Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
📚 Based on Lev Grossman – The Magicians (The Magicians #1) 🎧
✅ The Magicians 1×01 – Unauthorized Magic
Quentin and Julia are invited to a test of their magical skills. Quentin passes and is accepted to Brakebills University. Julia fails the test and they attempt to wipe her memory about Brakebills and the test, but she manages to leave herself a clue to remember. Refusing to accept that she cannot learn magic, she is later contacted by Pete, who offers to teach her. In his dreams, Quentin meets Jane Chatwin from the “Fillory and Further” novels, who warns him about the Beast and leaves him with a sigil burned into his hand. Alice recognizes the sigil and sees it as an opportunity to know how her brother died. She and Quentin, together with Penny and Kady try to contact her dead brother, Charlie. Instead they accidentally summon the Beast who appears in the school the next day, attacking a teacher and the dean.
✅ The Magicians 1×02 – The Source of Magic
Professor Sunderland investigates the Beast incident at Brakebills and Quentin, Alice, Penny, and Kady face disciplinary action for their involvement in the Beast’s attack. But Eliza, who is called in as specialist, lets them go on probation. Julia meets Marina when she has to pass a test to join the hedge witches. Kady is secretly working for Marina.
✅ The Magicians 1×03 – Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting
Alice and Quentin find out that her brother, Charlie, was consumed by magic and turned into a niffin five years ago. When they find him, he attacks Alice and Quentin. Quentin binds him, despite Alice’s belief that she can get through to him. Devastated about what happened to her brother, Alice leaves Brakebills. Julia struggles to balance learning magic with maintaining her previous life. Eliot searches for the book that Kady stole for Marina, which leads him and Quentin to Marina’s hedge witches safe house, where Quentin finds and confronts Julia. Penny, after being assigned incorrectly to the psychic discipline, discovers he is a “Traveler,” who has the ability to teleport anywhere, even between worlds.
✅ The Magicians 1×04 – The World in the Walls
Quentin wakes up in the mental hospital he admitted himself to in the first episode, where his memories of Brakebills and magic are treated as delusions. It is revealed that Julia and Marina made Quentin’s elaborate hallucination, and the only way to get him out involves summoning a demon bug. Dean Fogg lowers the Brakebills school’s security spell, allowing Marina and Julia to sneak in, where they steal Marina’s memories of her time at Brakebills before she was expelled. Quentin, with the help of Penny and his visions of Jane Chatwin, is able to escape the hallucination. Marina, after being reunited with her memories, cuts off Julia from her hedge witch safe house because Julia tried to help Dean Fogg save Quentin.
✅ The Magicians 1×05 – Mendings, Major and Minor
Quentin visits home after finding out that his father has been diagnosed with brain cancer. He struggles with accepting that magic cannot save his father, and eventually opens up to his father about magic. After being cut off by Marina, Julia tries to find other hedge witch safe houses in New York with the help of Pete, but nobody else has nearly as many spells. Marina erases James’ memory of Julia to prevent her from telling him about magic. Alice returns to Brakebills and Eliot and Margo try to use her connections to get a mentor. Penny practices astral projection and discovers a woman, Victoria, chained in a dungeon by the Beast. Based on the crest on the doors, Quentin surmises that Penny has traveled to Fillory.
✅ The Magicians 1×06 – Impractical Applications
The first-years must pass a set of challenges called “the trials” devised by the third years. While doing the trials, Quentin and Penny reconcile, Alice and Quentin share secrets and Kady confesses to Penny that she is using him to steal things from Brakebills. As each of the first years passes the trials, they each turn into a goose. Meanwhile, in an attempt to steal spells from Marina, Julia teams up with an older hedge witch who also has connections with Marina. The older hedge witch turns out to be Kady’s mother and dies in the process of stealing the cabinet of spells from Marina’s safe house. Kady had been working for Marina in payment of a debt related to her mother. Kady does not know yet that her mother died.
✅ The Magicians 1×07 – The Mayakovsky Circumstance
While in the form of geese, Quentin and his peers fly to Brakebills South Antarctica to study with Professor Mayakovsky, who puts them through several challenges. Eliot and Margo prepare to travel to Ibiza, and with the help of newly-met Todd and Mike, summon a Djinn as a gift for the organizers of the party. When Eliot starts sleeping with Mike, he chooses to stay behind and Todd goes with Margo. Julia’s sister picks her up from the police station following the death of Kady’s mother, and insists on helping Julia to avoid their mother from knowing what happened. Mayakovsky engineers Alice and Quentin into a relationship. He also tells Kady that her mother died and she is no longer welcome at Brakebills, encouraging her to immediately leave and not to go back to the main school lest they take her memories of her time at the school.
✅ The Magicians 1×08 – The Strangled Heart
Eliot and Mike grow closer, while Quentin and Alice spend time apart to make assessments about their feelings for each other. Mike, while attacking Quentin, stabs Penny with a cursed blade. Recognizing a similar event in the Fillory and Further books, Quentin and Alice are able to save him. Mike pretends to remember nothing until Eliza confronts him, at which point he recognizes her as Jane Chatwin and kills her. He also attempts to attack Dean Fogg but before doing so he is killed by Eliot. In rehab, Julia meets a counselor named Richard who was trained at Brakebills and introduces her to religious magic.
Great to hear 🎵 Amanda Palmer – Leeds United 🎵 in this episode.
✅ The Magicians 1×09 – The Writing Room
Quentin discovers that Penny destroyed the manuscript given to him by Eliza in the first episode. Penny relates that it is a book about Fillory written by Jane Chatwin and not by Christopher Plover, in which Jane wanted to clarify the discrepancies. Quentin, Penny, Alice, and Eliot travel to the Plover estate to search for the button which according to Jane in the book is the key to the door to Fillory. They find that the mansion is haunted by the ghosts of Plover’s housekeeper’s children, whom Plover’s sister had drugged and killed to prevent them from disturbing Plover’s work. Quentin discovers that Plover was learning magic and was molesting Martin Chatwin. Plover disappeared, rather than dying, leading Quentin to believe that he is the Beast. The four of them find the button with the children’s corpses. Meanwhile, Julia helps Richard by entering the mind of a paralyzed mute woman.
✅ The Magicians 1×10 – Homecoming
Penny has been trapped in the Neitherlands, the space between other worlds. He contacts Quentin and discovers that, while it’s only been 6 hours for him, it’s been 6 weeks back on Earth. To help Penny, Alice and Quentin travel to her parents’ house to ask for help from a family friend, who is also a Traveler. Penny meets a librarian in the Neitherlands who gives him information about how to fight the Beast. Quentin and Alice must resolve relationship issues to be able to cast a beacon spell which will help Penny find his way back to Earth. Eliot and Margo discover that an ex-boyfriend of hers had constructed a living Golem in her image. Julia hosts other magicians whom she knows through Richard, including Kady. Julia and Kady together learn some spells before joining their friends on a project, and then Richard explains to them that they are trying to summon a god to provide them with enough magical power to rewrite the past.
✅ The Magicians 1×11 – Remedial Battle Magic
Quentin, Alice, Penny, Eliot and Margo use probability magic to determine their best chance to kill the Beast and survive; the only option that doesn’t end in all of them dead is for them to travel to Fillory to kill the Beast. Because of time constraints, they prepare by learning the dangerous battle magic used by hedge witches. The Beast is driving Penny and other Travelers insane, leading some of them to kill themselves, including Penny’s mentor Stanley. Penny uses drugs to try blocking out the Beast’s voice, leading to an overdose. Professor Pearl Sunderland helps him shut the voices out. Mastering the battle spells leaves Quentin, Eliot, and Margo emotionally high and disoriented. Quentin has sex with Margo and Eliot, and when he wakes up he finds Alice at the foot of the bed. Kady and Julia search for clues to help them summon a god, and someone visits Julia in her dreams.
✅ The Magicians 1×12 – Thirty-Nine Graves
Alice and Quentin fight following his infidelity, and she sleeps with Penny as revenge. Quentin, Alice, Penny, Eliot, and Margo travel to the Neitherlands, where they are ambushed and Quentin falls back to Earth. The others hide in the Neitherland’s library, until Eliot burns a book and gets them kicked out. They find Josh Hoberman, one of the missing class students from Brakebills. Two years ago, he and a classmate – a Traveler named Victoria – led their class to Fillory. Meanwhile on Earth, Quentin talks to Dean Fogg, who reveals that Eliza is Jane Chatwin. She had been using an enchanted watch, given to her by a god named Ember, to create a time loop so she can try different methods of killing the Beast. After 39 failures, in which Quentin always died, she changed the starting circumstances by having Julia rejected from Brakebills so that she would learn magic by herself. Quentin reconciles with Julia to tell her the truth. Together, they find their way into Fillory by traveling back to 1942 and following young Jane Chatwin through a door to Fillory.
✅ The Magicians 1×13 – Have You Brought Me Little Cakes?
Travelling to Fillory, Julia and Quentin discover they’ve been followed by Martin Chatwin, whom they promise to help find Jane. They commission a blade to help them kill the Beast, and meet the Watcherwoman, a future Jane Chatwin. She says her farewell to them and helps them go back to the present time. As they arrive at the present time, Quentin and Julia receive the enchanted letter and map leading to Penny, Eliot and Margo. They get the blade, but Eliot has to marry the blade-maker’s daughter, Fen, as he was revealed via a second magic blade to be the future High King. Quentin and Julia look for Ember, who can give them enough power to hold the blade. Ember unlocks Julia’s memories, revealing that she and her friends, instead of summoning a goddess, had been duped into summoning a trickster god called Reynard the Fox, who raped Julia and killed her friends. After, she asks for Marina’s help to erase and alter her memories of the incident. Penny, Alice, Eliot and Margo rescue the Beast’s prisoners, Victoria and Christopher Plover, who reveal that the Beast is Martin Chatwin. Josh and Victoria leave the group and return to Earth, while the rest travel to the source of Fillory’s magic, the Wellspring, to ambush the Beast. There, the Beast overpowers them. Julia gets the blade from Alice, and holds the empowered knife to the Beast’s throat. Julia makes a deal with the Beast to kill Reynard, and they leave, with Quentin the only one left standing.
SERIES VERDICT: ★★★★