Making Kings and Heroes

Following on his success with The Magicians, Lev Grossman takes his readers back to Fillory in The Magician King where Quentin is king, although a bit bored with his kingdom. Grossman is on the cutting edge of literary fantasy and a regular blogger about writing, technology and fantasy tradition. Moira Young’s Blood Red Road features a reluctant hero who is pushed to the extreme edges of a post-apocalyptic world. The big philosophical questions – who am I and what can I become – are underlying currents that make fantasy and dystopia so appealing to young adult readers. You will not be disappointed!

Curriculum Connection:

  • Think critically about our current world
  • Explore the genres of fantasy and speculative fiction
  • Interpret and analyze ideas from texts.


  1. Discussion: In many ways The Magician King depicts and amplifies the quintessential adolescent experience: depression, ennui, emotional carelessness. Would magic be a gift or a curse for the typical teenager?
  2. Have your students imagine they have survived an apocalyptic event. Get them to write the post-apocalyptic world as they imagine it. How did it happen? Was it aliens, nuclear war, natural disaster, technological takeover or something no one has yet thought of! Have them discuss the new world after the crisis, what system of government (if any) is there? Are there clans or rogue travellers? Are there creatures other than humans?
  3. Once your students have conceived this world, have them write a series of diary entries that describe where they are, what their daily life looks like, how they are going to survive, and what they are learning about this strange, new world.