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BotM Discussion - FANTASY > The Magicians/ part II only (chapters 15-18)

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message 1: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1312 comments Taking Rinn's suggesting and starting a few early threads for those (like me) who don't want spoilers for later parts of the book.


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1312 comments I finished part one and ready forge on....I'm wondering why the author separated the parts so disproportionately? Part I is 60% of the book. I get that it encompasses their entire schooling period, but it's lacking something.

Also, I find it odd that Quentin never discovered a specialty or purpose for his life. Is he going run into trouble now? I'm not really certain what should happen next. Maybe Julia will turn into a super villain?


message 4: by Margo (last edited Jul 05, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Margo I finished part one last night and have to say I found it a very slow read. It was slow moving, which is odd as the years flying by! I agree with Melanie that it lacked something - maybe it was just too humourless. The pace picked up slightly when the mystery of year 4 was revealed, but after the momentary excitement of being transformed into birds it settled back into aimlessness again.

I enjoyed the references to the fictional, fictional(!) series which does seem to equate to Narnia. I also enjoyed the Hogwarts references. Otherwise I found this section dull and a bit long winded. It is quite nihilistic - if Camus had written Harry Potter series I think it would half been like this!! We all go through phases in life where there doesn't feel like there is any point to anything, so why bother? I hink that feeling would be intensified if we could perform magic and thus had no need to earn a salary. It's a bit like being the offspring of a megarich superstar, and we know how well that turns out...

Thankfully the tone and pace both pick up in section 2. I love this section and couldn't put it down!! Finished it and now onto section 3.

Sorry for the long ramblings post ;-)


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1312 comments I finished part II also today. It did pick up, but my oh my, was the opening section a drag. I have a limited tolerance for depressing literature....

I am genuinely excited for the group to go on this adventure now-long time coming.


message 6: by Margo (new)

Margo As you said it is a very unequally divided book. The first part seemed to drag on forever and the end of the second part was unexpectedly quick. I loved part 2 ;-D


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahcd89) | 39 comments It's a group read, and I'm not the type to give up on a book when I'm more than halfway through.... but that being said. The shitty mood that I happen to find myself in this week due to my own personal drama has me wanting to smack Quentin in the face. Book II seemed like the epitome of him being a dramatic little shit.

"Couldn't she see that they were all dying, that everything was futile, that the only thing to do was to live and drink and fuck whatever and whomever while you still could"

I get that he's trying to justify his totally destructive, selfish behavior but jeez. The whole of book II is him being special and getting to have unlimited time and money and being smarter than everyone and he actively seems to want to implode instead of enjoy any aspect of it. The idea of being disillusioned and kind of unimpressed with something you worked for isn't *that* strange of a concept for your basic gifted and talented/outcast kind of person, but whenever I've had those kinds of feelings, they're accompanied with a sort of feeling of inadequacy with myself. Like I'm somehow flawed in my ability to enjoy things and I withdraw into myself rather than flailing about to hurt the people I'm supposed to love like he does.


message 8: by Lel (new)

Lel (lelspear) | 1964 comments As with most people I found this section of the book so quick in comparison to the first part. But to be honest I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I think if this section got dragged out I would have given up the book in silent, unnoticed protest of 'shut up teen angst!'.


message 9: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Sarah wrote: "It's a group read, and I'm not the type to give up on a book when I'm more than halfway through.... but that being said. The shitty mood that I happen to find myself in this week due to my own pers..."

Sarah, I must admit, I did have a strong urge to punch Quentin in the face in part II.

After he betrays Alice, he seems to veer back and forth between putting all the blame upon Janet and thinking it's a "symptom of a sick world," that it's the world's fault. He can't take responsibility for anything he does. Quentin is such a revolting toad!


message 10: by Greg (last edited Jul 09, 2016 07:43AM) (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo, I agree, things do pick up in the second half of part II, after Penny gets there. The first chapter of drink/drugs was very grating, but after that, the book found a focus that grabbed me.

I'm already done with part II and onto part III.


message 11: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Just when I thought Quentin and company couldn't get any more insufferable, they graduate, move to New York and get worse. What a group of utterly useless human beings. How they deserve to go on any special adventures is beyond me.


message 12: by Lel (new)

Lel (lelspear) | 1964 comments My take on it is that they were the 'cool' kids at school and Penny (who actually found the way to Fillory) wanted to impress them despite the fact they were no longer part of his life.


message 13: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Wow, Quentin and Alice, real good relationship you guys have going...guess I shouldn't be surprised.


message 14: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Also, could the author steal any more from Narnia, it might as well be written as "Narnia, with less religion and more sex and drugs"


message 15: by Ryan (new)

Ryan I thought the Narnia homage was the best bit.


message 16: by Margo (new)

Margo So did I :-)


message 17: by Greg (last edited Jul 13, 2016 06:37AM) (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Ryan wrote: "I thought the Narnia homage was the best bit."

I did too actually, though the reason for the references is a lot more clear once you get to part III.


message 18: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Greg wrote: "Ryan wrote: "I thought the Narnia homage was the best bit."

I did too actually, though the reason for the references is a lot more clear once you get to part III."


I just got to part 3 and that's where I got annoyed, it's not all that original of a story...


message 19: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Ryan wrote: "I thought the Narnia homage was the best bit."

How do you decide when it's an homage and not just a rip off and not wanting to come up with their own idea...


message 20: by Ryan (new)

Ryan I just know it when I see it Roger. Like pornography.


message 21: by Greg (last edited Jul 13, 2016 07:11AM) (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Roger wrote: "I just got to part 3 and that's where I got annoyed, it's not all that original of a story...."

For me, it's more like a comment on Narnia - in Narnia in the battle with the White Witch, there's the battle, but it doesn't really feel like a cost. The cost of the battle is kind of glossed over.

In the Magicians, the battles are queasy with cost. They're going to another land knowing nothing, and they have no idea what they're doing. In the real world too, it's like that - if you wade in somewhere where you have no idea what's going on, it doesn't go well.

I kind of took it as one of those works that's a reaction and comment on another work rather than just stealing ideas. Hyperion had some homages to The Canterbury Tales - that's what I think of as a homage. These references to Narnia feel like more than homages to me - they're tweaking the meaning of it.


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 163 comments Greg wrote: "Roger wrote: "I just got to part 3 and that's where I got annoyed, it's not all that original of a story...."

For me, it's more like a comment on Narnia - in Narnia in the battle with the White Wi..."


Greg, this is so well said! It's exactly how I feel. I love how the Potter and Narnia bits are used. We usually see them as nice fun stories, but they can actually be quite dark. It's like what would happen if the real world meets these stories.


message 23: by Margo (new)

Margo Yes, as a child I thought Narnia was very dark. Which is how I feel about the magicians as an adult! I think Narnia is at the level that a child can handle. I was was affected by the sacrifice of Aslan and at the time, the parallels to Christianity went over my head. There is a similar theme is the death scene in harry potter. I think it sometimes good for children to read about death, not so sure about all this reincarnation.


message 24: by Margo (new)

Margo I have to say that this book has provoked some really interesting discussion. Much better than when everyone thinks it was wonderful ;-)


message 25: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1312 comments Having VERY recently read 2 Narnia books, the parallel is obvious. It's too specific to be lazy. I think I enjoyed this aspect of the book because it was interesting and dark.


message 26: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "I have to say that this book has provoked some really interesting discussion. Much better than when everyone thinks it was wonderful ;-)"

Very true Margo! :)

And a good point about Narnia being at a level kids can handle. That's very true! Aslan's death definitely affected me as a kid as well. I was more thinking of how the battle with the White Witch after Aslan's death & rebirth was dealt with - a summary of the conquest only with no clear description of the combat, the bodies, or any cost payed by the children. Of course it is a kids' book!! But in reality, stumbling into another world with no idea of what was going on probably wouldn't go so well.


message 27: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Christina wrote: "Greg, this is so well said! It's exactly how I feel. I love how the Potter and Narnia bits are used. We usually see them as nice fun stories, but they can actually be quite dark. It's like what would happen if the real world meets these stories. .."

Thanks Christine! :)

And what you say about the fun stories and the real world, I definitely agree!


message 28: by Margo (new)

Margo Greg, to say it probably wouldn't go so well is a masterly understatement and made me laugh :-D

I have very hazy memories of what happened after Aslan died - must betime for a reread!


message 29: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Margo wrote: "Greg, to say it probably wouldn't go so well is a masterly understatement and made me laugh :-D

I have very hazy memories of what happened after Aslan died - must betime for a reread!"


:)


message 30: by Ana A (new)

Ana A (anabana_a) Roger wrote: "Also, could the author steal any more from Narnia, it might as well be written as "Narnia, with less religion and more sex and drugs""

Somehow, I think the author just assumed that the readers of his books read Narnia and the comparisons are deliberate. If I were reading The Magicians without reading Narnia, it would feel like a totally different book from The Magicians with what I remember from Narnia.

--

I'm so pissed off at Quentin. Good for Alice for giving him a black eye. Lol. Of their group, is Alice the only one with magician parents?


message 31: by Greg (last edited Jul 15, 2016 08:36AM) (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Ana A wrote:"Somehow, I think the author just assumed that the readers of his books read Narnia and the comparisons are deliberate. If I were reading The Magicians without reading Narnia, it would feel like a totally different book from The Magicians with what I remember from Narnia..."

Definitely Ana, I agree completely about Narnia!

I also wholeheartedly agree that Quentin deserved the black eye. I was really angry with him in the first part of Part II - all of his shifting of blame and trying to weasel out of responsibility for what he'd done - just the worst!! I'd have been sorely tempted to give him two black eyes myself!


message 32: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 163 comments I haven't read the next two books yet, but I can imagine Quentin will massively grow up by the final book. I think it was so smart of Grossman to make Quentin such a whiny, self-centered and often despicable character in the beginning so that the arch and growth of his character will be dramatic enough to make an impression. I don't see that growth or development that much in SFF books. It's usually more about the plot.

And I think Alice is the only one with magician parents. I wished we had learned more about the backstory of some of the other characters like Elliot and Janet. Hopefully we'll get more of that in the next books.


message 33: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Christina wrote: "I haven't read the next two books yet, but I can imagine Quentin will massively grow up by the final book. I think it was so smart of Grossman to make Quentin such a whiny, self-centered and often ..."

I hope so Christina!


message 34: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1148 comments well, I finally made it to part 2. Whew!
I'm still not loving this book but I did take some consolation in Quentin getting a black eye. At least he's paying for being an utter jerk.


message 35: by Margo (new)

Margo That's an interesting point Christina. SSF characters do seem to start out with unusually well devolved moral compasses! Either that or, due to being without family or funds, they have turned to thievery, but still maintain their own set of values. These characters are very different. As Dawn says, Quentins black eye was overdue ;-)


message 36: by Rosie (new)

Rosie B I feel like I remember that Fillory was originally supposed to be Narnia, but Grossman had to change it for copyright reasons. Did I make that up?


message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex yeah, in the sequels everybody does a lot of the growing up stuff. I think it's supposed to make you feel closer to the characters when you know what a complete pill they were before. That's not to say they don't still have some habits left over...


message 38: by Cora (new)

Cora Roger wrote: "Also, could the author steal any more from Narnia, it might as well be written as "Narnia, with less religion and more sex and drugs""

I know Fillory is particularly Narnia-esque however you have to admit it takes and very different spin on it! The important thing is that if people enjoy them both, then you can never have too much of a good thing.

Greg wrote: "In the Magicians, the battles are queasy with cost. They're going to another land knowing nothing…""
Perfectly said Greg!


Ana A wrote: "Somehow, I think the author just assumed that the readers of his books read Narnia and the comparisons are deliberate.""
Despite my reply to Roger (above) I haven’t read Narnia (possible sacrilege considering I’m from Lewis’ home city of Belfast). They are definitely next on my to-read list and I can’t wait to see the effect it has on my reading of The Magicians.
I have seen The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe movie so I have an understanding of the premise of Narnia and the similarities with Fillory. However I don’t see any similarities further than “Magical land with talking animals”. Overall, I just don’t see how the similarities (nomatter how close) can be a bad thing. Some people here seem to be a little bitter that the lands are similar?


message 39: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new)

Roger | 2023 comments Mod
Cora wrote: "Roger wrote: "Also, could the author steal any more from Narnia, it might as well be written as "Narnia, with less religion and more sex and drugs""

I know Fillory is particularly Narnia-esque how..."


I wouldn't say I'm bitter (not saying the comment was directed at me personally) but it seems kind of lazy to take ideas from two very well known book series and put them into your own story. I know that they are vastly different stories but still it's not very original, imo.


message 40: by Margo (new)

Margo The similarities to narnia made the story great for me. I was interested by your comment that the Carroll estate made him change the name to Fillory. I suppose they saw it as as bad press that would open the flood gates.

Cora, you should definitely read The Magician's Nephew. It is a prequel to Narnia and features the pools as described in The Magicians.


message 41: by Cora (new)

Cora Roger wrote: "Cora wrote: "Roger wrote: "Also, could the author steal any more from Narnia, it might as well be written as "Narnia, with less religion and more sex and drugs""

I know Fillory is particularly Nar..."


I get it Roger. Especially considering you didn't enjoy the story as a whole (a bit annoying that we're having the same conversation in multiple threads here!), I can see how you would feel he took the idea of Narnia and didn't even use it to any great effect.
I feel that he took the idea and twisted it into a darker reality.
I probably shouldn't be making much of a comment considering I haven't read Narnia!

But The Magician's Nephew is on my list! :)


message 42: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1312 comments The Magicians Nephew is my least favorite Narnia book. Even though it's chronologically first, if you've never read a Narnia book, you will probably enjoy the other books more as your first read.

The Magicians Nephew does have the world of pools each leading to another reality. The cupboard is an access point in some of the other books. There are 4 kids that go and they all get crowned king/queen, talking animals, quests, etc. These are the obvious similarities.


message 43: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Melanie wrote: "The Magicians Nephew is my least favorite Narnia book. Even though it's chronologically first, if you've never read a Narnia book, you will probably enjoy the other books more as your first read.
..."


I definitely agree, numerous strong parallels throughout: the humans becoming kings, going back to the human world at the end of each book and being called back to Fillory/Narnia at the beginning of each book, etc. There's even a point early in the book where Quentin checks the back of a cupboard, thinking it might have a portal to Fillory. Numerous links! It didn't bother me though because I felt like it was a comment on Narnia ... as I said before - I felt like there was a reason for it.


message 44: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Roger wrote: "I wouldn't say I'm bitter (not saying the comment was directed at me personally) but it seems kind of lazy to take ideas from two very well known book series and put them into your own story. I know that they are vastly different stories but still it's not very original, imo."

I'm in agreement; the Fillory stuff didn't seem to me like the author was trying to put a different or darker spin on the Narnia tales. There was darkness in the Narnia books too (albeit shaped more for children). It didn't even feel like an homage to me. This just felt like sheer laziness on the author's part.


message 45: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 163 comments The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite book in the Narnia series! I loved that they were able to jump right into a painting. When I was between 8-10, I would stand in front of paintings of landscapes and wish and wish magic was real and I could step right inside them :)


message 46: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn  (ckarasch) I have never read Narnia, so after reading all the comments, I feel like I'm missing something. I grew up outside of the US, so my reading list was a bit different.

As for Book II, it was just meh...this book has all the elements of the things I like in a book. Yes, I do like jerks, every books should have one - this one seems to have many. As far as relationships, Alice has been blind this whole time. I never got the impression that Quentin cared for her. In fact, he has been more fascinated by Elliott than by anyone else. So I'm glad Alice has moved on...I was not happy when she put her advanced studies on hold for Quentin.

I still don't know where this book is going. It is starting to feel like one of the many contemporary YA books that I read, where there isn't really a plot, but rather a passage of time.


message 47: by Greg (new)

Greg | 1138 comments Christina wrote: "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite book in the Narnia series! I loved that they were able to jump right into a painting. When I was between 8-10, I would stand in front of..."

I love that with the painting Christina - I was imaginative (in my case, a little dazed?) like that as a child too; it's great that way because life is never boring. :)


message 48: by Christina (new)

Christina Pilkington | 163 comments Greg wrote: "Christina wrote: "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite book in the Narnia series! I loved that they were able to jump right into a painting. When I was between 8-10, I would..."

For sure! I wish I still had that magical way of thinking.


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