Be warned. The show is very different from the books. It takes Lev Grossman's characters and some plot lines and his phenomenal atmosphere and squeezes them into a different story. Nevertheless, I think that the tv show is pretty well made and fascinating in its own way and I devoured every episode.
So, withour further ado, here are the characters of The Magicians - TV show vs Books.
(There will be minor spoilers.)
Quentin is the story's protagonist and I think in the most parts they really found a good Quentin. Tv Quentin is just as crumpy and unconfortable and unlikable as in the books. I do love Quentin's development in the books, so let's see where he'll go in the show.
In the show however Quentin starts out with a clinically diagnosed depression for which he was in a psychatric hospital for a while, while in the books he's just a bit negative but not clinically depressed. I feel like in the show they made him a bit sadder and weaker while in the books he's more of an asshole. In neither is Quentin a character you want to look up to, but this is just what I love about Lev Grossman's world - it's not perfect, it's real.
Julia was a big surprise in the tv show, because in the books her story only takes place in the second book and in the show they already squeezed it into the first season.
By the way, another huge difference between the books and the show is that in the show they are in college for the whole time and that's when all the story happens, while in the books college ends after the first third of the first book and the story starts only after they hung around their New York apartment doing nothing. But I get why they changed that. Seriously for the frst half of the first book, very little happens and you can only show depressed twentysomethings drinking for so many episodes before the viewers are bored.
Back to Julia. Julia's story in book 2 was my favorite part of the whole serious. It's absolutely brutal and terrifying and simply genius. In the show I think that they shortened it too much and that her suffering doesn't get enough credit.
I do love Julia though, in the books as well as in the show. She is my reminder that sometimes you have to take the tough path to get to your goal. She's incredibly determined and strong and she really goes through hell but she survives and that's why she is the character who inspires me the most.
Oh, Alice, I hated her in the books and I hate her just as well in the show. I wouldn't mind if they made her a bit more bearable in the tv show but unfortunately they stayed with Lev Grossman's idea of her. Alice is incredibly uptight and stiff and controlling and everytime she has a scene, I feel uncomfortable.
I love Eliot! They really nailed Eliot, he looks excactly how I imagined him. Eliot is this glamorous diva who everyone notices when he enters a room. He's handsome and he likes to party. But beneath it, he is extremely broken, he's such a tragic character. In the tv show they kind of gave him a reason to be this way but in the books it seems like he was just born unhappy. Of course he develops into a better version of himself, but in the show this has yet to come. Right now he's a desperate alcoholic. I always kind of related with Eliot because it feels like he's the only one who realizes what an awful place the world can be at times.
When I started the show, I was like: Who the hell is Margo? Then after a while it dawned on me, that she has to be Janet from the books - Why the hell would they changed her name? I think Janet is a perfectly fine name. Who's called Margo?
Whatever you call her, she's kind of a bitch, manipulating, condescending but also really self-confident and she has the potential to be great. She's Eliots best friend and they have an unhealthy relationship in which she obviously loves him but he's gay so he has no interest.
Penny is the one character who they really improved in the show. In the books Penny is an outsider, a weird loner, who makes bad jokes and who everyone hates and looks down to. I always suspected that he's merely a plot device. But in the tv shows he's fabolous. He is the character with the best style, both fashion-wise and attitude-wise. He's funny and sassy and unbreakable. I actually love him in the show and hated him in the books. Also he has the coolest gift of them all. While the others can only do minor magic, Penny can travel between worlds - how cool is that?
Okay, seriously, who the hell is Kady? There's no Kady in the books. In the show Kady seems to be Penny's girlfriend + associated with the underground magic circle Julia belongs to + part of an internet magicians group. She's an interesting character but I still don't know where they're going with her.
So, yes sometimes I'm upset that the tv show changed so much from the books but at the same time I'm just so happy to see my favourite flawed characters come alive on the screen. Can't wait till season 2!