the back of the schoolgrounds with a razor blade spouting poetry about how much life is an infinite pool of suck.


terpkristin | 2663 comments I don't know, he reminds me a lot of myself at that age and I was assuredly not a goth/emo kid. He's too smart for hs own good, which can be a very frustrating thing. And he sounds a bit depressed...which is all too common and underdiagnosed.

Yeah he actually reminds me a LOT of me. Him and Alice both. I think that's why I like the book and find him perfectly believable as a character.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Alice I have no issue with. Actually, most of them I can see.

Quentin just bugs the hell out of me with his level of whiney-assedness.


Zach Bechtel (zachbechtel) | 109 comments he seems more like the quiet weird kid in the corner. Who most kids, especially the popular kids, don't love or hate him because they know nothing about him. He just goes off in his own little world, which is often lonely. Leaving him untrustworthy of other people, anything requiring more than himself becomes more work than the reward it offers. But Quentin as well as everyone is human and we need people, we need to share but not everyone wants to share with you and that leaves a lot of people depressed


Doug (dfawley) | 5 comments Only just begun, but it's readily apparent for me that it's Grossman's writing craft that's interesting me enough to stick with it, not the characters. His writing is, at times, spectacular. I'm enjoying it.


Jacob (WaldoLordoftheDance) | 2 comments Personally, I find this guy to be insufferable. Early on I could relate, but after events that transpire in Book 2 I wanted to flog him. Mr. Grossman made Q very human and I can see the logic behind his decisions (or as close to logic as those of us living in our tween years get) and his need to moan about everything, but because he's so human I hate the guy with a burning passion.


Zach Bechtel (zachbechtel) | 109 comments of course, his personality changes through the events of the book(and book 2) Slightly..


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Slightly is the key word there, Zach. :P


terpkristin | 2663 comments Ah I am only about 50% into the first book so far.


Zach Bechtel (zachbechtel) | 109 comments for the most part I find him very relatable. So it goes.


Trevor | 1 comments I don't love Q, but his flaws are what make him interesting. I could, and will, say that this book revolves around Q, not the conflict or the world, but around the character. His never ending depression, his self destructive attitude, his relationship with those around him. There's plenty going on besides what Q's phsyc is at, but his reaction to the world is what this book is about, i.e. A journey for a happiness that will never happen gets lucky.


Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 637 comments I still have to finish my current book before I can start re-reading The Magicians, but this discussion reminds me of how I felt about Harry Potter in the last books. I think it was especially book 5 or 6 where he got increasingly whiny and sometimes barely sufferable.

Although it got on my nerves some it was a pretty believable portrayal of a teenage boy who is overwhelmed with his life at the time. I guess it's the same with Q, it doesn't necessarily make his character likable, but it is a realistic picture of how teenagers can be. I wasn't that whiny (at least I hope I wasn't), but I'm pretty sure that I went through some kind of emo phase and while it's not something to be particularly proud of, it's at least believable.


Ken | 139 comments He's too old for the part now, but if they ever made a movie of this I couldn't get Crispin Glover (McFly!!!) out of my mind for Q.


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments It seemed to make it a bit more real to me to have a character with what could be considered personality flaws instead of the usual flawless hero that this type of fantasy often has.

I liked the fact that I didn't particularly like him and that I know/knew people like him. Like Terpkristin said, I can see a little bit of myself in his character as well. The downside to that is while I was reading it I was thinking 'this guy is annoying' but then I'd think 'Oh wait... I act like that sometimes.'


Don McDonald (dmmacs) | 112 comments I found him to be annoying until near the end. Maybe that was the intent but I would catch myself shaking my head at how clueless and whiney he was while I was listening. He was 17 at the beginning of the book not 13 or 14. Maybe this represents my personality at that age or just that I'm old now but at 17, you should be done being a ridiculous teenager.


Dan Schwent  (akaGunslinger) Don wrote: "at 17, you should be done being a ridiculous teenager. "

I know people in their thirties who aren't finished being ridiculous teenagers yet.


Adrienne (addiebelle) | 226 comments I couldn't stand Quentin's apathy, so I ended up not liking the book very much. I need something to root for and Quentin certainly wasn't helping out with that; it was difficult for me to care about anything since the main character didn't care about anything. I do think that the book is objectively better than I've rated it, but oh well -- I'm a subjective book rater.


Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 602 comments I think he's portrayed this way for a reason. The whole book is a satire against fantasy tropes, and Grossman didn't want the same starry-eyed teenage boy going to magic school that we've seen countless times before.

Sure, he's a bit on the depressive side, but my favourite part of the book was how the world was filtered through his skeptic POV.


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments Don wrote: "I found him to be annoying until near the end. Maybe that was the intent but I would catch myself shaking my head at how clueless and whiney he was while I was listening. He was 17 at the beginning of the book not 13 or 14. Maybe this represents my personality at that age or just that I'm old now but at 17, you should be done being a ridiculous teenager."

Now I could be way off on this but I seem to remember reading or hearing somewhere that the characters in the book were supposed to be younger (around High-School aged 13+ I guess) but the publisher thought it would be inappropriate so they made the author change it.

Also I think Dan's right, some people never grow up.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1760 comments Trevor wrote: "I could, and will, say that this book revolves around Q, not the conflict or the world, but around the character. "

To me, this was the book's biggest flaw. Writing an annoying character is one thing. Making that annoying character the focus is another!

Most of the time you would expect for it to contrast with something....


Rebecca Mabe (Beckegirl) I think it's kind of along the lines of the cursing in Locke Lamora. The cursing gave the characters a common vernacular that was unique and lends the author's voice a particular style. The intelligent apathy of Quentin, Alice, and others functions the same way. It makes "The Magicians" stand out from other books of the same genre in a humorous albeit tongue-in-cheek sarcastic way. It adds some flavor to a trope which otherwise could become monotonous pretty quickly.


Adrienne (addiebelle) | 226 comments Alex wrote: "I think he's portrayed this way for a reason. The whole book is a satire against fantasy tropes, and Grossman didn't want the same starry-eyed teenage boy going to magic school that we've seen countless times before"

I understand the reason, but that doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy it. Since I read primarily for the characters, it's tough for me to like a book that is filled with unlikeable characters. Flawed characters are fine, but this took it too far for me.


Ryan Curtis (Kingtriton92) | 62 comments At 50%, I still don't think he deserved to go to school to learn magic. Clearly I should have been picked instead.


Zach Moore (zachms) | 13 comments I like the way he's written so far. It presents a world view that we don't often see in this type of book. It's such a turn around from the way a universe like Harry Potter is portrayed, it seems like hyperbolic realism.


Alexander Roan | 2 comments Hey All,

Interesting to read everyone had a strong reaction to Q!

I personally liked him enough at the beginning, but as the book went one I grew to dislike him. I think his character flaws in the beginning were quite reasonable, as most of us suffer from similar if not worse flaws, but as the book went on his selfishness and lack of consideration of others really annoyed me.

I think all good people reach a point where we have to sacrifice our own self interest to care for each other in life and that trait was totally missing in Q.

I guess the thing that kept me going was the way it was kind of like a 'lion witch and wardrobe' type parody, but with the occasional shock difference.. that kept me engrossed..


Isaiah | 64 comments Quentin always made me think of a magical Holden Caulfield, perhaps with fewer goddam phonies to complain about. I myself really like Quentin, but I have already read both books, and am basing that on events in book two.


Jane Higginson | 160 comments I havnt read this book as yet, there are some very interesting discussions on here and its making me want to read the book so that i can decide for myself and add my opinion!


Kurt Graebner | 4 comments Having finished the book I agree with alot of you. I like Quentin OK at first and grew less fond of him. Honestly the only character I really liked was Alice, she seemed the most relatable, and far more interesting that Quentin and his insecent whining.


Paul (latepaul) | 112 comments I remember when I first read the book being surprised that people found him whiny or annoying. He's downbeat but I felt like he goes through a lot and I usually either liked or sympathised with him.

I'm planning to re-read it as soon as I finish my current book and it'll be interesting to see if I feel differently.


Travis | 24 comments There are only so many flaws that I can take in a character. I found him ungrateful, selfish, and incapable of being accountable for his own actions. I found myself not caring one whit about him, or any of the other characters.


message 33: by Nathan (last edited Apr 06, 2012 11:36AM) (new)

Nathan | 8 comments Just finished the book this week. I found myself alternating between enjoying the book and wanting to throw the book down in disgust because of the author constantly going on about Quentins mental state. I get it, Quentin is wanting something to make him happy. I know a lot of people that think that they'll be happy when...(insert random life event). I just didn't need to be beaten over the head repeatedly with this theme.

Over all I liked the book, but there were parts that were like pulling teeth to get through.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Isaiah wrote: " I myself really like Quentin, but I have already read both books, and am basing that on events in book two. "

I've read both books as well. So my dislike of the character is based on his actions and attitude in both.

He is less whiny in the second book, just not by much.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (Gatadelafuente) | 44 comments Quentin is annoying--he needs to grow up and never quite does in the first book. I haven't read The Magician King, so I can't comment on it. Most of the characters in this book are fairly unlikable. I did like Alice. It was a good book, but I was conflicted in my rating because I have to like or at least respect the main characters in books to enjoy them. It's a testament that I still enjoyed this book enough to give it four stars, despite my dislike for the majority of the characters.


Zach Bechtel (zachbechtel) | 109 comments what about PENNY? What a JACKWAD! He's way worse of a character than Quentin.


Sarah | 19 comments Quentin is possibly the least likeable protagonist I've ever read. It just seemed like he got worse as the book went on. It's hard to like a character who gets literally everything he ever wanted and still remains miserable as sin.

And the strange thing is that I liked (not loved, I wouldn't go that far) the book. But if anything prevents me from reading the second one, it'll be the thought of being saddled with Quentin the insufferable once again.


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments Zach wrote: "what about PENNY? What a JACKWAD! He's way worse of a character than Quentin."

I didn't like him either, I don't know if he was worse though. I didn't particularly like anyone in this book except for maybe Josh "Dungeons and Dragons Mother Fucker!" I laughed pretty hard at that.

Sarah wrote: "But if anything prevents me from reading the second one, it'll be the thought of being saddled with Quentin the insufferable once again."

I found his character grew a lot in the second novel, or at least he wasn't as much of a whiny brat. I have a feeling that by the third novel he'll be much closer to acting like an adult. But even some of the adults act like children in this series so it's tough to say.


Sean (CaptHowdy) | 32 comments Hmm, I don't really like books about teenagers or children (and coming of age stories (if that's going to happen in this book)), well, not since I was erm, a teenager or a child. So, while there are a few great scenes in the book (loved the intense last test to get into school!) that have kept me interested, and my childhood affection for the Narnia series, this book hadn't been that great for me. All the magician school stuff, I suppose is Harry Potter stuff which I've never had an interest in.

I don't mind the adult themes so far in the book (I've just finished the Book II section). It's getting better now that they've left school I suppose. School lasted too long :)


Tassie Dave | 491 comments I agree the school section went on too long.
It should have been less Harry Potter and more Narnia.

The first 80% was a bit of a snoozefest but I loved the last 20%.
Still not enough to want to read the sequel.

I'd rate it 2½/5. Good but not great.

All the kids were annoying to some degree, just like all teenagers.
I would have rather seen the story from Alice's viewpoint. Q was just too whiny.


Alec (Alec1887) | 3 comments Boots wrote: "Now I could be way off on this but I seem to remember reading or hearing somewhere that the characters in the book were supposed to be younger (around High-School aged 13+ I guess) but the publisher thought it would be inappropriate so they made the author change it."

That would explain a lot. Including why Q calls himself a teenager in the fourth year (view spoiler) when if he was 17 at the beginning of the book he should be at least 20 by that point. Also why they get referred to as 'kids' towards the end, when if they've graduated from a 5 year "college" course they should all be 21/22, which few people would describe as a kid.
All in all, a lot of the character flaws which have annoyed a lot of people seem a lot less damning if you make the main character about 5 years younger.


Gary (GarySw) | 3 comments I just finished and liked the book, but I found myself alternating between being annoyed with Quentin and accepting his moods as part of his personality. I'd go between seeing his attitude in myself and wanting to slap him and tell him to try to see someone else's perspective for once. One other odd thing is that it didn't seem like the characters developed much in the first book even though they went from high school through the equivalent of college. But maybe that's in keeping with the idea of magic holding back your development mentioned in the book. I'm curious if the characters, including Q, grow more in the second book.


Doctordalek | 30 comments I admire any author who can write an awesome book with characters I hate.


Cosmo | 3 comments I'm just about half done with The Magicians and I confess I'm loving it. Part of it is the writing, certainly. But I rather dig the anti-hero/non-heroic protagonist and the fact that Quentin can remain so miserable even while surrounded by something as awesome as magic rings really true. To quote the great sage Buckaroo Bonzai "Wherever you go, there you are."


Martin (itsmarty) | 3 comments I finished this weekend, and I loved it. The characters and their relationships felt very realistic to me, which helped me get past the points where I was annoyed by them.

I'm generally critical of unpleasant characters and bleak stories, but it affects me most of all when the whole world is miserable and nothing nice ever happens. In The Magicians it was pretty clear that Quentin could have been happy if he hadn't been so staunchly against it.

Overall I really loved how the story played out, and the dialog made me laugh out loud at times. I very much agree with Isiah upthread, who was reminded of a magical Holden Caufield.


Bori | 16 comments I think Quentin is being judged a bit harshly. Honestly, thinking back to that age, who wasn't a bit of a whiny tool? Particularly after leaving school, most 21-year-olds given unlimited money and leisure time and no direction will tend to stagnate and flounder. I see it all the time with friends who have finished uni, but don't know what they want to do yet. It's not a symptom of an inherently unlikeable, irredeemable personality, just something which most people will experience when they can't find their purpose.

Re: 'omg, how can he be so happy when he's learning MAGIC': a big point is made of how magic is HARD, and a real slog to learn. Even if it weren't, being immersed in something amazing does eventually lose its novelty. Even in the Harry Potter universe you don't see the kids constantly thrilled about how they're learning magic, eventually it just becomes part of the daily grind.


Rick P. | 53 comments Yes, Quentin is a whiny, tiresome character much of the time. In some ways he reminds me of Holden Caufield. I Lemmed Catcher in the Rye because that character annoyed me so much.

Quentin, on the other hand, has a compelling enough story to keep you engaged. His world and it's magic system are intriguing and his grittier, more "realistic" academic training are a refreshing change from other novels of this genre.

As the story progresses, you see how important Quentin's depressed, unfulfilled nature is to the message of the novel. Many fantasy stories end with the protagonist getting everything they ever wanted. But, is that really a good thing? What if that never actually solves anything for you?

How many of us grow up dreaming, at least a little, of how awesome it would be to have magical powers. We seldom confront whether or not that would actually make anyone happier or more fulfilled. What kind of life can you really look forward to when you can do almost anything you want with magic?

(view spoiler)

I see this novel to be less a parody of the Harry Potter vision of a magical world, but rather a marvelous critique of it.

BTW, Quentin is a bit less annoying in the next book.


Bori | 16 comments Rick wrote: "Yes, Quentin is a whiny, tiresome character much of the time. In some ways he reminds me of Holden Caufield. I Lemmed Catcher in the Rye because that character annoyed me so much.

Quentin, on the..."


I agree with absolutely everything you said! (Except the bit about the next book, because I haven't read it yet.)


Seawood | 129 comments I thought Quentin was fantastically written, actually. Or maybe I just over-identify with a character who can't help but see the ultimate bleakness and pointlessness of the world. It's a long road to come to terms with that viewpoint of being insignificant in the universe, and many people never do. Quentin had everything; he's very clever, he's privilaged with wealth, status, class, gender and magical power, and it's still not enough because he can't see himself in a heroic or even meaningful role. One thing that really made me cross was the lack of guidance he got from the adults in his life - I hope I'm never that indifferent to my daughters! His parents in particular seemed terribly selfish and the teachers very distant.

I'm not sure I enjoyed the Fillory, latter-third of the book. I thought it was a bit of a muddled D&D/Narnia mash-up but since I pretty much loathe the Narnia series anyway I may be missing something profound here.

I would also criticise some of the loose ends and minor characters - poor old Julia, for example. I'd like to know if some of these are tied up in the second book.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Awakened Mage (other topics)
The Magician King (other topics)