Fillory – and further…

If my title makes any sort of sense to you, then you will also be a reader of the Lev Grossman Magicians trilogy – or be watching the 5* TV series inspired by the same. The world of Fillory has been described as being like a Narnia for adults or, if you’re watching the show, it’s been referred to as a grown-up Harry Potter tale. The TV and book versions differ a fair bit in their form, as is to be expected, though their make-up remains very much the same…

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My feeling is that, as we all know, there are no really original stories left in this, or any other, world. Hence, there will always be comparisons to those novels which came before. Of course in reality, Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, isn’t really like Hogwarts at all, and Fillory isn’t really like Narnia, though it’s easy to see why they’ve been compared. The ingredients are similar – young people learning magic and travelling to other worlds; a beast out to get them – it’s a new spin on a classic type of tale. Which is, of course, where the author’s skill comes into play – how Grossman makes his stories come alive in fresh and unusual ways.

His fans are pretty high-profile in the writing world, with the likes of Junot Diaz, George R. R. Martin and The New Yorker among the many to rave about the writing. All three books were also previously New York Times Bestsellers – which I love to see for  the fantasy fiction genre.

Usually, I prefer to have read the book before watching a film or TV version of it, as I like to have confirmed the characters and the landscape in my mind before the screen dictates it to me. However, I stumbled upon The Magicians TV series before buying the books, so have actually been reading and watching at the same time – which has made it interesting in terms of seeing how the scriptwriters have adapted the novels. I’m currently on the final part of the trilogy, but there are elements in the TV series which have migrated into the series already – the writers weaving the book narratives into the show in unexpected but very clever ways.

To be so far ahead in the books but to be watching the series at the same time, makes for an intriguing insight into how two types of writers create a story – for the page and for the screen. I can’t say which I prefer, to be honest, as they both tell the story in different ways, each one playing to its audience perfectly.

Lots of novels get adapted for stage and screen these days, so from a writer’s point of view, I think it’s useful to see how much a story may seem to change on screen, yet retain all the essential elements of the tale. Indeed, with TV always keen to add in a dash more drama to the mix, it can really bring a story to life…

I’ll always prefer to read the books – the page, after all, is where every story starts – but it must be nice for an author who’s achieved all they can with a book, to see their imaginings enjoy a second life on screen. I for one, can’t wait to see how it all ends…

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