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Behind the Magic: Books vs. Show

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Okay, what in the world?  They just killed The Watcherwoman?  That seems unlikely, or at least it should be.  Have to wait and see what they do with that.  

 

 

 

Is Julia supposed to be so utterly unlikable?  What I've read so far doesn't give me that impression

 

Yeah, they've done some things with Julia in the series that have been interesting choices.  Julia is definitely hardened by her experiences and she has to do some things that are distancing, but I never found her unlikable.  I felt for her, particularly as she struggles to just put her life back together, she does drive herself a bit crazy in her quest, but I felt for her.  

 

In the show they are really emphasizing a couple of notes in the characterization that are off-putting, but they also have clearly just opened the door for the plot that has her trying to sacrifice herself, fully expecting to die for it, for another person.   So Julia in the books is really capable of tremendous love and attachment to other people.  One of things I found most moving in the second books was when she knows her mother is watching her and how afraid her parents are for her and she tries so hard to actually build a life that will treat that kind of love like a responsibility towards another person:  She tries as much for her sister and her mother as Julia does for herself, when she's so broken.   

 

By the time she's really sharing any of this though, Quentin has -- really without meaning to -- screwed up and gotten them both stranded outside of Fillory and it's Julia who has to get back to Fillory because she is actually (quite literally) losing her humanity because of what she did to save Asmos.  So she's also more than a little strange and harsh by design because she's losing what it is to be human and sort of knows it, but doesn't know that is what is happening to her.  

 

So it was a little startling in this episode to see how they are going to introduce the concepts of divine magic.  They may not be skipping Murs, exactly, but they've certainly decided to change it.  A lot of the changes to Julia's story have given me pause, but Grossman's pretty involved in the series and he is the guy who turned her into an actual goddess.  

 

Book three

in all the books, there was only two times I had to stop reading and just walk away for a bit to process, one was after what happens to Pouncy, etc.  and to Julia herself in that moment, but the other, the much better "Oh man, have to quit reading, too moved to continue" was "If see Julia, tell her I went Fox hunting"

 

So I do think that they've just started down the "Julia is actually awesome" path but the harsher parts of her journey have been really difficult to watch, I think because of the magic = drug parallel.   It's hard to warm up to a character who is being depicted like a drug addict.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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Like any number of other people, I merely liked book one because Quentin is so perpetually annoying. Book two I loved because of Julia's storyline, Quentin becoming likable, Julia's storyline, the choice of Narnia book to play around with, and Julia's storyline. I was thrilled when the show moved Julia's storyline into the first season because before then, I hadn't really been looking forward to season one on account of Quentin's annoyingness. In case I haven't been clear enough, Julia's book two storyline is my favorite of the entire series.

 

So, like others, I've been a bit surprised at how the show has been playing her storyline thus far. But, thinking about it, here's my theory for the show's choices: By the point in the second book that we get Julia's storyline, Quentin has grown quite a bit as a person. But the TV show is running Quentin's and Julia's storylines concurrently. So, if you have S1 with Quentin being the asshat he is in B1 and Julia being sympathetic and likable and awesome, it would tilt things way too much in Julia's favor and have viewers wanting to see more of her and less of Quentin. I think the show wanted the two leads to start off on relatively equal footing and have somewhat parallel journeys in going from being really troubled, somewhat unsympathetic and unlikable, to awesome people. It worked just fine in the second book for Julia to be awesome in her backstory flashbacks because by then Quentin had matured, but to start off the TV show that way would have been problematic. They can't have things get too unbalanced, especially since an additional factor is that Julia's guerrilla world in her B2 storyline is inherently more interesting than Quentin's Brakebills world. After all, magic schools have been done a bunch of times, and throwing some sex into Hogwarts-with-the-name-filed-off doesn't add that much to the formula (which is the other reason I only liked rather than loved B1, because if you're not twelve I think the frisson of "ooh, there's sex in this universe! Harry and Hermione are fucking! There's gay sex!" wears off quickly), but I can't really think of similar stories to Julia's.

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I finally figured out why I personally  find Julia's story in the show so unsatisfying when it was one of my favorite things about the books. For the show it makes total sense for them to show the stories concurrently and I think it was the right choice but I think what made Julia's story so much more effective in the books was that (spoilers for the second and third books)

when we finally get to hear what Julia was up to, other than the few times she met with Quentin while he was on breaks from Brakebills, in the second book we already know that she had become a really powerful witch to the point of being not quite human anymore. Her story is much more interesting when you know how she's been affected by it in advance.

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I finally figured out why I personally  find Julia's story in the show so unsatisfying when it was one of my favorite things about the books. 

 

Keep in mind too, in the books, it's told entirely through flashbacks from Julia point-of-view.  

She admits in the books several times that she was acting like a dick and took immense joy in breaking down the person with the most stars in every house she went to and her growing discontent with the safehouse crowd before the Freetraders rescue her, most specifically after she went to the Key West safehouse and found a house with a bazillion cats and a thin spell binder as well as her reaction to Iris showing up and breaking down her stars.

 

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Keep in mind too, in the books, it's told entirely through flashbacks from Julia point-of-view.  

She admits in the books several times that she was acting like a dick and took immense joy in breaking down the person with the most stars in every house she went to and her growing discontent with the safehouse crowd before the Freetraders rescue her, most specifically after she went to the Key West safehouse and found a house with a bazillion cats and a thin spell binder as well as her reaction to Iris showing up and breaking down her stars.

 

 

Yeah, totally. It's kind of a catch-22 Julia's story is better told in flashbacks but that wouldn't really work as well on television. Like casting Julia and just having her be in like 2 scenes in the first season isn't really a great idea and it is interesting to see them concurrently. In a way it kind of makes me appreciate the first book a little more than I did. Julia's POV and then in book three several other POV's are why I liked the second two books a lot better than the first and now the show is kind of making me appreciate why Julia's story works better being told in the second book.

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I think it's a really valid point that when Julia's story is told in the books, it comes with several softening pieces of information:  One is we get to see her as a Queen first and she has enough odd mannerisms that there's clearly something odd afoot.   Elliot's warning to Quentin about Julia having lost something very precious to her and the condition they found her in -- which was the first real hint that Janet might be a likable person, because she was the one who went out of her way to essentially adopt Juila after everything that went down in Fillory -- all hint that she's a tragic figure.  

 

Plus, even as the flashbacks tell her story, so much of the most difficult information about her is when they are back in the real world and Grossman -- I thought -- really did a very good job of conveying that something about the world is starting to kill Julia.  Since she's losing what it means to be human, a lot of her snarling, rather hard-edged flashback material was also something I passed through that filter.  The person recalling these events is losing her ability to act in socially acceptable ways for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is she's actually losing her humanity.  

 

So there are several avenues and invitations within the books to view Julia both as what she has become -- the person who compassionately takes Quentin's hand when he inserts the key, as a good and supportive friend to Quentin -- and then also ultimately what she was willing to do to try and save someone she loved.   Plus, at the very end of the first book, Julia being with Elliot and Janet/Margo when they come to rescue him from his self-imposed punishment for what happens to Alice.  

 

As readers you get to know a lot of things about Julia, including that she's capable of forgiving, helping other people find forgiveness and then ultimately that she sacrificed her own humanity -- and thought she was volunteering to die at the time -- to save another person.  

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ETA: there are book spoilers below. I thought this was the thread for book discussion, so I didn't use spoiler tags. But people seem to be using them anyway, so I'm just adding this note. (I don't see how to add spoiler tags on my iPad.)

I read the first two books years ago, and while I liked the premise I was pretty turned off by Quentin's character in the first and by the big rape scene in the second. This show coming on inspired me to finally read the third book, which I finished over the course of two plane rides, and enjoyed more than I remember enjoying the first two. I'm also enjoying the show - I think not being inside Quentin's head as much is a big improvement, because that was a really unpleasant aspect of the first book. I think not having any voiceovers of his inner thoughts was a good call. (I'm still a few episodes behind, watching online, but not worried about episode spoilers since I already read the books so I'm reading the general threads here too.)

Reading the third book and reading the threads here has made me realize that I don't remember all the details from the first two books all that well. Can someone refresh my memory as to how Julia meets back up with Quentin et al in the books? I remember the part where she scrabbles around trying to find any way to learn magic (and I remember the foreshadowy line that her mother was so concerned about the changes in her that about once a week her mother asked if she'd been raped), I remember the disastrous encounter with Reynard the Fox, and I remember that she eventually turns into a tree-goddess. But I'm gathering there was some time before that last step where she was a queen of Fillory, even before Quentin was king? So how did that timeline play out? Did she meet Janet and Elliot through Quentin or separately? And do Quentin and his friends know what happened to her with Reynard etc? Does anyone ever acknowledge that she should have been accepted to Brakebills?

On a separate topic, if Brakebills isn't accepting everyone with magic ability the way Hogwarts does, why aren't there any competing schools? It seems like Brakebills is the Harvard of the magic USA, but then that's it, Harvard or nothing, with nothing in between. No smaller less prestigious schools, not even any decent libraries? (I believe the third book, which I read just this week, says specifically that Brakebills is the only magic school in the US but that there are some other even fancier ones in Europe.)

Edited by LeGrandElephant

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Okay..I am in the process of re-reading the first two books and reading the third for the first time, since I never knew it existed. I finished book one and have just started book two. I realized that I had forgotten quite a lot about them in the years since i read them.

 

I've been enjoying the series and not worrying too much about the changes..until I got to tonight's episode. What the hell? 

 

This whole haunted house bit with the evil sister..where did that come from? In book one there is a throwaway line about Plover being a pervert, which is what presumably drove Martin off the rails, but that wasn't bad enough? They had to invent this whole The Shining ripoff to explain where Penny got the button? I guess having him buy it from a peddler was just too mundane. Considering that book one is still fresh in my mind, I found it a little hard to stomach. 

 

And Penny stealing and reading, and then destroying Fillary book 6? I mean, Quentin never gets to read it? WHY? That really annoyed me! 

 

I can't comment on Julia's story line, since I haven't gotten that far in book two, but from the comments it sounds like that was made up out of whole cloth also. 

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Reading the third book and reading the threads here has made me realize that I don't remember all the details from the first two books all that well. Can someone refresh my memory as to how Julia meets back up with Quentin et al in the books?

 

I'm going to spoiler this for anyone just reading now ...

 

So this is actually the point at which a lot of the storylines converge. Post Beast and Post Reynard, Quentin is still recouperating in Fillory at the crazy centaur compound. Janet and Eliot are kicking around Janet's family's place in LA all PTSD'ed out. Josh is kicking around the Neitherlands with the button, Penny is off doing whatever the hell it is that Penny does with the Order. Anyway, Janet's family gets sick of seeing her and Eliot mope around so they pack them off to an ultra-exclusive spa resort in Wyoming, where they encounter a gothic chick weirdo type at the bar, who immediately tries to drown herself and spends a lot of time in the sauna with the heat turned up unbearably high. Of course, being Eliot and Janet, they start befriending her. One night, after Janet and Eliot have a fight, Eliot goes to her cabin to hang out, and happens upon a scene of her sacrificing things to a sacred fire, the last thing being herself crawling into the flames ... to no effect. They pretty much adopted her after that, went and retrieved Quentin from his self-imposed exile doing the corporate thing in Manhattan, and hence returned to Fillory.

 

As for the whole, why is there only one school?  It seems that magic, despite how the show portrays it, is pretty tightly controlled and there are only a limited number of schools.  It may also have something to do with location, as Brakebills was apparently built around the fountains (which was always a point of frustration with me that nothing was really done with this point in the books).  Anyway, there's Brakebills, Asquith in Australia, a couple in Europe, one in India, one in Japan ... and for some reason I want to say a couple of others sprinkled around that I can't remember off the top of my head.  I also got the impression that there is no prohibition against "homeschooling" in wizarding families.

Edited by Lemur

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S01E10 - Penny travels to the world of The Neitherlands where he soon finds it's not as friendly as he thought. Quentin and Alice must work together, no matter how uncomfortable, to save him. Julia joins an eclectic group of Magicians known as the Free Traders, but a surprising member stands in her way.

 

YES!  Free Traders!  

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I just finished book 2, and I can't say I like Julia any better. I was so looking forward to it since everyone was saying how much better two is than the first book.

Objectively its better, but none of the characters are any more likable than in book 1 in my opinion.

I'm not sure what I'm missing about book 2 Julia...I really wanted to like her, but couldn't. And then the end of her free traders story....yikes.

I now really want to know where they came up with all the stuff in this season of the tv show.

I've just put a hold on book 3 at the library. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Are there plans for any more books in the series?

Edited by Eliza422

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Janet's family gets sick of seeing her and Eliot mope around so they pack them off to an ultra-exclusive spa resort in Wyoming, where they encounter a gothic chick weirdo type at the bar

Thanks for the reminder. So it's a total coincidence that Janet and Eliot meet Julia? That seems weird. Is it at least a magic spa?

Edited by LeGrandElephant

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Thanks for the reminder. So it's a total coincidence that Janet and Eliot meet Julia? That seems weird. Is it at least a magic spa?

 

It's regular. It's not explained but I feel like maybe Julia had been searching for Quentin and found E + J instead, like they were the closest people to him so that's where her spells took her? Like I don't know how the timelines overlap exactly with Q recovering in Fillory then finding the stag and getting the wish and coming back vs. when E, J, + J got back to Filllory.... It's not entirely clear.

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It's regular. It's not explained but I feel like maybe Julia had been searching for Quentin and found E + J instead, like they were the closest people to him so that's where her spells took her? Like I don't know how the timelines overlap exactly with Q recovering in Fillory then finding the stag and getting the wish and coming back vs. when E, J, + J got back to Filllory.... It's not entirely clear.

 

I always assumed it was totally coincidental.  In the books, Eliot and Janet has never met Julia.  It may well have been Julia was searching for Quentin but found them instead, but it's never explicitly stated.

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We have only been spoiler-tagging material from the third book, because the show is seemingly doing book one and book two concurrently in the first season of the show.  That's why there are spoiler tags in here.  Info from the third book has been tagged.  

 

Anyway,  when Janet and Elliot find Julia at the spa, whereas it's never specifically stated Julia is sacrificing all kinds of precious things to flames, trying to somehow right everything that went wrong (what a giant understatement that is) and presumably some of those things had to do with Quentin, who she knew had magic.  Quentin is in Fillory when she's doing that, so I always assumed that the magic work Julia was still doing actually led her to Elliot and Janet/Margo.   It was just sort of dumb luck that Janet actually was enough of a softy and pretty guilt-stricken over what had happened to Alice to see what awful shape she was in and help her.  

 

But when they see her through the window, she's burning things in the fireplace and when she's out of those thing, Julia starts to cry and crawls in amongst the ashes., it's all part of Elliot's caution to Quentin about not understanding something about Julia.  At that point, poor Julia doesn't understand exactly what is happening to her either.  

 

I do like how the show has started to incorporate divinity into magic though.   I'm both psyched and heartbroken that the Free Trader's are going to make the scene, because that scene in book two is one of the times I had to stop reading and go do something else for kind of a long time before I felt better. 

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We have only been spoiler-tagging material from the third book, because the show is seemingly doing book one and book two concurrently in the first season of the show.  That's why there are spoiler tags in here.  Info from the third book has been tagged.  

 

Anyway,  when Janet and Elliot find Julia at the spa, whereas it's never specifically stated Julia is sacrificing all kinds of precious things to flames, trying to somehow right everything that went wrong (what a giant understatement that is) and presumably some of those things had to do with Quentin, who she knew had magic.  Quentin is in Fillory when she's doing that, so I always assumed that the magic work Julia was still doing actually led her to Elliot and Janet/Margo.   It was just sort of dumb luck that Janet actually was enough of a softy and pretty guilt-stricken over what had happened to Alice to see what awful shape she was in and help her.  

 

But when they see her through the window, she's burning things in the fireplace and when she's out of those thing, Julia starts to cry and crawls in amongst the ashes., it's all part of Elliot's caution to Quentin about not understanding something about Julia.  At that point, poor Julia doesn't understand exactly what is happening to her either.  

 

I do like how the show has started to incorporate divinity into magic though.   I'm both psyched and heartbroken that the Free Trader's are going to make the scene, because that scene in book two is one of the times I had to stop reading and go do something else for kind of a long time before I felt better. 

 

I've been spoiler tagging anything that's not being covered by the show, so to say it's all over the place is an understatement.

 

Anyway, I have to politely disagree.  I don't think she was trying to find Quentin at all, I think she knew full well what'd happened to her at Murs and was trying to get back what she'd lost.  That's what I think Eliot's caution was, he knew she was doing some hardcore spell work to regain something essential (Eliot, for all his drunken lushness, was always a very, very good magician).  What I didn't think she really understood ...

was how to go about gaining redemption, which she finally did when on her Hero's Quest with Quentin and especially by accompanying him to the Land of the Dead.  The whole gain through lose and sacrifice theme is heavy in the second two books.  Julia gains the "higher praxis of power" by giving up her soul but finally gains transcendence by going to the Land of the Dead, Quentin finally gains the power to be a great magician when he gives up on the idea that he's more special than he really is in the wake of his father's death and redeems himself by actively seeking to right a great wrong he feels responsible for/do something for someone other than himself.

 

Anyway, I agree with you on the incorporation of divine magic and again, it's one of those themes I wish had been explored a bit more.  

 

And yes, I'm equally excited and heartbroken at the introduction of the Free Traders.  I'm not a crier by nature, but I cried after I'd read that scene.  

Edited by Lemur

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I can't say I'm thrilled to see the TV Series take up that line from Jane Chatwin and just build an entire horror show around it, by the way.  

 

The "Plover used to bugger him silly, why do you think he was hiding in that clock?"  line was an unnecessary ugly thing to throw in there, ugly because Fillory is such a Narnia stand-in and Grossman really shouldn't have implied anything like that about Lewis when feeling so free to borrow from his source material for the creation of his own series.  

 

So I was more than a little put-off by the TV series turning that into a horror show, complete with an aiding and abetting sister, but also because the first book of the trilogy can be a sort of unpleasant, overly dingy take on the Narnia Chronicles anyway and that detail really was just a bridge too far.  Plus, for any fans of the Narnia series, it pulls in the Magician's Nephew in just a creeptastic way.  

 

Anyway, we'll see where they are going with that, but the series took that dark note and turned the lights down to "welcome to the abyss!" levels of dark, complete with a weird Sixth Sense thing going on at the same time. 

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The "Plover used to bugger him silly, why do you think he was hiding in that clock?"  line was an unnecessary ugly thing to throw in there, ugly because Fillory is such a Narnia stand-in and Grossman really shouldn't have implied anything like that about Lewis when feeling so free to borrow from his source material for the creation of his own series.

That was a big reason why the first book made me so angry that I resented the existence (and success) of the series. Fillory is so obviously Narnia with the serial numbers barely scratched through that it seemed like a pretty direct aspersion on C.S. Lewis. At least the way they handled it on the show in the latest episode, they fleshed it out a bit, so Plover was much less like Lewis and maybe closer to a twisted take on Barrie, who did famously take in children who'd lost parents (though while those children all turned out to be seriously messed up, most of what they've said suggested he was asexual, so though their relationships were inappropriate, the kids weren't molested, and the damaging part was the fact that he really didn't want them to grow up and this adult wanted these kids as his best friends to help him live out his fantasy life).

 

I am enjoying the series much more than the book, so far, but then the series is still at the part of the book where I was rolling my eyes a lot but still tolerating it. It was after they left school that I just couldn't with it anymore. I was really surprised to learn that real fantasy readers liked this series because it struck me as something written by a "literary" writer who wasn't all that familiar with fantasy trying to transcend the genre while actually being incredibly derivative and unimaginative because all he knew were the major tropes, with little nuance. The school was basically Hogwarts with sex, drinking, and drugs, and Fillory was not!Narnia, but based on an idea of Narnia from vague cultural awareness without having actually read the books. They talk like it's a surprise that real Fillory is scary and dangerous, compared to the fun, fluffy place of the books, but Narnia was always shown to be scary and dangerous. I mean, in one book there's a whole sequence about the children having to find a way to escape before giants cook and eat them after they learn that the giants weren't being kind but rather were fattening them up.

 

So my reaction at the end of book one was "I hate all these people, and this universe isn't even all that clever or imaginative," and I was done. But I feel like the TV series is doing more to edge away from being purely Not!Hogwarts and Not!Narnia, and the characters seem a little more sympathetic. I don't know if I'm yet intrigued enough to go back and read the rest of the series. There are just too many other books out there that I want to read to waste time on something that I didn't enjoy.

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I personally think the second and third books are far superior to the first book, but almost to a man (non-gender specific use there) I've had to put some shoulder into getting people I know to go onto the second book, so unlikeable did they find the people in the first book.  My son was another person who, if I hadn't given him the set as a gift, would have just bailed after the first book....but came to love it.  

 

Partially because the second book is inspired by a favorite among the Narnia chronicles:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  

 

I think you're right though, Shanna Maria, I think Grossman probably was all for expanding that story to make it clearer that he was never talking about C. S. Lewis because that's the point in the book where a lot of people hit a brake-squealing, record-scratching moment.  Hey sure, be subversive or derivative or present our beloved fantasy worlds all grown-up, with flaws, challenges etc. but do not shit upon the memory of a man who never had even the tiniest whiff of that kind of monstrous behavior in his life.   

 

It was uncalled for on so many levels, because -- hey, I'm NO FAN of organized religions -- but C. S. Lewis was a good man by nearly any measure that matters.   

 

So in some ways I guess I should have been glad that the show took it so clearly in the "Okay, obviously, we're not talking about C. S. Lewis here, or involving the Magician's Nephew in any way, shape or form.  Let's make it crystal friggin' clear."  and I think Grossman was actually on board with that exploration, because if I had to guess, that's the question he's most often asked:  "What the fuck, man?  That was really out-of-line, what the hell could you have been thinking....while so liberally grafting off the man's work, no less!" 

 

Maybe Grossman saw it as a chance to set that record straight, but in honor of the half dozen times I had to convince people in my real life to soldier on past that particular worm-infested bite of apple, my knee-jerk reaction was "Mooooottttttthhhhhheeeeerrrrrfucker! Noooooooooooo! Don't make it worse!"  and I sort of missed for a bit that they were also dispelling the possibility that he could have been talking about Lewis.  

 

I hope you do decide to read the subsequent books, there's a lot of redemption to be had for their graceless late adolescence, even in Janet, but particularly in Quentin.  

 

I think Quentin might be one of the most universally disliked characters after that first book -- I weirdly didn't dislike him, I felt sorry for him because so many people do have an age where they have all the things at their disposal to be happy, content and simply fulfilled....and they just don't understand it until they've blow it all to smithereens.  

 

But my liking Quentin started when his response to what happens to Alice was to banish himself from both magic and Fillory until his friends came to get him. 

Edited by stillshimpy

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Yeah, I don't love everything about the series but my bar for adaptations is so low now thanks to Game of Thrones (which I gave up on before the last season) that I'm still pretty much enjoying it. I think it would probably be better as a mini-series so they wouldn't have to pad it but then again there's stuff that they haven't shown that I'd like to have seen, like Alice's parents/home. That was one of my favorite parts of the first book.

 

I do read fantasy but I also read literary fiction and I didn't really think it was trying to be too literary. I thought the first book was kind of poorly written. There were whole paragraphs I would have cut. I don't mind unlikable characters but Quentin is, pretty early on, established as someone who even when their wildest dreams literally come true is still not happy. Then it was just stated in inner monologue, explicitly, over and over again. So it was a combination of him being unlikable and then having to read about his feelings constantly. But Grossman improved a lot as the series went on and was actually better when things got more fantastical.

 

I didn't think he was saying Plover = Lewis, I think it was just kind of a lazy way to give Martin a sympathetic reason to want to stay in Fillory forever. I did really like how he showed that having an Aslan-type character in charge of your fantasy land is generally a drag...

 

I think the thing I like least about the show so far is that they're presumably going to Fillory in order to defeat the beast whereas in the books it was just like they went to Fillory because they could and it would be awesome and then they got there and it was horrific. I think knowing it's horrific in advance kind of takes away from the disappointment when they get there, like being pre- disappointed...

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They talk like it's a surprise that real Fillory is scary and dangerous, compared to the fun, fluffy place of the books, but Narnia was always shown to be scary and dangerous.

That bugged me too. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has a scary witch controlling everything, turning people to stone, kidnapping and manipulating children to turn against their family, etc. Narnia was never safe. Though maybe the idea is that the kids always managed to escape the really bad consequences, while in The Magicians people actually do die and lose their hands and stuff. (Was there ever an explanation why Aslan was gone for so long while the witch was running the place and making it "always winter and never Christmas"?)

I read the first book because it was billed as exploring the grownup consequences of places like Hogwarts and Narnia, but instead it seemed to be exploring the consequences of being a bitter depressive who drinks and makes bad decisions and can never be happy no matter what. I remember one or two lines about how Fillory's economy didn't make sense, and I liked that point of view, but there wasn't very much of that compared to all the parts I hated. I didn't like the second book much either - the idea that Julia being raped robbed her of her basic humanity didn't sit well with me. I did like the third book better but I feel like I can't recommend the series to anyone because they'd have to get through so much unpleasantness and I can't really say it's worth it.

Edited by LeGrandElephant
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I liked the second book because it pretty overtly explores the concept of privilege and what it affords, as Julia has to fight tooth and nail (and many other body parts) to get the knowledge that Quentin is allowed access to.  Plus, the very thing that keeps her from doing well on the test -- looking around, questioning the logic of all that is going around about her, because she this doesn't make any sense -- is the exact same thing that has her twigging to something being wrong.  She finds an error in a paper she knew she wouldn't make to cover the time she was there. 

 

Julia's rape is horrifying beyond the telling of it, but it explains a lot about her, including why she is losing her actual, real, literal humanity. 

 

Then I just also liked the fact that in the first book, getting Quentin to Fillory is never the point of saving the place because only Quentin can save them:  Quentin has to get there so that Alice will get there.  It's Alice who is the person who can save Fillory (just as Jane spends decades in Fillory trying to stop Martin) and the only reason Alice goes is to make sure nothing terrible will happen to Quentin.  Just the only reason she goes to Brakebills is because of her brother.  

 

I just enjoyed that despite have Quentin as the main POV, the heroes of the stories are women.  Pretty much straight down the line. 

 

Then the third book is so much about Quentin atoning for a what a drip he's been combined with that one last moment of "Okay, just got teary-eyed"  book three

Asmos showing up to steal the knife that can kill a god and telling Quentin, "If you see Julia, tell her I went Fox Hunting."   So we even end up knowing that Julia's sacrifice wasn't in vain.  I know we don't see it, but I completely believed that Asmos took that Fox god out.  

 

I don't know, that's why I liked the series,  it does a bunch of things that I didn't expect. Sure, Quentin is hard to take , but he and Janet and Elliot -- all the kids from Brakebills sans Alice -- are just easily recognizable to me. 

 

I do wish that they hadn't changed Alice's entrance into the school though.  Stealing her parents key was just so much easier than what she actually did.  Big difference between "I stole a key to a magical door and let myself in" and was willing to walk herself to actual death trying to get in, so she could find out what happened to her brother. 

 

Just judging from everyone I've talked to about it though, most people didn't really have the same reaction to the first book that I did, which was that Alice is always freaking awesome and ultimately so heroic, it's practically breath-taking.    Kind of the same deal with the second book, for me, I didn't care that Julia had done so many harsh things in pursuing what she desperately wanted and I appreciated that once they were on Earth, it really falls to Julia to rescue Quentin a great deal and save their collective butts.  That she's not all that nice about it didn't bother me, because I don't care if strong female characters are nice or likable, that's not a barrier to still being good.  

 

Janet was the one who really took me off-guard in the third book as being more than I had thought she was all along.  

 

Anyway, I appreciate the book series for the female characters.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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Hey sure, be subversive or derivative or present our beloved fantasy worlds all grown-up, with flaws, challenges etc. but do not shit upon the memory of a man who never had even the tiniest whiff of that kind of monstrous behavior in his life.

Yeah, the lesson learned should be that if you're going to make the author of your fictional fantasy series a monstrous child molester, you need to do a better job of filing off the serial numbers of the series and fantasy realm you're basing yours on so that no one just assumes you're talking about the actual author (who has a stepson still living, so in making that allusion you're not only branding one man a child rapist, but by association you're naming a possible rape victim). Sure, just about any alternate fantasy world visited by British children is going to give off Narnia signals because it's so ingrained in the culture, but would it have killed him to mix it up a bit? Why not make it American? He made Not!Hogwarts American.

 

Aside from that, the idea of learning something so horrible about the origins of something he's been so obsessed with is a good "grow the hell up" moment. On that level, it works. It was just the way that everything else about Fillory was all "wink, wink, we all know this is really Narnia" that made that revelation so rage-inducing.

 

I do read fantasy but I also read literary fiction and I didn't really think it was trying to be too literary. I thought the first book was kind of poorly written.

Perhaps I should have said mainstream commercial fiction, which is often marketed as though it's literary whether or not it is. At any rate, it read to me like something from outside the genre trying to be above the genre even while borrowing all its tropes, with that air of "there, I fixed it for you and made it better." A kind of smug superiority over the genre that wasn't earned because it was based on such a superficial reading of the genre. I liked the idea of layering Hogwarts and Narnia -- not only is magic real, so you have to go to magic school, but magical realms are also real, and you may need your magic when you go there -- but could have done with a little more originality in the worldbuilding.

 

I may give the rest of the series a shot, but it's pretty low on the priority list. So many books, so little time, and why waste it on something that doesn't thrill me when I can barely get to all the stuff I like?

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Perhaps I should have said mainstream commercial fiction, which is often marketed as though it's literary whether or not it is. At any rate, it read to me like something from outside the genre trying to be above the genre even while borrowing all its tropes, with that air of "there, I fixed it for you and made it better." A kind of smug superiority over the genre that wasn't earned because it was based on such a superficial reading of the genre.

 

Yeah, I totally get what you mean in that sense. If I'd only read the first book I'd probably feel more or less the same way, although I did overall like the concept. And I totally get wanting to save precious reading time, I'm the same way when people recommend me things and I already have a to-read list a mile long. But I think the second two books do embrace the fantasy aspects a lot more, although I think there still is a bit of a distance, like with the characters themselves having a kind of disdain for the ineffability of like going where the quest takes you, or the 'mysterious ways' of the gods. So there's a good chance you'd end up liking them more, especially since they include more than just Quentin's point of view.

 

Then the third book is so much about Quentin atoning for a what a drip he's been combined with that one last moment of "Okay, just got teary-eyed"  book three

Asmos showing up to steal the knife that can kill a god and telling Quentin, "If you see Julia, tell her I went Fox Hunting."   So we even end up knowing that Julia's sacrifice wasn't in vain.  I know we don't see it, but I completely believed that Asmos took that Fox god out.  

 

I think Julia actually confirmed it even though it happened off screen

She said something like, "She gutted him like a fish."

 

I feel pretty similarly about what happens to Julia. It was horrible to read and I think he did go into more detail than was necessary but I liked her journey so much overall, and that at least it didn't happen for the development of a male character which is so often the case, like a dude being affected by the rape of a woman he loves thing. I think it was showing that even the most competent magicians are still way out of their depth and from what happened to Julia I kind of inferred that (end of book 3 spoilers)

the same thing happened to Martin Chatwin with Umber. He did the same thing, make a deal with a god, but since he sacrificed his humanity for himself it turned him into a monster where Julia (unwittingly) sacrificed her humanity to save Asmo so it turned her into a demi-goddess.

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 I feel pretty similarly about what happens to Julia. It was horrible to read and I think he did go into more detail than was necessary

I think I remember reading in an interview that the original version of that scene went into even more graphic detail, and then his wife convinced him to tone it down. (But, disclaimer, that was years ago so now I don't know how to track down the interview to see if I'm remembering correctly.)

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I just rewatched the first episode and I was wondering: Is there a reason The Beast 

Martin

walks the way he does? He had a very particular way of stepping/ gait during the end scene in the classroom. Is that part of the spellwork? Or just the way he walks?

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I just rewatched the first episode and I was wondering: Is there a reason The Beast 

Martin

walks the way he does? He had a very particular way of stepping/ gait during the end scene in the classroom. Is that part of the spellwork? Or just the way he walks?

 

I believe it's all part of Jane' allusions to the Garden Path. 

 

That, or he's just a weirdo.

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So no comments on this week's big character reveal?  (Looks directly at stillshrimpy, waggles eyebrow.)  It's certainly going to make the first act of book three interesting.

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I think I remember reading in an interview that the original version of that scene went into even more graphic detail, and then his wife convinced him to tone it down. (But, disclaimer, that was years ago so now I don't know how to track down the interview to see if I'm remembering correctly.)

 

Ugh, it's definitely plausible. I guess I'm glad he listened but disappointed he didn't listen even more... I'm really apprehensive about this approaching on the show. I generally liked the book Free Traders better, well at least I like Pouncy better than his show counterpart, but maybe we'll get to know them a little more in the upcoming eps,

 

Also her relationship with Kady kind of changes the nature of Julia's sacrifice a bit and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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Wow, I just finally got a chance to watch this episode.  

 

Kady is Asmodeus??  That is entirely awesome!! Also, Penny in the Neither Worlds Library was one of the cooler surprises also.  Plus, we know who locals have to be.  

 

Also, the Margolem is a fucking brilliant way to have Quentin have sex with Janet/Margo without having to derail Margo's character going forward.   Well done, show! 

Edited by stillshimpy

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I thought it was obvious that Kady would turn out to be Asmodeus, since there was no other reason to connect her to Julia via her mother. It does make Julia's sacrifice a little different from the books, but I don't think it's a bad sort of different. Not better, either...just, different. I'm okay with that.

 

I hadn't thought of the Margolem being who Quentin will have sex with, though. That, I don't like, if that is what happens. Why whitewash Margo? It is an important character moment for her, and it sets up some stuff for her later. I typically dislike when complicated women have their bad behavior removed in adaptations just so they'll be more palatable - what Quentin does is even worse than what Janet does (since he's the one in the relationship) but the show's not going to do a Quentingolem to get his character off the hook. So why should they do that with Margo? I know female characters in American TV and film often get judged more harshly for smaller sins than the male characters, but I don't think the way to address that is to softpedal the female characters. That's giving in to the mindset.

 

But, I'm not sure the show does plan to go that way. The Margolem does have sufficient purpose already for being here, that of making Eliot realize how Margo feels about him. I know it might not turn out to be her only purpose, it just means that the fact that she's here doesn't necessarily mean she's going to be who Quentin hooks up with. It's not like the Kady thing where I knew she had to be Asmodeus because there was no other purpose for her connection to Julia. I can just as easily see Margo getting rid of the Margolem after stuff goes down with Eliot as a result of the Margolem, and then sleeping with Quentin as part of the fallout from that. And I much prefer that. It also gives Margo a POV in the situation with Quentin and Alice, which Janet didn't have at that point in the series.

Edited by Black Knight

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So started reading book 1 and wow the who school experience goes by fast.  Here I thought the book would have more details, and maybe there were some, but it seemed like the TV show fleshed some things out more, and added scenes that made the school story more interesting than the written version. 

 

I'm only half way through the book and really have to wonder how the story gets going again when they make NYC sound like the most boring place on earth.  I'm not entirely convinced (yet) that I would stick with the series  but for the TV show.  Maybe I'm just in the "real slow" part of the book.

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Hanahope, the first book in the Trilogy is, by kind of a long shot I think, the weakest.  The characters are at their least likable, that's for sure.  

 

 

 

So why should they do that with Margo? I know female characters in American TV and film often get judged more harshly for smaller sins than the male characters, but I don't think the way to address that is to softpedal the female characters. That's giving in to the mindset.

 

I disagree.  I think the development was a mistake in the books, because Janet hadn't been developed almost at all and was the worst of Grossman's creations at the point.  She was a very thinly-fleshed-out cliche of a mean, rich girl and readers are given next-to-no opportunity to know her beyond that collection of cliched actions.  I like the books and like Grossman as a writer, but it took him three books to get around to turning Janet into a full character.  

 

No one person is wholly defined by their worst act, but in order for it to be possible to treat that act as simply one in a series of things a character does...there have to be other acts.  In the first book, Janet is casually vicious, pretty constantly and we aren't given an opportunity to understand why that is until the third book.  

 

The TV Show ended up using the Margolem as a way of illustrating that Janet/Margo was in love with Elliot.  There's a line in the book that addresses that, but in the books, when Janet sleeps with Quentin, it is a particularly nasty act and one of only about three things she does in the book.  One of the others is to, really quite horribly, inflict the story of the death of Alice's brother, on Alice...for no other reason than to hurt her.  

 

I ended up liking Janet, but Grossman's pacing was way off on her characterization.   As for 'giving into that mindset" in this instance I think it was actually Grossman creating that mindset, because he wildly underdeveloped Janet's character.  That's one of the pitfalls of having only Quentin's POV for so long though.  

 

It really doesn't matter because the TV show has done a much better job of having Janet be an actual character, instead of a small group of unkind and unpleasant actions.  I do think the fault is in the source material in this instance, rather than in a societal or audience perception. 

Edited by stillshimpy

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I dropped the show over the changes to Julia's story line, which was the one thing I liked in the series, so I'll just ask here: are they still doing some version of Murs? (ETA: It's an ongoing question. I am asking about episode 11 and whatever comes next. My last ep was 10, for... obvious reasons. If anyone takes the time to keep me posted, thank you.)

Edited by Crim

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I dropped the show over the changes to Julia's story line, which was the one thing I liked in the series, so I'll just ask here: are they still doing some version of Murs? (ETA: It's an ongoing question. I am asking about episode 11 and whatever comes next. My last ep was 10, for... obvious reasons. If anyone takes the time to keep me posted, thank you.)

 

Yes.  In fact, they just did the moonlight to milk and coins scene.  No super hot/damaged Pouncy though.

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grandmamocha, in the book it is basically an Existential Dilemma: Generalized .

 

Quentin and his friends all had a bad case of the "what do you do when you can do anything?  What's it all for, man?"  thing going on.  Apparently because they didn't actually need to work for monetary reasons (something the series wisely changed) they had no real animating force in their lives.  So after graduation, facing a world in which they have every choice, they somehow equated this with having no good choices and Quentin, Elliot (who has not been horribly heartbroken) and Janet all set about sort of endless bacchanal to try and cope with their generalized dysphoria. 

 

The TV series actually did a much better job with it all.  They structured in several reasons, for all characters involved and named Quentin's problem, which in the books it's sort of hinted at that he's been clinically depressed, but the books aren't quite that straightforward with it all.  

 

Janet's motivations are pretty much never known beyond having abandonment issues that seem to manifest in making sure she makes people leave her, rather than waiting around for them to do so (not really covered until the third book).  A mention of being in love with Elliot which is Quentin's supposition and kind of a repeated desire to hurt Alice out of sense of competition....or something.  It's never really explained.  

 

Basically everyone involved is just miserable with their lives and manifest that in a lot of self-destructive ways.  Quentin is tanked at the time, so is Janet and it's kind of never mentioned again after it happens.  

 

In the second book Janet is barely in it and in the third book, she's finally fleshed out and explored as a character in her own right.  Grossman weirdly enough has a strong gift for characterization and clearly loves strong women, so I don't think it was an intentional thing.  Janet really only does three things of note in the first book:  She tells Alice the story of how her brother died in really unkind manner, sensationalizing it as much as possible and whereas it's never cleared up if Janet knew she was talking about Alice's brother, there's no doubt that she would have ended up knowing when Alice left the area and was demonstrably upset.  She hangs around with Elliot and Quentin thinks she may be in love with him, in a sort of doomed way.   She sleeps with Quentin because they are all just engaging in terribly self-destructive behaviors.  

 

Then she goes with them to Fillory and tries to fight The Beast too, which is actually her only action in the first book that indicates there might be more to her than just being a rather vicious young woman.   She may have done it in some sort of odd attempt to make sure everyone else was as unhappy as she was, but truly, we never find out why from Janet's perspective.  Something in the third book indicates that she really did care about Alice all along though.  She's just kind of emotionally damaged for reasons that won't be revealed until the third book. 

 

Then in third book....turns out she's really pretty damned awesome in her own right. 

Edited by stillshimpy
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She tells Alice the story of how her brother died in really unkind manner, sensationalizing it as much as possible and whereas it's never cleared up if Janet knew she was talking about Alice's brother, there's no doubt that she would have ended up knowing when Alice left the area and was demonstrably upset.

 

Well, Janet was telling a group of people that included Alice, so it wasn't just directed at her specifically.  Also, I don't recall the book saying that Alice told anyone other than Quentin about her brother in the first place, so I'm not sure Janet ever understood that the story she told about the 'boy' and Ellie Greenstreet had anything to do with Alice.  For all Janet knew, Alice might have just been upset in general about the story, and finding out who the professor was.

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Alice was sure that Janet knew, and like you I wasn't certain that she did.  Then when Janet and Quentin had sex, and it seemed like Janet was meant to be the more sober of the two,  it ended up seeming more probable that she did know.  

 

But the book never really clears it up one way or the other.  Alice gets upset and leaves, then insists to Quentin that Janet did that on purpose, knowing that she was talking about Alice's brother.  In the book it seemed like Janet was telling the story with a fair amount of flourish, and actually didn't have a particularly good reason to bring it up at the time.   That last is why I assumed Janet did know, by the way.  Janet does seem to guide the conversation to telling this story and it is almost apropos of nothing.   

 

I ended up assuming that Alice was right, because whereas everyone is just sort of miserable and at their worst in that first book, Alice was actually pretty astute.   It's hard to say for certain though because Alice insists that she did know, but we never actually hear anything from Janet about that moment, or about having sex with Quentin.    

 

I thought the TV series did a wonderful job of making it an emotionally accessible and understandable moment for all concerned.  The series also went out of its way to change Janet/Margo's role in Alice finding out specifically what happened to her brother though.  So it seems like they were purposefully trying to soften some things about Janet-as-Margo.

Edited by stillshimpy

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I just finished the books last Friday, and after watching last night's episode, I think I might be with Crim ... I might be out of the TV show.

 

It just seems so thin? And it makes me want to see a series that closer to the books!

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I just finished the books last Friday, and after watching last night's episode, I think I might be with Crim ... I might be out of the TV show.

 

It just seems so thin? And it makes me want to see a series that closer to the books!

Right? I understand changes due to the different format and/or the limited number of episodes, but Julia's side of the story is completely different, with events and names from the books just thrown in. I wanted to rant about it at certain points, but I was too disappointed to spend more time thinking about the show. It was the changes with Pouncy, Failstaff and the reason for attempting to summon a god that made me walk away. Not only were my favorite moments in the books removed, but they were replaced with boring stuff and this time traveling(?) that makes no sense at all. I don't get it. Were Free Trader Beowulf too intellectual and elitist for mainstream audiences? Did the show runners think viewers wouldn't understand what they were doing? Wouldn't empathize? Well then, good thing there's always drug addiction, dead babies, mother issues, and cancer to bring a story to the fold. I wasted how many hours on this?

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Two more episodes to go in this season, and it's feeling weirdly rushed, since it seems obvious they're working toward both the big showdown with the Beast in Fillory (end of Book 1) and also the Murs disaster from Julia's storyline (end of Book 2) happening in the finale. So they've just barely gotten Quentin & Alice together (sex magic added for TV, sigh, of course) and now have already jumped to Q cheating with Margo/Janet and a side of Eliot. I assume Alice & Penny sleep together in the next episode to get everyone in position (as it were) for the big Fillory kaboom. One of the things I found most plausible about the books was that Quentin gets bored with his good relationship with Alice, and that contributes to the cheating. Here it comes kind of out of nowhere, unless we assume it's a side effect of the emotion bottles.

 

Not digging Kady becoming Asmo, though I do enjoy the irony that Julia's rehab counselor is taking Pouncy's place to take her deeper into dangerous magic.

 

Last thought: what I don't think they're going to have time to set up, and I really loved in the books, was the Free Traders' realization that the trickster god had laid all the false clues about Our Lady the whole time. Which is what trickster gods do, and was therefore perfect. I'm afraid when they bring him in it'll just be "oops, opened the wrong door and something bad came in instead of something good," which has not only been done on every show ever, but even this one, earlier in the season.

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I don't disagree with the disappointment but I still am generally enjoying watching the show. I think ideally it would be like S1 Julia's stories go up to getting to Murs then S2 goes through the incident but then that wouldn't match up with Quentin's timeline and I guess they can't plan for a S2 in advance...and I don't think Quentin's book 1 story-line would work as well over two seasons because if he doesn't get to Fillory at all it wouldn't really have much of a point. There would be enough material but it's not like graduating from Brakebills is really like a climax? I dunno.

 

I'm glad they didn't go with the Margolem scenario. It's funny the first thing that went through my head when she first showed up is that they would use her as a BuffyBot. The Alice betrayal didn't hit as hard as in the book but I think that's more because of not really establishing Margo's role in the group that well. Like having her be missing for a bunch of episodes didn't help but I thought the 'using different methods to work out battle magic' as a replacement for 'they have wildly different post-college lifestyles' did work in the sense that it was the best they could do with the amount of time they had and still keeping them at school.

 

What annoyed me the most is that they were just doing the battle magic on Brakebills grounds. Like I really don't think that would fly. Maybe the teachers do realize that they need to do it to defeat the beast and look the other way but I still feel like they should be more stealthy with it especially since in the show they go off campus all the time.

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Thanks, Crim and Jael. You've captured a lot of my frustration.

 

And one more thing? I HATED how they pronounced Asmodeus as AsMODeus in the series. It should be AsmodDEus or the Janet (?) joke of Amadeus doesn't work.

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So just finished book 1 and that was so not the ending I expected.  Which is a good thing, since so many book ends in this genre seem to be fairly predictable.  And now it does make me wonder how the ending of the TV series, at least  for season 1 (if there is a season 2 - is there?), is going to work, given what they've done to the Brakebills characters (I can't yet comment on the difference in Julia's story, since I haven't read it yet - but will get it from the library later today).  And to some extent, I did like that the TV show built up more of the conflict with the beast, since in the book there wasn't all that much.  I almost had to laugh when the beast confronted them in the book saying how he knew they'd come after him, like he was this big nemesis, and the group was like, 'umm, not really, we just wanted an adventure in our favorite childhood story land, who are you again?'

 

I am glad to know that Q gets better because sheesh what a wanker, and have to admit, they've shown that characterization pretty well in the tv show.

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Whereas I loved the story of the Free Traders in the book, I do have to admit it wouldn't actually be that easy to shoot that story.  I don't think that the show believed that it was too intellectual, I think they thought it was likely too text-based as a story.  If they had faithfully retold that story, there would have been a lot of scenes of Julia typing and reading.  It was such a good part of the book, but for visual representation they clearly decided to go in a more dynamic direction.  In part because that would call upon the actor playing Julia to spend a large chunk of her time acting against no one and that's a really difficult challenge for any actor to meet.  

 

I do agree that I think the show had a couple of missteps in the pacing of Julia's story.  They lingered far too long on that "magic is a drug" nonsense that has been wildly unpopular for a reason since Buffy used it back in the day, but that was actually just weird and confusing on this particular show.  They had one character reacting to magic like it was crack and then an entire school where people were constantly being exposed to and studying magic without any "I must have MORE!" drama.   

 

I did like the eventual resolution of why that was, but I think they took two episode too long to get that point.  I wish they'd paced the story differently and taken the time to develop the Free Traders more.   I'm also currently unsure about Richard's story.  It's just, anyone who isn't Richard would be able to spot that as the workings of a not particularly balanced mind.  You can't just change one thing in a timeline without risking changing everything.   

 

So among other things, there were some aspects to Julia's story that simply don't make a lot of sense.  Like everyone else who has read the books, I'm really a bit nervous about where Julia's story is going and how that will be depicted.  

 

Then I also have a little bit of a problem with the show delving so much into the Chatwins experience with Plover and specifically Martin's being sexually abused by Plover.  If they stick with Martin being The Beast and it seems likely that they will, that's going to be sort of an odd narrative statement.  Sexual abuse turning people into the ultimate evil of a world is going to be an odd note if they stick with it.  

 

I am glad to know that Q gets better because sheesh what a wanker, and have to admit, they've shown that characterization pretty well in the tv show.

 

I think everyone sort of wants for a safe to drop from the sky and squish Quentin , but he really does get better in the next book.  One of Grossman's strengths seems to be characterization, but he really isn't overly concerned with creating likable characters and in the first book, it got a little wearing with Quentin.  

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Then I also have a little bit of a problem with the show delving so much into the Chatwins experience with Plover and specifically Martin's being sexually abused by Plover.  If they stick with Martin being The Beast and it seems likely that they will, that's going to be sort of an odd narrative statement.  Sexual abuse turning people into the ultimate evil of a world is going to be an odd note if they stick with it.  

 

I think you're oversimplifying it.  If you recall, from The Magician's Land ...

Martin sold his soul to stay in Fillory. Yes, Fillory was pretty much closed to him at that point, and it may or may not have been due to Plover - it's never explicit and when the kids ask the Rams about it they, or rather Ember (who I've always thought was a real dick and loved the scene with Janet later in that book), it's extremely unclear about it and everyone pretty much sort of assumes it's so due to the Narnia connection and Susan not appearing in The Last Battle (however, she stopped believing in Narnia, while clearly Martin never did ... I digress). Anyway, to say the abuse turned him into the ultimate evil is a bit of a stretch as Martin chose to trade his soul for the chance to stay, and then chose to go into the Darkling Woods, etc. to stay there. In short, it's a cause-effect argument that has no real end other than yes, shitty things happened to Martin but, that doesn't mean you turn yourself into the Beast either.

.  I think it's going to be a matter of exposition and how the reveals are handled.

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Martin sold his soul to stay in Fillory. Yes, Fillory was pretty much closed to him at that point, and it may or may not have been due to Plover - it's never explicit and when the kids ask the Rams about it they, or rather Ember (who I've always thought was a real dick and loved the scene with Janet later in that book), it's extremely unclear about it and everyone pretty much sort of assumes it's so due to the Narnia connection and Susan not appearing in The Last Battle (however, she stopped believing in Narnia, while clearly Martin never did ... I digress). Anyway, to say the abuse turned him into the ultimate evil is a bit of a stretch as Martin chose to trade his soul for the chance to stay, and then chose to go into the Darkling Woods, etc. to stay there. In short, it's a cause-effect argument that has no real end other than yes, shitty things happened to Martin but, that doesn't mean you turn yourself into the Beast either.

 

I do recall that and what I'm talking about is that by revealing the abuse of Martin first -- because in the books it is one of the last things revealed -- it's going to make it seem that selling his soul was a response to Plover's abuse.  By doing things in the opposite order it makes it seem as if Martin sold his soul in a response to being sexually abused.  

 

Admittedly, the very offhand and incredibly unpleasant revelation in the book was also kind of bridge too far for a lot of people because it did seem to imply things about C. S. Lewis that were really unnecessary.   The one thing the show did right in that story was to make it very clear that Plover is not a Lewis stand in.  However, by having a large portion of an episode delve into Martin's abuse it makes him hugely sympathetic...and stands in weird contrast to the actions of The Beast who is making people blow their brains out , tormenting Penny, etc. in the very next episode.  

 

It was kind of a jarring inclusion in the first book, but the story had already made it fairly clear that Martin was likely rejected by Fillory for being Martin, not a loss of innocence or as a result of the abuse.  The TV episode was the one over-simplifying the story by slamming that entire story into about two minutes of screen-time total for Martin, making it seem they were closely related things.  I never got that impression from the books.  

 

It's possible they've still got some more work to do on that, but it's the treatment of the show I'm taking issue with for being too blunt and drawing too direct a line.   Martin is seen crying and wondering why Fillory will not let him in and in the same episode, he's abused by Plover, which reallys suggested that Fillory was rejecting Martin because he had been sexually abused.  

 

The Beast -- which normally I'd take issue with how blunt a device his name is  but that they are just taking from the source material, presumably the license plate on his car is 666 -- story of manipulating Elliot was also a bit "oof -- really?  You couldn't change the monster's name to something less easily tied to Satan, if you knew you were going to have him seduce Elliot?" for me though.  

 

Admittedly, fleshing out the Fillory stories too much and providing background for the Chatwin's story probably was cost-prohibitive and I get that, at the root fo what any TV show can attempt, there stands a team of accountants making negative sounds about production costs, so the series was understandably a little limited in bringing that side of the story to the screen.  

Edited by stillshimpy

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