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Posts Tagged ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’

I’m going to wait on butterbeer. My Theme Park Ranger pal Dewayne assures me it’s kind of yummy, but I can’t imagine that it’s good enough to make me stand in line when the the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens June 18th at Universal Studios here in Orlando. Snow may be glistening on the turrets of Hogwarts, but it’s going to be crazy hot and crowded for months to come. So on the advice of friends who work there (and will not tell me ANY secrets because then they would have to kill me), I’m going to wait for winter — in some undetermined year — to visit. Maybe by then there’ll be diet butterbeer.

Meanwhile, I’m returning to Fillory, the enchanted kingdom at the center of one of my favorite books of recent years, The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Out in paperback now, it’s Harry Potter writ dark for adults who also are familiar with the transporting worlds of C.S. Lewis, T.H. White, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin and Lewis Carroll. Also, assorted fantasies, fairy tales, comic books, graphic novels and video games. Yet Grossman’s alchemy creates its own kind of magic.  Real magic.

After reading The Magicians last year, I’m pretty sure Fillory exists. You may think that it’s made up, like Narnia, and if you just find the right wardrobe, there’ll you be. Kid stuff. Well, that’s what Quentin Coldwater assumes before he walks down a Brooklyn alley and finds himself in upstate New York at Brakebills College, the Ivy League of modern sorcery. There’s drugs and drink and sex, and lots of  lying around and talking, because this is college. But the curriculum is difficult and dangerous. It’s more than smoke and mirrors and memorization, which can be boring. As Quentin and his classmates learn, you have to merge with magic. But to what end?

Ah, there’s the rub. What’s a young sorcerer to do in Manhattan these days? Find Fillory, of course — providing this mythic land exists outside the pages of a series of children’s books.

I’m following Quentin. I suspect a sequel’s in the works. That’s because borders.com is featuring a new short story by Grossman, “Endgame.” It stands on its own, but the end sounds like a beginning. Hope so.

Open Book: I bought my copy of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (Viking) when it came out in hardcover. I also have a copy of Grossman’s first novel, The Codex, which is different and good.

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