The Magicians VS Harry Potter

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 08:59

Sure, on the surface both The Magicians and Harry Potter could be construed as similar. They both feature hapless youths who discover that their lives have merely been precursors to the fantastical, magical worlds that await them. They are then whisked off to a school of magic where a greater threat than they could have possibly imagined threatens their lives and those of their friends.

Except if Hogwarts is Hermione Granger, a plucky earnest know-it-all, then Brakebills is Luna Lovegood on a booze and cigarette-filled bender.

Needless to say, there are parallels that one could draw, if one were so inclined, so we thought we’d make a list to get you started.

Accio The Magicians VS Harry Potter

The Secret Door

This may lack the pomp, circumstance and childhood wonder that Platform 9¾ possesses, but how else are you going to get to an enchanted schoolground in upstate New York? Actually, probably a bunch of other ways because Julia takes the elevator route and who knows how many other entrances there are into Brakebills. 


Magic, much like any sport or hobby, attracts a wide variety of personalities and talents, and in order to maximize one’s potential a young budding magician must be placed in a curriculum that will bring out true power. Quentin and Alice get placed with the Physical kids which is basically like if Gryffindor and Slytherin had a magical love child (because those are the only two houses people care about anyway).

The Childhood Rival

Dudley may have more of an Endomorphic body type than our young hedge witch friend, but Julia still represents Quentin’s connection to the outside world. While I don’t see the two of them living under the same roof every summer, Julia is still the person who was better than Quentin at everything when they were younger. Although Julia may be Draco, Dudley and Hermione all rolled into one: the overachieving, rival from Quentin's youth.

Excentric Relatives

With great power comes great weirdness. If worlds of magic have taught us anything, it’s that being able perform supernatural feats gives you the license to truly let your freak flag fly. Dinner at the Weasleys anyone?

Rival on Schoolgrounds

Just like He Who Must Not Be Named’s possession of Quirinus Quirrell and his subsequent access to Hogwarts in Book 1, The Beast is able to fairly easily gain access to Brakebills in Episode 1. Harry manages to escape The Sorcerer’s Stone with a few cuts and bruises; Dead Fogg however, pays a much steeper price. It's his eyeballs, the price he pays, his eyes. Yeesh.

Polyjuice Potion . . . Golems. Same thing

As Margot so eloquently puts it, "You put my life at risk so that you could have a realistic-looking sex doll." And let's be completely honest about what's actually going down behind closed sexual doors in the world of Harry Potter. You have to believe they're using polyjuice potion to get it on with whomever they want. 

Animal Transformations

Speaking of transformations, Quentin and Alice take on the forms of birds and later foxes during their stay at Brakebills South. It all makes you wonder if Patroni (plural?) ever make this sort of animal connection, it really can't be a coincidence that Lily and James had a doe and stag as theirs respectively, right?

Interactive Books

The pages really come to life in the books of Hogwarts. The books at Brakebills do also, but for a different purpose ... banging.

That one overly strict teacher who's really just lookin' out.

Just thinking about Snape and his plight could bring a legion of Potter fans to tears. Mayakovsky may have yet to inspire this level of devotion, but he is certainly dedicated to making his students into better magicians, even if he is a "DICK".

The Common Room

The Gryffindor common room is a place to share secret crushes, celebrate Quidditch victories, and cozy up to the fireplace to listen to clandestine messages from your fugitive uncle who thinks your parents' murderer is trying to break into school to kill you. The Physical kids common room is a place to get drunk. 10 points for The Physical House!!!


Quidditch represents a rich tradition of teamwork and athleticism that has inspired young college students across the globe to start Quidditch clubs of their own. It is universally beloved and celebrated (although a bit unbalanced if you ask this author: 150 points for the snitch is totally unreasonable). Welters is loathed by the students at Brakebills but on the plus side does seem to be the ideal arena to vent one's pent-up anger.

So what do you think? Can you think of any other similarities or glaring differences between Harry Potter and The Magicians? Let us know @Syfy.