10 Differences Between The SyFy Show And The Book Series

SyFy’s Magical Realism Series magicians ended with its stellar fifth season finale, meaning fans are still hoping for more Fillory and musical episodes in a Magicians season 6 is unlucky. Fans of the TV series can thank Sera Gamble and Jon McNamara for their brilliant screen adaptation, but before there was a TV show, magicians was a series of novels by Lev Grossman.

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magicians The TV show has a certain respect for the books; the showrunners even got Lev Grossman to consult. After the show ended, many show-only fans considered reading the book series to ease their withdrawal from Brakebills. While both formats are entertaining, there are crucial differences between the books and the TV show.

Updated July 24, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: While there’s no season 6 of The Magicians on the way, fans who miss the show can still relive everything they loved from the TV series thanks to streaming services. The entire series is available on Netflix for binge-watching. Lev Grossman’s first novel in the series was published in 2009, so all the literary versions of the characters are also available globally, giving fans plenty of chances to see the similarities and differences between the two.

ten Janet is Margo


In the books, our High King of Fillory isn’t King Margo… It’s King Janet. Both characters use wit and brass spikes to succeed in a male-dominated Fillory. Margo features more in the series than Janet in the books, but the books still give us insight into the Ice Wizard and also feature his iconic journey through the desert, although the story is a bit different.

So while the characters are the same, the change from Janet to Margo was done to avoid confusing fans since Jane Chatwin, Julia Wicker, and Janet Pluchinsky all have names that start with the same letter.

9 Marina and the Hedge Witches


Marina and Julia in The Magicians

Fans of the series will have enjoyed seeing Julia rise through the ranks of the Hedge Witches, led by a character named Marina. But if those fans haven’t read the books, they might be surprised to find that Marina is an original character who’s been added to the TV show – and Julia’s involvement with the hedge witch group isn’t covered. in the books.

Instead, readers of the books see glimpses of Julia as she appears again and again in Quentin’s life. The role of the Hedge Witches is greatly expanded in the series. When it comes to magicians book versus show battle, getting a taste of what life as a hedge witch is like is one of the most interesting aspects.


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8 ember and shadow


When a book is translated on screen, some things may need to be changed or they may be lost during translation. magicians The book series is full of imaginative writing and magical realism, providing the reader with fantastical and sometimes terrifying imagery that would likely cost a lot of money to portray on screen.

Syfy as a network, to top it off, is known for churning out low-budget sci-fi shows and movies, forcing creators to rely on comedy over terror. Where Ember and Umber are comical in the series, with their half-animal appearances complete with beer bellies, they are dark and ominous entities in the books.


7 Kady versus Asmodeus


In the books, Julia finds herself in a similar situation with a group of magicians living on the outskirts of society trying to contact a god. Just like in the series, Julia and her friends accidentally summon Reynard the Fox, and Julia sacrifices herself so Kady can escape Reynard.

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In the books, however, Kady isn’t a character…but the books feature a character who calls himself Asmodeus. Asmodeus is younger than Kady, but is a hedge witch who survives Reynard’s attack because of Julia. Quentin meets this character in volume three; she tries to steal a knife with a spell that could kill a god, who readers assume is Reynard the fox.


6 The age of the characters


One of the biggest differences in magicians the comparison between the show and the book is the ages of the characters. In the books, Quentin and Julia are in high school trying to get into college when they get their invitations to take the Brakebills exam. But on the show, Quentin and Julia are already in college and trying to get into graduate school. The age difference between the books and the TV show is commented on by both Jane Chatwin and Dean Fogg, though Jane never explains why the timeline viewers are watching a group of older magicians.

One reason may be the different pacing of the stories: the series barely covered enough time for the characters to graduate from Brakebills, while the books span over a decade of Quentin’s life. The aging of the characters also allowed the show’s writers to immediately include more mature subject matter.


5 The arrival of the beast


At Brakebills Lab, the night before the Beast appeared onscreen, Quentin and Alice cast a spell to try to contact her brother, whom she believed to be in spirit form on campus somewhere. The spell backfires because Alice’s brother is a Niffin, not a spirit, and the next morning the Beast arrives. Alice and Quentin carry this guilt and responsibility for the Beast’s actions with them throughout the first season.

In the books, Quentin also feels guilty for the Beast’s arrival, as it happens moments after he casts a spell to disturb his teacher. Quentin thinks the spell caused a problem with the teacher’s spell, which allowed the Beast to enter the classroom. Later, in a canon graphic novel from Alice’s perspective, readers discover that Quentin did not cause the error. Although the methods may be different, the result is the same: the Beast comes to Brakebills.


4 Julia’s Goddess Transformation


Julia Wicker in The Magicians

Onscreen, Julia aborted Reynard’s offspring, sacrificing her shadow in the process. Luckily for the show – Julia, Quentin and some of the other members of the Brakebills team helped her find her shadow, and as a result, when she had the opportunity to kill Reynard, she spared him and Persephone blessed her with a seed of magic that would turn her into a goddess if she did good deeds for others.

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magicians show vs book version of Julia is…different. After Reynard, she is portrayed as acting, well, as if someone would act if they didn’t have their shadow, but were able to remain morally neutral. As a result, most readers assume that Julia never found her shadow in the books and thus completed her transformation into a goddess. The truth is never fully revealed in the novels.




3 Animal Transformations


If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll always remember the times when Quentin and Alice turned into birds and flew to Brakebills South, where they turned into foxes, a moment that solidified their relationship. Like Ember and Umber, animal transformations are easier to perform through the written word than through the screen. In the book series, Quentin relies heavily on animal transformation spells.

More infamously, Quentin and Plum Chatwin (a character who was introduced to the show in season five and the books in book three) transform into whales to get to Brakebills South, mostly just because they can. When the whales were drawn into the opening credits of season five, fans of the books were hoping to see a whale transformation onscreen, but the plot ended up being totally different and just as fun.


2 The Fate of Quentin Coldwater


The characters spent most of season five grappling with Quentin’s tragic fate at the end of season four. He sacrificed himself to try to change the world for the better for his friends. At the rate of take on meviewers said goodbye to Quentin as they watched him pass through the underworld with the help of Penny 23.

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Perhaps the best reason to pick up the book series after the show ended is this crucial difference: Quentin doesn’t die in the books. In fact, the books cover about a decade from Quentin’s perspective. They not only introduce him to Brakebills, but also at his graduation. Fillory is still crucial, but not so featured. In his early thirties, Quentin returns to Brakebills as a teacher. And later – another difference – Quentin tries to use the world seed to create a new world.


1 The number of main characters


Josh is the Forgotten Seeker in The Magicians

The books talk a lot about Quentin. In the second and third books, readers get a glimpse of Julia’s life from her point of view and long monologues from other characters that make them feel like chapters told in the first person.

However, the focus on Quentin leaves the other characters less fleshed out: Eliot, Fen, Josh, and Alice are particularly highlighted in the series. The choice to kill off Quentin at the end of season four may have seemed drastic, but it allowed the writers of the TV series to create a real whole, giving the series a complexity that lacks the limited perspective of Quentin in books. When fans argue what’s best, magicians show vs book, this is one of the reasons put forward for the pleasure of the show.

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About the Author

Brian L. Hartfield