|sent from: Esher, Surrey, UK. destination: San Francisco, California, USA|
Having concluded “The Magicians“, I tore last week into the sequel, “The Magician King”, and enjoyed it even more, because the pre-amble of the first book was dealt with. I can’t cover all my thoughts in the space of this card, so I will focus on what I like most about Lev Grossman’s presentation of his main character, Quentin.
Quentin is gifted, yes, and very good at magic, but he’s not the best. In this way he’s not marked in some kind of Messianic way as Harry Potter, or Kvothe in The Name of The Wind books, in which we are reminded, incessantly and with clear insecurity, how much better he is than everyone around him. We’re following Quentin because – why not? – but his friends have equally interesting paths and thoughts. Quentin starts off on a hero’s quest and like all of us casts big events into his own frame of reference asking, what should I do? What does the hero do? And, as in life (though rarely in fantasy literature) comes to the realisation that he may not be the hero of this story, and maybe he never was.
In today’s ME-obsessed culture, that might be the hardest demon to wrestle with.