Welcome freshmen, to Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy! You have been selected by Dean Fogg as a promising newbie with extraordinary powers. Your classes begin with Episode One of “The Magicians,” which you can view Dec. 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, or Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.
Of course, every college curriculum begins with a face sheet, so you can get to know all your fellow students. With that in mind, be sure to read up on all the fresh new faces you’ll be seeing at Brakebills. And please remember: No fire-based spells in your dorm room, please.
The most promising new student at Brakebills, Quentin can typically be found practicing card tricks or with his nose buried in a “Fillory and Further” book. Although he has classic leading-man looks, his social awkwardness and resistance to authority often gets in the way of his success.
“Quentin truly believes in magic, in a romantic way. He sees magic as a way to make the world better, to make it so life isn’t always a constant disappointment,” explains actor Jason Ralph. “He is forced to rediscover what he actually wants from life, from the world. His is a very thoroughly explored journey of a young man becoming the person he was meant to be.”
Beautiful and bookish, Alice is shy around the other Brakebills students — but a large part of that is because she has her nose to the grindstone, eager to develop magical skills that will help her avenge a dark family secret. You can call her the best student in the group, you can call her the most powerful — but just don’t call her Hermione Granger.
“Alice comes from a magical family, she was brought up in that world,” explains actress Olivia Taylor Dudley. “And she’s forcing her way into the Brakebills world.”
Arguably the leader of the “Physical Kids” (so-named because of the magic they practice), Eliot is charismatic, brilliant — and more than a bit unhinged. His skills and sexuality are both equally unpredictable, and that’s how he likes it.
“Eliot is a small, damaged boy — and there’s a part of that that comes out every so often,” explains actor Hale Appleman. “He has difficulty when he is forced to feel emotion that he is constantly trying to deaden with whatever vice he can — whether it’s sex, booze, drugs, whatever. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough to quell his emotional intensity.”
If this student’s name doesn’t ring familiar, you’ve already passed your first “Magicians” test — in the books, she’s known as Janet. What remains, however, is the character’s reputation as a party animal and Eliot’s constant companion in troublemaking.
“I’m a Physical Kid, I live in the Physical Cottage,” explains actress Summer Bashil. “I’m desperately in love with Eliot, but he’s not with me. Margo is somebody who is totally unhappy, desperate and alone — and she uses humor as her disguise.”
Last name unknown, Penny is every bit as mysterious as all that implies. Although very adept at his magic, he also has a self-destructive tendency to fly off the handle, and doesn’t play well with others. Except in the bedroom, where Penny has a tendency to make the room move — quite literally. “This role is a f*****g blessing,” grins actor Arjun Gupta. “Pardon my French.”
The black sheep of the Brakebills class, Julia grew up with Quentin and remains the object of his attention. But she wasn’t accepted into Brakebills, and isn’t the type of woman who takes no for an answer. Throughout Season One, she’ll journey on her own distinct path as she learns to harness her magical abilities outside the classroom.
“Julia has a very high self-esteem, she loves herself,” explains actress Stella Maeve. “It’s not even about jealousy, it’s just that she’s thrown off (by failing the Brakebills entrance exam). She’s never not completed something, and she’s determined to complete this.”