authors | February 01, 2016

A More Adult Magic: On the TV Adaptation of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians

Lev Grossman’s NYT bestselling The Magicians made the spellbinding leap from print to screen this past December. Now three episodes in, the Syfy-based television series has been garnering enthusiastic reviews from critics around the country. Starring Jason Ralph and Stella Maeve, the moody, dazzling, and fx-charged episodes are inspiring millions of new viewers to discover Grossman’s original novels—a trilogy of books called “the best urban fantasy in years” (The A.V. Club) and “sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy” (Joe Hill).

If you haven’t encountered the books, The Magicians tells the story of miserable high school math whiz Quentin Coldwater, and his admission to an “elite, secret college of magic” called Breakbills. Touted as a more adult, brooding version of Harry Potter, Entertainment Weekly calls the new series “a looking-glass fiction held up to a world cluttered with looking-glass fictions” and an “American pop-aware enterprise with an abundance of salty cynicism and sex magic, plus a sinister force of antagonism.” To The Hollywood ReporterThe Magicians’ “ability to be entertaining and compelling with remarkable consistency ... is a real and pleasant surprise.”

Grossman is understandably proud and excited to see the series take off. “The feeling of seeing something you’ve written, putting the scenes together in your head, and then to watch a team of people build it in real life—it’s incredibly exciting,” says Grossman in the clip above. “For those of you who are fans of the books, and have read them and have invested emotionally in them, I really hope you’ll watch the show. A lot of the details are different. But I think you’ll find that the characters, their personalities, their souls, are the same. The people who made this show—they love the books as much as you do. And they put their whole hearts into trying to get whatever is special about the books onto the screen. And I think they’ve done that.”

What makes The Magicians so much fun also translates into Grossman’s enthralling keynotes. Whether he’s explaining why fantasy matters (to both adults and children, and in all cultures), ruminating on the great rebalancing of high and low entertainment, or commenting more generally about contemporary life—sharing insights from his work for TIMEWiredThe Believer, or The Village Voice—his talks are full of illuminating anecdotes and frank insights into the way we live, read, watch, and browse now. 

If you haven’t read his work or seen its screen adaptation, now’s the perfect time to get acquainted with one of America’s most reliable cultural critics. 

To hire author Lev Grossman as the keynote speaker of your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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entertainers | January 31, 2016