In a series like The Magicians, knowledge is power, and intelligence is measured by how well a character can understand and perform magic.
In a series likWhen season five of The Magicians comes to a close, so does the series as a whole. Throughout the episodes, fans have watched one group of young adults struggle their way through magical lessons, fall in and out of love, and save the world a few times. Inspired by the books by Lev Grossman, The Magicians has veered a little (and sometimes, a lot) from its source material. The Magicians, knowledge is power, and intelligence is measured by how well a character can understand and perform magic.
One thing that remains the same is that the main cast of characters have found their ways out of some complicated magical situations. In looking at just which magicians are the smartest of the bunch, we’re examining just how good they are at exactly that: solving magical problems. Some characters are actually better at it than you’d think.
Todd is often the brunt of jokes on the series thanks to his lackluster approach to magic. He’d much rather be partying than be solving magical issues around the world. If you need Dean Fogg’s complete autobiography (in any timeline), Todd is your guy.
When handed quests or given instructions, Todd frequently doesn’t remember enough of them, or even pay attention to what he’s told. Todd doesn’t even get to showcase his magical skills in the television series very often, so it’s hard to say how much help he could even be during a large-scale magical problem.
Penny is a smart guy when it comes to traveling and foreseeing the consequences of his actions. He’s not so smart when it comes to actually doing any problem solving.
That’s largely because instead of using his brain power to solve magical issues or thwart apocalypses, Penny uses it to try to talk his friends out of doing just that. He would rather run from the problem than solve it. That doesn’t make him unintelligent, but it does mean he lacks a lot of critical skills when it comes to magic that isn’t in his immediate wheelhouse.
Quentin’s magical specialty is fixing broken objects. It stands to reason that he’d be a great magical problem solver with his natural affinity for magic and his large imagination.
The only reason Quentin ranks so low on the list is that, for all of his researching and his knowledge, he tends to hyper focus on the wrong things. Quentin gets bogged down in the details that won’t actually solve the problems at hand. He also tends to be most knowledgeable about Fillory’s history, which serves him well in the beginning of his story, but not so well as it comes to an end.
Fen is the only character here who doesn’t actually use magic. It’s interesting, then, that she ranks above a trio of Brakebills students. Fen is smarter when it comes to magic than a lot of the other characters give her credit for.
Not only is she as much an encyclopedia of Fillorian knowledge as Quentin is, but she’s also incredibly observant when it comes to magic and magical creatures. Even though she’s not a magician herself, she’s able to make a truce with fairies. Fen is also often the one who sees what the magicians can’t: the flaw in their plans.
Like Fen, Josh is often underestimated by his friends. Of course, Josh also often causes more problems than he solves.
Josh is frequently the secret weapon of the group. He’s great at figuring out just what can keep the team going. Sometimes, that’s mixing the science of cooking with a few magical ingredients for specific power boosts. Other times, that’s having a connection to a god or two that could help save the day. Josh has a lot of knowledge that no one expects him to have. He might not be the guy actually saving the day, but he’s the guy who makes sure someone else can.
Eliot spends a lot of his time avoiding problems or trying to drink them away. That’s mostly true for Eliot early in the series. Even though he’d rather forget his own problems, when the fate of magic or the world is on the line, he’s ready to brainstorm.
Eliot is smart in that he knows that he doesn’t have all the answers. He relies on the people around him and puts together their knowledge and specialties to find his own solution. Eliot is even able to understand his friends’ disciplines enough to follow through on their research and magic to help solve the mysteries at hand.
At the beginning of the series, Katie caused more problems than she solved, much like Josh. Also like Josh, she’s like a secret weapon. Thanks to being raised as a hedge witch, Kady has a lot of obscure knowledge and connections to the magical world.
It’s Kady’s ability to use those connections that ranks her so high. She’s like a detective in the way she pursues possible fixes for broken magic or apocalyptic events. That’s probably why she was a detective in her cover life. There is also always someone who owes her a favor whose knowledge she can use to help the cause.
Margo is usually more about action than she is thought. That can lead to some pretty bad consequences, but it also means she’s not content to sit back and wallow when a problem seems too difficult.
Margo is the kind of character who will journey through the desert and liberate an entire group of women as soon as she understands their plight. She’s not always great with the research, but she’s a fast learner and great at following through with her plans.
Narrowly missing the top spot is Julia. Julia doesn’t have the benefit of a Brakebills education, but she absorbs information about magic and myth like a sponge. Her education as a hedge witch and her understanding of her friends’ lessons from Brakebills means she’s got the best knowledge of both magical worlds – to an extent.
Like Margo, Julia never stops looking for a solution. No matter how difficult times get, she keeps going. The difference between the two, however, is that Julia is right at home doing research while Margo would rather jump right into action. Julia has the benefit of a bit more level headed approach to using her magic, which makes her more likely to solve more complicated puzzles than Margo.
The last of the main characters fans have watched learn how to become a skilled magician is Alice. Alice’s desire for knowledge is so insatiable that she’s been imprisoned by The Library, become a niffin, and definitely been one of the most powerful magic users on the show.
Like Julia, Alice is no stranger to research. If it’s related to magic, she’s read it. She’s familiarized herself with the magical stories of Fillory and could probably teach just about any class at Brakebills if she wanted to. Alice has a knack for understanding magic that most of the people in the series don’t. That doesn’t mean she can solve every magical problem in every world on her own, but it does mean that she’s the best equipped to search for solutions and put them into action.