Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
Jael

Behind the Magic: Books vs. Show

Recommended Posts

I adored the first two books, watched the preview of the pilot in December, then re-read those two and finally allowed myself the treat of reading the third. So all the book stuff is pretty fresh in my mind.

 

The number one change is, I suppose, not surprising, but they've taken some interesting and offbeat-looking book characters and made them pretty for TV. Book Eliot has a twisted jaw with screwed-up teeth; Book Penny is moon-faced and doughy and not Indian. Points for diversity on the latter, but I would've liked to see these guys more like their book counterparts.

 

The first classroom appearance of the Beast is probably my favorite scene of all three books (alas, poor Amanda Orloff) so I was pretty surprised when it happened in the pilot, with some pretty major changes. In the book the Beast doesn't know who Quentin is, and nobody takes out Dean Fogg's eyeballs (he doesn't even make it into the room.) Of course it makes sense that they're trying to make Quentin seem like the biggest deal when he's the protagonist of the series, but some of this I feel they're just messing with for the sake of it. I may be too slavish a book fan, though.

 

The other major shift is pulling a bunch of Julia's story from book 2 up into the beginning, which I actually like for the purposes of TV. Who knows how long the show will last; might as well get some interesting hedge witch/safe house business while we can. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I adored the first two books, watched the preview of the pilot in December, then re-read those two and finally allowed myself the treat of reading the third. So all the book stuff is pretty fresh in my mind.

 

The number one change is, I suppose, not surprising, but they've taken some interesting and offbeat-looking book characters and made them pretty for TV. Book Eliot has a twisted jaw with screwed-up teeth; Book Penny is moon-faced and doughy and not Indian. Points for diversity on the latter, but I would've liked to see these guys more like their book counterparts.

 

The first classroom appearance of the Beast is probably my favorite scene of all three books (alas, poor Amanda Orloff) so I was pretty surprised when it happened in the pilot, with some pretty major changes. In the book the Beast doesn't know who Quentin is, and nobody takes out Dean Fogg's eyeballs (he doesn't even make it into the room.) Of course it makes sense that they're trying to make Quentin seem like the biggest deal when he's the protagonist of the series, but some of this I feel they're just messing with for the sake of it. I may be too slavish a book fan, though.

 

The other major shift is pulling a bunch of Julia's story from book 2 up into the beginning, which I actually like for the purposes of TV. Who knows how long the show will last; might as well get some interesting hedge witch/safe house business while we can. 

 

There's one more change, and one that pissed me off and makes zero sense to me, which is aging up the Chatwin kids.  I can deal with floaty-scarf TV Penny, even though I prefer punk rawk Penny.  I can deal with Eliot not having a twisted jaw, as that sort of thing happens a lot of television adaptions (see:  Game of Thrones not cutting off Tyrion's nose).  But the change to the Chatwins makes things kind of ... weird.  From the logistical point of view of not having to deal with child actors or indeed explain too much, I can see how it might make sense.  But ... It negates some of the mysteries and mythology of the books entirely.  I can deal with reducing the number of Chatwin kids, as you one really need three of them.  But aging them up and out of childhood into being adults thematically makes no sense.  Why would anyone write or read a children's book series based on people that age?  (Yes, we have all kinds of YA literature now, but considering the Chatwin's story is circa World War I or directly thereafter, YA literature as we know it didn't really exist.)  I dunno.  This just bothered the hell out of me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

Is Margot supposed to be Janet?

Yes - here's an article on the production that talks a bit about some of the changes.

 

 

The other major shift is pulling a bunch of Julia's story from book 2 up into the beginning, which I actually like for the purposes of TV. Who knows how long the show will last; might as well get some interesting hedge witch/safe house business while we can.

I thought this was a smart decision to run the two stories concurrently.  Though a loathe book-Julia, who is easily for me the most selfish, self-centered and whiny character in a book trilogy full of them (I found her points of view sooo dull and had a lot of trouble with the second book because of them) - I found the underground magic groups interesting.  Though they mock Brakebills, they are still their own hierarchy, with the tattoos and so on; similar to school levels and graduation.  For the show purposes, it makes sense to show the two views of magic and learning, and I'm finding show Julia more tolerable so far. 

 

I'm glad you mentioned about Dean Fogg - I didn't think he lost his eyes either, and I wonder what the show is going for with that.  Just showing the Beast chomping someone's head would be scary enough.  I liked the Dean, who though somewhat ineffective, cared about the students, and helped Quentin when he needed it.  IIRC the spell that brought the Beast into the classroom was an accident of Quentin's alone, not something he did with Alice?  It's been a little while though.

 

I hope the show isn't going to build up Quentin as being super special - the point of the books is that he isn't really.  He's very talented in a specific area of magic, but it takes time and a LOT of hard work to develop his talents, and others are better, not just Alice.  I guess I'm one of the few readers who liked Quentin; he actually seemed to care about other people, even with being whiny and all that.

 

I like the show so far; it's a good sign for me that I'm not nitpicking changes.

Edited by raven
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the reply and the link to that article!

 

I didn't like Quentin until halfway through the second book, and then only really really got to like him in the final book. I read the first one pretty shortly after it was published, but wasn't in love with it. I found Q so whiny and selfish and generally disliked most of the other major characters as well. I put off reading the other two until about a year ago, fully expecting to be bored with them. Totally wrong. Loved both of them and came to really admire the way Grossman turned what I thought was an unlikable jerk into a hero (even a monomythical hero). I found Julia off-putting at times, but ultimately appreciated her as well. 

 

So far I really like the casting.  I didn't like Eliot in the books much, but I think the actor they've got playing him is doing a great job. Also, Hot Penny > moon-faced Penny for sure. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I'm really excited to see the show arrive, and was overally pretty impressed and cautiously optimistic about what we've gotten so far.

 

I didn't love the first book, "The Magicians," and honestly at first really hated Quentin. But I began to care about him through the series, and I reread the whole trilogy again recently and Quentin was a little bit more bearable for me in book one. 

 

Julia and Alice, however, are easily my favorite characters, and I'm so glad the TV show is bringing Julia's journey in right from the beginning. I think it's a terrific way to counterpoint Quentin's journey, and it also immediately adds complexity so that it's not all seen through Quentin's eyes, but instead right away we get that dual protagonist approach with Julia as well as Quentin. I think it's not only dramatically necessary, but that it shakes away a little of Quentin's insufferable douchebag qualities from the first book and balances his rather careless entitlement  with her hard-earned and desperate willingness to suffer for her magic.

 

The number one change is, I suppose, not surprising, but they've taken some interesting and offbeat-looking book characters and made them pretty for TV. Book Eliot has a twisted jaw with screwed-up teeth; Book Penny is moon-faced and doughy and not Indian. Points for diversity on the latter, but I would've liked to see these guys more like their book counterparts.

 

I was pretty happy with the casting. I do wish Eliot wasn't quite so handsome and dashing as he is here, but the actor still does totally instantly give off that Eliot vibe, and I always liked that Eliot's charisma was so amazing that his looks never mattered to anyone anyway. (The funny thing is, though, that I do think if this were a UK production, Eliot would totally at least have had slightly crooked teeth or something.)

 

But Quentin is perfect (cute but just a little wishy-washy and emo), and Alice is perfect. I did get a kick out of how freaking gorgeous Penny turned out to be here, and I love the actor they cast. I mean, yes on the shallow end, he's gorgeous, but he also immediately provides a believable friction with Quentin that works really well, and is I think much more dynamic to put onscreen than the rather vague Penny (I could never quite get a handle on his character until the third book, honestly).

 

I love Rick Worthy, so I hope his Dean recovers, since the poor guy always seems to get cast in things and then killed off prematurely. I also liked seeing Anne Dudek and Esme Bianco, and was surprised to see Laura Fraser pop up in the pilot unexpectedly as one of the instructors.

 

The first classroom appearance of the Beast is probably my favorite scene of all three books (alas, poor Amanda Orloff) so I was pretty surprised when it happened in the pilot, with some pretty major changes.

 

 

I was really divided on the first book and didn't exactly love my first experience reading it (I just found Quentin so entitled, insufferable, whiny and unlikable). But that scene where the Beast enters unexpectedly is some of the most breathtaking, terrifying and beautiful writing I've ever encountered. I'll never forget it. So I was a little disappointed that he entered so quickly here, and that he was "called" by Quentin, Alice, Penny, and the other girl (who seems to be a wholly new character). But I'm willing to wait and see where they take it. I did think it was fairly well-done overall, even if not as eerily, silently terrifying as in the book. I wish they could have managed to show us the way the students were trapped there and unable to move for hours, which was such a big deal in this scene in the book, the torture that they were all frozen in place. And I really missed Amanda Orloff and her unexpected courage.

 

But this also makes me think the Beast may make another appearance, and maybe that one will be a bit more faithful to the book? He didn't eat any of the students, for instance... So my guess is that we'll see him again.

 

But the change to the Chatwins makes things kind of ... weird.  From the logistical point of view of not having to deal with child actors or indeed explain too much, I can see how it might make sense.  But ... It negates some of the mysteries and mythology of the books entirely.  I can deal with reducing the number of Chatwin kids, as you one really need three of them.  But aging them up and out of childhood into being adults thematically makes no sense.  Why would anyone write or read a children's book series based on people that age?  (Yes, we have all kinds of YA literature now, but considering the Chatwin's story is circa World War I or directly thereafter, YA literature as we know it didn't really exist.)  I dunno.  This just bothered the hell out of me.

 

That actually bothered me a lot as well. The whole point of Fillory <coughNarniacough> is that childlike sense of wonder -- the child pulled into a magical world. Turning the children into icy little teenagers just felt weird to me. I didn't like it either.

 

I thought this was a smart decision to run the two stories concurrently.  Though a loathe book-Julia, who is easily for me the most selfish, self-centered and whiny character in a book trilogy full of them (I found her points of view sooo dull and had a lot of trouble with the second book because of them) - I found the underground magic groups interesting.

 

I love Julia. I don't find book-Julia whiny at all. As a writer and reader of fantasy, I cannot imagine the hell of being shown an open door and that everything you ever wanted the world to be was true, that magic was true, and that you could do it... but no. Not you. Then someone closes the door in your face. Tells you you aren't good enough. And then tries to wipe your mind. I find what Julia goes through to be horrific and her determination not to allow it really moving.

 

Which is why Julia's easily my favorite character in the entire trilogy (with Alice a close second), and what she suffers in book two, and the bravery and sacrifice she exhibits really moved me and has stayed with me ever since. The tragedy of her discovery of first Brakebills and magic -- and then the unexpected tragedies that befell her magical group led by Pouncy Silverkitten and Asmodeus -- haunted me. The writing was so beautiful and communicated such a sense of relief and belonging and understanding when Julia finally found them. Which makes the outcome all the more heartbreaking to me.

 

Speaking of which: It seems to me that "Pete" and "Marina" leading Julia into the world of the hedge witches and unauthorized magics may very well be Pouncy and Asmodeus. If so, and they're bringing Julia's group of companions forward to lead her through this world, I could actually see that being very effective. And I loved seeing Kacey Rohl again here (as Marina) -- I thought she was fantastic on "Hannibal," and loved the many sides she was able to give her character. I hope we see her again.

 

I didn't like Quentin until halfway through the second book, and then only really really got to like him in the final book. I read the first one pretty shortly after it was published, but wasn't in love with it. I found Q so whiny and selfish and generally disliked most of the other major characters as well. I put off reading the other two until about a year ago, fully expecting to be bored with them. Totally wrong. Loved both of them and came to really admire the way Grossman turned what I thought was an unlikable jerk into a hero (even a monomythical hero).

 

This was me exactly when it came to Quentin, although I did come around fairly quickly on him in book two. But I didn't quite love him until book three and what he does for Alice. Then I realized I was grudgingly finally okay with the guy.

 

Things I liked thus far (first two episodes): 

 

  • The bright, vibrant, "entering Narnia" feel to Quentin's entry into Brakebills
  • The immediate inclusion of Julia's parallel storyline (and I will be ecstatic if we've already met her core magic group too, since I adore them)
  • The casting for most of the students (and slightly aging them all up makes many things less icky)
  • Alice exploring the mystery of her brother's death (I think this is well integrated thus far)
  • The organic dislike between Penny and Quentin
  • The Beast (beautifully realized even if the scene wasn't as good as the book's for me)
  • Loved the hand movements and bits of magic we saw thus far
  • Loved that Quentin's card tower was the castle in FIllory (complete with revolving towers)
  • Loved seeing the clock-trees
  • Loved Eliot telling Quentin he'd seduce him if he got expelled, and that Quentin responded without freaking out (it's nice subtext as in the book at this point, Quentin is actually kind of so drawn to Eliot that he's not always sure he wouldn't welcome a physical relationship there)

 

Things I didn't like:

 

  • Alice and Quentin being literally responsible for "calling" the Beast to Brakebills
  • That Pete first tested Julia by threatening sexual violence. Given what happens to Julia later on, I just found that unnecessary and maybe not the best choice.
  • The physical kids' over the top meanness to Alice (it just felt a bit clumsy to me)
  • Margot's kind of  blank for me. I'm not getting the Janet vibe from the character yet, but we'll see
  • The Dean being put out of commission so early -- hope he recovers

 

But overall, I liked it and am really excited. I liked it far more than I expected to, honestly. I'm all in for Fillory!

Edited by paramitch
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Having read that they renamed Janet's character as "Margo" because they were afraid viewers would confuse Julia with Janet made me wonder why they couldn't just find a person who was not an attractive brown-haired white lady to play both Margo and Julia (and Kady and Mariana).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I give them points for use of the flying books in this episodes.

 

I think the lack of exposition regarding the characters' backstories is turning into a problem.

 

Also, I agree that Margo/Janet isn't at all what I expected.  She's not nearly brash enough, like they took her brash and gave it to Kady.

 

And holy hell, how did I forget this ... we arrived at Emily Greenstreet a bit soon, didn't we?  I was disappointed.  I was hoping her face would have had an ear on her forehead and her nose on her chin or something.  Ahh, well.  Somethings really are best left to the imagination.

Edited by Lemur

Share this post


Link to post

Holy crap, I caught the first episode of this thinking "Dang, this all looks and sounds really familiar" and then I found The Magicians by Lev Grossman on my Kindle, and vaguely recalled reading it a while back.  I never moved on to the sequels, because I found Quentin to be rather an unbearable protagonist, and nearly everybody annoyed me.  I also thought I was going crazy, or had holes in my memory because I didn't recall Julia's hedge witch stuff.  Now that I've read this thread, I can see they pulled some plotlines forward from the sequels, and also that when the story continues, maybe Quentin becomes more bearable.

 

I'll have to think about it...thanks!

Share this post


Link to post

Holy crap, I caught the first episode of this thinking "Dang, this all looks and sounds really familiar" and then I found The Magicians by Lev Grossman on my Kindle, and vaguely recalled reading it a while back.  I never moved on to the sequels, because I found Quentin to be rather an unbearable protagonist, and nearly everybody annoyed me.  I also thought I was going crazy, or had holes in my memory because I didn't recall Julia's hedge witch stuff.  Now that I've read this thread, I can see they pulled some plotlines forward from the sequels, and also that when the story continues, maybe Quentin becomes more bearable.

 

I'll have to think about it...thanks!

 

Heh, I completely agree what Quentin was a complete and total clownshoe in the first book. 

 

That said, I'd recommend the second and third books because of that (rather than despite that).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I keep waiting for them to go to Fillory, but that doesn't seem to be happening yet. That's a huge part of the books, but except for the 1st episode, we haven't really heard anything about it or the Chatwins, I wonder if they're going to ignore it.

Share this post


Link to post

They don't actually get to Fillory until the end of the first book, GaT.  So I'm assuming that the first season is planning on the same structure, complete with facing off with The Beast.   

 

My DVR decided to ignore the series recording request so I'm behind on the episodes, having caught only the preview for the next, which looks like it is going to essentially be Normal Again from Buffy.  

 

That's a bit of a bummer, because I'd been so pleased that they'd actually just put it out there that Quentin was clinically depressed and thought that was an interesting choice for the series to make.  It looks like it was simply a choice to fuel a few plot possibilities.  I guess I'll have to see what they do with that before I know how I feel about it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm reading the first book. I know that Julia's story is revealed at some point, but she is in Fillory in book 2, so which book deals with her hedge witch days?

Share this post


Link to post

Aw, man, I just watched episode 4, which I thoroughly enjoyed (more on that farther down -- SO GLAD it wasn't actually patterned on that "Buffy" ep after all, as I thoroughly dislike that one and felt it was a cheat).

 

But I'm bummed too because I think it's pretty clear that Marina is NOT Asmodeus like I was hoping. I liked her being a badass -- I was disappointed when she flipped the dial all the way up to "bad." Darn it. I like Kacey Rohl and wanted to see Marina as someone more greyscale, but what she was willing to do here was pretty ruthless all across the board. I now wonder if she won't end up a mid-level villain or something.

 

BUT -- it does set Julia's journey up beautifully and brutally, as she will now have to start from scratch and it looks like that search will be every bit as lonely as it was in the book after all.

 

I keep waiting for them to go to Fillory, but that doesn't seem to be happening yet. That's a huge part of the books, but except for the 1st episode, we haven't really heard anything about it or the Chatwins, I wonder if they're going to ignore it.

 

I actually think the show has done a pretty good job of putting Fillory in our minds on a fairly constant subliminal basis. We've seen the book-scenes of the children entering Fillory, we've seen <child> Jane Chatwin appear to Quentin in at least three of the first four episodes, plus Eliza (who we book-readers know is Jane). The Beast has been a constant presence as well (and he's basically Dark Fillory personified), and Quentin's dreams and visitations to me keep Fillory pretty well foreshadowed.

 

In addition, both Eliza and Jane are constantly warning Quentin that something bigger is waiting (basically, Fillory) and that the school is going to be a temporary situation for him and the others.

I also like this dramatically because it's the show's clever way of letting the Unsullied (non-book-readers) know that this is not, although it appears to be one, a "School Show."  Brakebills is temporary. Fillory is what's key. I think that's going to shock a lot of viewers once it happens, as many are probably expecting a good 2-3 seasons of classroom conflicts at Brakebills.

 

My DVR decided to ignore the series recording request so I'm behind on the episodes, having caught only the preview for the next, which looks like it is going to essentially be Normal Again from Buffy.  

 

That's a bit of a bummer, because I'd been so pleased that they'd actually just put it out there that Quentin was clinically depressed and thought that was an interesting choice for the series to make.  It looks like it was simply a choice to fuel a few plot possibilities.  I guess I'll have to see what they do with that before I know how I feel about it. 

 

I ended up liking the episode, although I was very tense for the first 20 minutes or so, since (as I mentioned above), I really disliked "Normal Again," and felt like it was a cheat. The episode was just kind of a sour little standalone designed to make us question forever which Buffy world is real, and I just... gah.  So I was very glad it became apparent very quickly that Quentin was in fact magically trapped.

 

I think my favorite thing about the episode is that it perfectly used Quentin and Penny's animosity but in a way that actually believably led them to be teammates (and it also showed us a continuation of Penny's really cool powers).

 

And when Quentin started singing and dancing to "Shake it Off," I just about fell out of my chair laughing. Not only was it incredibly funny, but it was a great and smart way to tie directly back into that previous moment with Penny, that felt like a throwaway but ended up being directly relevant. And "Shake it Off!" So, so awesome.

 

I was disappointed that Marina went bad so quickly here, but I did think her backstory reveal was interesting. The school's merciless habit of amputating memories and knowledge from its students is just really creepy to me, and very disturbing. 

 

I really loved seeing the Dean again, as always, and also thought that Alice in the insane asylum was really interesting. She did come across as both fragile and connected to Quentin there, as well as interested in him (or that he is interested in her), so it all worked. I also loved it when Alice propositioned Quentin and Crazy-version-Eliot chimed in "Me three!" from across the room. So funny and cute.

 

I also continue to love the ways in which the entries to Brakebills always feel so gorgeous and Narnia-like. I did want Julia to yell at the Dean (but then again, I was pretty angry at her for what she had done, as well). I was surprised and a little bummed that Quentin didn't get to confront her at all (or vice versa).

 

I thought Quentin's final talk with the Dean was really good stuff, and a wonderful scene that continued to humanize the Dean a lot. I liked the way Quentin outlined that he didn't want them telling him what to do with magic anymore, that he needed to learn technique and to then make those decisions for himself. It nicely echoes Julia's and Marina's situations in some ways as well (they were not given the opportunity to decide these things for themselves).

Edited by paramitch

Share this post


Link to post
Marina is NOT Asmodeus

 

No, but I am truly afraid of who she is meant to be, although it would be a radical departure from the character in the book.  paramitch, I think she might be Plum, which that is completely tripping me out.  Since Plum was absolutely not a psycho and maybe they used Marina reclaiming the book with her name on it, to introduce that entire concept, but the episode title: The World Between the Walls was the only Fillory book Plum had read.  

 

They wouldn't really turn Plum into a complete and total whackjob, would they?  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've been slogging through book 1 and I must say I wouldn't have watched a show based on just that. I get what the author is trying to do, and I don't fault the book for it, but I have very little interest in it. So major kudos that the show didn't stick to just Quentin's story.

 

Obviously a case of MMV, I don't see Marina as a psycho whackjob at all.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

No, but I am truly afraid of who she is meant to be, although it would be a radical departure from the character in the book.  paramitch, I think she might be Plum, which that is completely tripping me out.  Since Plum was absolutely not a psycho and maybe they used Marina reclaiming the book with her name on it, to introduce that entire concept, but the episode title: The World Between the Walls was the only Fillory book Plum had read.  

 

They wouldn't really turn Plum into a complete and total whackjob, would they?  

 

I think you're safe; I just don't see Marina as Plum, and to me it would imbalance the scales in all these wrong ways. It may happen (hell, it probably will, given my accuracy in these situations), but to me Plum doesn't have the right fierceness, which was why I thought it might be an Asmodeus situation. I always thought Asmodeus was so wonderful because she is so, so young and yet so, so fearless. So brave. Almost so brave that she is blank -- it's that courage of youth, almost of unimaginativeness; she cannot quite imagine things going badly in a way she cannot handle. (At least, in Magician King.)

 

So yeah: Upon further thought this morning, I do faintly hope/think Marina may still turn out to be Asmodeus -- she didn't kill anyone (yet), she also could have actually planned to have freed Quentin after getting what she wanted, and the scary aspect could actually still hide a bit of a softer inner middle or morally acceptable core. 

 

I really hope this happens even if I'm less than hopeful that it actually will. Marina would still make a gorgeous Asmodeus; the rich undertones alone, the backstory, and for Julia to forgive her, and for her to then be in Julia's inner circle as equals, and for Julia then to save her (and for her to avenge Julia) would just be so wonderful. I would also like it because her monologue in this episode shows that she is even closer to a mirror image of Julia than we might have expected. She got magic and got Brakebills and got almost to the end and had it all forcibly amputated just when she reached the finish line. I did have sympathy for that.

So... weirdly, fingers crossed. I'm interested to see what happens.

 

I've been slogging through book 1 and I must say I wouldn't have watched a show based on just that. I get what the author is trying to do, and I don't fault the book for it, but I have very little interest in it. So major kudos that the show didn't stick to just Quentin's story.

 

Obviously a case of MMV, I don't see Marina as a psycho whackjob at all.

 

If it helps, I wasn't a huge fan of book one on my first reading, and some good friends asked me to just give book 2 a try, and I was so glad I did. It's immediately fresher and brighter, and Quentin has matured. The story is really beautiful, and Julia's journey is amazing and so moving. I do recommend it. 

 

On Marina -- I do think I may have been a bit hasty in wailing, "Aw, crap, she's evil..." so we'll see how it goes. I would like it if she remains in the story and isn't pitch-dark but remains complex and greyscale and relatable. She's wonderfully sharp and strong, and I love that she's so young and vulnerable-seeming but she's in fact so formidable. And I've adored Kacey since "Hannibal," so I definitely hope she returns on the show here, and soon.

 

One thing I never predicted when reading the books was that Taylor Swift's music would play a complex and incredibly funny role in the relationship between Quentin and Penny. That's the kind of thing that surprises and delights me about adaptation. You never see it coming. Just next thing you know, dwarves are singing in front of a fire or asylum inmates are supporting Quentin as he does a Gene Kelly slow-chair-walk to "Shake it Off." Life is good.

Share this post


Link to post

Crim, did you watch episode four yet?  Because there's not a lot of doubt on the "Oh holy shit, Marina's insane!"  We just aren't sure who Marina is in the books.  

I think most people find the first book just an incredible slog and the second one is just a really good story and Julia's story is fantastic.  Quentin grows a lot as a character, by the way, but I don't think anyone liked him in the first book.  I liked him only in that I felt kind of sorry for him.   I think that the actor playing Quentin deserves so much credit, because that is not an easy character to breathe likable life into in the Brakebills years. 

 

 

 

So yeah: Upon further thought this morning, I do faintly hope/think Marina may still turn out to be Asmodeus -- she didn't kill anyone (yet), she also could have actually planned to have freed Quentin after getting what she wanted, and the scary aspect could actually still hide a bit of a softer inner middle or morally acceptable core.

 

No, no, nope.  Won't take it as a possibility.  Handing it back ;-)  In all seriousness, I think that what happens now is Julia has to set out on her quest to find Pouncy, etc. etc.   I also am in no way willing to say that "Oh well maybe Marina had a plan to free Quentin...." because she was pretty clear on not caring about what happened to him.  

 

We'll have to wait and see how it all develops, but currently I think Marina is too vengeful to be Asmodeus and her backstory doesn't match up, at all.   

 

I truly hope she isn't Plum, or whatever they've turned poor Plum into but seeing as Plum actually did get kicked out of Brakebills?  She's a closer match in terms of setup at present.   It's weird, because I do see a lot of worth in the actor's portrayal of Marina, but I think they've kind of cut themselves off from Julia believably being willing to sacrifice herself for Marina's character, which she needs to be for Asmodeus's character to fit.  

I don't want Julia's character arc to be changed, that woman will be a goddess, darn it! ( I hope)  but I can see how they might have decided to take a pass on Quentin's time as a professor at Brakebills and there's something that's tripping me out ever-so-slightly and made me think that she's meant to be Plum -- she looks like she could be related to the actor playing young Jane Chatwin, the actor they've cast as Martin and Esme Bianco's character too.   

So that might be why Plum came to mind.  Plus, I'll completely cop to the fact that part of the reason I don't want her to be Asmodeus is that just hurt, betrayed and cast out Julia :-( 

Edited by stillshimpy
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Crim, did you watch episode four yet?  Because there's not a lot of doubt on the "Oh holy shit, Marina's insane!"  We just aren't sure who Marina is in the books. 

I had already watched ep 4 when I posted here. I already posted my take on her in the episode thread. As to who she is, I'm waiting to see how much of a role she will still play after this. Maybe Julia takes off in a few episodes, and Marina will never matter again. I hope that's not the case because I like her and I like the actress, but it's a possibility.

 

What intrigues me right now is the different take on Penny. Not the physical aspect of it, but his story with Alice. I don't see this Penny as someone who would resentfully pine over Alice, and I think the show won't have Penny disappear after a meltdown. The cheating mess might be (hopefully) skipped too, if the show gets that far in the story line. This is a good thing imo, and possibly the biggest (potential) change I've noticed so far.

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, I think they're pretty clearly just charting new ground with Penny, which is a good thing because frankly the first book is a little light on male characters you can actually get behind.  It was an interesting choice on Grossman's part.   

 

In discussing the books in a different setting, both paramitch and I had agreed that neither of us could quite envision what Penny looked like.  All I could get a sense of was his hair.  I like the direction they've taken Penny and not just because they cast the startlingly gorgeous Gupta, but because Penny's character needed definition considering he plays a fairly significant part in two of the books.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I can't get behind the Marina-as-Plum or Marina-as-Asmo theories.  I think Marina is just Marina and is the catalyst to Julia going through her "hydropic world" phase. For those not familiar with The Magician King ...

I hope/pray/speculate that we're going to see Julia's descent into madness, perhaps another scene or two at the Midtown Medical Building that's really in Battery Park, her resurrect her Yale application, find the Freetraders, and then stumble onto a kinder, gentler safehouse scene where she earns her stars, then have a big ol' showdown with Marina before Pouncy and company come in to sweep her off to the land of Murs. 

 

I'm also enjoying Penny's character more than I'd thought I would.  I agree he's always been more of a catalyst in the books than a character, so seeing him as more than Q's frenemy that's inexplicably been tied to his life is great to see.  I always wondered what his backstory was.

Share this post


Link to post

S1E5 - Mendings, Major and Minor: Although everyone should be training for the upcoming Welter's Tournament, the students are each dealing with a personal distraction that keeps them from staying focused.

 

Josh?  Please?  Maybe?  I want to see his salamander.

Share this post


Link to post
think Marina is just Marina and is the catalyst to Julia going through her "hydropic world" phase.

 

Yeah, after a rewatch, I have to agree.  If that's Plum?  Holy crap, have they changed her, but I can't see a reason in the world to change her into a villain/antagonist so she's likely just a new character. 

Share this post


Link to post

No, no, nope.  Won't take it as a possibility.  Handing it back ;-)  In all seriousness, I think that what happens now is Julia has to set out on her quest to find Pouncy, etc. etc.   I also am in no way willing to say that "Oh well maybe Marina had a plan to free Quentin...." because she was pretty clear on not caring about what happened to him.  

 

We'll have to wait and see how it all develops, but currently I think Marina is too vengeful to be Asmodeus and her backstory doesn't match up, at all.   

 

I truly hope she isn't Plum, or whatever they've turned poor Plum into but seeing as Plum actually did get kicked out of Brakebills?  She's a closer match in terms of setup at present.   It's weird, because I do see a lot of worth in the actor's portrayal of Marina, but I think they've kind of cut themselves off from Julia believably being willing to sacrifice herself for Marina's character, which she needs to be for Asmodeus's character to fit.  

I don't want Julia's character arc to be changed, that woman will be a goddess, darn it! ( I hope)  but I can see how they might have decided to take a pass on Quentin's time as a professor at Brakebills and there's something that's tripping me out ever-so-slightly and made me think that she's meant to be Plum -- she looks like she could be related to the actor playing young Jane Chatwin, the actor they've cast as Martin and Esme Bianco's character too.   

So that might be why Plum came to mind.  Plus, I'll completely cop to the fact that part of the reason I don't want her to be Asmodeus is that just hurt, betrayed and cast out Julia :-( 

 

I can see some pretty interesting potential arcs involving Marina as Asmodeus still (especially if she ends up doing any kind of U-turn back toward good). I'm not saying it will happen -- I think it won't -- but I also think it would be incredibly powerful if in the end, JULIA saves Marina after what Marina has just done to her (and after what she tried to do to Quentin). I actually think it would be a really rich and amazing opportunity for the character to find some redemption.

 

BUT -- I really don't think that's likely. But the writer in me would love that.

 

Meanwhile, if it helps, I just cannot see Marina as Plum at all. I don't think she'd put herself in that position in book 3 (she's already far past it) unless her circumstances change (everyone in that group basically has a hidden agenda). Or of course, they may really radically rethink Plum. It's weird, but while I could see Marina being Asmodeus (who is a badass in the books and who is the most powerful of the hedge witches we meet with Julia, at least to me), I just can't see her being nice, dutiful Plum, who got kicked out for a practical joke that went wrong. I also don't think Marina would work with Quentin as Plum does in the books... so, while I like Kacey Rohl, I don't want her to end up being Plum either.

 

It does make me wonder how they'll handle Quentin's abrupt transition to professor. Maybe they treat him like a substitute teacher? I also suspect they may spend more time in Fillory than one season. My guess is that season 1 will equal book 1, but that book 2 could easily be two seasons or more, as could book 3.

 

I suspect they won't bring in Plum until season 2 or even 3. But I could be wrong, and she could already be a part of the gang, in which case I'll be interested to see who it turns out to be. I just hope she (1) stays a girl and (2) as in the book, has ZERO romantic interest in Quentin or vice versa.

 

What intrigues me right now is the different take on Penny. Not the physical aspect of it, but his story with Alice. I don't see this Penny as someone who would resentfully pine over Alice, and I think the show won't have Penny disappear after a meltdown. The cheating mess might be (hopefully) skipped too, if the show gets that far in the story line. This is a good thing imo, and possibly the biggest (potential) change I've noticed so far.

 

I agree that the new take on Penny is really intriguing with Gupta. I don't see him as pining over Alice, but then, I didn't think he pined over Alice in the book either. I felt like Penny in the books was always interested in Alice, but that he was ultimately interested in himself and magic more -- he seemed so disconnected. What's intriguing for me about TV-Penny is that I do think he likes Alice (we've seen him glance her way, and he protected her after their spell went awry). I definitely think the "cheating" could and should happen -- I mean, I hated Quentin's childish reaction to it in the book, but that's exactly why I want it to still happen. Alice did NOTHING wrong by sleeping with Penny -- they were broken up, Quentin had been unfaithful and a massive jerk, so I was definitely in the mindset of "Alice, you go, girl!"

 

Yeah, I think they're pretty clearly just charting new ground with Penny, which is a good thing because frankly the first book is a little light on male characters you can actually get behind.  It was an interesting choice on Grossman's part.   

 

In discussing the books in a different setting, both paramitch and I had agreed that neither of us could quite envision what Penny looked like.  All I could get a sense of was his hair.  I like the direction they've taken Penny and not just because they cast the startlingly gorgeous Gupta, but because Penny's character needed definition considering he plays a fairly significant part in two of the books.  

 

This! And for some reason, that he had a big balloon head and a skinny body. So ahem, I am very happy with TV-Penny, who is so handsome I just kind of gaze at him and then rewind to catch what he said because of all the gazing. I don't plotz over beautiful guys all that often, but seriously, Penny walks into a scene and my tongue unrolls like a party favor. (Sorry for that mental image.)

 

And with that said, in all seriousness, I love what the show's doing with Penny because it offers so much rich potential that I think is far more active for the character, versus his curiously rather passive demeanor in the books. My bet is that things will go pretty according to Book 1 for him in Season 1, but that in Season 2, Penny may continue to be part of the action thanks to his traveler abilities (so maybe he'll heal faster than in the books, or the magicians will spend more time between worlds, etc...)

 

AND... now that I've rethought all of that, it actually seems plain to me that they have replaced JOSH with Penny, as he is not listed in the credits for this season at all. And that makes me sad, since I love Josh as the funny, chubby talented character he is. I'm kind of bummed. Especially since they added Kady, who is a complete creation of the show (although she's probably a stand-in for Poppy).

 

But -- if this is the case -- Penny will probably therefore fit even more seamlessly into the action because he won't be sidelined at all, if he is in fact a Josh replacement. He'll be right there with them in ruling Fillory. I'm kind of okay with it, although I'll miss Josh. We need some more uncool people on the show, but on the other hand, TV-Quentin is adorably, wonderfully uncool. So we'll see.

 

I can't get behind the Marina-as-Plum or Marina-as-Asmo theories.  I think Marina is just Marina and is the catalyst to Julia going through her "hydropic world" phase. 

 

I definitely want to see all of Julia's book 2 journey/struggle onscreen, especially the wonderful development of the mystery of Free Trader Beowulf as led by Pouncy and Asmodeus. I love all of them which was why I was so psyched at first, thinking they were already a part of the story. I especially am a sucker for stories in which characters create their own families -- so when Julia finally discovered them in Murs, in the book, and realized they were the people she had befriended so closely online, I cried like a baby. I think and hope that Julia's journey in the next few episodes will probably silence the unspoiled folks who simply assume she's "entitled" or a "whiner." 

Edited by paramitch

Share this post


Link to post
AND... now that I've rethought all of that, it actually seems plain to me that they have replaced JOSH with Penny, as he is not listed in the credits for this season at all. And that makes me sad, since I love Josh as the funny, chubby talented character he is. I'm kind of bummed. Especially since they added Kady, who is a complete creation of the show (although she's probably a stand-in for Poppy).

 

Yeah, since I think they've made a composite character of Josh and Penny, which I really appreciate the expansion on Penny and don't mind the reduction of Josh as much, I think Marina is likely serving several roles also, instead of just being X with a different name.  

 

It looks like the series has decided not to introduce Janet/Margo with the same set of personality ...I'll go ahead and call them flaws...that book Janet had.  Book Janet had a casual viciousness to her -- although again, I ended up liking her by the end of book three -- that is more easily spotted in Marina than in Margot.   Plum's backstory of having been expelled is something Marina is also sporting, and Asmos' fearlessness/ferocity ("If you see, Julia, tell her I've gone Fox Hunting" was a true "Oh hell yeah!" moment in the third book) is also present. 

 

So I think Marina is a composite character with traits of the less than pleasant parts of Janet, part of Plum's backstory up to and possibly including her ties to the Chatwins, and the power of Asmodeus without the nearly familial bond to Julia.  It make sense to try and tighten up the telling of it all and the problem with ever brining in Plum or Poppy, both later additions, is that particularly in scifi/fantasy shows the audience tends to be very resistant to characters being added in later seasons and then being made focal. 

 

Just judging from that, the 10 episode per season constraints, I'd bet we've already met the series attempts at most of the major players.  

 

This is something that I don't think I've ever said about a science-fiction or fantasy series or show before:  but the source material is actually more heavily populated by strong female characters than it is male:  Alice, Janet, Julia (and the girl who actually died fighting the beast in the series) , Asmos, Plum , Poppy , the Watcherwoman (leaving out a couple of other ones, actually) and then for male characters, we really only ever had Quentin, Elliot, Josh and Penny, and Pouncy.   So just looking at that list and knowing that the series will have to do some condensing and composite work. 

 

That leads me to something though:  I think if Julia is going to sacrifice herself to save anyone, it's going to be Quentin.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
I also suspect they may spend more time in Fillory than one season. My guess is that season 1 will equal book 1, but that book 2 could easily be two seasons or more, as could book 3.

 

Fillory is what's key. I think that's going to shock a lot of viewers once it happens, as many are probably expecting a good 2-3 seasons of classroom conflicts at Brakebills.

True, I expected they'd spend more than 1 season pre-Fillory, as we are also getting part of book 2 with Julia's story. Also, the Dean and Kady are in season 2, which indicates Brakebills scenes. Then again, I'm not eager for the show to go to Fillory, tbh, because that means either a much larger budget for special effects and location filming, or dodgy CGI, or changes to Fillory itself (like have its denizens be humans, I think would save the most on effects without a non-book reader even knowing it). Also, if the audience gives up on the show at that point, that could actually be the end of it. And, speaking of shocks, I'd venture that the most surprised would be the casuals viewers who don't even know to expect the fantasy adventure genre switch. How many seasons would happen in Fillory in total I'd assume would depend on how popular it would be vs how expensive. Or maybe I am being too cynical right now.

 

Just judging from that, the 10 episode per season constraints, I'd bet we've already met the series attempts at most of the major players.

I thought it's 13 episodes though. And I think there might be new major players revealed as the show gets picked up for more seasons. I wouldn't be surprised if the show runners are only focusing on the first 2 books right now; after all, they don't yet have enough time to cover everything unless they get renewed for season 3. For example, they could have Quentin meet someone other than Emily during his in-between Fillory slump.

 

Another thing. I wonder how the Quentin / Julia stories will synch in terms of Fillory: will this current structure continue while they are in Fillory for the first time, or will those episodes be focused only on Fillory, to pick up Julia's story as Quentin returns? It would be easier for new viewers to tune in for the Fillory setting if there is no extra story line that requires previous watching.

 

ETA: Right now episode 11 is the last one with a revealed title and it's "Remedial Battle Magic", so we know where they are at that point. So it still seems quite probable to me that season 1 ends before the end of book 1. That would be a lot to cover in just 2 episodes.

Edited by Crim

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, since I think they've made a composite character of Josh and Penny, which I really appreciate the expansion on Penny and don't mind the reduction of Josh as much, I think Marina is likely serving several roles also, instead of just being X with a different name.  

Josh is coming, as per Lev Grossman.  He just hasn't shown up yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Josh is coming, as per Lev Grossman.  He just hasn't shown up yet.

 

Well that's probably a good decision though, I think.  I mean, I'm sort of neither here nor there on it, but Josh's character does a couple of things within the story that feel kind of important to represent.  One being that he's least magically gifted of the characters at Brakebills, which does represent a type of character that I think has a place in the proceedings.  Plus, the stuff with the bowl and the dragon in the river -- if they're touching any of that stuff -- all of those things need a character like Josh vs. Show Penny.  

 

Just kind of the borderline Frat Guy,  but without any malice to him.   I know the actor I'm picture in my head is actually the guy who played Tank on Switched at Birth, but it will be interesting to see who the show casts.   They've done a remarkably good job with casting.  

 

I know Grossman is about to show up in a small part too, which is fun. 

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like the series has decided not to introduce Janet/Margo with the same set of personality ...I'll go ahead and call them flaws...that book Janet had.  Book Janet had a casual viciousness to her -- although again, I ended up liking her by the end of book three -- that is more easily spotted in Marina than in Margot.   Plum's backstory of having been expelled is something Marina is also sporting, and Asmos' fearlessness/ferocity ("If you see, Julia, tell her I've gone Fox Hunting" was a true "Oh hell yeah!" moment in the third book) is also present. 

 

So I think Marina is a composite character with traits of the less than pleasant parts of Janet, part of Plum's backstory up to and possibly including her ties to the Chatwins, and the power of Asmodeus without the nearly familial bond to Julia.  It make sense to try and tighten up the telling of it all and the problem with ever brining in Plum or Poppy, both later additions, is that particularly in scifi/fantasy shows the audience tends to be very resistant to characters being added in later seasons and then being made focal. 

 

Just judging from that, the 10 episode per season constraints, I'd bet we've already met the series attempts at most of the major players.  

 

"Casual viciousnesss" is the perfect descriptor for Janet. I really didn't like Book Janet (don't even get me started on her actions in book 1). However, I did grow to grudgingly like her in books 2 and three -- we get her POV there, and I really liked her strength and also her unexpectedly sweet reaction to

meeting Alice again

.

 

I am seeing some of Janet in Margo. To me, the actress playing Margo is definitely infusing her with a fairly constant undertone of bitchiness and smugness, but while it's definitely a step down from Book-Janet, I also really like that. The moments I found "pure Janet" were: (1) the scene where Janet snuggled with Eliot at the party and pouted about why he liked Quentin (with Eliot giving that perfect Janet/Eliot "we love those" response), and (2) the scene when Alice said she was leaving and removing more competition, and Margo responded with what looked like a fairly candid, "I like competition." I thought that was textbook Janet, somehow.

 

I feel like the Margo actress isn't as obviously bitchy as book-Janet, but she infuses the role with enough subtle arrogance and confidence (both good and bad) that it works for me so far. I think she's gotten plenty of digs in at Alice, for instance, but that she's also always been able to do it in a way where she could also pass it off as, "What? I was just being nice!" even though everyone knows what she really meant.

 

I definitely agree that the "vicious" aspect has been far more prevalent in Marina thus far, especially last week, but my jury is definitely out at this point on how it will resolve -- I really always hope for more complexity so maybe she'll redeem herself.

 

Do you know who would be an interesting Plum figure? Kady. She seems to be good at heart, and she seems pricklier on the outside than she actually is. 

 

This is something that I don't think I've ever said about a science-fiction or fantasy series or show before:  but the source material is actually more heavily populated by strong female characters than it is male:  Alice, Janet, Julia (and the girl who actually died fighting the beast in the series) , Asmos, Plum , Poppy , the Watcherwoman (leaving out a couple of other ones, actually) and then for male characters, we really only ever had Quentin, Elliot, Josh and Penny, and Pouncy.   So just looking at that list and knowing that the series will have to do some condensing and composite work.

 

 

Amanda Orloff! (RIP) I loved her, and her fate at the Beast's hands was so powerful to me in the book. Which is why it's interesting to me that they have turned Alice into far more of an "Amanda Orloff" figure in some ways than the shy, quiet Alice of the book. Alice was even the one who evicted the Beast in that first appearance.

 

I definitely agree with you that it's terrific that Grossman gave us so many female characters in the books, and it certainly gave the showrunners a lot of options. What I also like in the TV adaptation is that beyond our core female students and hedge witches, we get Eliza, Anne Dudek's teacher character, and even Laura Fraser in the pilot. The show definitely feels like there's a nice gender balance overall to me.

 

That leads me to something though:  I think if Julia is going to sacrifice herself to save anyone, it's going to be Quentin.

 

 

NOOO! Oh, I hope this doesn't happen. I would rather ANYTHING else happen than that. For Julia to sacrifice herself for anyone else, anyone. I think it would be too fraught and would pull focus away from what Julia suffers and would somehow make it too much about Quentin (and that would just enrage me so much). I feel like the show must do justice to the original scenario and have it be about friendship and courage (and I really do like the subtext of Julia trying to save the younger girl who is a kind of mirror of herself).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry about the dual post, my quotes got messed up!

 

Then again, I'm not eager for the show to go to Fillory, tbh, because that means either a much larger budget for special effects and location filming, or dodgy CGI, or changes to Fillory itself (like have its denizens be humans, I think would save the most on effects without a non-book reader even knowing it). Also, if the audience gives up on the show at that point, that could actually be the end of it. 

 

You're right, it's definitely 13 episodes per season, so that gives them a little more fictional leeway.

 

I suspect that with the Fillory stuff, the showrunners may divide up the action so that (with perhaps the exception of the pivotal final book 1 battle, etc) there's always some Fillory and some outside-world stuff. But I think Fillory's pretty doable on a budget with a canny use of costumes, makeup, locations and effects. And then there's the Neitherlands, which I admit I'm totally dying to see onscreen.

 

Josh is coming, as per Lev Grossman.  He just hasn't shown up yet.

 

I'm so tickled to hear this! I love that. I think we need a little Josh in the mix here.

 

Just kind of the borderline Frat Guy,  but without any malice to him.   I know the actor I'm picture in my head is actually the guy who played Tank on Switched at Birth, but it will be interesting to see who the show casts.   They've done a remarkably good job with casting.  

 

I know Grossman is about to show up in a small part too, which is fun. 

 

I always kind of liked that Josh did have real hidden talent (like that scary mini-singularity), but that it was not consistent, and that it was also rather understandably tied to his confidence. Once he became more confident, and discovered the weird aspects of his real talents, he really came into his own.

 

Wasn't Grossman already in the show? I thought he was the expert guy in the onscreen "documentary" on Christopher Plover in the pilot episode. It sure looked like him.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Wasn't Grossman already in the show? I thought he was the expert guy in the onscreen "documentary" on Christopher Plover in the pilot episode. It sure looked like him.

90% sure that was Lev's brother Austin (also an author.)

Edited after research: actually, now I think you're right that it was Lev, but they're twins, so...

Edited by Jael
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
NOOO! Oh, I hope this doesn't happen. I would rather ANYTHING else happen than that. For Julia to sacrifice herself for anyone else, anyone. I think it would be too fraught and would pull focus away from what Julia suffers and would somehow make it too much about Quentin (and that would just enrage me so much). I feel like the show must do justice to the original scenario and have it be about friendship and courage (and I really do like the subtext of Julia trying to save the younger girl who is a kind of mirror of herself).

 

But Paramitch, they've actually given Julia something for which she needs to atone when it comes to Quentin.  In the behind the scenes snippets the actress even talks about how at the end of the day, she loves Quentin like family. 

 

I don't know, we will see what they are doing, but there's another problem with the whole "who will Julia sacrifice herself for" scene and that's that it kind of seems unlikely that it can play out as it did in the books.  I'm going to tag this, because it's just so darned spoilery

Julia save Asmos from the Fox god and is raped by him.  I cannot for a moment imagine that they are really going to have that play out as written on the page.  I think if any plot undergoes any series change, it's going ot be poor Julia and her compatriots as they search for power and end up up an immortally bad creek.

 

Also, unless they take a really sharp turn and very soon on Marina's characterization, I think that if Julia sacrifices herself for anyone it will be because of something Marina has invoked on purpose.  

 

I agree with you that Kady might be some kind of Plum figure, but the girl in the dungeon seems more likely to be some kind of Asmos figure.  I mean, where the fuck is that stuff coming from in the story?  The Beast has a girl in a dungeon??? 

 

We are charting new territory on that one and she's apparently part of a class that went missing?  Say...wha....? 

 

ETA:  

 

and would somehow make it too much about Quentin (and that would just enrage me so much)

 

Well you and I have had long conversations about this series, but here's the thing that is really standing out to me:  Julia is only sort of like book Julia and out of the two things, I thought that's the one you'd be enraged over.   So whereas I was expecting you to be a bit miffed about something having to do with Julia, I thought it was going to have more to do with "what the heck is going on with their current take on Julia? "   I'm less worried about who she potentially sacrifices herself for in the long run -- or even if she does -- and more about the strange direction they've gone careening off in with her.  

Edited by stillshimpy

Share this post


Link to post

The latest episode was a mixed bag for me, more so than last week, actually. I liked some threads and storylines (all the scenes with the Dean, especially his explanation to Alice as to why she wasn't invited), but others actually felt clunky and badly directed to me.

 

The stuff with Quentin's Dad was probably inevitable, and it worked okay for me from a character exploration standpoint, but I find the actor playing his Dad to be sort of overly hearty and jarring. I also thought it was a weird choice to completely omit Quentin's mother from his visit (and that somehow his Dad is showing serious symptoms but his wife is utterly absent and has no idea? Oookay).

 

Also, why was Quentin's dad's house so damn DARK? All the scenes with his Dad took place in semi-darkness (even when several showed daylight outside) and it felt like a very strange choice to me, especially with the severity of his symptoms, the empty house and absent spouse. I was waiting to find out Quentin's mom had left or something.

 

I had a hard time envisioning the rules of Welters in the books, and wasn't sure the translation from book to visual was entirely successful either. It was kind of fun seeing Quentin bring forth Josh's singularity though! And Eliot and Margo trying to suck up to Alice's kooky aunt (Denise Crosby!) was fun.

 

I still don't know how I feel about the girl who plays Alice. She always seems to be wincing over something and walks with these tiny little steps. I can't figure out if it's endearing or distracting. I did think Alice's scene with Eliot (where he's being sincere and tries to save her from a Long Island Iced Tea) was cute, and I also liked Quentin's little moment on the stairs with Margo.

 

Favorite line from this episode: Eliot, saying, "This isn't Middle Earth, Quentin. There aren't enough noble quests to go around."

 

Also, it was funny to see Keegan Connor Tracy as a Brakebills teacher. That woman pops up EVERYWHERE.

 

I don't know, we will see what they are doing, but there's another problem with the whole "who will Julia sacrifice herself for" scene and that's that it kind of seems unlikely that it can play out as it did in the books.  I'm going to tag this, because it's just so darned spoilery

Julia save Asmos from the Fox god and is raped by him.  I cannot for a moment imagine that they are really going to have that play out as written on the page.  I think if any plot undergoes any series change, it's going ot be poor Julia and her compatriots as they search for power and end up up an immortally bad creek.

 

As far as moment we're discussing from Book 2 -- which I'm also spoiler-tagging just because it is pretty huge

the god summoning gone wrong, and Julia's rape/sacrifice

-- there is an oblique reference to it in this Collider interview that makes me think it will actually take place, or that it will at least be pretty disturbingly close in some ways: http://collider.com/the-magicians-tv-series-details/. Not that it's necessarily something I want to see, in any way. The book scene scarred me for life. I'm very divided on how I think they will handle it and how I hope they will.

 

The Collider piece in particular notes this, which actually sort of eased some worries I would have had about the big picture of the show's direction:

 

"They have a nice long journey laid out for the characters in the books, so they’re opening doors one at a time, walking through them and trying things out. They are not worried that they’ll run out of story for this show because they can really take the time to get inside of all of the small moments in the story. Throw-away moments in the book can get an entire episode on the show."

 

 

Which makes me still okay, despite what are certainly some big changes and swerves here and there in both character and story. For instance -- I was very moved by Quentin's loss of his Dad in book 3, because it's some of the best writing Grossman did in the series, and it was heartbreaking and so poignant and human. But a disconnected parental relationship with someone who is basically a dismissive blank would be very difficult to portray (and in very few scenes) on television, so the idea that they're introducing that element early weirdly makes sense to me, especially as Quentin learns about magic and what it can and can't do.

 

However, Quentin's processing of his Dad's illness here felt awkward to me. Quentin just keeps childishly insisting that "My Dad is sick and I need to fix him," and I was annoyed by the end. As other characters pointed out, it's pretty obvious magic can't cure cancer, so Quentin's simplicity on this was more annoying to me than usual. However, I did find the Cancer Puppy scene to be horribly cute and then horribly funny.

 

Also, unless they take a really sharp turn and very soon on Marina's characterization, I think that if Julia sacrifices herself for anyone it will be because of something Marina has invoked on purpose. 

 

 

That's a really good potential direction on that. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they went that route.

 

I agree with you that Kady might be some kind of Plum figure, but the girl in the dungeon seems more likely to be some kind of Asmos figure.  I mean, where the fuck is that stuff coming from in the story?  The Beast has a girl in a dungeon???

 

We are charting new territory on that one and she's apparently part of a class that went missing?  Say...wha....?

 

 

My inner jury is out on the fact that several students and even classes have seemed to go missing periodically, as the Beast is implied to be the culprit. So in TV-world, he's been preying on Brakebills for years? I'm still not clear on whether that works, either. Storywise, I guess it could work as foreshadowing. I'm interested to see what will happen with Victoria, the girl in the dungeon (is the Beast harnessing the students' powers or trying to find something?). I liked that whatever happened, it was confirmed as a real visit by Penny to Fillory -- and I continue to find the Beast really effective and creepy. 

 

Julia is only sort of like book Julia and out of the two things, I thought that's the one you'd be enraged over.   So whereas I was expecting you to be a bit miffed about something having to do with Julia, I thought it was going to have more to do with "what the heck is going on with their current take on Julia? "   I'm less worried about who she potentially sacrifices herself for in the long run -- or even if she does -- and more about the strange direction they've gone careening off in with her.

 

This episode's arc with Julia didn't bother me too much in terms of consistency with her character in the books -- to me it does feel like what Julia goes through in a lot of ways, that desperation to learn and her willingness to pay anything and everything to get that knowledge. It was interesting if unpleasant to watch Pete basically become just another conduit (like the safe house guy in the books -- I can't remember his name). I like that he does actually seem to care about Julia (and in return, I weirdly liked her being stone-cold with him after, since that felt real to me).

 

But watching Julia here did make me realize that while her journey in the books is really powerful, we're going to have to watch her basically and repeatedly prostitute herself for her magic, and that's not going to be much fun to watch. So I hope they'll be able to show us some empowerment and bright spots as she moves forward as well. Julia's also still coming off a bit too "magical addict" to me when she didn't in the books at all, somehow.

 

However, what I didn't like there was Pete's out-of-the-blue mindwipe on Julia's boyfriend James, which just... all these people need to stop mindwiping people! And James suddenly not knowing Julia would be a huge and troubling plot wrinkle in the Quentin/Julia/James universe -- will he still know Quentin? Instead of Pete victimizing Julia in a new and different way by removing her boyfriend from her life, I wish Julia had simply broken up with James proactively.

Edited by paramitch
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

You're right on that, paramitch.  I guess I just never imagined any of the details of all the things Julia went through to get the knowledge that she wanted.  Pete as the safehouse keeper (who was actually a plant based creature, right?) makes some sense.  I think it is the magicrack aspect that is just throwing me.  Julia was driven, not strung out and seeking her next fix and magic found her.   

 

I know adaptations will always need to change things and some will work better than other.  The Beast's face being obscured by fluttering moths is a good, unnerving choice.  Just the sound makes him frightening.   

 

 

 

I still don't know how I feel about the girl who plays Alice. She always seems to be wincing over something and walks with these tiny little steps. I can't figure out if it's endearing or distracting. I did think Alice's scene with Eliot (where he's being sincere and tries to save her from a Long Island Iced Tea) was cute, and I also liked Quentin's little moment on the stairs with Margo.

 

I'm wondering if Julia doesn't perhaps end up with Alice's in Fillory, simply because the choices they've made with Alice are not suggesting that they're going to take it that far.  I hated the Dean's explanation though, paramitch, some guy making a full grown woman's choices for her, or attempting to, for the sake of her family?  Yeah, didn't like that one even a little bit.  I did like that he admitted he was wrong, but he seemed to think it was because she was so talented and therefore, he was wrong.  

 

I was more of the mindset that he was wrong, because he shouldn't have tried to determine what Alice would be allowed to do with her own life regardless of what Charlie's choices cost him, they were his choices.  

 

Also, Alice is in nearly desperate need of different footwear or whatever would help her take an actual, adult-length stride.   You've watched Whedon shows too, so you'll get the reference:  Joss saying that every time he saw some blond young woman, in high heels, running into an alley in a movie (where she would always end up killed), drove him berserk.  He just wanted that girl to turn around and kick the monster's ass (and Buffy was born) , but that's what Alice stride is reminding me of, it doesn't look natural.  It's overly-mannered and strange.   Like she's playing the sexy librarian in some soft core flick. 

 

Also, I think in this show reality we are to take it that Quentin's parents are divorced or separated.  Trying to process that was what I thought was making the actor playing Quentin's dad feel off to me.  He was too ....I'm going to go with "on" the entire time....but then I guess trying to portray Quentin's parents as two people who were mainly only ever really into one another and showed next to no interest in Quentin might have been too difficult to translate from page to screen without the implication being neglect.  In the books Quentin wasn't neglected except for emotionally and even that seemed more a vague thing where they were perfectly pleasant to Quentin if pleasantly disinterested in him. 

Edited by stillshimpy
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

You're right on that, paramitch.  I guess I just never imagined any of the details of all the things Julia went through to get the knowledge that she wanted.  Pete as the safehouse keeper (who was actually a plant based creature, right?) makes some sense.  I think it is the magicrack aspect that is just throwing me.  Julia was driven, not strung out and seeking her next fix and magic found her.

 

There were several, you're thinking of Warren, the forest-spirit-bug-guy who'd set himself up as a teacher of hot sorority chicks in Richmond and ran one of the portal stations.  There was also Jared who ran the Bed-Stuy safehouse.  I can see Pete = Jared or I could see potentially Jared being the guy she dicked over at the second house.  He was kind of a puss, so it would make sense.  I honestly don't know what to make of Pete. 

 

I was more of the mindset that he was wrong, because he shouldn't have tried to determine what Alice would be allowed to do with her own life regardless of what Charlie's choices cost him, they were his choices.

 

I've been struggling with this argument.  The question isn't purely moral or theoretical.  The guys is also running a school, and he had one sibling go full niffin on him to begin with (which, in the book was part of a larger scandal that ended up with one student dropping out, one student a niffin and a professor effectively banished to Antarctica).  And magic, just like crazy risk taking, does tend to run in families - she's already partially responsible for summoning the Beast and for nearly killing Quentin and setting her niffin brother loose on the campus.  You could look at it as his risk assessment of Alice not being entirely off (at least TV Alice, book Alice had much purer intentions and in that case, I'm more apt to agree with you).  Also. it's not like it's Hogwarts where every kid with a speck of magical talent gets an invitation on their tenth birthday by some vaguely defined law/tradition/mechanics that are never fully explained.  Dude's running a highly secretive magical higher learning institution that is by invite only.  Clearly, capable people don't get invited, and even if they do they don't pass.  Also, it's pretty clear that Alice would and did learn magic regardless. 

 

Also, Alice is in nearly desperate need of different footwear or whatever would help her take an actual, adult-length stride.   You've watched Whedon shows too, so you'll get the reference:  Joss saying that every time he saw some blond young woman, in high heels, running into an alley in a movie (where she would always end up killed), drove him berserk.  He just wanted that girl to turn around and kick the monster's ass (and Buffy was born) , but that's what Alice stride is reminding me of, it doesn't look natural.  It's overly-mannered and strange.   Like she's playing the sexy librarian in some soft core flick.

 

A mix of Cher Horowitz from Clueless and Thelma from Scooby-Doo.  Yes, agree entirely.  Different footwear and a skirt that has a decent vent and/or more stretch.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

 

Also, I think in this show reality we are to take it that Quentin's parents are divorced or separated.  Trying to process that was what I thought was making the actor playing Quentin's dad feel off to me.  He was too ....I'm going to go with "on" the entire time....but then I guess trying to portray Quentin's parents as two people who were mainly only ever really into one another and showed next to no interest in Quentin might have been too difficult to translate from page to screen without the implication being neglect.  In the books Quentin wasn't neglected except for emotionally and even that seemed more a vague thing where they were perfectly pleasant to Quentin if pleasantly disinterested in him. 

 

I think you're dead on with that. I also think this general idea explains why TV Quentin is more likable than book Quentin. I just finished rereading the first book and, although I did not think it was possible, I disliked Q even more the second time around. He's just so whiny and immature and entitled. As I was reading, I couldn't even remember why I came to like him over the course of the next two books. I just kept thinking: "What an interesting story. Why can't it be from Alice's POV so I could enjoy reading it?" If the TV show featured such an unlikable protagonist (and not an anti-hero, just a petulant ass), no one would watch it. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Ha!  Indeed, I think I liked Quentin at the end of the first book solely because he was just so insufferable, had thrown away happiness with both hands and if he'd won the lottery, he'd have complained about the taxes.  Nothing could make him happy and the reason I grew to like him was that he was the person who eventually came to understand that about himself.  He was his own agent of change.   He had to learn a horrible lesson but by the time book three

he found there was a way to save Alice, he didn't just dedicate his entire life to it, he risked everything including his life ....and with no expectation attached to it.  I ended up liking Quentin because he was the worst and the best of people I know, can recognize, may have been in some respects as a younger person....and then he simply set about being a better person, for the sake of being better.

 

He's oddly one of the most hopeful characterizations I've encountered.  Meanwhile, Alice, who I adored from jump is not capturing me in the way i had hoped.  Every now and then she'll have a moment though, where I can see the character I was envisioning.  

 

Everything she did was motivated by love and not some dippy, drippy romantic love.  The kind of love made of goodness and a very strong heart.  

 

I'm convinced that Grossman just genuinely likes the hell out of women and he gave us Quentin so that we could see the people around him in the same way Grossman did.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Oh my God, I hated book Quentin after the first book sooooooo freaking much.  But at the same time, related to him as I remember what an incredibly awkward and horrible age it is to be 22 and just out of college and have zero plans or ambition other than to get drunk and "live".

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

The latest episode was interesting. It gave us some of the truest-to-character moments of the series for me thus far, in terms of the books. Like Margo/Janet being smug and smirky (and actually kind of hilarious and adorable with Eliot), yet also showing some real emotion when Quentin told her Fillory was real. Or like the lovely scene between Alice and Quentin on the roof.

 

And since it was one of my favorite moments in the book, I'm so delighted they did all turn into geese! I found Quentin frequently annoying in book one, but I freely admit that his elation at being a goose was one of my favorite things about the book. I cracked up every time Quentin's dialogue went something like:

"Honk!" said Quentin joyfully. "Honk honk honk honk honk!"

 

I mean, come on, that's awesome. I hope we get a teeny bit more of the goose-students. And I wonder how they're gonna handle the Antarctic segment (and the animal stuff).

Hey! I just realized they haven't moved Quentin, Alice and Penny forward a year yet. Janet and Eliot were with them in the book at this point, so that's interesting... hmmm.

 

I was more of the mindset that he was wrong, because he shouldn't have tried to determine what Alice would be allowed to do with her own life regardless of what Charlie's choices cost him, they were his choices.  

 

I agree with you on this, especially from a big-picture standpoint, but I also think Lemur's right in that Alice is/was rather unstable when she came to Brakebills, and almost immediately summoned the Beast, endangered several lives, managed to get a teacher killed, and then almost immediately tried to do it all again with her niffin brother. So she is unbelievably reckless (although lately she's calmed down, thank goodness).

 

Also. it's not like it's Hogwarts where every kid with a speck of magical talent gets an invitation on their tenth birthday by some vaguely defined law/tradition/mechanics that are never fully explained.  Dude's running a highly secretive magical higher learning institution that is by invite only.  Clearly, capable people don't get invited, and even if they do they don't pass.  Also, it's pretty clear that Alice would and did learn magic regardless. 

 

This bugs me slightly on the show, because the teacher pretty bluntly told Julia, to paraphrase, "We thought you had the ability, but we were mistaken." The implication there wasn't that she was not a fit for Brakebills, but that she didn't have the ability for it.

 

Yet later on when confronted by the Dean, he made no reference at all to the fact that she did in fact have enough ability to have been admitted (not that she would be after helping to endanger Quentin anyway). So I'm not really clear on the requirements. It seemed clear in the pilot (and in the book) that they measure magical aptitude and bring in all the potential magicians for testing, with the hedge witch movement arising from Brakebills' mistakes. Yet that does seem to have been changed slightly as we've gone along. We now see that Brakebills seems fully aware that there are lots of powerful magicians outside their walls... so... I don't know. 

 

I think you're dead on with that. I also think this general idea explains why TV Quentin is more likable than book Quentin. I just finished rereading the first book and, although I did not think it was possible, I disliked Q even more the second time around. He's just so whiny and immature and entitled. As I was reading, I couldn't even remember why I came to like him over the course of the next two books. I just kept thinking: "What an interesting story. Why can't it be from Alice's POV so I could enjoy reading it?" If the TV show featured such an unlikable protagonist (and not an anti-hero, just a petulant ass), no one would watch it. 

 

I think the thing with Quentin's unlikability in the book is that we are so constantly in his head, and he's so constantly navel-gazing about why he's not happier and wondering what's missing and generally emoing all over the place, that when you couple that with a healthy dose of exterior whining and pouting, it gets really tiresome. (I was not a Quentin fan in book one -- he infuriated me! -- although I did grow to grudgingly love him very quickly in book two).

 

But what I think is genius about the show, and about Quentin's fabulous actor, Jason Ralph, is that we don't have to listen to Quentin's nonstop inner whineage and bullshit, and we instead see the charm and awkwardness that led to all that inner angst. Quentin is far more palatable to me from the outside in the TV version because he's genuinely funny and lovable, and because I think Ralph also shows us that Quentin is actually the king of the "I hate Quentin club" himself. So I find myself rooting for him a lot more quickly on the show than in the book so far. (And seriously -- I do think Jason Ralph is absolutely fantastic, and he brings this incredible mix of reactions to Quentin on a constant basis. I'm so happy with his casting.)

 

Ha!  Indeed, I think I liked Quentin at the end of the first book solely because he was just so insufferable, had thrown away happiness with both hands and if he'd won the lottery, he'd have complained about the taxes.  Nothing could make him happy and the reason I grew to like him was that he was the person who eventually came to understand that about himself.  He was his own agent of change.   He had to learn a horrible lesson but by the time book three

he found there was a way to save Alice, he didn't just dedicate his entire life to it, he risked everything including his life ....and with no expectation attached to it.  I ended up liking Quentin because he was the worst and the best of people I know, can recognize, may have been in some respects as a younger person....and then he simply set about being a better person, for the sake of being better.

 

He's oddly one of the most hopeful characterizations I've encountered.  Meanwhile, Alice, who I adored from jump is not capturing me in the way i had hoped.  Every now and then she'll have a moment though, where I can see the character I was envisioning.  

 

Everything she did was motivated by love and not some dippy, drippy romantic love.  The kind of love made of goodness and a very strong heart.  

 

I'm convinced that Grossman just genuinely likes the hell out of women and he gave us Quentin so that we could see the people around him in the same way Grossman did.  

 

I think TV-Alice is going to grow on me. I really loved her in the last episode, and I've liked little weird moments with her week to week, so I hope that as the show goes on, the actress will continue to dial down the Tracy Flick and give her more of the complexity of book-Alice.

 

What I'm bummed about (and I even tweeted my disappointment on this issue to the producers a few days back) is that Julia's storyline is emphasizing her weakness, not her strength. I'm adamantly against the "Magic is addictive" direction they're going -- I hated it on Buffy, hate it here -- not least because it just doesn't work. Julia isn't anymore addicted than Quentin is. Quentin and Alice aren't jonesing for spells and fixes; we see quite clearly that Quentin loves magic because it makes him more who he was meant to be.

 

So for me the show is letting Julia down big-time by framing her story this way. So instead of seeing a heroic young woman fight for the knowledge, power and sense of self she wholly deserves (and for which she is willing to spend her power, her dignity, and even her body); instead it just comes off as desperate, druggy and skeevy and that she doesn't have the good sense to let it all go. 

 

I'm hoping that after the truly horrifying event this week with Marina, that Julia will now stop acting like a drug addict and will start acting like a warrior. I loved the character so much in the book, and I just don't love TV-Julia like I want to. (Although -- it was nice to see the actress actually smile this week -- bless her heart, I don't think she'd previously done so since the pilot!).

 

Oh my God, I hated book Quentin after the first book sooooooo freaking much.  But at the same time, related to him as I remember what an incredibly awkward and horrible age it is to be 22 and just out of college and have zero plans or ambition other than to get drunk and "live".

 

The most I related to Quentin was his total bewilderment on graduating Brakebills, because I remember that too, so clearly. I thought I knew what I wanted, and why I'd gone to school, then I got out and boom, I had no idea what to do next. I couldn't get jobs in media (I'd majored in FILMMAKING, people, I ended up temping for two years before finding a job in the media), and all I really wanted to do was puzzle over what the heck had happened. So I did sympathize with Quentin and friends at that point.

 

Also, I freely admit that if I had magical ATM powers, I would gleefully use them. Also, I admit that I have sometimes had dreams of driving off in an (inexplicably) abandoned armored truck, as well, so there you go. Obviously my magical morality is a bit flexible!

Share this post


Link to post
This bugs me slightly on the show, because the teacher pretty bluntly told Julia, to paraphrase, "We thought you had the ability, but we were mistaken." The implication there wasn't that she was not a fit for Brakebills, but that she didn't have the ability for it.

Yet later on when confronted by the Dean, he made no reference at all to the fact that she did in fact have enough ability to have been admitted (not that she would be after helping to endanger Quentin anyway). So I'm not really clear on the requirements. It seemed clear in the pilot (and in the book) that they measure magical aptitude and bring in all the potential magicians for testing, with the hedge witch movement arising from Brakebills' mistakes. Yet that does seem to have been changed slightly as we've gone along. We now see that Brakebills seems fully aware that there are lots of powerful magicians outside their walls... so... I don't know.

 

Yes and no.  Again, if you go back to the books, Julia admittedly spent the exam looking around the room trying to make sense of whatever the fuck was happening (and no, I don't blame her for that, if you're magically whisked away to a completely different bario-climatic zone, shown into a room with a bunch of weirdos and then given an exam that makes zero sense and in fact, keeps changing, I'd be pretty skeptical too ...), while Quentin just flat-out went to work and did the analysis later.  Quentin bought in, Julia didn't.  His willingness to embrace and seeking for something magical to save him from the mundane grind of life allowed him to take the exam no questions asked.  Julia, who was instead more or less pretty happy with her life as it were, got completely derailed by the experience.  So any ability she might have had, she didn't get to flex.  That's always been my read on it.  

 

I also don't think there are many powerful hedge witches out there.  I think there's Marina, who has the benefit of an almost complete Brakebills education plus the stuff she learned in the safe houses plus a really, really nasty attitude.  The rest of the hedge witches seemed to be more in the "party tricks" category, either by lack of talent or Marina's control.

 

That aside, my attention was rather split last night.  Did anyone tie Mayakovsky to Emily Greenstreet last night?  I mean, dude spent a good bit of time leering at Alice and Kady.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Again, Quentin exits his "I've just been magically abducted" and bumps into Elliot in the books and on the show.  It gives him a leg up in both instances, but in both instances, Elliot admits that he wasn't supposed to tell Quentin that.  

 

However, Quentin of the books also has the Watcherwoman making sure he gets where he needs to be.  I'm never kidding around when I talk about how Grossman explored the concept of male privilege and did so really nicely, without needing to turn women into saints or all men into crashing bores.   Julia has to fight tooth, nail and every other body part for everything that comes a lot more easily to Quentin.  

 

But the show's taking Julia in a direction at present that I'm trying to have some patience with, because if the books made anything clear it's that Lev Grossman likes the hell out of women and where he takes Julia is amazing.  Plus, the real hero of book one, is the shy, but exceptionally powerful and loving Alice.  

 

 

 

(I was not a Quentin fan in book one -- he infuriated me! -- although I did grow to grudgingly love him very quickly in book two).

 

Way to understate that book one  dislike, paramitch ;-)  I was so glad I had somebody else helping me to convince you to read the second book because you hated Quentin so much, I was amazed your copy of the first book didn't burst into flames as a preventative measure ;-)  

 

I'm starting to warm up to the show's depiction of Alice.  I was so sorely disappointed in Show Alice at first, simply because whereas you required a team of people to get past the Quentin dislike enough to carry on to the second book,  Alice was the character who got me through Quentin's late adolescence and all the charm that age tends to lack for most.   

 

But I guess I understand the show's choice more now.  I think the show was just giving Alice more perceivable agency because in the book it only becomes apparent at the very end of the story that Quentin was never really sent by the Watcherwoman to save Fillory:  Alice saves Fillory and the entire reason she's there?  To make sure Quentin doesn't die, no matter how furious she is with him (and rightly so).  However, Alice being the only person with enough guts and talent to stop The Beast doesn't become apparent in the book until she fucking does it and it was a jaw-dropper.  In retrospect I think the show was wise to show-not-tell because in the book, until Alice pushes up her sleeves....I didn't get it.  I basically got it on the same schedule as Quentin did the "What is she....OH SHIT!" schedule. 

 

It was that one detail that really, really caught me.  Quentin was never the chosen one, the anointed one or the only one who could save Fillory.  But the person decent, powerful and loving enough to do it wouldn't be there if it wasn't to make sure that Quentin didn't die.  

 

So at the very end of the book, whereas I think a lot of people wanted to throttle Quentin, I was just so impressed with Grossman's rather lovely bait and switch.  Quentin of the books eventually grows enough to deserve the company he keeps, and atones but in the visual medium of TV I guess they needed to give Alice a little more development first.  

 

Also, as one of about four human beings on the face of this Earth (I may be overstating that slightly for emphasis) who ended up liking Janet by the end of the series I am really digging the actor's choices with Margo.   In that scene when she stopped Alice and said "I like competition" there was already a nice foreshadowing of the reaction she had in the books when she sees her again later in the series.  

 

I'm starting to think the actor playing Margo, or the director, or possibly just having access to Grossman's thought process on the character, just gets something about Janet that it took me three books to understand.  Sure, takes her own sadness and pain out on others in a very particular way (she can't really be with the person she loves best, so she wrecking balls into other loves) but she's also the person who gathered up Julia at that Spa and who book three

stays with Fillory until it is actually ending, helping everyone through and waiting until the last possible moment to leave .....and then Janet in the desert with Tribal Misogyny was ....well, a character who truly deserved to hang out with Alice and Julia

 

And by the end of the series, Quentin's become one of my favorite book characters to hit a page in a long time.  He takes a believable and understandable journey into being the best person, best man, he can be.  

Edited by stillshimpy
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm starting to think the actor playing Margo, or the director, or possibly just having access to Grossman's thought process on the character, just gets something about Janet that it took me three books to understand.  Sure, takes her own sadness and pain out on others in a very particular way (she can't really be with the person she loves best, so she wrecking balls into other loves) but she's also the person who gathered up Julia at that Spa and who book three  Spoiler stays with Fillory until it is actually ending, helping everyone through and waiting until the last possible moment to leave .....and then Janet in the desert with Tribal Misogyny was ....well, a character who truly deserved to hang out with Alice and Julia.

 

Yes, so much yes.  I seriously hated Janet/Margo in the books until the third one.  But by the end of the third one, I loved her almost as much as the other women.  Okay, probably just slightly less.  

There's what seems like a total throw-away line when Penny button-jacks them all to the Neitherlands and she sees Alice and has to run up to her and make sure it's really Alice that I found completely disarming, especially coming after the revelation about her home life and her time in the desert.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Yes, so much yes.  I seriously hated Janet/Margo in the books until the third one.  But by the end of the third one, I loved her almost as much as the other women.  Okay, probably just slightly less.

 

Right there with you.  By the end of book one, I wished something had swallowed her whole.  She's barely in the second book and I was glad that was how little I care for her as a character. 

 

I will say this about Grossman, he might actually be the most patient writer I've ever seen.  He earns every inch of development for his characters and reveals why it makes so much sense, and a really good thing about him?  When examined in retrospect it really becomes a case of "Oh holy shit, I see you were paving that road the entire time, brick by careful brick."   He really has a deft touch with characterization.

 

Book three Janet

he created a woman who is actually damaged by her emotional connections and makes people dislike her because it's emotionally safer for her, but that doesn't alter the fact that she honestly cares.  I was so busy hating the boogers out of her in book one, I didn't really question "Wait, why is she there in the first place?"  Why does she at no point try to save her own neck or just hers and Elliot's?  By the time she is so honestly glad to see Alice and moved into one of the only emotional displays we ever see from her, it becomes finally obvious: Shit, she always felt guilty about what she did.  She wasn't just some vicious creature, she was just another person, living her own reality, having her own scars and trying to protect herself in the ways she knew how....and she loathed pity so much that she'd do damage before she'd risk letting someone understand that she was a loving and vulnerable person in her own right.  

 

And I found it so genuinely moving that when she's kind of on Progress with Elliot, trying to save Fillory, that she finally tells Elliot about her childhood, about what she went through with that tribe, how hard she tried to actually open her heart and be vulnerable....and they tried to use that to mock her, demean her and hurtt her....so she turned into the awesome, conquering warrior human she really was....and at that point she finally clicked for me and I realized that Grossman had been showing that to me all along.   Janet was always the person manifesting abandonment issues by forcing anyone she cared about  away.  I just loved though that even Elliot, who there's never any doubt that Janet loves Elliot best in the world, hasn't been trusted with this stuff until their actual world is ending.

 

That the very fact that she took the time to hurt Alice and Quentin so individually and as a couple was actually just part of her psychological makeup.  What I loved about that is that it is actually a real-life model.  There are people with abandonment issues who are exactly like that.  They're so afraid of being wounded by others, having their emotional vulnerabilities and fragility used against them as a weapon that they cut the people they care about most, intentionally, to keep themselves safe. 

 

So even though she feels like the least developed character in the book series, every building block for who she actually is in the story is there from the first book.  

Edited by stillshimpy
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
I will say this about Grossman, he might actually be the most patient writer I've ever seen.  He earns every inch of development for his characters and reveals why it makes so much sense, and a really good thing about him?  When examined in retrospect it really becomes a case of "Oh holy shit, I see you were paving that road the entire time, brick by careful brick."   He really has a deft touch with characterization.

 

The only person who did it better, in my opinion was Patrick O'Brian in the Aubrey/Maturin series (aka Master and Commander), and he did it over 20-21 books. But at the same time, O'Brian takes his characters from early/mid 20s through to middle age and would have went further if he hadn't precipitously died in 2004 at the age of 86, while writing the 21st novel in the series.  And because I am a total book wank, Grossman has read the series.  

You feel the influence of it in the second book, the scenes about the Muntjac, and especially, the sloth. Abigail the Sloth is a direct shout-out to O'Brian, as he features a sloth in H.M.S. Surprise.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I've just started the books a little bit before the show began airing.  I've got a question for those of you that have read the books and watched the show.

 

Is Julia supposed to be so utterly unlikable?  What I've read so far doesn't give me that impression but man on the show she is just intolerable. 

Share this post


Link to post

Book Julia, in my opinion, started off as likable enough in that super-smart kinda way but grew bitchy during her safehouse days (she admits to behaving badly at some houses and not really caring), then just turns ... well, weird as her storyline progresses.  

Share this post


Link to post

 

S01:E09 - The Writing Room:

 

Quentin, Alice, Eliot and Penny travel to England to Plover's estate in search of a missing magic button, but what they find is a hauntingly terrifying vision of the author's true self. Julia, now out of rehab, searches for real meaning in her magic, but it comes at a very high cost.

 

Pardon my language, but %^&*.  It reads like they're skipping over Murs entirely.  Dammit.  I should have known it when freaking Richard showed up with the prayer to OLU. 

Edited by Lemur

Share this post


Link to post

I wasn't sure at first, but I've decided to read the series.  The big plus in my book (heh) is that at least its a completed trilogy so that ups my interest in reading the author tremendously (unlike some other authors I've gotten a bit put off by).  Also, I can tell by the show that there's a lot of details and fleshing out of characters and events that are missing, so I'd like to have the whole story.

Share this post


Link to post

I wasn't sure at first, but I've decided to read the series.  The big plus in my book (heh) is that at least its a completed trilogy so that ups my interest in reading the author tremendously (unlike some other authors I've gotten a bit put off by).  Also, I can tell by the show that there's a lot of details and fleshing out of characters and events that are missing, so I'd like to have the whole story.

 

Just remember, they start out younger in the books, Margo is Janet, you haven't met Josh yet, and it's okay to think Quentin is a total clownshoe.

Edited by Lemur

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size