“Would it be possible to write that kind of story – like that kind of story, like C.S. Lewis told – for adults? Put in all the stuff that they leave out. All the sex, all the violence, all the horror… and drinking and sex and all that stuff? The book I read that launched me was Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Having read that, I thought that I had to sort of try and do that. It just seemed so urgent that somebody try to do that and I wanted to read that book so badly.”
About The Magicians, Lev says: “What would really happen if a young man went to a college for magic and upon graduating found out there was no Voldemort, no Sauron? There was no primary antagonist in the universe to have him go off and fight. It seemed really honest to send him to New York and have him proceed to screw around and waste his energy and his power and his magic. Drinking and going to dinner parties. Because I feel like that’s what would happen. And I wanted it to be a bit of a shock, but not gratuitously so.
“By the way, the New York section used to be like five times as long, it turned into this epic sort of pub crawl, and eventually I just kind of cut it down to one dinner party.
“I don’t think there is a moral center, a grounding. Novels aren’t about moral centers, they’re more about disturbing the idea of moral centers.
“The ending is really about psychological health, or willingness to confront, the fact that there are no easy moral answers, but that’s as much as I’m willing to cop to.
Moderator Jeff asked him if it were true that Lev’s mom thinks Quentin commits suicide? “That’s not disturbing to me at all, that doesn’t make me uncomfortable, that my mother assumed that this character that represents me…
“It’s not what actually happens.”
After a few questions from the moderator to warm things up, the floor was opened for questions for Lev. Jeff walked around with a mic and took questions from the crowd.