The Magician King

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The Magician King
The Magician King - Novel - Cover Art.jpg
Cover of The Magician King
Author Lev Grossman
Country United States
Language English
Genre Low fantasy, Parallel universe
Publisher Viking/Penguin Books
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 400 pp (first edition)
ISBN 978-0-670-02231-1
LC Class PS3557.R6725 M28
Preceded by The Magicians
Followed by The Magician's Land

The Magician King is a fantasy novel by Lev Grossman, published in 2011 by Viking Press, the sequel to The Magicians. It continues the story of Quentin Coldwater, interweaving it with the story of his high school crush, Julia, who learned magic outside of the standard school setting and joined him in Fillory.

Plot Summary[edit]

Bored with ruling the magical realm of Fillory with his co-rulers Eliot, Janet and Julia, the magician king Quentin looks for an adventure to give his life some meaning. He commissions a ship and travels with Julia, his distant and damaged former love interest, to the Outer Island to collect back taxes from the region. Once there, Quentin stumbles across a fairy tale regarding seven golden keys. The search for one of the keys on a nearby island accidentally sends Quentin and Julia back to Earth with seemingly no way to return to Fillory. The attempt to return becomes Quentin and Julia's new, unintended quest. On Earth, Quentin and Julia team up with Josh and his friend Poppy, who try to aid them in their return. Along the way, their journey grows more complicated as they discover an even deeper quest with dire implications for magic users everywhere, and the four magicians are drawn into Fillory to help in the fateful search for the golden keys.

Julia's backstory unfolds in parallel to Quentin's current adventures. Starting with her failed entrance exam to Brakebills, the elite magical college Quentin attended, Julia flounders in depression, desperately seeking anything that can bring magic back into her life. After years of painstaking research and working her way up the hierarchy of a secret society of hedge witches, Julia eventually attains enough magical skill to catch the eye of an elite group of genius-level magicians who practice magic outside the closed world of the magical colleges. The group becomes like a family to her and trains her further in the magical arts. Things go awry, however, when the group decides on a powerful summoning in an attempt to further their magical learning, and the subsequent events leave Julia transformed.

Major characters[edit]

  • Quentin Coldwater - A former resident of Brooklyn, Quentin became one of the kings of Fillory after a series of magical misadventures.
  • Julia Wicker - A skilled magician with a troubled past and a damaged psyche, Julia reigns in the magical realm of Fillory as one of its queens.

Minor characters[edit]

  • Asmodeus - A powerful teenage hedge witch and member of the Free Trader Beowulf
  • Bingle - The finest swordsman in Fillory and Quentin's personal bodyguard
  • Benedict - A sullen, teenage cartographer from Fillory
  • Elaine - The emissary of Fillory stationed on Outer Island
  • Eleanor - Elaine's daughter and an inhabitant of Outer Island
  • Eliot Waugh - Quentin's former senior at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and High King of Fillory
  • Free Trader Beowulf - A support network on Earth of super-intelligent people from around the world who live with mental illness
  • Janet Pluchinsky - Quentin's former classmate at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and one of the Queens of Fillory
  • Jollyby (Master of the Hunt) - The stout and bearded hunts master for the royalty of Fillory
  • Josh Hoberman - Quentin, Elliot and Janet's Brakebills classmate and fellow "Physical Kid"
  • Reynard the Fox - A trickster god with the head of a fox
  • Penny - Quentin's former classmate and a caretaker of the Neitherlands
  • Poppy - An Australian magician and friend of Josh who studies dragons
  • Pouncy Silverkitten - A powerful hedge witch and member of the Free Trader Beowulf
  • Thomas - A young boy living in the Chatwins' Cornwall estate who helps Quentin and Julia return to Fillory


The book garnered good reviews from most venues, including Todd VanDerWerff at The Onion‍‍ '​‍s A.V. Club, who gave it an A, writing that the sequel was "clearly the middle book in a trilogy, but it’s that rare creature that bridges the gap between tales and still stands on its own."[1] A sequel, titled The Magician's Land, was published in August 2014, incorporating the events of the short story "The Girl in the Mirror" (published as part of the anthology Dangerous Women) and featuring a new character, Plum, leading a prank against a classmate that doesn't go as intended. The book also features Quentin Coldwater as a professor, and the titular girl, who may be a niffin Alice.


  1. ^ Todd VanDerWerff (10 August 2011). "Review: The Magician King". The A.V. Club. 

External links[edit]