The Magicians Shocker: Harry Potter is Dead (And Why It Matters)

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Take a deep breath, play "Take On Me" by A-ha and try to get your bearings after watching The Magicians Season 4 Episode 13

Let the news sink in: Quentin Coldwater is dead. 

Say it again: Quentin Coldwater is dead. 

Quentin Writing - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 12

We knew that someone was dying at the end of The Magicians Season 4 Episode 7 when Penny went to The Underworld elevator and greeted an occupant saying that it had been a while.

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The Magicians did a pretty okay job at making us think that it was Kady succumbing to The Poison Room's -- well, poison, but then pulled the rug out from under us with Quentin's sacrifice. 

And he's not the kind of dead that people often come back from on The Magicians. This time, Quentin Coldwater is for-real dead. In the final shot of the Season 4 finale, he boards the Underworld Metro leaving behind his friends for the last time. 

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The Magicians is a show the regularly dodges death, but Quentin's has a sense of finality to it. The entire last act of the season finale is dedicated to his farewell and, in many ways, it feels like the writers were building to this moment, and this moment alone the entire season. 

Quentin and a Book

Quentin Coldwater may not have been your favorite character on The Magicians. He wasn't even likable sometimes. He was flawed and imperfect, but he had many layers and that's what he brought to the table so well. 

And he came a long way before his send off.

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When we first met Quentin in The Magicians Season 1 Episode 1, he was in a psychiatric institution, getting ready to go to graduate school and mourning the fact that he was going to sell his first edition Fillory books. 

From this introduction, Quentin immediately added some representation to the table. He was mentally ill, he'd had suicidal thoughts, he was on medication. None of that screams of a character who is fine and coping. 

Table for Two - The Magicians Season 2 Episode 13

When we meet him, he's stable and getting ready for a graduate school interview, but soon after he finds Brakebills University and with it his world view changes. Dean Fogg even takes away his medication because he claims that Quentin won't need it in Brakebills.

We got a glimpse of Quentin in the psych ward on The Magicians Season 1 Episode 4, but we were still seeing him from the Brakebills Quentin lens. We never really saw Quentin at his lowest. (Although he did struggle after Alice died during The Magicians Season 2.) 

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Now let's look at the second bit of Quentin's introduction in the first episode: his love of the Fillory and Further series by Christopher Plover.

Quentin Coldwater was a fanboy, and in that way Quentin Coldwater was just like many of us reading this. 

No Soliciting - The Magicians Season 2 Episode 12

If you are engaging with this media about a television show, then Quentin Coldwater is you.

You may not be a white male protagonist who is living his best life as king of a fictional land, but you are a fan, and at the heart of it that's what Quentin Coldwater was. 

If you have ever loved a book, movie, tv show, or musician so much then Quentin Coldwater is you.

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His love for Fillory is just like any fan's out there. He loves what he loves unconditionally, and he is unapologetic for it even when his classmates give him a hard time. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Penny-40.) 

Quentin Coldwater got to live the ultimate fanboy dream. He loved the Fillory books. He knew, everything about them, and he was instrumental in getting the rest of his friends through Fillory (reasonably) unharmed. 

Fillory and Further - The Magicians Season 2 Episode 12

Just like any fan, he also had to grow up and accept some realities. 

It's one thing to love a series, it's another to find it's real and not as perfect as you thought. When Quentin went into Fillory he had to accept that maybe there were some things it can't give you. 

Everything I've ever wanted, I've got. Magic is real and it can fix anything except what I need. I loved a girl. My entire life I've dreamed of Fillory. That I would be like Martin Chatwin. I'd find a way to stay here forever. Send me home.


Throughout the series, Quentin encounters that his favorite books are probably best classified as a problematic fave. Plover is a pedophile, Fillory is more dangerous than it is an oasis, and the gods in control aren't as benevolent as they appear to be. 

Quentin Plays Push - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 3

As Quentin's schoolboy fantasy is ripped from him, he loses a part of himself, but by the end of Season 4, he's at peace with loving the idea of Fillory. 

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On The Magicians Season 4 Episode 12, with the help of Alice that he doesn't have to let go of the things he loves in order to enjoy them. 

Believing in something, really believing, is almost impossible, but the Quentin I first met, he believed in magic, and in Fillory.


Quentin's death is going to change the series, but given that the showrunners and writers have done a great job bolstering the rest of the cast with their plots this season The Magicians feels primed to charge forward. 

Quentin and Alice  - The Magicians Season 4 Episode 12

Yes, right now it feels like Voldemort might be standing in front of us screaming "Quentin Coldwater is dead!" but Quentin was always backed up by his friends. With their diverse backgrounds and storylines, The Magicians can go into its Season 5 renewal on strong footing. 

And if the characters start the series off mourning the loss of one of their own, that's fine too. Grief comes in stages, and as Penny said he changed their lives. 

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The heartbreaking final scene where Quentin meeting Penny-40 in The Underworld and struggles to remember what happens, brings to mind the character that we met back on The Magicians Season 1.

Most of my life I've been in and out of hospitals, and you know, just suicidal thoughts and notes, and...a lot of notes. Attempts, and meds, and therapy, and then I found Brakebills, and all that went away. I thought that...Did I do something brave to save my friends? Or did I finally find a way to kill myself?


By the time he boarded the Underworld Metro, Quentin knew that he died saving his friends and that they would be okay.

We haven't seen a soul in their version of an afterlife yet, but we can imagine that maybe Quentin's in Fillory as he imagined it as a kid.

What did you think of The Magicians Season 4 finale shocker?

Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to watch The Magicians Season 4 online

Lauren Busser is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Magicians Quotes

Dean: Snuck a box of Oreos.
Quentin: Magicians can't eat Oreos?
Dean: Diabetics can't eat Oreos.

I can't just go to Yale if I know this place exists.