HPB Book Club: Interview with a Magician

BookClub-logoFor the next few months, we’ll be reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Grab a copy at your local HPB and participate in the discussion on the HPB Facebook page through February and March. The Magicians has been adapted into a Syfy TV series. Our very own Assistant Buyer at Half Price Books, Kristen B., knows lead actor Jason Ralph in The Magicians TV series had the chance to ask him a few questions about his experience with the show so far.

When Jason Ralph moved to McKinney, Texas in middle school, he was a quiet kid. He barely spoke, but he would always get my notebook back for me when another classmate would steal it. Therefore, we became instant friends. As we both grew older and moved on to high school, Jason started to come out of his shell and we both became involved in high school theatre. Once Jason started acting on stage, it was clear that he was destined for greatness. With his good looks, charming charisma, and heart of gold, he was the guy that every girl wanted. Throughout the years we have stayed in touch, even when he went on stage as Peter in Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway.


The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman has long been one of my favorite series. When Jason told me he was going to be playing Quentin Coldwater, main character of The Magicians, on TV, needless to say, I was excited. I could not be more happy or proud of my friend. It’s so much fun to see articles on Buzzfeed and Empire about how perfect he is for the role. I recently caught up with him and asked him a few questions about the show.

What drew you to the role and what is your favorite part about playing your character, Quentin Coldwater?

Q’s not a classic hero, and never will be. He’s a troubled kid who’s a bit of an asshole, kind of neurotic, and is too selfish for his own good. But he’s fighting through his world the only way he knows how – with insatiable curiosity, intelligence, dry wit, and dumb luck. It’s the combination of all of these things that make him relatable even if you hate him and make you want to root for him even when you kind of want him to fail. It’s also why I love playing him.

bookcoverMagIf you could have a magical power, what would it be?

The thing I like about magic in these books is that it’s not something bestowed upon you (yes, sure, it helps to have a natural aptitude toward it, 😉 but rather something that you have to work hard at to get better. You’ll be as good as you’re willing to make yourself. I like that idea, and I hope that’s how it really works.

Will we see a lot of differences between the book and the TV show? (no spoilers!)

The show’s being made by fans of the books and when we stray from the plot we’re doing our best to stay true to the tone and essence of the characters and the novels. The journey is the same, we just sometimes take a slightly different route.

How has the author, Lev Grossman, been involved in the series?

Lev had been hugely supportive, and has been in constant communication with the shows writing team. We’re lucky to have him.

Thank you, Jason and good luck with the show!

Kristen B. is Assistant Buyer at Half Price Books Distribution Center.
You can follow her on Twitter at @kbev302.

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