The Magicians Explained, Part 3

Hey everyone, it's Chris. This is episode 3 of my Magicians season 01 overview. You can find the previous reviews here.

If this is your first time here, I take shows and movies based on books, and compare and contrast them to the source material.

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I’m going to quickly go each episode and highlight key moments and characters that are different in the show than the book. In this video we’ll cover episodes 4 - 7.

Episode 8


Since Eliot is one of my favorite characters on the show, I loved and hated this storyline. He is one of the most complex and interesting characters in the show, as well as in the books, so it was a real joy to see his character explored a bit more, not to mention to give Hale Appleman a chance to really shine.

That being said, having to watch him find someone to really care about, who seems to care for him, and then to have that person betray you in the most profound ways, intimately as well as personally, is cruel and crushing.

But it was another chance to see why Eliot is the character he is, so I was excited to see this new story added to the show.

Julia in Rehab

This was a great twist on the story from the novels. In the books she finds an online support group, “Free Trader Beowulf” that she joins to find help. The group is pretty interesting, basically you have to be a super genius, and depressed to join. You are forced to solve puzzles and riddles which get you closer and closer to joining the group.

They approach this storyline a bit differently in the show obviously, as Julia is checked into a program, and meets Richard, the chaplain who is also a graduate of Brakebills. I prefer the rehab angle of the show, but miss the storyline of Julia having to prove conquer her way into the online group. It was another moment to see just how formidable she really is. Again, I feel like she is cast as a victim much too often in the show, which is a shame.

The Death of Jane Chatwin

The only thing I liked about this was the ending moment where you get to see a glimpse of the steel that lives beneath Eliot’s expertly coiffed exterior. This was a massive change from the novels, and not really one that made much sense, other than it serves the narrative of the hero’s journey that Q is on.

Jane in the novels actually lives until they very end of the story, and has some pretty impressive feats that I’m not sure we will be able to see now due to her untimely demise at the hands of her brother.

Episode 9

The Missing Manuscript

While the manuscript does go missing, it isn’t stolen, destroyed and then trashed by Penny, although I think that makes things funnier. The manuscript disappears and then reappears after many adventures.

The story it tells is a little bit different, there are a number of buttons given to the Chatwins, by a group of talking rabbits as a gift for helping them on a quest. The buttons were thrown down a well on the Chatwin’s property.

One of the buttons is found by Jane and she uses it to get him and the others into Fillory, by giving it to Penny, who discovered it allowed you to travel between worlds, and then ropes in Q and his friends.

Visiting the Plover Estate

This was another bit that wasn’t in the books, but really was a welcome addition. They do get over to england and visit the Chatwin Estate, now owned by another family, and use it to get into Fillory again.

But the whole thing with Plover’s sister and the children wasn’t in the novels at all. And especially the bits with Martin and Plover weren’t in the novels. They basically explained that Plover was emotionally and physically abusing Martin, which, incidentally, is why Fillory stopped calling Martin.

Using the storm cellar as a replacement for the well was pretty smart, and gave this particular storyline a really great ending. And the last 4 minutes of the episode are amazing.

Episode 10

The Neitherlands

One of my favorite creations from the books are the Neitherlands, and they really didn’t disappoint in the show, even though basically nothing about the place in the show is actually the same as in the novels, except for the fountains.

From the fact that there are plants living there, to the way the Order of Librarians operate, nothing really is the same. In the novels the Neitherlands is a vast concrete jungle full of fountains and plaza’s filled with books of magic.

Magic doesn’t work correctly there, which means you can’t even do small bits of magic without it going absurdly out of control.

Free Trader Beowulf

This was pretty cool, if very different from the way it happens in the novels. In the novels, Julia discovers after a while that some of the members were hedge-witches, which then leads to her joining them at a chateau in France to learn more magic.

While there she learns all the remaining magic that has been kept from her, getting to I believe level 250, at which point she learns that all the magic to know as a hedge witch, she knows and the only thing left is exploring new and more exotic types of magic.

Which is where Our Lady of the Underground comes in. Oh, and Katey wasn’t a part of the group.

Quentin, Alice and the Fountain

I mean, come on. This was just.. Wow. Ridiculous, funny and kind of nonsensical all at the same time. It was another interesting moment of growth for Quentin and Alice, which doesn’t have a counterpart in the novels.

What I find interesting is that this makes what is coming for their relationship even more of a gut punch than it was in the novels. I don’t want to say too much about it now, but rest assured we’ll cover it when we get to that episode.

Also, the look on Penny’s face when he sees them is pretty much priceless.

Denizens of The Neitherlands

Also real quick, a pretty interesting change that we see while in the Neitherlands is the people who are revealed to be native to that place. In the novels the Neitherlands is basically the Grand Central Station of inter world travel and as such, doesn’t really have the means to support life, let alone a culture or society.

Adding this was interesting, although I’m not sure if it adds anything substantial to the story.