James was Quentin's best friend and Julia's boyfriend in the beginning of The Magicians. He was unaware of magic and eventually broke up with Julia once she became obsessed with it. His mind was eventually erased of any knowledge of Julia's existence.
James's appearance in the first book is described as having wavy chestnut hair and being shorter than Quentin but broader and more solidly built. He is wearing a camel cashmere coat which is wide open because he doesn't get cold.
James is described in a playful light. He is regarded as handsome and intelligent but also a very nice guy in general, which is what makes it so hard to not like him. He is also described as always being the hero.