Hogwarts This Is Not — Syfy’s The Magicians at NYCC

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If you were one of the many people disappointed when you didn’t receive your Hogwarts letter at age 11, you just might be interested in The Magicians, a new show from Syfy based on the books by Lev Grossman. In the books, Quentin is a high school senior who is apathetic about his future before being given the chance to sit for a prestigious exam at a university he has never heard of, which turns out to be Brakebills – a school for magic. He is obsessed with a Narnia-like book series called Fillory and Further and longs to have similar adventures. The Magicians is usually described as “an adult Harry Potter” because of the premise; it is, after all, about people who attend a magic school – they’re just older than they were at Hogwarts. The subject matter is more “adult” as well; yes, the students fight the forces of darkness, but there is also way more sex and drugs at Brakebills than there was happening at Hogwarts.

At NYCC in October, we got the chance to talk to the cast and crew of The Magicians. Cast members Jason Ralph (Quentin), Stella Maeve (Julia), Summer Bishil (Margo, aka Janet), Hale Appleman (Eliot), Arjun Gupta (Penny), and Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice) were on hand to talk about their characters. For instance, Summer talked about her character’s name change (which is Lev Grossman approved, in case you were worried). Stella and Arjun were eager to talk about their arcs, but careful not to give anything away, because a lot of what happens to Julia and Penny is told and not shown in the books, as they are from Quentin’s perspective.

Executive Producers/Writers Sera Gamble and John McNamara talked about working with Lev Grossman and adapting such a series for television. There was much discussion about the decision to age up the characters (in the books they are undergraduates, in the show they are graduate students), as well as how close to the books the shows would be.

Check out our round table interviews from New York Comic Con to learn more about The Magicians — and tune in to Syfy December 16th for a commercial-free preview of the pilot episode!

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, and conventions in the NYC area.

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