The Sword and Laser discussion

Lev Grossman
This topic is about Lev Grossman
203 views
Questions for Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)    post a comment »
dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 741 comments Mod
Our next video show will feature an interview with author Lev Grossman. You may know him as a Time literary critic. Or you may know him as a tech reporter for Wired. But you probably know him here as the author of The Magicians

So, time for you to find out just what he meant by all that stuff with Quentin and Alice. Post your questions here and we'll ask as many as we can on the show and in a bonus interview.

Thanks!

Tom


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments Were any of the characters in The Magicians based on (or similar to) himself or any people he knows?


message 3: by Kate (last edited Apr 29, 2012 04:13PM) (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments I feel like the story was very unfair to Janet, I always had the impression that she was motivated by more than just a desire to mess with people, but it never came up because we're stuck in Quentin's self-involved, unreflectivly sexist pov, and then in The Magician King (view spoiler)

Does Grossman have any stories he'd like to tell about Janet some day? Like maybe her and Eliot could have adventures and be deeply flippant about them? Please.


Casey Hampton (caseyhampton) | 649 comments I read The Magicians because it was good writing but I found myself "put off" by most all of the characters and I didn't really give a damn about what happened to them inside of the story. I read The Magician King because not only was it great writing but I found myself actually caring about what was happening to the characters. I'd like to know if this was intentional. Did Mr. Grossman purposefully write The Magician King to be more engaging to the reader? And if so, well done.


P. Aaron Potter (PAaronPotter) | 585 comments The Magicians really problematizes the escapism which fantasy offers its readers. Its sequel, The Magician King, arguably does the same for fantasy's idealism. With those gone, is there anything left? If it's not really offering a better world, or helping people escape the troubles of this one, what value does fantasy have?


Mike | 1 comments A common device you use, almost without fail, is to introduce a minor charecter and then use them later in the story. I was wondering what became of Aral after losing to Bingle in the final duel in the magicians king. I realize she was a minor charecter, but I feel like her sword, will and fighting style kept me wondering how she would come back to fill in her veil of mystery.

In countless ways your stories have been my best friends, your stories have become the golden standard for what I look for in fantasy to date. Thank you for your elaborate detail to creating systematic worlds of fiction. I am still depressed though that Quentin had to go home, even though it is the right ending.


Agatha (agathab) | 130 comments It seems to me Magicians is almost postmodern in its approach to genre and characters, and I was wondering; is Quentin being Wrong Genre Savvy another aspect of this? Did it start ou that way, trying to explain how a real world person might get the wrong idea about his own place in an imaginary world?

Given how obsessed Quentin is with finding a story of his own to play the hero in, was this something planned out from the start? And how much of the novel should be thought of in terms of 'telling a story about stories', the effect of stories on people?


Patrick | 14 comments P. Aaron wrote: "The Magicians really problematizes the escapism which fantasy offers its readers. Its sequel, The Magician King, arguably does the same for fantasy's idealism. With those gone, is there anything ..."

These are great questions. I'm stoked to hear Lev's answers to these.


Katherine (KShearon) | 26 comments Mike wrote: "A common device you use, almost without fail, is to introduce a minor charecter and then use them later in the story. I was wondering what became of Aral after losing to Bingle in the final duel i..."

Hey Mike, I'm still reading The Magician's King and you just spoiled the crap out of it. Please be more careful in your postings in the future? Look to the FAQ page on how to hide your spoilers, I think. Thank you so much!


message 10: by Uriah (last edited Apr 30, 2012 02:46PM) (new)

Uriah (LurkingHairu) | 9 comments Dear Mr.Grossman,

Would you consider most of your characters (or world) to reflect, or to have been influenced by, nihilistic philosophy? If not, then would you consider Quentin to be an idealist trying to cope with living in an un-ideal world?

Thanks,
Uriah.


Katherine (KShearon) | 26 comments P. Aaron wrote: "The Magicians really problematizes the escapism which fantasy offers its readers. Its sequel, The Magician King, arguably does the same for fantasy's idealism. With those gone, is there anything ..."

Mr. Grossman,

In direct relation to this excellent question, did you use alcoholism, or addiction in general, to give context to fantasy's escapism and idealism? What role does alcohol play as a motif, especially in the first book, for you? And as a character and plot developer?

Thanks so much! Excited to see the interview.
- Katherine


Tora | 69 comments It has been observed that in The Magicians, the characters who study hard and care about things are the ones who get the worst fates--Alice becomes a Niffin, and Penny loses his hands (and so far as they know, therefore his magic also). This has caused some people to see it as anti-intellectual. My question is, were you writing within the Western tradition of a moral universe in which good gets rewarded and bad gets punished (which the view above is based on), or were you deliberately striving to create a non-moralistic universe, either in the tradition of works like 1,001 Arabian Nights, or trying to reflect the reality of the world around us? If the last, do you really view the world that negatively, or were you trying to create balance with the overly positive tradition of a moral universe?


message 13: by Christopher (last edited Apr 30, 2012 07:53PM) (new)

Christopher (theliterarygeek) | 96 comments When you were writing the novel did you ever imagine that Quentin[and/or his POV as narrator] would be so polarizing to readers?

If purposeful, then congrats your a literary genius! If not, what are your thoughts on the reaction readers[especially on this forum] have had?

PS I have seen you in person and there is no way that I think you or your work have an anti-intellectual agenda. Although your novel has stirred a storm of debate on Goodreads in that regard. Any thoughts on that reaction as well?


Erik | 5 comments Prof. Fogg told the graduates that he has a theory that the only people that can do magic are fundamentally broken inside. That certainly seemed true of all the characters we encountered attending Brakesbill. Would you like to elaborate on Fogg's supposition?

Why did Quentin throw the marker at his adversary's knee and toss Alice over his shoulder and jump in the water square at the end of the championship Welters game? This was the point I gave up on Quentin and no longer like him. Is this where you were hoping for people to stop liking him?


Agustí | 5 comments There were some powerful pictures in the book, but the ones that left a deeper impression in me were the Neitherlands and especially the first appearance of the Beast.

I found the hanging branch covering the face of the Beast an amazing idea, and it added a very cool sense of weirdness and surrealism to the scene.

Where did the inspiration for that came from?

Thanks,


Otto | 24 comments The Beast, why a tree branch? Was he merely wishing to hide his identity? If so, there are numerous, more effective ways to do this other than a twig and leaf. Why did you introduce this unique visual?

To me, I interpreted this as some kind of arborical reference to Fillory and its dryads, time trees and its overall fantasy nature reminiscent of a Midsummer Nights Dream. Was there some symbolism I missed, or were you going for something completely different?


Charlotte | 25 comments This may be an obvious question, but I'm curious to know what is your relationship to the Narnia books. Even though the world of Fillory seemed a little tongue and cheek, I felt as though it was a mockery made in the most loving of ways. (If that makes any sense). I just want to know if I was correct in the assumption that you have maybe loved the Narnia books since childhood, or was Narnia just convenient to base your world on as it is well known?


Ian Roberts | 140 comments Great question Charlotte, I would add the same question for Harry Potter - to me it came across that the references to Fillory (Narnia) were quite respectful/reverential, whereas the ones to HP were pretty snide and not very respectful. Does that reflect Lev's relative feelings towards these two franchises/is this intended?


Christopher (theliterarygeek) | 96 comments When I saw Lev here in Nor Cal, he is a self confessed fan of both Narnia and Harry Potter. And you are spot on about the loving mockery...


Gabby (GloryisBen) | 7 comments P. Aaron wrote: "The Magicians really problematizes the escapism which fantasy offers its readers. Its sequel, The Magician King, arguably does the same for fantasy's idealism. With those gone, is there anything ..."

I'd like to push this question, which is excellent, a little further. Are we to assume that the reason why the world of Brakebills isn't explored more than it is in the novel is to purposely put off the reader, making him/her question the escapism of fantasy? If that's the case, I was wondering if the "complete" world of Brakebills (classes, professors, layout, etc.) lives inside of your head, and if so, do you plan on doing something with that information?


Sharat Buddhavarapu | 10 comments Ian wrote: "Great question Charlotte, I would add the same question for Harry Potter - to me it came across that the references to Fillory (Narnia) were quite respectful/reverential, whereas the ones to HP wer..."

Charlotte wrote: "This may be an obvious question, but I'm curious to know what is your relationship to the Narnia books. Even though the world of Fillory seemed a little tongue and cheek, I felt as though it was a ..."

Charlotte and Ian, those are pretty good catches, but so that Lev doesn't have to answer a question he has answered in length here is a useful link to his explanation of the allusions in The Magicians. You were both spot on, in summary!


Brianna | 5 comments I was wondering if Lev has Buddhist ideology. When I was reading it I saw a theme of “life is suffering” in The Magicians .


Cory Day (cors36) | 14 comments What I'd like to know is how Lev Grossman describes 'The Magicians'. Almost every time I've heard someone describing it, they say something like "it's a grown up Harry Potter" or "it's a realistic Harry Potter". Those descriptions set me up for something I didn't feel like it was and totally colored my perception of the book. I'm curious to hear of Mr. Grossman approves.


Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 638 comments As someone who was pretty harsh on The Magicians but who also assumes that Lev Grossman is a nice, possibly funny and smart person, I would like to know whether he pays any attention to reviews, positive and negative. And if he reads any negative reviews, how does he deal with it? Does he take the criticism and try to work with it or does he just simply say "Naah, I'll do it the way I think is right..."

For clarification, I think that both reactions are perfectly okay. I don't expect authors to listen to critics and act on their reviews, but I would like to know if they (at least sometimes) do.


Sea | 4 comments I just finished and it seemed to me the story really picked up for the last 100 pages. I wonder if he always meant for two novels or if that was an editorial/publishers decision?


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Magicians (other topics)
The Magician King (other topics)