For all your fans of The Magicians, we’re reposting this rundown from Lev Grossman himself (originally appearing here on July 7) regarding all of the hidden allusions in the first book of this series. Keep it in mind while gulping down The Magician King!
I have a habit — it’s not a bad habit, not a good habit, just a habit — of hiding allusions in my books as I write them. I’m not sure why I do this — it’s a tic, maybe even a compulsion. As a result The Magicians is full of little semi-secret nods and shout-outs to books and other things that I love. Some of them are fantasy and science fiction, some of them aren’t. They range from the huge and obvious — anybody who’s read it knows the whole book is a kind of three-way Stoppardian mud-wrestle with J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis — to the borderline subliminal. Probably there’s stuff in there that even I’m not aware of.
It’s not meant as a puzzle, just little touches that I hope a few people will notice and get some pleasure from. Some of it’s part of the worldbuilding: I had a rule for myself with The Magicians, which was that everything that exists in our world has to exist in the Magiciansverse. So for example, even though the characters go to a college for magic, I also thought that they all should have read Harry Potter. Inevitably little references to him creep into their conversation. I didn’t go overboard with it, because that would have gotten too cute and meta. I just thought it was realistic. Like Hermione hasn’t read the Narnia books a million times! But she never talks about it.