And then everything changed

Dienstag, 1. März 2016

Book recommendation: The Magicians 3 by Lev Grossman + the TV show

I just finished the Magicians series by Lev Grossman. Alltogether it took me more than a year to finish the triology. I read the first book within two months. Afterwards I made a year long pause before continuing, probably because it was just so overwhelming (I still think that the first book is the most overwhelming one, in a good way). Then I've read the second book Magician's King within a month in 2015. And now, finally, I finished the third book Magician's Land. And, as stated before, I still think that The Magicians are the best adult fantasy books I've ever read. They're simply brilliant.

Magician's Land

In Magician's Land we find protagonist Quentin back on Earth, getting involved in some shady business. We get to know how he tried and failed at being a teacher at his old university for magic, Brakebills. But though Quentin was thrown out of Fillory, of course the wonderous dimension is still tightly linked to him. Because in Fillory Elliot and Janet face the end of the world, something they can't deal with on their own. Oh, and Quentin tries to make a land - because there's nothing impossible in the imagination of Lov Grossman.

Quentin Coldwater

While the first book mostly told the story of the whole group of friends, including Elliot, Janet, Josh and Alice and half of the second book was dedicated to Julia's story (still the best part of the entire books series!), the thrid book focuses mainly on Quentin himself. And it's only in this book that I truely understood this character.

I always found Quentin quite unbearable, grumpy and self-destructive and kind of an asshole. Because this is how he was portrayed right from the beginning. And though I'd never be friends with him, I could always relate to him. Quentin is a very ambigious character. The one thing which he consistently does throughout the entire series is to fail. He wants to fly to the moon. He fails. He wants to see the Far Side of the World. He fails. He wants to stay in Fillory. He fails. He wants to steal something. He fails. He wants to make a land. He fails. He wants to be a trustworthy person. He fails. And isn't this just life in a nutshell? You try and you fail. And you repeat this again and again, clinging to the hope that maybe one day you'll finally succed at something.

In Magician's Land Quentin finally, finally grows up. It really gives me hope. Because if an insecure, arrogant guy like him can manage to turn into a decent person who you can even look up to, then all of us have the possibility to one day become the person, we always wanted to be. In the end, I think The Magicians book were simply the story of growing up. And isn't this the most important story there is to tell?

Character development

But it's not just Quentin. I'm totally amazed by what Lev Grossman made of all of his characters. They were all pretty mediocre people, so much, that I couldn't decided who was my favorite because I liked none of them very much. But I still rooted for them, I felt with them, I identified with them, simply because they feel real. They're messed up and imperfect, just like all of us.

In Magician's Land however I found that each one of them has made a huge development towards the better. Elliot went from a depressive alcoholic to a passionate, self-confident leader. Alice went from a controlling girl, to someone with a Fuck-All-attitude. Julia went from an absolute mess to something totally complete. And even the shallow bitch Janet uncovered a deep personality and turned into a total badass. The character development is truly brilliant.

The message

And, most of all, the Magicians books make me feel like I can reach my dreams. They make me want to keep fighting and enjoy the good stuff. They make me want to live. Because what I love most about the books, are not the fairytale like plot parts, but the real stuff. I love the characters' struggles and their journey. I love the message: Life is cruel and terrifying but it's also absolutely wonderful.

The TV show

Also, SiFi Channel started to show a Magicians TV show. The show is quite different from the books, plot wise and character wise. But I think it's good in its own way. When you love a book, it's easy to critisize the movie or TV show based on it because they changed the story, they left out good parts, they added unnessecary plot lines and characters. All of this is true for Magicians. But if you love a book really, really a lot, the way I love Magicians, then, no matter how much they change, the show based on it will always be perfect, as long as they get the atmosphere right. And they nailed that.

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