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Magician Things

“The Magicians” was a book I read and discussed here recently. You remember. Or you don’t. But it’s there. Within the last five or six posts. Not hard to find. Don’t be lazy.

When I read it, I was vaguely aware of the fact that its second sequel was on the horizon. I thought that I might like to start reading it upon the day of its release. For my amusement. It’s almost like a bit of a nod to its tenuous ties to the whole “Harry Potter” thing? That’s what everyone did with those. Midnight releases and stuff. I might have only done it for the fourth one, though. I got into it somewhat late, and I dropped off before the fifth one was released. Then I got back into it shortly before the sixth one came out, which meant that I only had to wait for a day or two for that one’s release after I finished the fifth. I think that I was dealing with some stuff when the seventh came out, but I know that I started it without much delay at any rate. I purchased T. Rex’s “Electric Warrior” right before I started it on that night, and I read till the record ended.

Then I was surprised by a six-week stay in hospital, which cruelly truncated the end of my summer. Having “The Deathly Hallows” by my side surely wasn’t unhelpful in dealing with that.

It was weird, though. For some reason, the buzzers on our floor weren’t working while I was there, and we had to ring actual bells whenever we needed to get the nurses’ attention. We called our section the Anita Ward.

Depending on your charity, that last paragraph was a joke or a lie. I enjoyed it, though.

I also had a visit from my aunt, who’d come over from her home in England to spend a while with the family after some rather trying experiences at her erstwhile place of employment. She’d enjoyed a long tenure at one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious acting schools, which had come to an end when Alan Rickman took over the place and shook everything up in a manner that sounded suspiciously similar to what Snape did to Hogwarts at the end of the series. In the book, Snape was secretly working on the side of good, though. I suppose that we can just assume that Sir Alan’s private motivations were noble too.

Back to “The Magicians”. I knew that I was going to have to read the second book at some point before the release of the third in early August, but I didn’t want my experience with it to abut on either of the other books in the trilogy. In the last week, I decided that it’d probably have to be one of my next two books to give it adequate space from its successor, but there was a part of me that thought that it could get too heavy for some of my current moods. The first book had parts like that, and sequels can sometimes escalate those sorts of things. If that had been the case, it might have interacted poorly with the particular kind of foggy confusion that’s been in my midst lately.

But I took that minor risk. I jumped in to find that that was not the case. Instead, it emphasised the best qualities of the original and left every trace of doldrum behind. You know. Like a good sequel. It even delivered on the ecstatic promise of its predecessors final pages. A lot of things don’t.

Did you ever wonder why I specifically include “Rush Hour 2” on my lists of favourite movies? Well, there are reasons. This is one of them. There’s no need for patience while Jackie Chan works up the willingness to talk. The dynamic between the two buddy cops is firmly set, and it’s played well. The tonal continuity between the closing scene of the original and the opening scene of the second is flawless. Also, Jeremy Piven has a tiny scene that’s just fantastic. That’s probably irrelevant here, but it’s true.

My first conscious exposure to that man came long after my adoration for "Rush Hour 2". It was when I saw advertisements for some movie in which he played a car salesman. It looked awful, and I couldn’t understand why my brother went to see it. This was during a period in which we grew closer through the overlap in our cinematic tastes. Jeremy Piven was his justification, and I didn’t understand it at all. Later, I’d come to understand, and when I did, my brother was there to warn me away from that car salesman movie. But did you seem him in “Serendipity”? Glorious.

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.