A few weeks ago I wrote about how where you are physically can affect what you choose to read, whether it be deciding to choose something that takes place in the same country you’re traveling through or something that is the exact opposite of, say, that cold, snowy Chicago winter you’re suffering through. In my post Should I Read About Hiking While Hiking? I talked about loving a good adventure story, especially since I’ve been off having my own adventure this past year.
This definitely still holds true, but as I was reading The Magician King by Lev Grossman I also saw a lot of how where you are in your life emotionally/spiritually/mentally affects what you get out of what you’re reading, whether the subject matter is similar or opposite your current situation. You definitely see each novel you take in through the lens of your life at that moment.
A little background, I read The Magicians (click for my original post), the first book in Lev Grossman’s trilogy about a month or so ago and didn’t love it. Disappointing. But it was a great concept so I wanted to read book two, and I am VERY glad I did.
The Magician King was something else compared to the first book in Lev Grossman’s trilogy, The Magicians. There was an improvement to every single one of the characters, the book was funnier, the references more applicable, and the twists and turns much more exciting! Click the titles for my Goodreads reviews.
The second book in this series gets to the big adventure I was looking for, just as I talk about in my post about the first book, The Magicians. Quentin is living as the king of Fillory and although he has everything he could ever ask for, he is still itching to get out and explore. Part of the reason I loved this was because I could relate so closely to Quentin’s need for an adventure. That’s how I was feeling before I ended up in Thailand; you’re looking for something, an image in your head or a feeling you’re waiting to hit you. He feels like he is coming alive as he heads out for the unknown, and that’s the same feeling that leaving for Thailand gave me. It’s the “this is it, this is what I’m meant for” moment that always seems just too far to reach. I saw a lot of my relationship to traveling throughout Quentin’s adventure, and his reflections on why he wanted it so bad.
There is a moment in the novel when Quentin is walking through the streets of Venice that he says he just feels “closer” to Fillory. That scene, to him, was more suitable for a king and more closely reflected the feelings that Fillory gave him. I see so many travelers looking for that feeling: they’re searching for the country or that place in the world that feels like the place they are meant to be, the place that is most suitable for the person they are. It makes a lot of sense, I think most people feel the need to complete that search at some point in their lives. And for each traveller there is a different ending: it’s a new home in a new country, back to the place you started with a brand new appreciation for your roots or even kind of somewhere in between with a firm definition of home as the pack on your back.
The lesson Quentin learns in the end is interesting, and it was a twist I was not expecting. And I quote,
“It was all over. He always hated these parts, even when they were just stories, even when they weren’t about him.”
And I can’t say, SAME any louder. Well, Quentin’s story isn’t over, there is one more book left in the trilogy; I’ll definitely be reading it. And while the time hasn’t come yet, soon enough our year in Southeast Asia will be over, I can barely believe it. It’s not always the feeling of missing something or being sad, but it’s the feeling that something is “over” that just gets you. It’s a strange feeling, I don’t want this adventure to end, but at the same time I have the house on Granville waiting for me and I just love it there. Plus, spending 2017 in South America. Yeah I’m there!
Here is to 3 months of traveling around Southeast Asia, and the feeling that while this chapter may be over, there are so many more to come.