Turn up your Taylor Swift playlist, The Magicians is almost back! The adaptation of Less Grossman's novel series sent a bunch of quirky magical kids on a decidedly dark adventure in its first batch of episodes. Before you head back to Syfy for more, here's a quick recap of The Magicians Season 1 to refresh.
I tend to describe the show as "American Harry Potter but it's grad school but there's also Chronicles of Narnia and kind of Peter Pan," which really only scratches the surface and probably doesn't make sense to most people until you've actually watched the dang thing. While the magical world that Grossman has created draws on recognizable tropes, true stories and beloved fairy tales, it is entirely its own, and much darker than the average children's fare.
The Magicians is about two friends in college named Quentin and Julia who discover that magic is real and take an entrance exam to attend a school called Brakebills College For Magical Pedagogy. Quentin is accepted and Julia is not. They also discover that Fillory, a magical world that they used to read and fantasize about together as children, is totally real. As the real magical world and Fillory start to intertwine, Quentin, Julia, and their new magical friends and classmates get drawn into a disturbing mystery.
Those other characters include Alice, a girl who comes from a magical family but has been ignored her whole life; Penny, a psychic who can project himself across realms; Kady, a Brakebills student with magical street smarts; and Margo and Eliot, the Queen and King Bee of the Phyiscal magicians at Brakebills.
The Magical World
Not only does Quentin go to a magical school, but Season 1 also introduced two other factions of magicians thanks to Julia's quest to keep magic in her life — an underground group called hedge witches and a group of religious practitioners of magic. Penny also visits the Neitherworlds, a gateway realm with some frusterating rules and dangerous inhabitants.
There's kind of a love triangle going on between Quentin, Julia, and Alice — but the kind in which feelings are messy and nobody knows what's going on, not the one where someone is torn between two people.
That said, other random hook-ups include: Alice and Penny, Penny and Kady, Quentin and Margo and Eliot, as well as Eliot and Mike.
The Big Bad "Beast"
Quintin and Julia learns that the real Chatwin siblings whose adventures inspired his beloved Fillory And Further novels, much like J. M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll were inspired by real children in our world, were actually abused by the author, who was their guardian. As a result, Martin Chatwin sold his humanity so that he could run away to Fillory forever, and became the Beast. In modern times/with the use of a little time travel, the Beast came for Quentin, and that's how most of the troubles and adventures in Season 1 got started.
At the end of the season, the group is still in Fillory. Eliot is the High King. There are time loops and a magical blade. Julia discovers that she was raped by a god and had the memory taken away. She makes a deal with the Beast so that she can get her own revenge.
The Magicians Season 1 had a tumultuous ending, and I can't wait to see what happens next!