Explore the Dark Side of Magic with ‘The Magicians’ TV Series

the magicians lev grossman syfy tv seriesNBCUniversal Television Distribution

The Magicians by Lev Grossman proves that magic isn’t always what it seems. Whenever we think of the term magic, it is always associated with the fantastic; there are wonderful spells and enchantments, amazing stories of friendship and success, wonder and excitement. Sure, bad things happen in every story. But there’s almost always a happy ending, right?

the magicians lev grossman book cover

The Magicians tells a different story of magic. One that is much darker. Sure, there are elements of excitement and fantasy, just like in every other tale of magic that we have come to know. However, this story doesn’t have a happy ending; not for everyone, anyway.

The Magicians is a novel series written by Grossman that follows Quentin Coldwater, a young man who has always fantasized about the magical world of Fillory. He has always believed in magic, and one day his dream of learning magic comes true. He learns of the world of Brakebills, a college that teaches magic. Sounds great, right? Magic, however, is a lot harder than it seems; it requires skill and is very difficult to get right. Magic is done with precise hand movements, numerous steps, and incantations, some in different languages. If done wrong, it can kill you. Furthermore, other worlds exist. Magic is no longer an element of fantasy, but one of destruction; danger lurks in every corner once Quentin discovers the truth.

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined. – Goodreads

SyFy recently created a TV adaptation of The Magicians based off of Grossman’s novels. The first season of the series aired from January-April 2016 and provided fans with a new look at the series. One that was even darker than the books on which it was based.

If you are anything like me, you might not be interested in watching a TV series or a movie that is based on a book without having read it. With The Magicians, you don’t have to worry about not having the background information that the books provide. You also don’t have to worry much about spoilers. Why? The TV adaptation of The Magicians is different from the books. The world and the characters are still there, but in order for the adaptation to work, things needed to be changed. They were changed so much, in fact, that in my opinion, the two can stand alone. Does that mean that The Magicians TV series is a bad adaptation? No, not at all. It does mean, however, that you can enjoy it without feeling like you will be spoiling something. Will the book add to your experience? Of course. Is it necessary? No.

If you are interested in the darker side of magic, this show is for you. It features a cast of characters from the novels that is interesting and, in some cases, unforgettable. You learn about the world of magic in a new way, while following multiple storylines that all come together in the end. What happens at Brakebills University? What is Fillory? What is the purpose of magic?

Season two of the series starts on January 25. Now’s a great time to immerse yourself in a new world and experience the world of The Magicians, just in time for the second season that we have all been waiting for.

Are you a fan of The Magicians?

Tell us how excited you are for the show’s return this month in the comments below!

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Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.