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The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
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BotM Discussion - FANTASY > The Magicians / Overall Discussion / Spoilers

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message 1: by Whitney (new) - added it

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 150 comments I thought I'd go ahead and get this discussion up.


message 2: by Whitney (new) - added it

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 150 comments I also tried the TV show but it didn't stick. So far I like the writing style and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I'm just starting the audiobook. I'm wondering if the main character, Quentin, suffers from depression or dysthymic disorder.


message 4: by Whitney (new) - added it

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 150 comments Veronica wrote: "I'm just starting the audiobook. I'm wondering if the main character, Quentin, suffers from depression or dysthymic disorder."

I think I heard that he does. And it certainly seems like he's depressed.


Greg | 1138 comments Just started this too - I quite liked the TV show myself, but unfortunately I probably know a lot of the twists. Usually I like to read the book first, but I didn't in this case.


message 6: by Veronica (last edited Jul 01, 2016 09:10AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Greg wrote: "Usually I like to read the book first, but I didn't in this case."

I tend to prefer the opposite, watch first and then read. Since the books are usually better than the adaptation, I find I can enjoy the show as its own separate thing if it comes first (otherwise I'm too critical - having that problem with The Expanse tv show right now).

Actually, the only instance I can recall where I liked the movie better than the book was To Kill A Mockingbird but that probably had as much to do with Gregory Peck as anything else. ;-)


message 7: by Greg (last edited Jul 01, 2016 10:29AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Veronica wrote: "Greg wrote: "Usually I like to read the book first, but I didn't in this case."

I tend to prefer the opposite, watch first and then read. Since the books are usually better than the adaptation, I ..."


This is probably sacrilege, but I thought both the Lord of the Rings movies and the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe movie were better than the books. I thought those movies flushed out the characters much more than the books did .. probably an unfair comparison though because the movies came from such different eras than the books.

It's exceedingly rare though, I agree. I like the books better than movie/TV adaptions probably 80% of the time.

I like to read the books first usually because they're a much larger time investment. I'd rather the movie gets slightly spoiled by spoilers than the book. :)

Gregory Peck was great in TKAM!


Greg | 1138 comments Raven Rebecca wrote: "I managed to snag the library copy when both the people ahead of me didn't pick up their holds, so I get to start it tomorrow. Finding it hard to stay on track though, too many things to get done i..."

For me, it was amusing Raven. The lead was great at playing an awkward guy in an appealing way, very funny in spots despite the story being so dark. Won't say more so I don't spoil anything. I'm curious to see how closely the series stuck to the books. At least in the first chapter, it was pretty close.


Greg | 1138 comments Just finished chapter 1:

Love the exchange between the "woman paramedic" and Quentin, quite funny. So far so good.


Melanie | 1311 comments I put up topics for just Book I, II, and III for people (like me) who don't want spoilers for later parts of the book...


message 11: by Whitney (new) - added it

Whitney (whitneychakara) | 150 comments Melanie wrote: "I put up topics for just Book I, II, and III for people (like me) who don't want spoilers for later parts of the book..."

I thought spoiler tags would be just fine but to each their own. :D


message 12: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Melanie wrote: "I put up topics for just Book I, II, and III for people (like me) who don't want spoilers for later parts of the book..."

Thanks Melanie! :)


message 13: by Ryan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ryan I think the spoiler tags force you to wait until you've finished the book before joining the discussion, which would be a negative for some.

And Greg, I preferred the LotR movies to the books as well. I also found the Fight Club film better than the book in some ways, though the book has a better ending.


message 14: by Greg (last edited Jul 01, 2016 07:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Ryan wrote: "I think the spoiler tags force you to wait until you've finished the book before joining the discussion, which would be a negative for some.

And Greg, I preferred the LotR movies to the books as w..."


Re: LotR, I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

As far as spoilers, like Chakara I actually prefer the spoiler tags myself - they work well if you provide the chapter, such as, "I like how in chapter 3 < spoiler tag >". Then you know exactly when it's safe to open each individual spoiler and you never have any plot points given away.

But I understand that they don't have full support in the app and the mobile site; so I guess this group doesn't use them. A shame Goodreads can't fix their darn app! But in lieu of the spoiler tags, the multiple threads will help a lot (thanks Melanie!).


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I find the multiple threads too much to keep track of. I prefer having just the one thread, but to each his or her own.

I was listening to the audiobook in the car yesterday and actually dozed off for a split second and jerked awake in time to avoid driving into the ditch at the side of the road. I'm not sure if it's the story or the narrator that is lulling me to sleep but I may have to abandon this format for my own safety. lol


message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Veronica wrote: "I find the multiple threads too much to keep track of. I prefer having just the one thread, but to each his or her own.

I was listening to the audiobook in the car yesterday and actually dozed off..."


Ha ha Veronica, be safe! :) I do occasionally find I have to switch to music if I'm getting drowsy, but that generally happens on the long trips to Arizona when I'm trying to get on the road very early to beat the traffic.

I like one thread, but I live in fear of spoilers after I accidentally saw some doozies on the Six of Crows thread before I finished! In the absence of spoiler tags, the multiple threads at least cuts down on my spoiler fears.


Melanie | 1311 comments Oh my Veonica. There isn't a lot of dialog, so the narration lacks a switch of voices and tone which can be lulling. Be safe.


Margo Just finished the audiobook. Parts of it were annoying, parts boring, but now and again it was pure gold! I'm definitely going to finish the series - maybe not for a while though;-)

I really don't know what's wrong With Quentin!


Sarah (sarahcd89) | 39 comments I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

Is just thrown in there nonchalantly. Is the author insinuating something about CS Lewis? How is this just an afterthought on this character's part?


message 20: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1964 comments Ryan wrote: "And Greg, I preferred the LotR movies to the books as well..."

I'm with you guys, shameful to admit it but I actually couldn't finish the third book......
The Hobbit on the other hand, is a whole different kettle of fish.


message 21: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1964 comments I have to say that I'm not impressed that much with the Magician. I agree with Margo, there were parts of the book that were amazing but I found a lot of it quite boring and too 'Dawson's Creek' angsty for me.

There are a lot of questions I would like answered as well but not sure that I will ever get round to the rest of the series. What happened with Penny? Who was the paramedic lady? What was/is Quentin's speciality?

One thing I did like, although it was way to similar to Narnia's 'Magicians nephew' with the pools, was the Neitherland section. I liked the little comment at the end that Josh is trying to find a way to Middle Earth. Where would you guys like to go? I think I would quite like to go to Jim Butchers Alera I loved that world and the characters in it.


Margo Lel I can answer one of you questions , the paramedic is the watcher woman is the youngest child from the fillory books. The fact that she hid all the buttons should have been a big clue but I didn't pick up on it.

I think I'd head for Hogwarts. I know it's a bit boring, but I loved it there ;-)


message 23: by Melanie (last edited Jul 09, 2016 05:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melanie | 1311 comments Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

Is just thrown ..."


Yeah! How it that an after thought?! Glad I wasn't alone.

Other annoying plot points:
-All of a sudden at the end Quentin becomes the BEST magician (even better than Alice) without a mentor, and then he quits. It makes me hate him even more; just when my dislike had plateaued.

- Julia just disappeared.


Melanie | 1311 comments Overall the book has a great opening and strong finish, but there is a lot to be desired in the middle. It's hard to read books (especially written in first person) when I don't like the main character, and I just don't like Quentin. I started the tv series this week, and it brings in more characters with depth which helps the story in my opinion.

Book 2 has a lot of promise because it will take place primarily on Fillory, but I need a break from these characters.


message 25: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Has anyone watched the TV show? I've watched 2 eps but wanted to re-read the book before continuing.


Robin P Rinn wrote: "Has anyone watched the TV show? I've watched 2 eps but wanted to re-read the book before continuing."

The TV show is good but different, in some ways it's easier to follow since things are condensed. The one thing that was really jarring in the TV show is that Alice is always wearing short little-girl type dresses even when wandering through woods or fighting evil forces.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I just finished the book and I found it pretty dull all the way through. The Fillory bits were marginally more interesting but that's not saying much. I didn't like any of the characters (Alice being the best of the lot) and didn't care what happened to any of them. I found it all pretty pointless.


message 28: by Greg (last edited Jul 12, 2016 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

Is just thrown ..."


Sarah, I don't think he means this as an insinuation against C.S. Lewis. It seems to me that the book is trying for a much more realistic and dark look at things (such as the queasy realism of the battles in Fillory), and Plover's sexual abuse of Martin as a reasoning behind Martin's insanity is part of that. For me, the offhand after-the-fact revelation in the book is way too abrupt to have much power though.

In the TV series, this revelation of sexual abuse is handled much more powerfully .. not that it's possible to think the Beast is justified at all but I could get a better sense of the environment that birthed him, the tragedy of the whole thing.


message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Rinn wrote: "Has anyone watched the TV show? I've watched 2 eps but wanted to re-read the book before continuing."

I actually much preferred the TV show to the book, though they're so different I almost consider them different works. Very little of the draggy parts in books 1 & 2 are covered in the TV series at all, and it has a lot of new content that deepens a lot of the characterizations in my opinion. Akso, the TV show, although dark, has a lot of humor to it. The book doesn't have much humor, at least for me. The tone is very different.


Margo I thought the battle scene was really well written. I have read, or watched, so many glorified battle scenes where the killing and maiming is glossed over, or worse cheered on. It has to deeply affect a person to witness those things, never mind inflect them.


message 31: by Greg (last edited Jul 12, 2016 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "I thought the battle scene was really well written. I have read, or watched, so many glorified battle scenes where the killing and maiming is glossed over, or worse cheered on. It has to deeply aff..."

I 100% agree Margo! I loved part III! That part was very well written, and it really affected me. I loved the fact that you couldn't be sure who was right in that section, that it was completely obvious that the Earthers had stumbled into something they didn't understand at all that was way over their heads .. and then the petty reward of the crown after that - Eliot was right to throw it away!!

The one thing that bothered me after all that was the very end of Part IV. After all that had happened, it seemed like Quentin, Eliot, and the rest of them had learned something. They'd learned some humility from Alice's death and from the sheer horror of the experience. Then at the end of Part IV suddenly Eliot is asking Quentin to go back with them and be kings and queens of Fillory. The flippant way Eliot talks about it, it seems actually he hasn't learned anything at all. During Quentin's convalescence, he's forgotten all of it!! And despite Alice's death, Quentin decides to go back because the real world is .. boring? He hasn't learned anything either?! The final two pages bothered and disturbed me!

When I said offhand revelation, I meant the brief remark by Jane about Plover's sexual abuse of Martin in part IV. That was too offhand and brief to affect me much.


message 32: by Tony (new) - added it

Tony Flemings | 12 comments OK, I just finished this book, it was a really long read for me but in fairness it followed the SF BotM, which was really enjoyable. I had all of this negative stuff I was going to say, like Harry Potter/Narnia clone, but that isn't really fair to this story. Quentin is flawed and not in an "he made Dudley fall in the snake cage" way, but really damaged.


message 33: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 1 star

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

Is just thrown ..."


I thought that was a very cheap ploy as well.. and to be just thrown in that like that was annoying.


Ana A (anabana_a) Greg wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

I..."


It's moments like these when I'm glad there are book discussions. I didn't know "diddle" meant sexually abuse! I thought it just meant annoy. That is messed up. But it was mentioned so nonchalantly that I didn't think it important to look up the word.

---

I kind of love-hate this book. I agree that the best part was putting a realistic view of fantastical events, like the battle scene. I usually read fantasy to escape, but do I really want to go there?


Margo Of Ana, it's lucky you sorted that word out! The misunderstanding could have led to some embarrassing conversations lol


Rosie B Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

Is just thrown ..."


I know other people have commented on this, but YES! This line should not have been a throwaway line. It's crazy that it was. If I remember correctly, Quentin showed very little reaction to that line.


message 37: by Lel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1964 comments Margo wrote: "Lel I can answer one of you questions , the paramedic is the watcher woman is the youngest child from the fillory books. The fact that she hid all the buttons should have been a big clue but I didn..."

Thanks Margo, I think I started skimming towards the end of the book just because I wasn't really engaged into this one.


message 38: by Sandy (last edited Jul 20, 2016 03:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sandy | 1665 comments PaperRose wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I also hate that this:

"Try not to judge Martin too harshly... Plover used to diddle him whenever he could get him alone. I think that's why he went to Fillory in the first place"

I..."

Does that though just show how damaged Quentin is? That's how I felt when I read that reaction or lack thereof. So did we think there was a connection of the characters between these book and the Narnia books? Or did we just think Fillory was like Narnia because they were both magical places the characters traveled to - I am reading the Narnia books and am not seeing the connection.


message 39: by Alex (last edited Jul 22, 2016 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alex I don't know I think that was "thrown in" like that on purpose, plus in Quentin's defense the guy killed his girlfriend and tore off his arm. In that situation, are YOU gonna say "well, now I feel ever so sorry for the deranged madman that killed my lover, maimed me and my friend, and tried to killed everyone" or "**** that guy, who cares if he was sexually abused that doesn't make anything he did okay"

I think it was just supposed to be another comment on how effed up Martin was


Rosie B Alex wrote: "I don't know I think that was "thrown in" like that on purpose, plus in Quentin's defense the guy killed his girlfriend and tore off his arm. In that situation, are YOU gonna say "well, now I feel ..."

I think whenever a reference to sexual abuse is made, it should be followed through. Even Quentin should feel something when told about the abuse of a child.


message 41: by Cora (last edited Jul 25, 2016 03:18AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cora Getting to this conversation a little late and as I LOVED this book I have a lot to say; so bear with me through my excitement please.

Firstly, parts 1 + 2 suck. I feel that the author recognised that we wouldn't have the same empathy for a character if he wasn't a normal person (muggle, mundane, whatever) and we therefore couldn't find ourselves reading about a 20-something year old magic graduate in chapter one. The characters were therefore rushed through school, with very little happening (I mean, what even is welters???). I almost lost is when Quentin and Alice were actually skipped forward a year despite the fact that Quentin had been a struggling student! The saddest part of it all is that the characterisation of the school itself has so much potiential but was unfulfilled. I almost put the book down several times.

I'm glad I didn't! Parts 3 +4 enthralled me! Books 2 + 3 are even better so if you did enjoy the 2nd half of The Magicians, stick with the series.

The comparison with Narnia and Harry Potter – firstly, you can’t have too much of a good thing! There may be similarities, especially with Narnia, but it does not mean it is a direct reference. I think it’s a waste of time to read too much into the Fillory/Narnia comparison. Secondly, the whole point is that this is an adult book; with sex, drugs and brutal violence. I think the book is quite unique and interesting in this way (though I admit those aspects weren’t done perfectly, and sometimes it just got a little too weird).

The big talking point here seems to be around the allegation against Plover regarding Martin. I did much prefer the TV shows haunting treatment of this subject to the books, which verged on traumatising me. However I can reassure you that the topic is revisited in later books. At the time, I did think it was said somewhat "tongue in cheek" and was a reflection of the character's selfishness (she did put Quentin etc. in a lot of danger without much thought for them). In hindsight though, I don't think this was a throw-away comment, so much as a teaser to encourage readers to continue with the series.

This book does set up a lot of dominoes to fall in later books. Lel and Melanie, some of the points that were unanswered for you are integral to later parts of the series. Greg, Quentin’s character is a huge sticking point in the storyline, for many readers and for the character himself. However, you never quite lose the feeling of wanted to give him a good slap sometimes!

Veronica it’s funny that you thought Alice was the best character of a bad bunch. I thought she was boring as hell but would at the end predictably, (view spoiler) I think Elliot and Janet were fantastic!! Absolute b**ches but I loved to hate them and hated to love them. I really did not like the way it was confirmed that Elliot was (view spoiler) ; with him (view spoiler)
I quite liked Josh too – everyone apart from Quentin and Alice really!


message 42: by Roger, Knight Radiant (last edited Jul 25, 2016 04:16AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
I meant to write the a while ago but I finished this book and I ending up not like it at all. It just seemed so juvenile. I disagree completely with people saying at the end that Quentin grew up. He turned into almost exactly what you'd expect from a whiny spoiled kid, an adult that just completely ignores his problem and moves into a state of life where he makes zero progress. He goes to a job where he doesn't do anything and then plays a lot of video games. Not exactly growing up at all.

Have to say that I won't be reading anything else in the universe, which stinks because I did like the magic in the book, but there isn't a character I care to read any more about.


message 43: by Cora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cora Roger, I agree with the juvenility of it... they seem more like high school students than University graduates.

I loved the 2nd half of the book, and the sequels. However if you felt you couldn't handle Quentin's immaturity go no further! (view spoiler) For some reason I still like reading about their misery... maybe it makes me feel that my own non-magical life isn't so bad after all.


message 44: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Roger wrote: "I meant to write the a while ago but I finished this book and I ending up not like it at all. It just seemed so juvenile. I disagree completely with people saying at the end that Quentin grew up. H..."

I think that's a good point about the not growing up Roger - it seemed to me though that his behavior toward the end in the non-magic world was out of avoidance & grief. The playing videogames and having no goals was juvenile, sure, but I thought maybe he'd at least had the realization that other people were actually human beings. He seemed to genuinely feel some guilt finally, and he was right to turn away from the power of magic because he was too immature to handle that power (a decision that made me think he had some real repentance) ... but then in the last 2 pages he backslid on that too; so who knows? It sounds like people are saying he matures more in subsequent books, though I don't blame you for not wanting to wait.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Cora wrote: "Veronica it’s funny that you thought Alice was the best character of a bad bunch. I thought she was boring as hell but would at the end predictably..."

By "best" I only meant that she was bland enough that she didn't annoy me as much as the others. I downright despised the rest but felt indifferent to Alice. So not really high praise.

I'm with Roger in that I really disliked the book and the characters. They could have all died at the end and I wouldn't have cared. I may have even cheered. ;-)


Barry (boprawira) | 5 comments Overall I like this book. Read it a year ago. So I may be missing some details.

But, it's interesting that some people hate the characters in this book. I think that's one of the main argument against liking this book.

Me, personally, I agree that the main characters are easily disliked. But, to me this is how you would act if you know that you have something powerful (magic) that others don't have. Think of the rich kids who are born with silver spoons. They act spoil, they think they rule the world, they don't care about what happen to other people ... many anyway, don't mean to generalize. But, yeah, I'd probably be a snobbish elitist like these guys if I can do magic too.

Also, I feel that the many references to other fantasy books, especially Narnia and Harry Potter, is a way for the author to sorta make fun the general fantasy plot. In fantasy books you typically get a goody-goody main characters who rise from lowly background to achieve magical greatness. But, it isn't the case in this book. This book sorta lets us know that hey when you're powerful you can be a jerk. And that hey the world is unfair and that sucks, but life goes on. So, Quentin and the gang get the learn magic, get to do magic, get to be more powerful than many many ordinary people, but stuff happens. And just because they can do magic, that doesn't mean everything in their lives are gonna be rosy. But, hey, they gotta continue living their lives.


message 47: by Greg (last edited Jul 26, 2016 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Barry wrote: "This book sorta lets us know that hey when you're powerful you can be a jerk. And that hey the world is unfair and that sucks, but life goes on. So, Quentin and the gang get the learn magic, get to do magic, get to be more powerful than many many ordinary people, but stuff happens. And just because they can do magic, that doesn't mean everything in their lives are gonna be rosy. But, hey, they gotta continue living their lives. ..."

I agree with all of this Barry - it's less of a fantasy than the typical fantasy book.

I like too the suggestion that part of the reason Martin went crazy was that he stayed in Fillory too long. Umber or Ember tells them so, that's the reason why they always sent the humans home at the end of the stories. The insanity appears to be a sort of price for detaching from reality altogether.


message 48: by Greg (last edited Jul 27, 2016 08:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1138 comments Cora wrote: "I did much prefer the TV shows haunting treatment of this subject to the books, which verged on traumatising me. .."

I missed your earlier comments somehow Cora! I completely agree with this - the way the TV show handled this part was highly disturbing but also much more affecting. It was a good change because it helped explain what made Martin into such a monster.

I will definitely continue on with the rest of the books! Part 1 and the first half of Part 2 of the book were a chore to get through, but you Margo and others (as well as some offline friends) have convinced me to continue on with the series. I thought Part III of The Magicians where they went to Fillory was great!


Carolyn  (ckarasch) I finished the book a while back. But it has taken me a long time to process. I generally read YA, and I knew this was an adult book. The book just left me with a "meh" feeling. I really didn't care for any of the characters. Quentin was so whiny and useless. I will not be reading the next in the series. However, I may watch the TV show.


Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments Just finished this for my catch-up challenge, and I'm going to use it for my Marvel Vs DC.
Main thought: Boring, 2 stars.
Additional thoughts. The book starts off as Harry Potter (if all the characters are 18 years old and swear, smoke, drink & shag each ot her all the time). Then turns into a mash-up of the Narnia books (if all the characters are in their early 20s and swear, smoke, drink & shag each ot her all the time). Then tries on A Wizard of Earthsea's clothes for a while (if all the characters...yadda yadda...).
Also the MC was a depressive unlikeable male organ.


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