justwatch: Kristin Kreuk by Jeanette (Fillory)
Out of Character Information

player name: Merry
player livejournal: [livejournal.com profile] halflingmerry
playing here: Remus Lupin ([livejournal.com profile] lumenrelegandus) and Spike ([livejournal.com profile] samianscar)
where did you find us? Aereleh!
are you 16 years of age or older?: Yesseses, precious

In Character Information

character name: Jane Chatwin
Fandom: Lev Grossman's The Magicians
Timeline: After the end of the novel. (Both the titular novel-within-the-novel, and the actual Lev Grossman one.)
character's age: Has seemed beyond her years since the age of four. Appears now in her twenties. Born in 1928; has not traveled since linearly.

powers, skills, pets and equipment: A magician.

"The study of magic is not a science, it is not an art, and it is not a religion. Magic is a craft. When we do magic, we do not wish and we do not pray. We rely upon our will and our knowledge and our skill to make a specific change to the world." {Lev Grossman, The Magicians, p. 49}

"The work is different, too. It's not what you think. You don't just wave a wand and yell some made-up Latin. There's reasons why most people can't do it. […] One, it's very hard, and they're not smart enough. Two, it's very hard, and they're not obsessive and miserable enough to do all the work you have to do to do it right. Three, they lack the guidance and mentorship provided by […] the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. And four, they lack the tough, starchy moral fiber necessary to wield awesome magical energies calmly and responsibly. And five… some people have all that stuff and they still can't do it. Nobody knows why. They say the words, wave their arms, and nothing happens. Poor bastards. But that's not us. We're the lucky ones. We have it, whatever it is."

[…]"I don't know if I have the moral fiber one."

"I don't either. I think that one's optional, actually." {LG, TM, p. 44}

Jane "freelanced" for but never attended Brakebills. She's self-taught, so she's technically a "hedge witch".

Being a magician is something a person just is. Either you have it or you don't. Once you know you have it, you learn to use it. Formal practitioners undergo arduous training to have a fine control, often using finger motion, taught as Magical Pedagogy. Hedge witches make do with what they have. Perhaps she's more than averagely powerful and intelligent; perhaps some borrowed charm rubbed off on her from her travels; perhaps it was from sheer intensity of need.

You can do almost anything with this power; but going too far has been known to result in the magic burning the magician up from the inside out, turning them into a fiery, insane, ephemeral creature called a "niffin". What happens to those is not fully understood and not pleasant to witness.

"Use magic in anger, and you will harm yourself much more quickly than you will harm your adversary." {ibid., p. 88}

The strongest source of Jane's power is gone (see history) but she can still manage some smaller things.

canon history: Once upon a time, there were five children named Martin, Fiona, Helen, Rupert, and Jane. They lived in England and went to boarding school. Their father was fighting in the trenches. Their mother was institutionalised with an unnamed psychological condition. So every summer, they stayed at their Aunt Maude's cottage in the Cornish countryside.

Near to the cottage was Darras House: the retirement home of author Christopher Plover, known to contemporary readers along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, [as] one of the founders of the modern fantasy tradition, for his book series Fillory and Further. Through his relationship with the children over those summers, they became the main characters of his books. Legend has it that the children told him of their adventures, real and imagined, and he merely wrote it all down.

But which, magical historians will ask of "real" vs. "imagined", was which…?

As written in Fillory Book I: The World in the Walls: exceptionally bored at a garden party, the children went to explore Darras House. Martin, the eldest, had a fascination with clocks. He loved taking them apart and putting them back together again. On opening the cabinet body of the great, glorious grandfather clock in a forgotten upstairs hall, he found himself tumbling headfirst into the fantastical land of Fillory. The adventures begin.

Synopses from the official Fillory website:

  • Book I, The World in the Walls ~ Martin and Fiona have to prevent [the mysterious antagonist] the Watcherwoman from stopping time at 5:00 on a rainy September afternoon.

  • Book II, The Girl Who Told Time ~ Helen and Rupert are magicked out of their boarding schools and into Fillory - but also back in time. Rupert secretly helps Martin and Fiona battle the Watcherwoman (without them knowing it), while Helen hunts the mysterious Questing Beast.

  • Book III, The Flying Forest ~ Rupert and Fiona search for the source of a mysterious ticking sound that is troubling their friend Sir Hotspots, a noble leopard.

  • Book IV, The Secret Sea ~ Set adrift on the Outer Ocean by the Watcherwoman, Rupert and Jane seek out the remnants of the Great Shark Army to help them take back Fillory.

  • Book V, The Wandering Dune ~ The last in the series. Helen and Jane find a mysterious sand dune blowing through Fillory. It carries them out into the desert, where they discuss morality. Then, the bunnies show up.

As this does not feel like a conclusive ending, there were always rumours of a sixth book. Some think Plover may have abandoned it due to the unsolved disappearance of Martin Chatwin in 1935. Plover memorialised Martin by having his literary counterpart find a way to stay in Fillory forever. Some thought Plover may have been complicit in the real Martin's disappearance. The author himself died four years later.

[[SPOILERS for the novel]]

Never published, or even discovered, was Fillory Book VI, The Magicians.

"…it was not written in Christopher Plover's usual plain, simple, open-hearted prose. It was cruder, funnier, more arch, and it showed signs of having been scribbled in haste… It was… the first book of Fillory and Further by somebody who had actually been there. That person was Jane Chatwin." {Lev Grossman, The Magicians, p. 376}

As it's written: Martin had disappeared; Helen had thrown the magical buttons that could transport them to Fillory down a well; and years passed. The children eventually resign themselves to living the rest of their lives on Earth. At last, Jane, the youngest, now 13 (the same age as Martin when he'd disappeared) is summoned back to Fillory. Unlike all the previous times when the Chatwins went in pairs, she goes alone.

Martin had been sexually abused by Plover ("Why else would he try to crawl into a grandfather clock? He was looking for somewhere to hide." {ibid., p. 384}) and did indeed run away to Fillory. There's a reason, though, that children in stories outgrow their magical adventures and leave the fantasy worlds behind them. Throwing himself ever deeper into the childhood magic, Martin had become more and more powerful and downright monstrous; he was dominating and besetting Fillory. He even killed one of Fillory's two guardian gods. Jane holds a council of war with the remaining god, and searches for a way to defeat Martin. To this end, convinced of Martin's dangerousness, the dwarves give her a silver watch that can control the flow of time.

The book ends, anticlimactically and unresolved, there.

Here's what happened next:

Jane teaches herself by trial and error to use the watch, traveling backwards and forwards in time. So doing, she became the Watcherwoman.

As villains went the Watcherwoman was an odd specimen, since she rarely did anything particularly evil, or at any rate not where anybody could see her do it. She was usually glimpsed from a distance, rushing around with a book in one hand and an elaborate timepiece in the other… She always wore a veil that covered her face. Wherever she passed she planted her signature clock-trees. {ibid., pp. 67-68}

"It took a bit of experimenting before I got the hang of it… There was one long afternoon in particular… people took it the wrong way. […]Even those clock-trees." She snorted ruefully. "Brilliant idea those were. they never did a bloody thing. The funniest part is that Martin was terrified of them! He couldn't figure them out. […]I was careful. The Watcherwoman never killed anyone. I cut corners, sometimes at other people's expense, but I had other things on my mind. My job was to stop Martin, and I did what I had to." {ibid., p. 379}

Her quest takes her back and forth in time and between worlds. At last, in Upstate New York in the 21st century, students at Brakebills— (…no? try the flower…) —College for Magical Pegagogy inadvertently summon Martin, and he commits murder on Earth. He'd done it once before: when he returned to kill Plover.

This time, Jane follows and begins to covertly seek the right champion, or combination of champions, from Brakebills. She had to rewind time over and over, manipulating different people onto different paths, to find the right circumstance in which Martin could be defeated.

"You have to understand… I'm a witch, not a god. I've tried this so many ways. I've gone down so many different timelines. I've sent so many other people to fight Martin. Don't make me lecture you on the practicalities of chronological manipulation, Quentin. Change one variable and you change them all. Did you think you were the first one to face Martin in that room? Do you think that was even the first time you faced him? That battle has been fought again and again. I've tried it so many different ways. Everyone always died. And I always wound back the clock.

"As bad as it was, as bad as it is, this is by far the best outcome I've ever achieved. …And I'm sticking with it. I can't risk losing everything we've gained."

[…] "Well, then. We'll go back all the way. To before The World in the Walls. Stop him before it all starts. Find a timeline where he doesn't even go to Fillory."

"I've tried, Quentin! I've tried! …He always does. I've tried it a thousand times. There is no world where he doesn't. …I'm tired. …I lost my brother. I'm tired of fighting that thing that used to be Martin." {ibid., pp. 380-381}

…It's at last achieved, Martin is killed, and Jane breaks her magic watch, ending her power over time.

"I keep telling myself that we lost him that first night, when he walked away into the forest. It was never him after that, not really. […] But I'm the only Chatwin left now. He was a monster, but he was the last family I had." {ibid., p. 379}


She was different from the other Chatwins: more thoughtful, with an unpredictable sense of humor and a sharper edge than her slightly saccharine, Dick-and-Jane siblings. {ibid., p. 85}

The grave little girl of melancholy thoughtfulness, who knew how to pick a lock with her hairpins at age six, has been almost but not quite lost into the disarmingly elfin woman who literally sings out indelicate observations and twirls around at funerals.

Arch, clever, irreverent, dry as only one who has seen so much, understood deeply just barely, and cared enough to stop caring can be. She's captivating, pretty and playful, obviously intelligent yet relentlessly silly ("Sometimes I think about turning up at a Fillory convention just to see what would happen." {ibid., p. 378}); but can flash on a dime to shocking detachment. Engages brightly with tiny things, and takes the most enormous of things apathetically in stride. A deep well of history and power who espouses a sardonic fatalism. Wouldn't consider herself Machiavellian. Is not sure such arguments are real.

why do you feel this character would be appropriate to the setting? For a century of linear time, who knows how long to her personal timeline, Jane has been living an intensively mystical, disordered life. Her quest dominated all other wants and motives. Had she allowed herself the luxury of wanting, connecting with, or loving anything for herself, she would have to relinquish it with the next timewind: either going forward to seek the next possibility, or going back and eradicating whatever it was to start with. She's been homeless and friendless, even (in a new use of the word) timeless.

At last she's won. Victory was necessary, not happy. She's tired beyond all ages and wants to stop. She broke her watch and can no longer travel in time. She's determined to forgo all other magic as well. If she's earned anything, if she possibly deserves anything, or if she dares to take one last thing: it would be a normal, linear, unremarkable life.

"No more… put an end to it. It's time to live with what we have and mourn what we lost." {ibid., p. 384}

So of course, instead, she lands in Anatole.

Writing Samples

Network Post Sample:

(see first post)


Third Person Sample: the way things flowed )


Anything else? As you've guessed, The Magicians is largely an answer to other fantasy works, particularly Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Jane has some elements of both Lucy Pevensie and the White Witch. But it doesn't work to make the comparison too direct. A better reference is that she'd fit right in with Time Lords. She's simultaneously very young and terribly old, knows the futility of great power, and is used to an entirely different paradigm of causality.

The Magicians is also a tremendously fine novel, and I hope I've chosen a minor enough character from a small enough subplot that you should not consider yourself too spoiled to read and enjoy it thoroughly.

Forge of JC

Jan. 8th, 2011 10:38 am
justwatch: Katrine De Candole (play)
[video image:

an antique clockface set in the bark of a living tree

you're unlikely to notice that whenever and no matter how often you call, the clock is keeping the correct time]

~ [Leave message] ~


Jan. 8th, 2011 01:55 am
justwatch: Katrine De Candole (weather)
Tell, tell!

Don't know the fandom well enough to critique, you say? So go read The Magicians 'cause it's awesome!


justwatch: Katrine De Candole (Default)

January 2011

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