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Author Topic: The Magicians - Week 1  (Read 6595 times)

Offline Arry

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The Magicians - Week 1
« on: May 04, 2015, 10:29:08 PM »
Alright, I did a re-read of this before Magician's Land came out last year, so bear with me if I'm vague as I am not reading along. I may find responding to other people's comments easier and hope to join in that way as well

I just loved the concept of this special exam given selectively to enter into some super secret school of magic in a world that doesn't realize magic exists. That said, I would be incredibly skeptical

But, first question. Quentin is a character that some people really just can't stand. Personally, I really enjoyed him, dark moods and all. What does everyone else think? Anyone find him too angsty?

Another thing I remember from this section is the introduction of the Physical Kids and their cottage. I loved this group, but I especially love the character Alice.
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Offline AvalonSing

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 02:51:20 PM »
Arry,

I posted something similar to this line of thought in my initial impressions post.  Quentin is just annoying as a protagonist.  He doesn't move the story forward, it seems that supplementary characters have to move it for him.

I agree with you about Alice.  I love her character.  A shy, stay-to-herself sort of character who can clearly become more to our unworthy protagonist as the story continues. 

As I'm reading I'm finding myself drawn more to the supporting cast than to Quentin.  I'm intrigued by the necessity to continue training magicians, since there seems to be no need for them.  I'm also intrigued by the fact that Quentin doesn't have a discipline.  Its like there are truly no distinguishing characteristics for him.  He's just blah.  He shows aptitude in several areas.  Maybe that's his forte.  A jack of all trades, master of none.
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Offline Arry

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 06:49:25 PM »
See, this is what's interesting. A good number of people find Quentin annoying, so I knew there would be some in this group. I actually never was annoyed with him in the first book. Maybe his negative vibes just clicked well with me when I read it.

And it is very interesting that Quentin does not have a discipline.
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 07:09:48 PM »
I like Quentin.  I think because he is a 'real' character. He has various neurosis but don't we all? And I think secretly we can all relate to that sense of never quite being happy, even when we supposedly get what we always wanted.  I also think that the story is told from Quentin's POV, hence why we don't see his good qualities as a magician. He is all to aware of Penny's and Alice's strengths, and always thinks poorly of his own qualities. I suspect if we saw from the story from another's character's POV (which I don't believe happens until to the third volume) we would see Quentin much differently. 


What surprised me first when I read the novel is how fast time goes past.  We are only a quarter of the way through the book, and Quentin is already a third year!   Quite different to Harry Potter's one book per school year!
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Offline Arry

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2015, 07:23:09 PM »
I like Quentin.  I think because he is a 'real' character. He has various neurosis but don't we all? And I think secretly we can all relate to that sense of never quite being happy, even when we supposedly get what we always wanted.  I also think that the story is told from Quentin's POV, hence why we don't see his good qualities as a magician. He is all to aware of Penny's and Alice's strengths, and always thinks poorly of his own qualities. I suspect if we saw from the story from another's character's POV (which I don't believe happens until to the third volume) we would see Quentin much differently. 
Exactly! He's not Kvothe and does not dwell on his amazingness. He instead is just down in general and struggles with his own self worth. Of course he is not going to come across as amazing because he can't see himself that way, he's entirely too self critical.

Quote
What surprised me first when I read the novel is how fast time goes past.  We are only a quarter of the way through the book, and Quentin is already a third year!   Quite different to Harry Potter's one book per school year!
That shocked me as well. Brakesbill is really not the focus of the books, so much as the catalyst for pretty much everything.
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Offline Idlewilder

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2015, 09:53:52 AM »
I never really could decide how I felt about Quentin. I think I liked him and disliked him at various points, but more importantly I thought he was very real, as Nighteyes suggests. He literally starts the story, on the first page, moping about his lot, hovering behind James and Julia, and that never really changes. He remains true to character, despite what we may think of him.

What surprised me first when I read the novel is how fast time goes past.  We are only a quarter of the way through the book, and Quentin is already a third year!   Quite different to Harry Potter's one book per school year!

Yeah, I remember that from the 1st time I read it. I was shocked how quickly he goes through magic training. And it's not exactly a doorstopper of a book. Very refreshing pace.

And agreed with everyone - Alice is fantastic.
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Offline Jeni

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2015, 03:59:02 PM »
So.
This is waaaaay better than I expected! At least so far, anyway. :D

But, first question. Quentin is a character that some people really just can't stand. Personally, I really enjoyed him, dark moods and all. What does everyone else think? Anyone find him too angsty?

I'm enjoying reading about Quentin and so far I don't find him annoying or irritating...

...but I don't know if I'd commit to a definite 'like' at this point - I guess I'm kind of ambivalent. Probably because ...
the story is told from Quentin's POV, hence why we don't see his good qualities as a magician. He is all to aware of Penny's and Alice's strengths, and always thinks poorly of his own qualities. I suspect if we saw from the story from another's character's POV (which I don't believe happens until to the third volume) we would see Quentin much differently. 

I like all the hints we've been getting about the impending doom that will need to be battled (?), once Quentin finishes school and starts to discover just how dangerous life as a magician is and how powerful he really is... and I'm guessing that because Quentin's Fillory obsession is mentioned a lot and that the title of this novel is the same as the mysterious missing Fillory novel, he will end up there at some point. I'll be quite disappointed if that doesn't happen, I think.

The fact that Quentin's discipline status is currently 'Undetermined' has got some theories running through my head...
a)  He really is
     
A jack of all trades, master of none.
and they've kept him with Alice because he is helping to bring out the best in her which suggests that the Physical discipline students will be key to the ensuing 'troubles'. Also, as he will be spending most of his free time with the rarest group, he should - kind of osmotic-ly, end up being above average for that discipline even if he will never truly specialise, which could prove handy.
b)  He is or will be strong enough to wield a considerable (?) / phenomenal (?) amount of magic and is in fact more likely to be Master of all trades instead of a Jack.
c)  His discipline is extremely rare and they've place him with the rarest group to make up the numbers because you can't have a group of one.
d)  some other reason we don't know yet.  :P

And, yes. Alice is very cool!  8)









Offline Arry

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2015, 07:14:07 PM »
So.
This is waaaaay better than I expected! At least so far, anyway. :D
Yay!  ;D

Quote
I like all the hints we've been getting about the impending doom that will need to be battled (?), once Quentin finishes school and starts to discover just how dangerous life as a magician is and how powerful he really is... and I'm guessing that because Quentin's Fillory obsession is mentioned a lot and that the title of this novel is the same as the mysterious missing Fillory novel, he will end up there at some point. I'll be quite disappointed if that doesn't happen, I think.

The fact that Quentin's discipline status is currently 'Undetermined' has got some theories running through my head...
a)  He really is
     
A jack of all trades, master of none.
and they've kept him with Alice because he is helping to bring out the best in her which suggests that the Physical discipline students will be key to the ensuing 'troubles'. Also, as he will be spending most of his free time with the rarest group, he should - kind of osmotic-ly, end up being above average for that discipline even if he will never truly specialise, which could prove handy.
b)  He is or will be strong enough to wield a considerable (?) / phenomenal (?) amount of magic and is in fact more likely to be Master of all trades instead of a Jack.
c)  His discipline is extremely rare and they've place him with the rarest group to make up the numbers because you can't have a group of one.
d)  some other reason we don't know yet.  :P

And, yes. Alice is very cool!  8)

I am hesitant to comment much here because I've already read this and don't want to inadvertently spoil anything. But, I love your speculation and thoughts here. I do remember it was fun trying to pinpoint why Quentin is different.
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Offline xiagan

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2015, 08:50:37 PM »
I just loved the concept of this special exam given selectively to enter into some super secret school of magic in a world that doesn't realize magic exists. That said, I would be incredibly skeptical
Absolutely agree. And a tad more grown up and believable than HP. ;)

Quote
But, first question. Quentin is a character that some people really just can't stand. Personally, I really enjoyed him, dark moods and all. What does everyone else think? Anyone find him too angsty?
He's so far clearly an anti-hero - something he himself knows to well (seeing himself as James' sidekick or the villain).
He's a workaholic when it comes to his studies and he's so down to earth that it is depressing (yep, for him too) BUT he still has that spark with hoping against all odds that the magical land Fillory exists. It's satisfying to see his hopes become real in a way.

Quote
Another thing I remember from this section is the introduction of the Physical Kids and their cottage. I loved this group, but I especially love the character Alice.
Eliot and Alice are pretty cool, no idea about the other two so far.

Penny is a kind of wildcard in this deck of magic students. How will he develop and what role will he play later? Saving the day or becoming the villain? No idea...

Quentin is just annoying as a protagonist.  He doesn't move the story forward, it seems that supplementary characters have to move it for him. [...]
Don't forget that we see everything through his eyes. I think that he thinks that he isn't specially talented and that he's too passive. Not necessary true. There has to be a reason why he got advances (or picked in the first place). Quentin's drawn more to the supporting cast too. ;) Especially the females. I like how he develops crushes on about every girl/woman he meets. He's seventeen in the beginning and full of hormones. It's totally normal that he looks at Sutherland's, Alice's or the Paramedic's boobs and it's kinda cool to have it written down. Most teenagers you meet in fantasy books are way too controlled for their age.

Very curious about the paramedic. Who is she? Was she supposed to care for him in the infirmary or did she just appeared without Fogg's knowing?

Quote
I'm intrigued by the necessity to continue training magicians, since there seems to be no need for them.
We don't know yet. But so far I'm with you. What do magicians do when they finished school?

Quote
I'm also intrigued by the fact that Quentin doesn't have a discipline.  Its like there are truly no distinguishing characteristics for him.
Me too. Have the suspicion that Sutherland knows what it is but doesn't want to tell him yet.

I like Quentin.  I think because he is a 'real' character. He has various neurosis but don't we all? And I think secretly we can all relate to that sense of never quite being happy, even when we supposedly get what we always wanted.
Very true in our age... 

Quote
I also think that the story is told from Quentin's POV, hence why we don't see his good qualities as a magician. He is all to aware of Penny's and Alice's strengths, and always thinks poorly of his own qualities. I suspect if we saw from the story from another's character's POV (which I don't believe happens until to the third volume) we would see Quentin much differently. 
Exactly what I said above, but better.

Quote
What surprised me first when I read the novel is how fast time goes past.  We are only a quarter of the way through the book, and Quentin is already a third year!   Quite different to Harry Potter's one book per school year!
Yeah. I the book clearly isn't about his school time and if the pace stays like that we'll see him graduated after the first half of the book.

I like all the hints we've been getting about the impending doom that will need to be battled (?), once Quentin finishes school and starts to discover just how dangerous life as a magician is and how powerful he really is... and I'm guessing that because Quentin's Fillory obsession is mentioned a lot and that the title of this novel is the same as the mysterious missing Fillory novel, he will end up there at some point. I'll be quite disappointed if that doesn't happen, I think.
Yep. First I thought Fillory was a real book like Narnia and I just didn't know it. :D
Fillory is definitely important and the paramedic is somehow related to this.
I'd bet we 'll meet someday (probably not in this book) the missing sibling Martin from the Fillory books...

Quote
a)  He really is
     
A jack of all trades, master of none.
and they've kept him with Alice because he is helping to bring out the best in her which suggests that the Physical discipline students will be key to the ensuing 'troubles'. Also, as he will be spending most of his free time with the rarest group, he should - kind of osmotic-ly, end up being above average for that discipline even if he will never truly specialise, which could prove handy.
b)  He is or will be strong enough to wield a considerable (?) / phenomenal (?) amount of magic and is in fact more likely to be Master of all trades instead of a Jack.
c)  His discipline is extremely rare and they've place him with the rarest group to make up the numbers because you can't have a group of one.
d)  some other reason we don't know yet.  :P
All likely. Maybe a mix of the four options. :) I like the idea that he and Alice push each other.
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Offline DrNefario

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2015, 08:49:00 PM »
I've reached the 25% mark, now, and I think I agree with a lot of the points here. I don't find Quentin annoying at all; I recognise some of myself in him. Which possibly means I am annoying. Hmm. :)

I still don't really see what the main story is, and I'm wondering how magicians actually make a living.

Most of all I'm really enjoying it, and wish I'd read it sooner.

Offline Ender

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2015, 09:41:31 AM »
Quote
But, first question. Quentin is a character that some people really just can't stand. Personally, I really enjoyed him, dark moods and all. What does everyone else think? Anyone find him too angsty?

Yep, I find him too angsty.  And the thing is, I don't even know what he's so angsty about.  His life seems to be going pretty well.  Why does he think his life sucks so hard?  But that's not even what bothers me about him.  I just think he's really self-centered.  Like instead of being happy for his only two friends, he's holding this semi-hate for James because Julia likes him.  He seems to have a minor disdain for the regular world, including his parents, after going to Brakebills.  As if none of that is worth his time anymore.  And he seems to be one of these people who is very concerned with where he stands in relation to other people.  I don't feel he's a horrible human being or anything, I just don't think I would want to be his friend.

I really liked the entrance exam too.  I especially liked how most of it was just kind of random odd things and not really about doing magic.  Alice is my favorite student.  But I like the Brakebills' staff and paramedic too.  I thought Penny might be cool, but then he had that completely crazy, childish moment when he started the fight with Quentin and I don't even know what to think of him now.

Offline xiagan

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2015, 11:40:56 AM »
I thought Penny might be cool, but then he had that completely crazy, childish moment when he started the fight with Quentin and I don't even know what to think of him now.
Welcome to the club. ;) this won't change ever*.

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Offline DrNefario

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2015, 03:01:36 PM »
Yep, I find him too angsty.  And the thing is, I don't even know what he's so angsty about.  His life seems to be going pretty well.  Why does he think his life sucks so hard?  But that's not even what bothers me about him.  I just think he's really self-centered.  Like instead of being happy for his only two friends, he's holding this semi-hate for James because Julia likes him.  He seems to have a minor disdain for the regular world, including his parents, after going to Brakebills.  As if none of that is worth his time anymore.  And he seems to be one of these people who is very concerned with where he stands in relation to other people.  I don't feel he's a horrible human being or anything, I just don't think I would want to be his friend.
So, what you're saying is: he's a teenager?

Offline Ender

Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2015, 08:01:59 PM »

So, what you're saying is: he's a teenager?
[/quote]

Heh, I guess it depends what you consider to be typical/expected behavior for a teenager.  Like I said, I don't think he's horrible or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if he did some jerk things as the story goes along.  He already unintentionally caused someone's death because he felt he had to get back at a teacher for showing him up or whatever.  Just read that part today, which was a really  good ,weird and creepy part.  Loved fogg's explanation of what happened too.

Offline JMack

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Re: The Magicians - Week 1
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 03:20:06 PM »

"So, what you're saying is: he's a teenager?"


Heh, I guess it depends what you consider to be typical/expected behavior for a teenager.  Like I said, I don't think he's horrible or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if he did some jerk things as the story goes along.  He already unintentionally caused someone's death because he felt he had to get back at a teacher for showing him up or whatever.  Just read that part today, which was a really  good ,weird and creepy part.  Loved fogg's explanation of what happened too.
Er, I don't think that happened in our part one reading. Spoiler? Or did totally miss this.

I'm way behind and trying to catch up. Expect I'll be reading this into next month.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying it. I like Quentin in the way you like someone with whom you empathize but don't really admire. I admire when someone makes decisions that stretch them. Quentin does not. Even his incredibly hard work is written passively, as something he slips into rather than decides. If this is because Quentin is a flawed narrator, and we really should admire, well I hope that comes out later.

I do think that promotion to second year didn't fully work for me. Again, fine, he's a flawed narrator, but some hints please?

Meanwhile, I liked the fight with Penny. It shows how each character has her/his own inner life and is not simply there as an NPC, so to speAm. Quentin probably was oblivious to Penny's pain, and Penny was certainly over-reacting. But that's how things go, at any age.

The book's got my full attention. Onward to "week 2".
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