4 reasons we’re still obsessed with The Magicians
Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, Warm Bodies) stars as academic and historian Diana Bishop, a witch denying her magical heritage until the discovery of an ancient manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library throws her into the heart of a dangerous mystery – and into the path of enigmatic geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont (Emmy nominee Matthew Goode from The Good Wife, Downton Abbey and The Crown).
While it’s a boon for fans of supernatural romances, there are other reasons to add it to your watchlist – even if you don’t generally go in for shows like True Blood:
When A Discovery of Witches was published in 2011, The New York Times labeled it as “Harry Potter for grown-ups,” while NPR praised the follow-up, Shadow of Night, as “Twilight for the intellectually restless.” The All Souls trilogy went on to sell over 3.5m copies.
Deborah Harkness, the author, is descended from a woman hanged in Salem for witchcraft; runs an award-winning wine blog; has a doctorate in the history of magic and science in Europe; and currently teaches European history and the history of science at The University of Southern California.
“My career in fiction began in September 2008, when I started to wonder, ‘If there really are witches and vampires, what do they do for a living?’ A Discovery of Witches was the unexpected answer to that question…”
“In the absence of True Blood and Twilight, A Discovery of Witches offers those longing for a new supernatural-romance an entertaining series to sink their teeth into,” says IGN.
“Goode and Palmer’s on-screen chemistry is stellar… They’re both so darn charming that it’s difficult to not get sucked into their whirlwind romance.”
As The New York Times put it, “The idea of the vampire as perfect lover is pretty old by now, but really, lovers don’t get much more perfect than the vampire aristocrat Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches. He listens so well he can hear your heartbeat rise, he’s so sensitive he can feel your heat, and he’s so passionate he can just barely stop himself from ripping into your throat. That he’s played by that tall drink of plasma Matthew Goode is just overkill…”
As The Alantic writes, “As Matthew, Goode is clearly here to have a good time, scowling and sniffing and shooting Palmer’s Diana so many hot looks that you worry her hair might catch fire…”
The AVClub adds, “Most important, their relationship is an equitable one, one that’s built on trust, which is far more romantic than a certain sparkly vision that came before it… Diana and Matthew will have you swooning.”
In the world of A Discovery of Witches, for a witch to fall in love with a vampire is akin to a white woman falling in love with a black man during apartheid: it’s not just frowned upon but illegal, thanks to a centuries-old law enforced by The Congregation, a shadowy institution that keeps the peace between vampires, witches and daemons. But the heart wants what it wants…
As The Los Angeles Times says, A Discovery of Witches is ultimately about “the ill effects of tribalism — a timely and timeless issue — and how love, or at least cooperation across lines, might improve things for all sides… At the heart of it all is I guess what you’d call a slow-blooming interracial romance. Will love be the key to a less bigoted supernatural future for all?“
Filming took place in South Wales, Oxford and Venice. “The location budget seems to have been approximately $10 trillion,” wrote The Atantic. “A Discovery of Witches just looks expensive. It’s as gorgeously shot and cinematic as a Bond movie, sweeping over the spires and cobbled streets of Oxford, the azure canals of Venice, and the various stately homes and ancestral châteaus that Matthew calls home (when you’ve been alive for more than a thousand years, the series hints, you acquire an extreme amount of real estate).”
As The Hollywood Reporter says, “Even if you aren’t at all interested in forbidden supernatural romance” you might “still enjoy the series as a photogenic travelogue.”