Think of THE MAGICIANS like Harry Potter in university. Based on the popular book series by Lev Grossman, the show centers around Quentin and Julia — childhood best friends who both get an unexpected invitation to take the entrance exam for Brakebills University. Only this isn’t any ordinary school, it’s a hidden school for magic. Quentin passes the exam, which introduces him to interesting new classmates, while Julia does not — and her continuing magic education goes in a completely different direction.
To help introduce you to the many characters that inhabit this fantastical world, Syfy has helpfully put together character featurettes, which you can watch below.
Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of THE MAGICIANS on January 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.
According to Jason Ralph, Quentin is “existentially depressed and perpetually disappointed” when he’s invited to try out for Brakebills. He’s a huge fan of a book series that’s a mash-up between Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia and this is what helps introduce him to the world of magic. In fact, he feels vindicated when he learns that a world of magic exists after believing in it so long and he’s happy to go on his hero’s journey.
Julia, meanwhile, is passionate and driven, according to Stella Maeve. But while Quentin continued to believe in magic, Julia grew up and left it behind her. When she fails the Brakebills exam, she still wants to get in. She will, however, go on a “dark and harsh” journey with magic, which is contrasted with Quentin’s journey.
Eliot Waugh is “a naughty, rebellious, alpha, leader, troublemaker sophisticate, dandy, aesthetic genius,” says Hale Appleman. As the “unofficial prince” of Brakebills, he’s used to putting on a good party and a show. But he’s hiding “an immense amount of loneliness and vulnerability.” Margo is his BFF, but their relationship is very codependent.
Margo Hansen is “an intensely motivated and ambitions young student,” explains Summer Bishil. She may seem manipulative at first glance, but she also has a soft side. She perceives new students as a threat, so she tries to make alliances to deal with that.
Arjun Gupta describes William “Penny” Adiyodi as “a lone wolf” and someone who is like an American gypsy — moving in and out of foster homes since a young age. His abilities force him to confront aspects of his personality and past that he would rather leave behind.
Olivia Taylor Dudley describes Alice Quinn as “shy [and] introverted”. She grew up in a family of magicians, but she’s not eager to join the world. The only reason she’s at Brakebills is to find out what happened to her brother, Charlie, who disappeared while attending the school.