Why?!?! - An Author's note

For a final project in Fantasy Fiction (check out sf@sf- its a great resource for everything fantasy and sci-fi) I decided to do a timeline. But I couldn't do any ordinary timeline, right? I mean, that would be entirely too easy.

So for your pleasure, and my pain, this is a timeline showing the progression of magical education since A Wizard of Earthsea was published in 1968-- to see if apprenticeships have died in the wake of the magic school phenomenon... or if they're coming back. Or even more interesting, if they never left in the first place.

And even though this is for a class, I plan on working on it for.. well, forever. So any and all feedback is welcome, and appreciated.

Enjoy the journey through time, my weary travelers. Because here... we... go!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2009- Grossman & The Magicians

41 years after Earthsea we have Lev Grossman's The Magicians.
Our little teaser from the back of the book tells us: 

"Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he's secretly fascinated with a series of children's fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing in comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams may have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined..." 

Like Rothfuss, Grossman took the idea of magical education a step further. This idea of higher learning for the magically adept is getting more popular, especially after the ending of the Harry Potter series. 

There is no apprenticeship in this novel, and yet the way that Brakebills College is set up makes you wonder if Quentin might have been better off if he was an apprentice...

"Now he floated through Professor March's lectures from the back row, feeling lofty contempt for his classmates, who were only on Popper etude No. 27...He hated the bitter, burned smell of the coffee they drank.... He recognized the irritable, unpleasant, unhappy person he was becoming: he looked strangely like the Quentin he thought he'd left behind in Brooklyn" (64)

Quentin doesn't seem to be growing as a person as a result of education. 

Actually, he sounds like us normal humans in normal colleges during finals (haha). 

Quentin appears to be suffering from all of the knowledge, without the skills to turn it into something useful. And all that knowledge could, possibly, be dangerous. 

Would Quentin's situation be different if he was an apprentice? We don't know, but we do know that Brakebills doesn't seem to be helping him very much. And as much as he's learning, he's not exactly becoming more mature, or wise, or.. anything. 

While it wouldn't have made sense to have higher learning in the form of apprenticeship, it does make you wonder: what is it, exactly, that makes a structured school setting so much more beneficial? 

As the last post (as of right now) in this timeline, there is no apprenticeship. 

But.. we saw it in 2007


I guess we can say that the idea of apprentice learning for magical education comes and goes, and may have more to do with the author's view of education than anything else. 

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